Friday, May 30, 2014

Why you should shop at Swoozies! #SoSwoozies

Swoozie's located in the heart of The Summit Birmingham, Al.
Swoozies New Location...located in The Summit next to Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Birmingham, Al.
 One of my favorite places to shop in Birmingham is Swoozies! Located at the Summit off of Highway  280 and I-459, Swoozie's is an easy place to get in and out of for that "one-stop shopping"!

     I was lucky enough to be able to attend a blogger event a few weeks ago at Swoozie's and really explore all of their products. I have to tell you that I was thoroughly impressed with the variety and attention to detail that Swoozie's has to offer. 

Heather from giving us some excellent blogger tips
and information about Swoozie's.
Delicious hors d'oeuvres provided by FoodBar of Birmingham.

A little bit about Swoozies:
      "Swoozie's first store opened in 2001 designed to be a "one-stop shop" for women who love to give, celebrate and entertain.  We are passionate about many things here at Swoozie's including recognizing and celebrating life's occasions.  Our customers count on us when it comes to celebrating their children's birthdays, their parent's anniversaries and their daughter's engagement.  They come to us when it's time to recognize a friend's struggle or the etiquette of always saying thank you.

     Today, Swoozie's offers brilliant gifts, personalized presents and custom invitations in 8 locations around the country and online, including right here in Birmingham, Alabama!  We believe every day is a reason to celebrate and each customer is family."

     At the event, I learned about lots of the products, including Party Entertaining, Personalized Stationary, Baby, Jewelry, Tween and Toddler and Personalization. I knew that Swoozies carried alot of different types of products but I had no idea there were so many different categories! There's something for everyone at Swoozie's!  Take a look at some of my favorite products that I found in the store!

I did a little bit of Mother's Day Shopping. :)
Mom gifts.
Mom and Grandma gifts.
Vera Bradley
Birthday Gifts for all ages.
Lily Pulitzer!
Kate Spade!
Party Time!
Gorgeous items for housewarming and wedding.
Travel Gifts.
Monogrammed Jewelry.
Love the monogrammed jewelry.
Oh I must have a personalized Bama necklace!
Cookies and Candy for all occasions..How cute are these??
Teacher gifts!
Beach Time!
Teacher, Friends, Mom, Aunt gifts.
Gorgeous Frames and fun Party Cups!
The Party is Here!
Sunglasses Holders...too cute for Summer!
The "Long" List...I totally need this!
I think was my favorite item in the store. I just love this. :)
Gifts from the Southern section.
     I had such a fun time shopping and playing in the Swoozie's store for a few hours! I was provided a gift card for a giveaway that I gave to my son's fifth grade teacher and she absolutely loved it!

     Thank you Swoozie's for a fabulous event and I can't wait to come back and shop for my next party event!!

**Be sure to follow Swoozie's on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest!

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Swoozie's Blogger event and will provide my honest opinion in exchange for giveaway and product.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Seven Reasons Why I Would Run All Of The January 2015 #runDisney Races

runDisney's newest Race Announcement!
New Star Wars Half Marathon coming to Disneyland
Disclaimer: This is a Dreamer's Post! #DreamBig

    Over the last few weeks, the running community has been all a buzz with exciting new announcements coming from runDisney.  I have talked with so many friends about each of these races, what we would run and what we would not run and WHY!! I was really surprised at some of the reasons as to why people would not run. some were good and some were not so good. For the not so good, I won't go there... I like happy posts. :)

     Although I agree with most people, running has become insanely popular and the costs of races just keeps going up. I paid a very hefty amount of cash to go run the Chicago Marathon in October. So yeah, I'm broke! And now that my hubby thinks he wants to be a runner also, I paid double that hefty amount! Double yikes and double broke! 

     So here's the thing...I'm not a very high maintenance girl. I don't get my nails done (unless I have a gift card---which is rare), I dye my own hair ($3.97 from the box---thank you Lady Clairol), I'm not a shopper, and I don't like to eat out (most of restaurant food is nutritional garbage and overpriced anyways). Running is my thing. I register for my races and I buy cute skirts and good shoes. What's wrong with that?!? nothing. Everyone needs their 'thing'. 

    Last year, instead of flowers that will die and a very expensive dinner that we would have to wait hours for on Mother's Day, my hubby and kids bought me a registration to Disney's Tower of Terrror 10 Miler weekend. I love my people and they love me. They knew exactly what I would cherish most! And to this day, I still think of how thoughtful and unexpected that was.

