Archives for July 2015

Jeff Galloway Tips: Dealing with the Heat

Hey friends! These tips for dealing with the heat from Jeff Galloway could not have come at a better time! We are in the middle of a serious heat wave here in the south (our daily heat index has been around 107 with high humidity) and running has been difficult. Please enjoy these tips:

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Training through the summer can not only be grueling, but down right dangerous.  Here are some tips to train safely and as comfortable as possible in the hot summer months.

Slow down by 30 sec/mile (20 sec/km) for every 5F temperature increase above 55-60F ( every 2.5C above 14C)

When the temperature is over 70F (21C) you may take a 5 minute “cold shower break” every 25-30 minutes to keep cool.

Try to complete your run before the sun rises above the horizon.

More frequent walk breaks during hot weather can lower body temperature increase.  If you used to run 3 minutes between walk breaks, run only 90 seconds (walk 30 seconds) at 70F (21C) and at 80F (26C) drop to 60 sec run/30 sec walk or 30/30

When you start to heat up more than normal, take a longer walk in a mall or indoor AC building

Pick shady courses on hot days.

Don’t wear a hat!  Pour water over your head

Have an indoor alternative—treadmill, etc

Run in the deep end of the pool, using a flotation belt

QOTD: What is your best tip for running n hot weather?

Disclosure: As a Jeff Galloway blogger I am given special tips to share with you, my readers. No compensation has been given to me.

The Door of Opportunity

 

Have you ever been in a situation where you were waiting for an answer, a step forward, something to happen so you just “knew” it was what you were supposed to do? What happens when the door opens but then you are faced with opposition? Does this mean that you are supposed to stop because the road has become difficult, so it must not be the way you were supposed to take after all?

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My friends, this has happened to me SO many times over the years (and is currently happening right now!) On Sunday, my pastor spoke about this at church and it really hit home. Are there times when bad things happen that we should take it as a sign to NOT proceed, absolutely! But I feel like a LOT of times we simply give up too easily.

Just because God opens a door, does not mean it’s going to be smooth sailing all the way down the hallway.

There are so many things in life that take a lot of hard work and dedication, and you can’t quit just because things get tough. Those are usually the things that are worth fighting for the most and offer the greatest reward!

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When I am walking through what I believe to be an open door and reach resistance, I do pray for wisdom and guidance to make sure I am doing the right thing, despite the bumps in the road. I tend to second guess myself…this is too hard…maybe we aren’t supposed to be doing this….shouldn’t it be easy if it were meant to be? Not always! But I believe with great risk comes great reward, and so suffering through the rough patches is just part of the process sometimes.

Bobby and I are in the midst of a new business venture, and to say there have been bumps in the road would be the understatement of the century. We have been praying about it every step of the way, and slowly (VERY slowly, way more slowly than I would like…) been moving forward. We are taking a big financial risk and it’s very scary, but we think in the end it will be all worth it. I am *almost* to the point where I can share with you what is going on, but I just want to make sure a few final things are 100% in order first. (This is why I didn’t get a chance to blog yesterday, we have been up to our eyeballs in legal mumbo jumbo and paperwork.)

Please hang with me as I may be a bit MIA over the next 1.5 weeks as we try to get everything in order. I will try to blog as much as I can though. I love yall and appreciate your support!

QOTD: Have you ever taken a big risk? Was it worth it?

Tips for Running on the Beach

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a few days in Destin, Florida. Not only did I get excited about the sun, sand, and crashing waves….but I was stoked to have a new scenic place to run. Let’s face it friends, Jackson Mississippi isn’t exactly a “pretty’ place to run. No mountains, no beach, not many trails. This is why when I go on vacation or work travel, I try to take every opportunity to go for a run in my new surroundings.

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Below I have complied a few tips to help you make the most out of your ocean side run.

1.) Run on an even surface: There are a lot of slanted places at the beach, it hurts my ankles just walking on the slanted parts after awhile so I can’t imagine running like that! Sometimes, depending on the tide, this means I can run in packed sand right down by the water, and sometimes it means going up a bit further to find that flat land.

