runDisney & My First Half Marathon

If you’re looking do do a race, runDisney is a great place to start. I only speak from experience of my first half marathon last month and a 10k a few years ago, but I’m almost positive you don’t get to run through Disney with any other race organization.

They have upped their race photo game since the 10k (top)

In the days leading up to the race you need to go to the Expo at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. They have lots of great vendors with clothes, energy food, accessories, etc. I got a non-slip headband from Sparkly Soul which works great, but I opted for official runDisney merchandise otherwise. I figured I could go online and get the other vendors’ items if I was still dreaming about it. The runDisney clothing, accessories and pins are more exclusive, and I knew I probably wouldn’t be able to get them online later (without paying a ton on eBay).

Now for race day! First off, you get to see tons of people in super fun outfits. What would be crazy and over-the-top in other races is subdued at a runDisney race. I was Minnie Mouse, but so were a ton of others, and it didn’t even compare to how decked out some people were in tutus, onesies, etc., and they were ALL DISNEY THEMED! What a dream!

Along the course are cute mile markers for selfie opportunities, and characters where Disney PhotoPass photographers will take your picture. If you don’t mind waiting in these lines, I bet you can get a lot of fun pictures. I opted to not do any of these, and instead just be as conscious as possible to smile at the photographers along the course for my race photos. I’m sure they try to get people through as quickly as possible, but I didn’t want to wait for 2 dozen others to get their picture taken before me. But no matter if you stop or not, all the pictures taken on the course are attached to your race bib, so just make sure it’s visible!

If it’s going to be cold (and you know that with enough heads up), you can bring clothes or blankets you don’t mind throwing off the side of the track. They donate all of these clothes, too! The forecast when I left Boulder didn’t include the bomb cyclone… which meant waiting for my wave made me super duper cold. (That’s a great reason to submit proof of time - so you’re waiting less time for your wave to start) Luckily, my outfit included long sleeves and long pants to begin with (I was even worried about being to warm! Hah!), plus I layered a tank top under, and added a cute running skirt I bought at the expo! I also had a beanie and gloves, which I tucked into my running belt as soon as I warmed up a bit. Made the race photos a bit lumpy, but I couldn’t bear to throw away things I actually love. Anyway - that’s the thing about Florida. It’s usually warm, but you just never know. At least it wasn’t raining that morning, too! (The previous year they had cancelled the race due to weather!)

The lumps on my tummy are my hat and gloves 😂

They start you with fireworks and play music all over the course - my favorite was when they played “Aquarium” from Saint-Saëns’ Carnival of the Animals under the boat bridge by the Contemporary, and paired it with ripply blue lights to mimic being underwater. Friends and family can also come watch at certain points - some set up lawn chairs by the roads by the hotels, others went to Main Street USA, Future World in Epcot, or the finish line. Marching bands from local schools come, and people you don’t know want to encourage you and high five you the whole way. I even got to high five a fellow Hufflepuff just outside the Magic Kingdom. Plus, my hubby was stuck in bag check around Epcot at the perfect time to yell my name and give me some encouragement, which gave me a little boost. We then met up just outside Epcot.

There are also lots of port-a-potties, water/powerade stations, and medical tents along the way. I grabbed a drink about every other water station, and I got some energy jelly beans around mile 8.5 - it’s super important to stay hydrated and energized, especially when it’s cold and you don’t realize how much you might be sweating. It is nice being at sea level, too - you don’t have the added component of elevation, no matter where you’ve been training. Any brief walking I did had more to do with the stupid blisters on my toes. And having to pee 🙈

A huge thanks to this guy who went to Disney for over a week just to celebrate me and cheer me on ❤️

Disney seems to make their races accessible to all levels - you’ve still got the super-elite type runners, but you’ve also got a lot of walkers and joggers. The races are expensive, but you get a sweet medal, a shirt, a space blanket, food, water, powerade, and fun photo-ops. Getting there and staying can be expensive, too (believe me), but if it’s something important to cross off your bucket list, I do recommend runDisney races. I look forward to the next one I do, whenever that might be!

signature long.png

This is 30

It’s not like you feel different all of a sudden, but one day you just are 30. Your 20s are behind you, but you still feel young, able, and eager to keep exploring the world.

