Weekly Playlist

Sorry to anyone who is still dealing with cold weather but it is starting to get hot in Central Florida. Having the inability to get up early enough to miss the heat, I just end up pushing through it (or giving up an running in the air-conditioned gym.) One thing that helps pull my slow ass through sheets of Florida humidity is a great playlist.

Ryan Gosling Motivation

{Source}

Are you listening to anything new this week?

The Post Where I Find Some Motivation

There may have been more of this lately.

Pizza Dominated

Than this.

Bathroom Selfie Runner

March was not a great month for me. I had a sinus infection that would not quit. I wasn’t sick enough to stay home from work but felt just crappy enough that working out just wasn’t happening.

Daily Mile Chart March 13

Nothing like seeing it in graph form.

I am feeling like myself again and slowly getting back on track.

Motivation PUSH

{Source}

I need to come up with a new plan for the next few months. The only thing I am certain of right now is that I am running the 18TH Annual Summer Sunrise Watermelon 5K Series.

Lakeland Runners Club Watermelon 5K 2013

If you are in Central Florida, you have to run this series. The dates are June 1, June 22, July 20, and August 17. The races take place around Lake Hollingsworth and are put on by the Lakeland Runner’s Club. You can register online here for the series ($30) or the first race on June 1 ($10).

This series really helped me get through the I can’t believe how hot it is Florida summer while still getting my butt out there to run. Races really help me stay motivated. You can read my recaps of this series from 2012 here, here, here, and here.

Recommend A…

The False Prince (The Ascendance Trilogy #1) by Jennifer A. Nielsen

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

I am working on a review for this one for my book blog (All The Stacks) but to sum it up, this book knocked my socks off. If you like Middle Grade Fantasy, this book is for you. Plus, book two, The Runaway King, just came out so there is no wait on that.

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Do you like Young Adult Dystopian books that are really dark and creepy? Please pick-up The Darkest Minds. This is a debut that you will be unable to put down. (To read all of my many thoughts on The Darkest Minds click here.)

Read any good books lately?

All cover images and summaries taken from goodreads.

Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival 2013

J and I not only live close to Disneyworld (about 20 minutes away) but we are annual passholders. We typically go to one park or the other monthly and never miss out on the special events hosted at Epcot. It being the start of spring (even though we barely have seasons here in Central Florida), it is time for the Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival.

Epcot Flower and Garden 20 Years Disneyworld

Every year I love to see what topiaries are on display.

Cars Topiary Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden

J and Goofy Epcot Flower and Garden Disneyworld

Lightening McQueen Topiary Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden

My favorite exhibit is the butterfly garden.

Disneywolrd Epcot Flower And Garden Butterfly

Disneyworld Epcot Flower and Garden Butterfly Sign

The wraparound flowers that they do every year are so colorful. Imagining how much work goes into the festival each year is mindboggling.

Disneyworld Epcot Flower and Garden Runway of Flowers

Flowers Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden

We saw a special passholder exhibit while we were there.

Disneyworld Passholder Event Epcot

It was a display of innovations throughout the years and memorabilia. Very cool stuff like the tickets they first used at Disneyland in the 1960’s.

There was another reason for this special exhibit.

Disneyworld Epcot MagicBands

MagicBands! MagicBands are an RFID technology that will be used instead of the paper passes. The devices that read the RFID chips look like this.

Disney MagicBands

{Source}

The MagicBands are connected to your credit card to pay for items in the park and will be used instead of fast passes. As someone who lives in constant fear of losing my flimsy, paper annual pass, having a wrist band will be so much better. It will be interesting to see all the ways MagicBands are used in Disneyworld in the near future.

What we did receive is a hard, plastic card that replaces our paper annual passes until the MagicBands are ready for consumer use.

The highlight of our trip for J? Ducklings!

Disneyworld Ducklings Epcot

Disneyworld Ducklings Epcot 2

J was even able to pick a few up because they had a difficult time getting over a curb. So freaking cute!

My highlight of the day minus the amazing flowers.

Disneyworld Epcot Flower And Garden More Flowers

Epcot Disneyworld Flower and Garden Lily

I finally found a Hidden Mickey!

Hidden Mickey Disneyworld Epcot UK

I even have a book that points out all the Hidden Mickey’s in the park and I still never see them.

Overall, it was a wonderful day at the Epcot International Flower And Garden Festival.

Keeping It Positive

J actually told me I am the second most negative person he knows the other day. Even being in league with the person he ranked as number one is frightening enough to force me to reevaluate how I think about things. I do not want to be negative nor do I mean to be but my mind really tends to skew that way. So in an attempt to be less negative, I want to focus on the positive at least once a week.