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2.) Wear Shoes: I know a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, and that’s ok. Personally though, getting a shell in my foot or stepping on a jellyfish barefoot do not sound like a good time. I especially recommend wearing shoes if you have arch or foot problems. I require a more stable shoe due to weak ankles and high arches so I most definitely need shoes on the beach!

3.) Keep your run short: It may be tempting to run forever in such a scenic place, but if you aren’t used to beach running, you will realize that you get sore and tired MUCH more quickly than usual. It’s a great calorie torching workout, but don’t overdo it.

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4.) Protect yourself from the sun: In Destin, the sugar white sandy beaches are beautiful, but boy does the sun reflect off of it! I am always careful to wear sunglasses, and depending on the time of day a hat as well. I also wear plenty of sunscreen when I run on the beach, even if it’s early in the morning. No one wants to be red for the rest of their trip!

5.) Body Glide your feet: One thing I quickly noticed while taking my running shoes out to say hello to the ocean was that sand. gets. everywhere. It’s inevitable, so to protect your feet from getting blisters, try wearing dri-fit socks and putting body glide on your feet to help with rubbing.

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Happy running and enjoy the view!

QOTD: Anything I left off? Do you ever run on the beach?

Emma Kate: Month 10

We are in double digits! I can remember back to other bloggers who have had babies in the past couple of years, and how fast it seems they approached their first birthday, and now it’s happening to me!

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It’s getting harder and harder to get her to be still and look at the camera for pictures. I’m guessing by twelve months I will just have pictures of her backside as she’s running away from me!

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It’s still incredibly hot outside, but we still go walking with friends when we can, but we go early in the morning. Emma Kate still loves her stroller and will fall asleep if it’s during nap time. (Thursday I ended up walking 8 miles because she fell asleep at the end of mile 4!)

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Sleep is going excellent. Emma Kate goes to bed between 6:30 and 6:45 and sleeps until sometime between 6:30 and 7:00. She takes two naps a day, and they are from anywhere between 40 minutes and two hours, with the average being an hour and fifteen minutes. She loves her crib, and we recently started letting her sleep with a light blanket that she loves.

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The biggest thing that happened this month is right after she hit 9 months, she started crawling! (We are also pulling up to standing now!) It was very slow and calculated at first, but now she is all over the house and getting into everything! She gets bored with her toys but of course loves getting into all the things she isn’t supposed to. I have done a lot of baby proofing and moving things, but some things have to remain where they are, and it’s a good opportunity to teach her “no”. And she still loves here baby carrier, click here to see 3 different kinds of soft structured baby carriers. They’re really great!

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Eating is going great, too! Emma Kate is fairly adventurous and will try anything that we give her. She still eats some purees, but also loves finger foods like bits of ground beef, carrots, puffs, and even broccoli! She also has learned how to feed Bella, so now they are BFF’s.

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A not so fun thing that happened this month is about ten days ago Emma Kate got SUPER whiny and clingy. She is a pretty independent baby, so this was out of character for her. She wanted me to hold her all the time and she wasn’t eating as much as usual. It finally occurred to me to check her mouth, and sure enough, we have two more teeth coming in making it 6 all together. There was about a week of a very unhappy child, but she is coming out of it now and back to her happy playful self.

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Much to Bobby’s dismay, Emma Kate still won’t say “da da”. She says mama and ba-ba an babbled all the time though. When I say something like “where is Bella?” she will turn all around looking for the dog.

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Emma Kate Loves:

-Crawling and exploring

-Eating, especially puffs and banana/vanilla yogurt melts

– Playing with my phone

– Music/songs on TV

– Daycare and other babies

– Peek-a-boo

– Ripping up paper

Emma Kate does NOT like:

– Getting her diaper or clothes changed

– Being told “no” (ha. Who doesn’t)

– When I take something away from her she isn’t supposed to have

– When I walk into a room she is in, then leave

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I have started party planning a bit, and I can’t believe she will be ONE soon. This little girl has taught us so much and challenged us a lot. She’s so happy and giggly and at such a fun age. Here goes another month!

