Archives for August 2013

Meal Preparation: A Key Element of a Healthy Lifestyle

Hey yall! Aint gonna lie, I am one exhausted little blogger. My flight was delayed and I didn’t get back to NOLA until 8:00 last night, and now I have to drive home this morning and start to get “back to normal”. Never fear, I plan to tell you ALL about my Under Armour experience. I am waiting on some awesome professional pics to share with my posts so it will be worth the wait! For today please show some love for this guest post from http://www.tapaslifestyle.com/.

An important key element to maintaining a healthy lifestyle is meal preparation. In other words, it just doesn’t happen by chance. In our journey to be healthier, the concept of “What should we eat on a regular basis?” came up. We wanted to use Sunday as our meal prep day, which we would cook and prepare food for the both of us for the week ahead.

We started to research ideas and noticed a big trend with quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah”. As Wikipedia states, “quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus and iron.”

We already had Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, It’s All Good, and as I was thumbing through it, I saw that she used quinoa in a lot of her recipes. She states in her cookbook that quinoa is, “A must for all healthy contemporary diets, quinoa is a protein-packed grain that cooks quickly and is a wonderful canvas for all sorts of add-ins and dressings.”

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I was interested in Gwyneth’s statement. We started out with the below recipe as a base. Then as the weeks continued we started adding different ingredients such as different kinds of beans and vegetables. We love adding lightly steamed broccoli. We try to ensure that all the ingredients we use in the recipe are organic – the quinoa, beans and vegetables.

Zesty Quinoa Salad recipe was adapted from allrecipes.com

3 cups of Perfectly Cooked Quinoa* (recipe below)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

2 limes, juiced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (or more to taste)

1½ cups halved cherry tomatoes

1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed

5 green onions, finely chopped ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Salt & ground black pepper to taste

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Gwyneth instructs the best way to prepare quinoa on page 178 in It’s All Good, as stated below.

*Perfectly Cooked Quinoa

Makes 3 cups –

1 cup quinoa

1¾ cups water

Coarse sea salt

Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine-mesh strainer (although this may sound like an unnecessary step, it really makes a huge difference in flavor; since quinoa’s natural coating tastes like soap.)

Place it in a pot set over high heat with the water and a big pinch of salt. Bring the quinoa to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pot and cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa’s germs look like lots of little spirals, 12 to 15 minutes. Turn the heat off, place a dry paper towel between the pot and the lid, and let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.

In addition to the Zesty Quinoa Salad, we also prepare a crock pot full of organic chicken breasts. We purchase the organic chicken breasts and sauces at Costco. We cut the chicken into cubes and add it to the crock pot. We then add Robert Rothschild Farm’s All Natural and Gluten Free Roasted Pineapple & Habanero Sauce and All Natural Jack’s Cantina Style Salsa to the crock pot until all the chicken is covered. We stir all the ingredients together and cook on low heat for about 4 hours and it comes out delicious.

The Zesty Quinoa Salad and the crock pot chicken make up our main meal during the day while we are at work. I also bring fresh fruit, vegetables and Kind bars for snacks throughout the day. When we get home, we’ll have a lighter meal such as a salad or a light snack. We have restructured our eating habits since we met with the nutritionist at our gym. She said to eat our larger meals during the day and then taper off as the day progresses. We’ve been following the nutritionist’s suggestions and we have been very happy with the balance it has created within our lives.

It takes planning and discipline to prepare our meals every Sunday; however, we know how important it is to take care of ourselves through proper nutrition. It’s a great feeling to know that in just a few hours on Sunday, most of your meals for the week are already taken care of and all you have to do is pack it up and take it with you.

QOTD: Do you eat Quinoa? How do you prepare it?

Under Armour = amazing

Hey y’all! I am having an amazing time here in Baltimore and am so sad I go home today! Yesterday was action packed and amazing. I cannot wait to tell you all about it! For now here are a couple a photos from yesterday. Be sure to follow along I’m posting a lot on Instagram! (@HeathersLG)

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Baltimore Bound

It’s today! It’s today! I have a VERY early 6:00 am flight from New Orleans to Baltimore today, where I will be visiting Under Armour’s Headquarters with three other lovely Fitfluential Ambassadors.