If You Change Nothing, Nothing Will Change

{Source}

Game Of Thrones

Game Of Thrones Season 3 HBO

{Source}

The Walking Dead finale and Game Of Thrones premier on the same night is really the best present TV could give me. J and I have already discussed which one we will watch on Sunday and The Walking Dead it is. I hope we get to see the Governor get his head chopped off.

Speaking of The Walking Dead have you seen this?

You Should Have Taken His Truck

{Source}

So true. I would do just about anything to avoid being locked in a torture chair.

Law School

J is almost done with law school. After three long years, my husband is this close to graduating. Then comes the nightmare that is bar study but I just know he is going to do well.

Cold Weather

Not real cold weather but Florida cold weather. It gives the cats an extra excuse to cuddle and Tail loves to burrow under blankets. So freaking cute.

Tail Cat Stares At You

Cute Bed Cat

Cat In Shirt

The Race Where I May Have Peed Myself

This is my second time running the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon (Gasparilla Distance Classic 2012). I love this race so much.I plan on clearing an annual spot on my calendar to run it every year. The weather this year was hot (even for Florida) and humid (even for Florida). I knew going into this race that it would be very difficult under those conditions for me to reach my A goal (2.14) but I paid my money and was going to enjoy it if it killed me.

Race day started off smoothly. I woke up on time, avoiding consuming any contaminated tap water, and was out the door only slightly later than I planned. I made it to the starting line with little fuss (anytime I don’t end up driving around in circles is a small victory). The police did an excellent job directing the traffic and making it easy to get into the closest parking garage.

The Gasparilla Half Marathon started in two waves, red which was for those with estimated finish times less than two hours (not me) and yellow with those estimated time above two hours (definitely me). The start was staggered by ten minutes. My not getting lost and having zero issues finding parking, I was able to get into the corral 30 minutes before the race started. I used the bathroom first and then stood around waiting. In hindsight, this was a huge mistake. I have the worlds smallest bladder. Under cooler, less humid conditions, I can drink a minimal amount of water while running a half marathon and feel fine. Sadly, the weather and my bladder were not on the same page and using the bathroom 30 minutes before the start was not a good idea.

I should have pushed my way closer to the front of the yellow corral because I was caught on the first bridge where there were so many people, it forced everyone to walk. It is a crazy sea of people where the walking pace was much slower than my normal, everyday walking pace. Not much you can do though.

The more I ran, the hotter I got, the more water I drank, the more I needed to pee. It really started to become tragic around mile seven. I started to forlornly stare at each passing porta potty (there was one at every water stop, which was every mile) and imagine myself stopping. I should have stopped but didn’t because the last time I stopped to pee in a race I lost seven minutes. At this point, I still believed I could make my goal and knew that the delay would be detrimental.

Around mile ten, the full bladder was starting to slow me down. I still did not stop and I think it may be because the pee was moving to my brain. I finally crossed the finish line, grimacing, hot, and with super wet shorts. I am a pretty heavy sweater but I was dripping. Then it hit me, did I pee myself? I still had to go when I crossed the finish line but I felt like people were staring at me. So the jury is out on whether it was actually pee but just the fact that it might have been is making me blush just typing this.

Bladder trouble aside, the Gasparilla Distance Classic Half Marathon is a great race. The volunteers were excellent (I loved the kids at the end of the race who cheered their hearts out). The spectators have the best signs and the views of the bay are amazing. Plus,  there is the medal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Medal

I sadly did not make my goal.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Official Time

It is a half marathon PR by 34 seconds.

Gasparilla 2013 Half Marathon Splits

I am pretty sure that if the weather had proved less hot and humid, my time would have been closer to my goal. There is always next year.

Do you stop and use the bathroom while racing or try to hold it?

Gasparilla Distance Classic 2013 Expo

This year I had company at the 8 On Your Side Health And Fitness Expo. I drove to Tampa early to pick-up my bib and planned on spending the day with my Mom. Packet pick-up was completely painless with no lines.

Gasparilla 2013 Expo Packet Pick-up

It’s hard to see in the picture but the race bibs were very fancy this year. With a QR Code that you could scan after the race to view your time.

Gasparilla 2013 Race Bib

I did a little shopping at the expo, picking-up a few Bondi Band’s. Sweating as much as I do and living in Florida, I need to have one of these every time I run or workout in the gym.

The shirts did not disappoint. Even though I rarely need long sleeves in Florida, the Gasparilla shirts are race shirts you can actually run in.

Gasparilla 2013 Race Shirt

I will never have enough reusable shopping bags. (Especially not ones with a pirate on it.)