QOTD: Did your kids get really fussy when they were teething? What is your favorite party theme?

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

Good morning! A lot of people are starting to book their hotels for runDisney events, and I have been getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help on where to stay, so I thought I would do a few hotel reviews to help those out headed to a runDisney event, or just headed out on vacation.

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Port Orleans Riverside is in the moderate resort category (below deluxe and above value). It is a hot commodity because it is one of two moderate resorts that sleep 5 people over the age of 3 (values only sleep 4).

It is a beautiful and relaxing resort with a laid back atmosphere and southern charm. The “hub” of the resort centers around the check in area, food court, lounge, restaurant, and gift shop. The below photo is the other side that faces the marina.

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There is one feature pool at this resort complete with waterslide and a pool bar. There are also quiet pools throughout the resort.

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Port Orleans Riverside is divided up into two sections, Alligator Bayou and the mansions. Alligator Bayou has cute touches from the Princess and the frog, and has a very woodsy/country feel.

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Below you can see a photo of the pull down trundle bed available in some rooms for a 5th person.

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Across the river you will find the mansions. They are very majestic looking sitting on the riverbank. Most of the rooms have a very southern feel, and then there are a group of “royal rooms” which happen to be my personal favorite.

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The royal rooms cost a little extra, but pack a big punch. Fireworks over the beds, and cute Disney touches everywhere.

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These rooms are in a preferred (aka close to the main buildings) section of the resort. However, there is more than one bus stop so even if you are further away you don’t have to walk to the front of the resort to catch a bus to the parks! However, this is a big resort (2048 rooms!) so paying extra for a preferred location is something I recommend.

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All rooms have either two queens of a king bed (king bed is a separate bookable category) and have double sinks, flat screen TV’s, a coffee maker and refrigerator.

Another perk of this resort is the ability to take the boat to Downtown Disney instead of a bus. It’s a scenic relaxing ride and a nice change of pace if you aren’t in a hurry to get somewhere.

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This is my favorite moderate resort, we stayed here for Princess this past year and it worked out great for the race!

QOTD: Do you prefer a quiet relaxed resort or one right in the middle of the action?

If you have any questions about this resort or any others, feel free to email me at heather@travelwiththemagic.com for details, and vacation booking help.

Stop the Hate

On Monday night, I watched the Bachelorette’s Men Tell All episode. (I also totally realize you may have officially lowered your opinion of me now that you know that I watch said show.) Anyway, it’s always one of my favorite episodes because you get to see the contestants get “real” about their season, ask questions, and hopefully get some closure. Monday’s episode took an interesting turn that I have never seen before, and it really struck a chord with me.

Midway through the show, the bachelorette Kaitlyn was brought out. Now, I will be honest and say she has made some decisions I personally wouldn’t make, but that’s her prerogative and she seems like a very nice (and pretty funny) person. Chris Harrison started talking to her about some of the decisions she has made on the show, and then the topic turned to how hateful some of the viewers have been. My ears immediately perked up when the began talking about remarks made to Kaitlyn on social media, and my heart immediately went out to her.

There were people tweeting to her calling her a whore, cursing at her, and telling her she needs to die. To DIE people! How AWFUL is that? I immediately got a pit in my stomach as I watched tears well up in this poor girls eyes. Kaitlyn went on to say that she has gotten death threats, and one of the most hateful of the messages read out came from a mother.  Kaitlyn was so shocked, and didn’t understand why someone would spread such hate that has a child….how is this mother any better for teaching her child how to hate with the way she was talking to Kaitlyn?

Oh my friends, this hits so, SO close to home for me. I have been blogging over five and a half years now, and have gotten my fair share of hateful comments, emails, tweets, and the like. I absolutely do not expect everyone to like me, read my blog, or agree with me, (it would be WEIRD if you did!) but I DO expect people (especially MOTHER’S for crying out loud!) to show some respect, kindness, and compassion. Saying something hurtful then disguising it as “I have a right to my opinion” isn’t nice either. Just because you CAN say something, doesn’t always mean you should.