For my 30th, I went to my favorite place: Disney World. I dressed up as Minnie Mouse, and somehow convinced my sweet husband to be my Mickey. I bought ridiculously huge mylar balloons just because I thought they were cute. I had a cocktail in Epcot and got free bubbles at dinner. I watched fireworks go off all around me as I stood next to Cinderella’s Castle. 

And my festivities didn’t end there. I stayed for a whole week. My family was there. My in-laws even celebrated with us. Two lovely friends flew across the country and walked miles and miles in crappy “bomb cyclone” weather. We watched New Years fireworks from our beautiful balcony. We went to Hogsmeade, and my wand chose me. We rode bikes with ET and went on adventures with Spiderman.

I wore ridiculous outfits everyday, including several hand-made pieces. I found a handful of souvenirs, including a super soft Eeyore to snuggle with.

My amazing hubby slept in a tent for four nights in surprisingly cold Florida weather, just so I could run my first half marathon one week after my birthday. In total I walked or ran 102 miles. Maybe more - my watch ran out of batteries a couple evenings.

The greatest guy celebrating me finishing the race, even though I wear ridiculous homemade Haunted Mansion skirts

The greatest guy celebrating me finishing the race, even though I wear ridiculous homemade Haunted Mansion skirts

We drove home through New Orleans, ate delicious food and walked down Bourbon Street in the rain.

Lots of people seem to think it might be bad to have your birthday so near the holidays. It’s never bothered me, though. It’s always felt like a special day, and I also like that it’s so close to the New Year. Any goals for 2018 can easily just be my goals for 30. 

I started off 30 the best way I know how. I feel strong, and I know I can do even more. Here’s to 2018 everything my 30s have in store.

The Fox and her Hound

Fall 2017 has been hectic - so much that I didn’t spend nearly as much time as usual on my costume. I don’t really know where the idea originated, but it occurred to me that having a foxhound as a prop was perfect, and I’d just be a fox!

Most of my costume is just normal clothing within a fox’s color scheme. I already had these reddish pants, black boots and a white tank top. I went to Target and found this orange plaid button up. It’s a size too big, but it’s what they had, and it’s super comfy.

Foxes, of course, have some very distinct features that humans don’t have, though, like pointy ears and a tail, so I got crafting. I googled around a bit on how to make these things, but then just kind of winged it. 

I went to Joann’s and they didn’t have quite the shade of fur I was looking for, but because I didn’t have much time, this brown was going to be close enough, especially with all my other colors.

When I was googling around, I also saw the idea to make fur gloves. I splurged a tiny bit on softer dark, dark red fur. I only got like 8 inches, so it wasn’t much of a splurge, but per yard, this fabric was about 4 times as expensive as the brown and white I got.

Gloves:

  1. Make a cylinder big enough for your hand to fit in.
  2. Put your hand in and mark where you’d like to make seams to fit. You can mark with pins (be careful of your hand), tailor’s chalk, or just wing it. If you err on the side of too big, it’s easy to take in a little.
  3. Repeat step two for your entire hand. After you’re happy with the fit, trim the extra fabric off and trim the opening for your fingers so it’s not too long. I rounded mine a bit, too.
  4. Turn right-side-out and put them on!

Tail:

  1. Make the outline of your tail with the main fabric. Make triangles of white for the tip of your tail.
  2. Attach ribbon to main fabric on the side you’d like to be facing your butt.
  3. Attach the white triangles to the main fabric.
  4. Stitch around the edges, leaving just enough of an opening to turn the tail right-side-out and to be able to stuff it.
  5. Turn it right-side-out and stuff it.
  6. Close up the opening. You could probably make it look nicer if you hand stitch it, but I decided to use my sewing machine because it’s faster, and it was only a couple inches. I wasn’t going for perfection. 

Ears:

  1. Cut pieces of white for the inside and brown/red for the outside. I also decided to use scraps from my gloves as a dark accent on the tips of the ears, like foxes seem to have naturally.
  2. Hot glue these pieces together.
  3. Hot glue them to a headband.

Note: They were a bit floppier than your average fox’s ears, especially after the first wear, so if I were to do these again, I might put a layer of cardstock or even cardboard between the layers, or use wire around the edges. They were still pretty cute floppy, just not as fox-like as they could be.