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We have a jam packed schedule for two days, and I can’t wait to share it with you. I will not have my laptop with me since I am just gone one night, but I will definitely be blogging about it when I get back. However, rest assured I will be talking about my experiences as they happen on my social media platforms. Now would be a great time to make sure you are following me!

Instagram: http://instagram.com/heatherslg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/HeathersLG

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/heatherslookingglass

I arrive at Under Armour headquarters around 10:15 or so EST, so be on the lookout for the fun to start! I will be hashtagging #whatsbeautiful and #IWILL if you want to search for that as well.

QOTD: What is your favorite social media platform?

Islands of Adventure

I was provided with a mobile device and 3 months of free service from Verizon, however all opinions are my own.

When I was in Florida in July, I got the opportunity to go to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure which includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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I am going to do a separate post on Harry Potter because there is so much to it, but today I want to tell you a quick overview about Islands of Adventure in general.

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While I did head to Harry Potter first, let’s skip that for this post and briefly touch on the rest of the park. I got sick the second time I rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, so my stomach was a little “off” the rest of the day, so I mainly did some picture taking and not much riding. I was also glad I had my new Blackberry Q10 from Verizon, I was able to sit and relax and check e-mails and get online to check on a few things while I waited in line for rides. (it also came in handy at the hotel with it’s mobile hot spot when I was using my laptop!)

I really loved the theming of Islands of Adventure. They had really cute shops and restaurants. Again, it’s a big plus to stay on property because you get an express pass (kind of like a fastpass) so you have much shorter lines than everyone else. Highly recommended!

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Seuss Landing was a fun kids area that brought me back to my childhood. I rode a little train ride that goes up in the air over the whole area, and the Cat in the Hat ride. All very cute, fun area for kids.

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There is also a fun looking Popeye raft ride that looks similar to Kali River Rapids in Disney. I didn’t ride as I didn’t have my poncho and everyone looked soaked, but it looks fun and plan to ride next time!

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I also liked the Jurassic Park area. Again, I didn’t ride, everyone was drenched, but I loved watching everyone come down the big drop at the end, soaking wet.

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Yet ANOTHER water ride, this was over in Toon Lagoon.

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I walked through the comic area and past Spiderman.

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There was a lot of screaming and I knew it was coming form this bad boy: The Hulk.

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You couldn’t pay me enough to ride this thing. No thank you.

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There are several other rides and cute things, but I just wanted to give an overview and not spoil all the fun for you. Smile  I enjoyed this park a lot more than I thought I would, and would love to have ore time to do more exploring (and bring a poncho!) Be on the lookout for my Harry Potter post!

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I would love to book your Universal vacation for you at no extra cost to you! Email heather@travelwiththemagic.com for a free quote!

QOTD: Have you been to islands of Adventure? Favorite ride?

Weekly Workout Recap: August Week 2 2013

Oh what an interesting week. Last Saturday, you may remember we ran 13.1 miles. In an effort to pretend I was fine and in hopes it would go away, I didn’t mention the terrible ball of foot pain I had during and after the run. Does anyone remember this from last summer?

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it was literally almost a year to the exact date that it started hurting again, after a full year of no pain. Ug! I have been walking around my house all week in running shoes. Barefoot on my wood floors kkkiiilllssss. I have been taking Ibuprofen, and taking it easy on the running (I only ran twice this week) in hopes it would be fine. No such luck, but with pain meds it’s manageable to run n at this point. I really don’t want another cortisone shot right now.

So, with that said, I decided to take it SUPER easy this week, I even took TWO rest days in a row, which I never do.

Sunday: rest

Monday: 20 minutes stationary bike

Tuesday: rest

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: 3 mile run, weights

Friday: 30 minutes stationary bike, weights

Saturday: 7 mile run

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My 7 miles were decent, but my foot feels the same. I just need to get through Disneyland half/Dumbo then I can decide what to do next.

QOTD: Do you ever take more than one rest day in a row?

Reebok Workout Clothes Review

Awhile back Reebok sent me a pair of Zig Carbon shoes, a pair of PWR leggings and a fun yoga top. reebok

Shoes: The Zig Carbon is born to run and ready to action, this running shoe features a responsive zig-zag sole for responsive cushioning, a full length carbon fiber plate for structured support in the midfoot, and a high abrasion rubber outsole for durability.