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It seems like the majority of the hate I have gotten has come since having my baby, and is directed at my parenting style. Why? I am honestly wanting to know why? For some unknown to me reason, mothers have this way of directly or passive aggressively making other moms feel bad about their parenting decisions, and it’s really not cool.

Unfortunately, I feel like most of the hate comes from insecurity, jealousy, and anger in a mother’s own lives, and I really and truly just want to give you a big hug. I will admit, my initial reaction is often anger. What did I personally do to you to deserve this? Why are you wasting precious time you could be spending with your own kids, writing me hate mail? Do you honestly CARE about what I do and don’t do with my child, or does it just make you feel better about yourself to make me feel bad?

But once I get over that initial anger, I truly feel sorry for you. Sorry that you have so much anger in your life that you need to blow off steam on someone, and obviously don’t have that outlet. Sorry that your three kids being home with you all day drives you insane but you feel too guilty to admit you really need a break from them. Sorry that you wish you could afford to stay home with your kids and you feel guilty because you don’t get to spend enough time with them. Sorry that you don’t have any family nearby so you never get to go on date nights or vacations. Mostly, I am sorry that you feel so alone with no one to discuss this with in a healthy (aka not bashing people online) way.

I wish I could just talk to you over coffee, and find out what I could do to help. I want to find out why it bothers you so much that I formula fed my baby after a month of unsuccessful breastfeeding. I want to find out why the fact that I travel for work and leisure and leave her with her very capable grandparents for a few days makes you so angry that you leave passive aggressive comments about it on my blog. I want to find out what I have personally done to make you lash out, and get to the root of the problem.

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I so, so wish that moms would be more encouraging and compassionate. We know how HARD raising kids can be, so instead of pointing the finger and declaring that what someone else did as “wrong” why not be sympathetic? Aren’t we all trying to strive toward a common goal? To raise these tiny humans to be happy, healthy, and the best that they can be? I don’t know what is going on in your life behind closed doors just as you don’t know what is going on in mine. I am working really hard to never try to measure someone else’s pain. Just because I find a tough situation “not that bad”, doesn’t mean it’s easy for someone else to deal with. None of us really know what others are going through.

I know it’s so easy to read a blog or an Instagram profile and feel like someone else has it “easy”, or is “lucky”, but just remember, you may not know the whole story. You may not know that a mom who formula feeds her baby would love to breastfeed but can’t due to a medical issue. You may not know that a mom who puts her kids in full time daycare needed to do so because she struggles with postpartum depression. You may not know that frequently traveling out of town is part of the job, and bills have to be paid.

Everyone is going through their own stuff y’all. Trials will always come, and I thank the Lord that He is there with me every step of the way because I can’t do it on my own. I pray that every hard time that comes will turn into a learning experience and an opportunity for me to grow and be better. I have made many many mistakes in my life, some even involve being rude to people online, and I will totally own it. The key is in the learning. I have grown up and hopefully am making better, kinder decisions every day.

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If you don’t like my blog, that’s fine, and I am ok with that! No one is forcing you to read it (I hope!) I really don’t want you wasting your time reading something that you don’t like, what fun is that? I know what I have to say is not for everyone, and that’s ok, too. I do want one thing though, I want us to all step back, and take a deep breathe. Before you hit the “submit” button on a Facebook status, blog comment, or tweet, just think about what you are writing. Re-read it. Can anything you are saying come across wrong, rude, mean, or passive aggressive? Is your comment going to genuinely HELP the person or tear them down? Is what you are about to say something that you would want a stranger saying to your child online? (that one gets me to stop and think every time!) Just be careful. be kind.

If we all took the hate and anger and disagreements we have with people, and instead of commenting online about it would say something nice or beneficial, this world would be a better place and we could hopefully get a handle on cyber bullying.