     With all of that being said, I realize that with the rising costs of racing and the running sport in general, I am not able to "Run All of the Races" (A phrase commonly used among runDisney enthusiasts). Booooo Hooooo. Believe me, If I Could, I totally would!

     Back to the runDisney subject...there are eight races being offered by runDisney to kick off 2015. That's pretty incredible if you ask me! You go, runDisney! You are rocking your #runDisneySide! 

     If money were not the issue and I could have all things go my way, please allow me to dream for just a moment.   In honor of the seventh (and my favorite) dwarf, here are seven reasons why I would go run all eight runDisney races in January 2015! 

1.  I would run all eight races because I CAN. I encounter people and pray for people that are battling all types of things in their lives. Not just physical problems but emotional and mental struggles as well. I thank GOD everyday that I am blessed with the physical abilities as well as the motivation to be active and posess the endurance to pull off seven races. I know I could do it. All 74.1 Magical Miles!! ---"If you can dream it, you can do it". 

2.  I would run all eight races because if I calculated the numbers correctly, there are 13 potential medals to be earned!!! Yes, I just said 13!!!!! The runDisney bling is pretty sweet too! 

Here's the breakdown:

Marathon Weekend Medals-6 Medals 
5k, 10k, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge (Completing half and full marathon), Dopey Challenge (Completing all four races-48.6 miles)

Castaway Challenge-2 Medals 
Castaway Cay 5k, Castaway Challenge (completion of any race during Marathon weekend also)

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend-5 Medals 
5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Star Wars Rebel Challenge (completion of 10k & Half Marathon),  Coast to Coast (Completed Half Marathon or Full Marathon during Marathon Weekend). 

And don't forget these guys... They need a new friend with bling! ;)
runDisney and ESPN Wide World of Sports Collectible Vinylmations

3.  I would run all eight races because I typically don't eat out but the food would be DELISH for those days on vacation. :) #TimeToPigOut 

4.  I would run all eight races because seven Disney races would just not be enough. :)

5.  I would run all eight races because who wouldn't want to go run 48.6 miles at Walt Disney World , go chill out for a few on a Disney Cruise, run 3.1 recovery miles on Castaway Cay and then go to Disneyland to run 22.4 more. Come on!!! That's the ultimate Disney Lover's DREAM!!! I'm in!

2009 Disneyland Half Marathon
6.  I would run all eight races because seven fabulous new running outfits. Throw in eight new pairs of running shoes since I'm dreaming and all! Just sayin'. 

2014 Limited Edition runDisney NewBalance Shoes
7.  I would run all eight races because the amounts of friends that I would see and meet up with during that time would be priceless! I love my RunDisney runner friends and wish I could see them more often. We are all over the country...they are the BEST!!! #runDisneyTakesOverUSA
Love my friends!

     So there ya have it. In my dream world, I'm there. All eight races, all 13 medals! 

      In reality, unless I am sponsored by a very generous multiple race-loving company (again, dream world), I am registered for DopeyChallenge again and I couldn't be happier...can't wait to follow along with all of my other friends from home. This Bama girl is chEARing you on!!! Go get that bling and post lots of pics... You too on the ship, upgrade to Wifi for the people at home. ;) 

**will you be running any of the eight runDisney races in January 2015? If so, which ones??

Saturday, May 24, 2014

When She Cared To Send The Very Best :)

The Very Best from my Mom. :)
     My Mom brought over a few gifts that she gathered up for me for Mother's Day. Don't you just love a good 'ole gift from Mom??

     Granted, it would be nice to receive a new or car or an all expense vacation from Mom every once in a while (just kidding Mom) but isn't it nice to receive something so personal and to know that someone out there in the world just "gets" you??  That's so much better than any expensive gift ever. EVER. 
My new favorite Coffee Mug. Circa 1970's?

     First, she gave me a Vintage Walt Disney World Resort Coffee Mug that I clearly remember my parents drinking their morning coffee out of when I was a child. My parents were always big on buying things as souvenirs from our trips that would last and be practical. Probably the very reason why I'm a Walt Disney World/runDisney/Disneyland/Vacation Coffee Mug Hoarder now. Follow me on Instagram and you'll see that. ;) 

     I will treasure this mug. 