Yoga Top: Get fit to bend the rules with the single jersey Yoga Long Bra Top. Featuring moisture-wicking PlayDry technology and a flattering, racerback silhouette with built in bra and removable pads, this yoga essential has athlete-friendly style that satisfies.

Leggings: Reebok ONE Apparel Collection. A fitted legging designed to enhance your workouts, keeping you comfortable without sacrificing style. Features antimicrobial gusset for extreme comfort and odor management, plus generous cuffs for a secure feel that stays put.

My thoughts:

Shoes: I LOVE the color and the look of the shoes. They fit true to size, and were super fun to wear. My only complaint is there is a tab on the top back of the shoe I’m assuming to help you pull the shoe on. However, it rubs the back of my leg and I may end up cutting it off.

Top: This top has got to be one of the softest tops I have ever worn. It feels GREAT and I love the racerback and built in bra. I also like that it’s long, I hate when my stomach shoes when I am doing yoga/lifting.

Pants: At first I wasn’t so sure about them. Wearing print across my big butt did not seem like something I wanted to do. However, I put them on anyway and wore them to the gym. Again, SUPER soft and cozy, I could lounge in these pants all day long (and have!)

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Overall, a great fun outfit I am so glad they sent to me! Be sure to check out their website where you can purchase your own gear!

WINNER of the Gold Bond prize pack is:  Kristen Grace! please e mail me at heatherslookingglass@gmail.com to claim your prize!

QOTD: What is your favorite quality in a good pair of shoes, workout top, or workout pants?

Disclosure: I was provided with this gear from Reebok through Fitfluential. However, all opinions are my own.

Pure Bliss


When I was asked to try out Neuro BLISS, I will admit I was a bit skeptical. Typically when drinks claim to do anything other than satisfy your thirst, they tend to taste well….Nasty. I was so pleasantly surprised when I opened my first bottle of Neuro BLISS. It has an amazing taste (lemon lime maybe?)! Only 35 calories a bottle! And it’s supposed to elevate my mood, help me feel stress free AND help me concentrate? I can handle that!

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Check out this infographic. 1,200 consumers were surveyed, and findings found that nearly 50% of Americans spend at least half of their daily lives stressed out (wow!) Most people agreed that a vacation would help them be less stressed (more on THAT later, keep reading!)

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Ah, vacation. I truly love it. Check out one of my favorite BLISSful moments:

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Ah, yes. Being out in the middle of the Caribbean on a cruise is DEFINITELY my BLISSful, stress-free moment. Whenever I “think happy thoughts” it’s definitely of this beach vacation! As a Disney lover and beach lover, a Disney cruise makes sense to me, and going to Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, is my favorite stop. A full day of sitting in the sun reading a book on the ADULTS ONLY beach is PURE BLISS!

Since we unfortunately can’t all take vacations every day, what CAN we do? Drinking Neuro BLISS is a great start. It has a blend of minerals and antioxidants as well as chamomile and an amino acid found in green tea that helps improve focus and relieve stress.  I could definitely tell after drinking this that I had better concentration on my work and didn’t seem as distracted.

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Ok, BACK to vacations. How would you like to go on a $10,000 one? You can enter the BLISS and tell contest and weekly giveaway by sharing about your BLISSful moment. It’s super easy to enter, and you can enter on Instagram, too! So go take some time to relax and enter the contest!

Also, here is a special coupon code for $1 any Neuro drink. You can find them at Target, Walgreens, Safeway, 7-11, among other stores.

QOTD: When you think of a blissful moment in life, what comes to mind?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Tips for Running the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon

The runDisney Disneyland half marathon is just around the corner, and I have gotten several questions from readers asking for help with this race.

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I know for a lot of runners, it is their first time going out to California for runDisney, and it is a whole different animal than running runDisney on the east coast. So, I have compiled some tips that I hope will help you throughout your race weekend:

1.) Time change: I will be coming from central time, and I know a lot of runners will be coming form eastern. This is SUCH a blessing! As you probably know, runDisney races start very early in the morning, and east coast races require you to get on busses even earlier. When I wake up at 4:00 am, my brain will think it’s 6:00. Totally doable and not as dreaded. But keep the time change in mind for meals and bedtimes so you don’t end up like me at 9:00 pm when my body thought it was 11:00.