In closing and thinking back to the show, I hope that Bachelorette Kaitlyn realizes she has worth and value aside from what the people on social media said about her, and I hope YOU realize that you have value, too. If you ever need to chat, vent or cry, my door is open fellow mom, blogger, woman, or reader. I’m here, and I won’t judge. Life is hard, and we all need a cheerleader sometimes.

Blogging Tools: PicMonkey

Lately I have gotten a few questions regarding photos, especially for use on Pinterest and Instagram, to help bring traffic to your blog. Since I am not an amazing photographer, I need all the editing help I can get to make my images appealing.

I have been using PicMonkey: crazy-awesome photo editing
 for years, and have found it to be the easiest to use. It also has a ton of options (even in the free version!) and the paid version is not expensive ($2.75 a month!) Below is a walk through of some of my favorite features and how I edit my photos with PicMonkey and PicMonkey Royale (the paid version).

The first thing I want to note is that right now you can get 30 days of royale for FREE right now. Try it out, see how you like it, then decide if you want to continue to pay for the service.

Ok, so when you go to the home screen, this is what you will see:

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For editing a single picture, you are mostly going to be clicking the “edit” button here. After you pic the photo you want to edit, then it brings up the editing screen with loads of options:

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Here you can auto adjust, crop, rotate, resize, change the exposure, etc. For this photo, I decided to crop it a tiny bit and bump up the sharpness. You can then hit the little wand button on the left menu bar under the crop symbol, and a whole new list of effects opens up.

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I decided to use a royale feature called “urbane” to give my photo a nice cool look.

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The next button down (on the left menu bar) looks like a tube of lipstick. If you were to have a photo that includes people, this is where you would do touch ups such as airbrush, wrinkle remover, blush, lipstick, teeth whiten, eye shadow, etc. I rarely use this one except occasionally for red eye remover. It is fun to play around with

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So moving on from there is one I use a lot, text. There are so, SO many options here. Size, color, font, placement…you pretty much can do whatever you want here. Just for an example, below is something that might go on my photo.

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Next, are the overlays (on the menu it looks like a butterfly). Depending on what my photo is going to be used for, I will use my watermark here. There are also a ton of shapes and symbols here. This is also where you can add a block in, fade it some, and put text on top of it.

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The next button down on the left menu is a picture frame. Here you can add different borders to make your photo pop. For this one I just used a basic black and white museum matte frame.

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After frames, you will find the button for textures. I decided to add a fun light trail onto this photo for a whimsical look.

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The bottom of the menu contains themes (think seasons, holidays, etc.) and I don’t use these often. After you are done, simply save your photo to your computer and you are done! Below is my finished product:

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Please note this is just a quick walkthrough, and there are SO many more things you can do, and you can get way more intricate and detailed with your text, textures, and colorings. I am still learning myself, and have found the best way to figure it out is to just get in there and play with/edit a photo. I use PicMonkey: photo editing made of win  almost daily for my blog, Instagram, and Pinterest photos, and hope you found this post helpful for upping your game (remember, people may be more likely to click on your Pinterest photo if you have words on it explaining what it’s all about!) If you have any specific questions, I would be more than happy to try to answer them for you!

Curious to learn more about the steps needed to start a blog? I can guide you through it with my FREE e-course on how to start a blog. Sign up now! 

QOTD: What photo editing program do you use?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

Beach Trip 2015: Day 3-5

In case you missed part one and part two, you can check them out before reading today’s installment.

I combined the next days because, well….we did pretty much the same thing! We got up, stuffed our faces with a delicious breakfast overlooking the beach, then Bobby left for his meetings, and my parents and I hit the beach.

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After lunch with Bobby, we all went to the beach.

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Then of course, happy hour.

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We had dinner scheduled at the Beach Walk Café, the nice restaurant at the Inn. We got dressed then walked over for our reservation.

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I started off with a blackberry martini which was delicious!

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I had the filet with mac ‘n cheese, and it was very tender, and the mac ‘n cheese was my favorite.

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Bobby had the lobster tail, and got a side of the mac ‘n cheese.