I also did my makeup, loosely based on this YouTube video. I used white and black face paint crayons from Joann's and liquid eyeliner, eyeshadow and bronzer I already had - luckily I have a few palettes of fun colors including reds, browns and oranges. In the video she is able to blend her white a bit after she applies it to her face, but I found with the face paint crayon you need to blend right away. Also, the black face paint I used on my top lip ended up rubbing off a little onto my bottom lip, but it wasn't terrible looking.

First makeup attempt

Second makeup attempt

And there you have it! A totally simple fox costume! And it becomes Disney-fied when I have my pooch with me 😉

Hubby got in on the action by dressing as as fox hunter - he found a super cheap red blazer at a thrift store and used clothes he had already. Turned out to be a super cute family costume!

Trying to get the hound to hunt the fox

The hound barely tolerating a family portrait

The hound not caring about the scared fox

Hope everyone had a Happy Halloween!

signature long.png

Kitchen Update

With October came the realization that we've been without a fully functional kitchen for SIX MONTHS. Holy cow! 

In early April we discovered mold caused by an eroding old pipe (our house was built in the 50s, and had all the original plumbing in the kitchen), which drove us toward a kitchen remodel a bit sooner than we originally intended. So why are we here, a half a year later, and still not finished? I suppose you can always blame your contractor, right? Just kidding  We are using someone who has worked with our families before, and knows what he's doing, but he's also verrryyy busy, so he wasn't able to start until last month.

Our plywood kitchen

We had been living with our little plywood kitchen since the mold was removed and the sink was reinstalled with the new, non-leaky pipes. We had our electric range, dishwasher, microwave and toaster oven, so we could do pretty much anything, we just didn't have nearly as much counter space or storage space as we did before the mold mitigation. Cooking was hard because not everything was in the kitchen and we had limited resources to work with, but it was doable as a temporary kitchen until we got underway with the new one.

Our temp kitchen

Now we've been living without an actual kitchen for just a few weeks. We moved the old fridge downstairs, where it will continue to live since we're getting new appliances, and who doesn’t need a beer fridge in the basement? 😉 Our temp kitchen, while livable, doesn’t have all the things we’re used to having, like a dishwasher, an oven or a stove. We bought a one-burner induction stove (convenient to have as people who love cooking anyway), which I have successfully warmed food in and boiled pasta, but very much burned a batch of popcorn. We’ve also got a toaster oven, rice cooker, sous vide, crock pot, coffee maker, microwave, and an ok sink (no garbage disposal), plus these are all things we can use in a fully functional kitchen as well.

What have I learned (so far)?

  • I could probably have coordinated a bunch of this myself, without a contractor, but it’s nice not having to stay at home to meet with plumbers, electricians, and the like.
  • You always will spend more than you think. We signed a sort of maximum-cost contract, but there are clauses that basically say things can go up anyway, and they’re always going to find little things here and there (like the fact that our garage to kitchen door wasn’t up to code, so we needed a new door)
  • It’s hard to eat super well with a limited kitchen - I’ve been struggling to get enough veggies in my daily diet.
  • Things feel extremely slow, even though they’re totally going faster than I think. A lot of the headway is invisible, or even looks destructive, at first. Now that things look a little different everyday, I have more of a sense of progress, because I am a visual person. Also, taking down that darn plastic wall made a HUGE difference.

It felt like our kitchen looked like this for FOREVER, even though they were working around the clock everyday.

  • If you’ve got a partner (spouse, SO, boyfriend, hubby, whatever), you’ll find that you may care about completely different things. For example, my hubby helped pick out counter, cabinet and paint colors, but doesn’t care about the sink, faucet or handles. For me, the sink was a BIG deal because I HATED the sink we had, but he couldn’t have cared less. I, on the other hand, don't care about the texture of the walls as long as they're easy to clean.
  • Inspectors care about some things a lot, and others not at all. For example, we ended up needing insulation and a fire door because of code, but we’re not required to have a range hood. The more you know.

We’re a little more than 2 weeks out from being done (minus walk-throughs after everything is installed, making sure we’re happy and everything is perfect. Right now is a lot of waiting because a bulk of the work was able to be done before we could get a template done for our countertops, and of course we have to wait a few weeks between template and installation.

It is coming along, though 

Our floor should be finished tomorrow, and then we get to paint this weekend! Woohoo!

signature long.png