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2.) Walking to race: Coupled with the time change, another amazing thing about the west coast races is that you don’t have to walk forever to get to your corral. It is SUCH a huge plus to stay on property or at a close good neighbor hotel. Last year, we were at the Grand Californian and it was so easy to just walk downstairs, across Downtown Disney, and into the starting area. I loved it. We waited in our room as long as we could so there was no need to even use the port-o-potties at the starting line. HUGE plus!

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Bobby and I were happy campers in our corral before the race in 2012.

3.) Breakfast: Last year, I noticed a couple of places in Downtown Disney had signs out in the days before the race saying they planned to be open early in the morning so runners could grab breakfast (I think Jamba Juice was the one I noticed). If you plan to go this route, remember thousands of other runners may be doing the same so get there early. Another alternative (what we did) is to go to the counter service location at your resort if you are staying onsite, and grab food for breakfast the day before. I know our hotel had fruit and yogurt parfaits that were perfect for us. We stored them in our room refrigerator and it worked out well race morning.

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I also may have had a pre-race cookie…

4.) Know the Course: Be sure to study the course map for the race. Unlike east coast races, you enter and exit the parks at the very beginning of the Disneyland half, and then are out on the road. (Characters are ONLY inside the parks so don’t “wait” for the next ones to take photos, because before you know it you will be out on the road!). My favorite part was running through the stadium toward the end of the race, so have your camera ready for that as well!

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5.) Finish line: Just like at the east coast races, there will be a finishers area where you can meet up with your family and friends after the race. Don’t forget to plan out a meeting time and spot with them before the race. Cell service was very spotty for me last year with so many people in one place!

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6.) Pre Race Dinner: There are a lot of great options for a pre race dinner. I love that for on site guests, you have Downtown Disney literally right outside your door. Last year we went to the ESPN Zone restaurant because LSU was playing that night. It was unfortunately just so so as far as food goes. There are some great places such as Earl of Sandwich, Storytellers at the Grand Californian, and if you are craving pizza pre-race there is Naples Ristorante e Pizzeria in Downtown Disney. I know several people will also be attending the Pasta in the Park party hosted by runDisney.

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We love Storyteller’s buffet!

7.) Expo: I suggest getting to the expo on Friday if you can swing it. It opens at 10:00 at the Disneyland Hotel. Again, perk of staying onsite, it’s an easy walk there and back to your room to put away your things before going to play in the parks. Don’t forget if you are participating in the coast to coast challenge to get your wristband at the expo! Last year, they had us go downstairs to get our bibs then upstairs to the expo floor to shop!

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8.) Weather: This southern girl was STOKED to run in no humidity California. Oh, to be able to train in this type of weather year round. Must be wonderful! Anyway, Be mindful of the weather the day before and morning of the race. Layer if necessary, and wear sunglasses. There was one long stretch where we made a turn out onto a road and we were looking RIGHT into the rising sun. It was blinding and I am so glad I had my shades.

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Also, don’t forget to check out the runDisney packing list vlog I created to help fill your suitcase with everything you need for the race.

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QOTD: Any other tips you would add? Who is excited! Who is getting a coast to coast medal?

Discerning Gods Voice

Sometimes, I am not sure if something I am hearing in my head is from God or not. I don’t want to take the next step and it be a wrong one, and it can be quiet difficult to drown out the voices of the world sometimes.

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In Lysa TerKeurst’s book “What Happens when Women Say Yes to God”, she gives five things to ask yourself to make sure what you are hearing is form God:

1. Does what I’m hearing line up with Scripture?
God will never tell us to do something that is in contrast with what the Bible says.

2. Is what I’m hearing consistent with God’s character?
God will not say things that are inconsistent with who He is. Remember God doesn’t change!

3. Is what I’m hearing confirmed through messages at church or my quiet times?
When I feel God is trying to tell me something about something specific, I see it everywhere! Friends, church, my devotion, etc.

4. Is what I’m hearing beyond me?
We can be called to do things that are impossible in our own strength. Sometimes this can be super scary, but there is a good chance it is God!

5. Is what I’m hearing pleasing to God?
If what you think you are hearing would sadden God or make you feel uneasy or wrong, it’s not from Him.