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My dad had the catch of the day, and my mom had shrimp ‘n grits. Everything was SO good and rich and we were stuffed after.  However, we still had enough room to all split a slice of peanut butter chocolate cheesecake made in house. Heavenly.

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The next morning my parents packed up and went home and I was pretty sad because we had such an amazing time. I hung out at the beach reading by myself until Bobby got back from class, then we ate lunch and headed back for our last bit of time on the beach.

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Some dark clouds rolled in in the afternoon, but it never actually rained. We enjoyed one more happy hour, and went to dinner down the street.

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Afterwards we went for a walk on the beach and the clouds cleared up just enough for a beautiful sunset. We also saw the Beach Walk Café setting up for “toes in the sand”, which is  ocean side dining with a private waiter. I want to do this one day!

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We sat on a swing and watched the sun go down one last time in Destin.

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Then, because we are old people, we headed up to the room for bed. Sad times.

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The next morning we enjoyed our last delicious Henderson Park Inn bed and breakfast before packing up and going home. We had an amazing trip, and I think that makes it even harder to leave! I was however glad to get home to family and routine, but I do hope we get to go back to Henderson Park Inn very soon!

QOTD: Have you ever dined next to the water? Favorite place to watch a sunset?

Beach Trip 2015: Day 2

If you missed the recap of our first day you can check it out here.

The next morning was Monday, and I was super excited about breakfast at the Inn. Yall, I wait all year for this delicious all you can eat wonderful spread.

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Made to order omelets and waffles, grits, biscuits and gravy, sausage, potatoes, bacon, tons of fruit, yogurt, cereal, you name it. After eating approximately 2.5 times my weight in food, Bobby headed off to his meetings and my parents and I headed to the beach. It was really cloudy, but the forecast said it was supposed to clear up around lunch, and I had faith it would.

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My dad kept saying “no way, It’s too cloudy!” but I stood firm in my amazing meteorological skills.

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I also laughed a lot at mom and dad playing badminton.

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At lunchtime we went up to the dining room, grabbed our boxed lunches and waited for Bobby to come back. We ate, and sure enough, the sun came out!

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YAY!

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Bobby and my dad threw the Frisbee, and I threw the football with my dad (and can I just say my arm killed the next day!)IMG_6284 (2)

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We stayed on the beach all afternoon, well until happy hour, of course.

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We got cleaned up ad went out to dinner to celebrate my birthday a few days early. We ate at Captain Daves which is right on the beach. We were all way too full and stuffed to walk on the beach when we came back so all us old pathetic folks went to bed at 9:00.

QOTD: When you go to the beach do you eat out or cook in a condo, or a mix of both?

Where’s Gel-y (ASICS Giveaway Info!)

If you follow me on social media, you may have seen some teaser photos over the past week highlighting ASICS’s newest running shoe: The Gel Quantum 360.

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This is a neutral shoe with 360 degrees of gel cushion for a super comfortable and smooth ride. You can find out more shoe specifics on the website, because today I am here to chat about a really fun contest.

“Where’s GEL-y” is a one-day event that includes a series of 3 photo challenges to set you on the path to “GEL-y.

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Each of the 300 participating retailers have 2 pairs of ASICS GEL-Quantum 360 shoes to give away randomly to those who successfully follow the course.

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How to participate? see below:

On July 17-18, visit a PARTICIPATING STORE or their website,  to discover 3 photo challenges.

On July 18, complete the 3 photo challenges and bring the images to the PARTICIPATING STORE.

Two lucky participants will win a NEW pair of ASICS Gel-Quantum 360 in a random drawing IN-STORE on July 18.

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That’s right, each retailer will be giving away two pair, so go to the ASICS website and see if your closest retailer is participating. This is a fun way to integrate social media and running, so I of course absolutely love it! Be sure to tag your photos with #WheresGely and #Gelquantum360 and of course #ASICS to join in the fun. I can’t wait to see those great shots!

QOTD: Have you ever participated in a photo challenge like this before?

Disclosure: ASICS provided me with shoes to help spread the word about the new product. However, all opinions are my own, and these are the most comfortable running shoes I have ever worn!