Gasparilla 2013 Shopping Bag

Gasparill Expo 2013 Signs

After parting with my money, we needed food. This ended up taking much longer than normal because anyone on Tampa city water was under a boil water notice because of a power outage at a treatment facility. Of course, where my Mom lives was included plus all of the restaurants near by. Luckily, we stumbled on Burger 21 which has water supplied by the county. I was finally able to put some food in my face. Burger 21 was awesome and I cannot wait to eat at the newly opened Millenia Mall location in Orlando with J.

So food and packet pick-up taken care of, we had time to kill until my self-imposed 8 PM curfew.  We saw Beautiful Creatures.

Beautiful Creatures Movie Poster

{Source}

This was my second time seeing it and it might have been better the second time around. I am a major fan of these books and if you like your Young Adult books dark and Southern, you should read them.

After the movie it was time to turn in for my 3:30 AM wake-up call. Then the fun really begins.

My Attempt At Fashion

Have you ever had one of those days where you hate everything you have in your closet and cannot find anything to wear?

I have been on a mission to take the time to actually build a wardrobe and have needed to do so for years. So many things have stopped me including lack of funds and massive dislike of shopping. Often times money that could easily have gone to clothes shopping was spent in other ways (running shoes, make-up, and books for example.) I thought documenting my purchases would help me put the effort in.

Having limited funds (and patience who are we kidding?), I decided to start stalking a few fashion blogs that can help people like me who are not sure if things match. (A few that I have found to be really helpful are:

Putting Me Together

The Vivienne Files

Wardrobe Oxygen

youlookfab

I took some Christmas money and forced myself to shop a few sales recently.

Purchased online for 40% off from Banana Republic.

Banana Republic Sateen Fitted Non-Iron Shirt

Non-Iron Fitted Sateen Shirt in White

Banana Republic Fitted non-iron multi-stripe shirt

Fitted Non-Iron Multi-Stripe Shirt

(Purchased in cranberry as shown and blue)

Gap

Gap Fitted boyfriend mini-stripe shirt

Fitted Boyfriend Mini-Stripe Shirt

Gap 1969 Sexy Boot Jeans

1969 Sexy Boot Jeans

A very small start but I am so glad to finally have a decent white button down. At 31, it is time.

Do you like to shop or completely clueless like me?

Please send your fashion blog recommendations my way.

I Have A Secret…The Lying Game

I really do have a secret that is a little bit embarrassing.

I love ABC Family.

Yes, they have cheesy shows like The Secret Life Of The American Teenager. Not really a fan. I also do not want to talk about ABC Family cancelling Jane By Design which I really loved.

One of my favorite shows, which is a complete guilty pleasure, is The Lying Game. The winter premier was on last night (when did TV networks start doing winter premiers?) I had to get reacquainted with this guy.

Ethan Whitehourse The Lying Game Hot

{Source}

Ethan Whitehourse The Lying Game Blair Redford

{Source}

Oh Ethan Whitehorse, please be my boyfriend. My husband won’t mind.

Do you know what the number one Google Image Search that gets to my blog? Ethan Whitehorse which leads to this picture.

Ethan Whitehorse The Lying Game

So I know I am not the only one who appreciates Blair Redford in all of his Ethan Whitehorse glory.

Are you cheesy like me and enjoy ABC Family? Agree that Blair Redford is super hot?

Running Around

I hope everyone had a happy and healthy holiday season! Mine was very low-key but full of fun.

J and I Cinderella's Castle Christmas Lights Disney Magic Kingdom

J and I spent a lot of time admiring the lights at Disney which makes even Cinderella’s Castle prettier. (That night was so cold and I actually was able to wear my winter coat. Yes, it does get cold in Central Florida.)

I decided to run Gasparilla again. It was the most fun race I ran last year and I needed to put something on my schedule to keep my motivation up.

Gasparilla Half Marathon Medal 2012 Tampa

My training is going well but strength training has fallen to the wayside. I find that it is easy to stick to either a lifting schedule or a running schedule but putting them together something gives. The Smart Coach plan from Runner’s World has runs five days a week and I have little motivation to go to the gym on my one off day. The solution is probably to lift in the morning before work and run after. I just cannot seem to get up any earlier to actually make it to the gym. So that is something to work on in 2013.

The following are Weeks One through Three of this current cycle of half marathon training. I like that Smart Coach has pace ranges for each run based on your most current race time. Sticking to those paces has helped me feel like I am getting faster. My A goal for Gasparilla is 2:14.

Week One Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Two Half Marathon Training December 2012

Week Three Half Marathon Training December 2012

Do you have a race on the schedule?