These five questions are a huge help in discerning God’s voice. I love that the first one has to do with scripture. If you cannot answer “yes” to question one, there there is zero need to go through the other questions, you have your answer right there.

I think the one that I see most prevalent in my life is number 3. Whenever I am not sure about something or think maybe God is trying to tell me something, it seems to crop up over and over again in messages, sermons, through Christian friends, etc. Every time I hear said “same thing” it is like that extra nudge of reassurance that it is the right thing. Sometimes this pattern can go on for months at a time, until I get whatever it is I am supposed to “get”. (I can be a slow learner and quite stubborn sometimes with spiritual things!)

Thanks Lysa for an awesome guide to help us discern God’s voice!

QOTD: Which of these five questions helps you most or do you see the most in your life?

Defying the Odds

I’m thrilled to participate in a sweepstakes sponsored by Investigation Discovery’s new series Surviving Evil, which premieres Wednesday August 28th at 10/9c only on Investigation Discovery

 

Distance running is not something that comes easy for me. Volleyball, yes. Basketball, yes. Running anything over 200 meters….negative. This fact is interesting considering that I have to date run two full marathons and nineteen half marathons, with many more on my race schedule. How did it all happen? gulfcoast6 I did something courageous. I took a leap of faith and dove head first into an unknown world to me. I was scared. I didn’t know if I could do it. I was afraid to fail, and was afraid of what others would think if I did. Regardless, I decided to take my chances and attempt to overcome the odds that were stacked against me. I WOULD become a distance runner. Let’s take a trip down memory lane. It all started when I was visiting with some friends in Florida and spectated them running the Walt Disney World marathon in 2009. A friend and I staked out a spot in front of Hollywood studios to watch the race…no particular reason for this spot. Keep in mind I was NOT a runner at this point! We waited for our friends to pass. The place we were standing was around mile 24. As all of the people passed by, and as I watched everyone cheering them on, all of the sudden I got really really emotional. I thought of the hard work and dedication these people had put into their training for this race. I didn’t know them, but I was so proud of them as they all passed me by. I cheered my little heart out, and decided I COULD do this, I HAD to do this! I vowed I would be back to run the next year.
Fast forward to January 2010. My husband and I ran the half marathon in Disney World, our very first. I felt so accomplished as I crossed that finish line hand in hand with my husband. We had done something I never thought possible, but we had not yet reached our goal. What? That’s right. My goal was the Disney full marathon. 17957_532274161768_61700476_31353822_8119432_n
Fast Forward to January 2011. It was a tough training cycle. I was struggling with an IT band injury, and Bobby and I were not even living together because he took a new job and we had not yet found a house. It was tough training basically on my own, and I was under a lot of emotional stress. But, we made it to Disney! This race was amazing and will forever be one of the best memories of my life. We had SO MUCH FUN with the race, stopping and taking pictures with every character, goofing off and enjoying the time together. I remember very distinctly when I ran by the spot I stood two years earlier, my “inspiration curve” outside of Hollywood studios. I got really choked up remembering where it all began. I could not believe I was about to accomplish my goal, and finish the race. Crossing the finish line was amazing, I had done it. Two years later, I accomplished what I had set out to do, what I didn’t even think I could do, and it felt wonderful. I beat the odds with courage, and a huge smile on my face. header2 Investigation Discovery’s new series Surviving Evil is all about beating the odds too. But the stories in the show are told by people who faced real evil when they fought back against their attackers, and survived. 

 

Want to win a $500 spa finder giftcard? Share with us: What is an obstacle or fear that you’ve been able to overcome?

 

This sweepstakes is sponsored by Investigation Discovery’s new series Surviving Evil, premiering Wednesday, August 28 at 10/9c. Told in their own words, victims reveal how they fought their attackers and survived against amazing odds. Learn more at InvestigationDiscovery.com/SurvivingEvil and empower yourself with five life-saving tips at IDFiveToSurvive.com. 

 

Rules: No duplicate comments. You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods: 1. Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post 2. Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post 3. Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post 4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry. This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected. The Official Rules are available here. This sweepstakes runs from 8/14/13-8/28/13. Be sure to visit the Investigation Discovery: Surviving Evil brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ true stories of courage and survival and find more chances to win.