My first Selfie.
     The next mug she gave me was an original copy of my first #Selfie. POLAROID. OMG. Are you kidding Me??? I love this more than life itself!!! I was cool before the iPhone Flip Cam was cool! She said I was reaching up high to take this pic of me, her and my sister.

      A couple of other things I love about this pic: I've got pigtails, My Mom is looking up, My sister's face. We are squeezed in and I'm focused. Where's the LOVE button in this blog post??

Me. Aka Wonder Woman.
     The next pic she gave me was a pic of me in my Under-Roos dressed as Wonder Woman. Really. Does it get any better than this??? Again. The Pigtails. The Rope, the homemade headband made from felt and the white tights. I can't get enough!!! Look at me...Ready to Save the World! Thank you for reminding me that I've always been a Wonder Woman. I needed to see this right about now!!

Alex and Ani Daughter Bracelet.
      Last but not least, she gave me an Alex and Ani "Daughter" bracelet. That's something I would have never bought for myself but I love it! I have all of the Disney bracelets. (I've been collecting them for each runDisney race that I run). It's just hard to buy something that describes you this way. I know how proud of my daughters I am, so I "get" this gift. SO SWEET.

     Thanks again Mom for totally making my day!!! It's not a million dollar gift but these are gifts straight from the heart and those are the best kind. I am totally spoiled with love and there's no money in the world that can replace that. 

     However, I do need to re-think that  runDisney Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon though because I think I was totally ROCKIN' those Wonder Woman UnderRoos. ;)

     Spoil your kids and family with day they will thank you for it. :)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Vega Sport #FuelYourBetter Review &#ChicagoMarathon Update!

     Last Sunday was Mothers's Day and I was so fortunate enough to be able to spend the day with my fam not doing too much. It was like any other Sunday (which I loved), go to church, out to lunch, nap and then evening run. Just perfect if you ask me. 

     We managed to get a four miler in...the longest my hubby has ever ran! Whoop whoop! I thought he did great. He was huffin'  and puffin' just a bit but I think he's going to make it. ;) 

     The heat in Bama is starting to kick in, so I'm making sure that we are hydrating like crazy!!!! I tried this new electrolyte product from Vega Sport last week. On the go packets to mix in to your water bottles. I tried the mixed berry flavor. Full of electrolytes and Pretty yummy. These will be great to keep on hand when I need that extra boost! 

More information on Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator:

A natural, alkaline-forming drink mix, free from sugar and artificial sweeteners, Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator is formulated with all the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated during workouts.

With zero calories per serving, Electrolyte Hydrator tastes great, so you can sip it not just during your workout, but throughout the day to:

*Replenish electrolytes and minerals
*Enhance metabolism and alkalinity
*Provide antioxidant protection

Available in Lemon Lime and Berry flavors.

Be sure to follow Vega Sport on Twitter, Instagram and remember to #FuelYourBetter!

 We've got a few more runs left for this week...wasn't sure how me and the hubby would do running together. So far, so good! ;) 

     Happy Running and remember to stay hydrated! Summer is coming. :)

Disclaimer: I was given product in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training Starts Today!

We're In!
     A couple of weeks ago, I found out that my hubby and I were BOTH accepted into the Bank of America Chicago Marathon!! I was over the moon excited, especially since I had just been rejected by the New York City Marathon. You can read my hissy fit post about that here. I'll admit. I was a crybaby. The worst.

     Okay. Moving on...Back to Chicago Marathon news.

     My hubby is NOT a runner at all but he wants to do this..keep in mind that there's a hefty bet on the table by his boss that he won't do it. We're a pretty competitive bunch at my house and all we need is for someone to tell us that we can't do something and Boom. GAME ON.

     The only problem: I have tried to run with him before and we both have our ways. He's a Coach and I'm un-coachable. Lol. Looks like we are going to have a LONG road ahead of us. I'm willing to give it a try but I can't say that we will train every step of the way together. ;)

     So here we go. Training is about to in starts today. I knew that I had to get past Country Music Marathon and rest up for about a week and then I would be ready to hit it hard. Because my husband is not a runner, we are semi starting from scratch.  He's been running for a few weeks now and is up to about 2.5 miles. I'm going to push him today to make it to 3.5. I think he can do it.

     I'm going with the Hal Higdon 10K and Marathon Training Plan...We are doing the last 6 weeks of the 10k program and then the 18 weeks of the Marathon program.  I really don't have that many races scheduled right now so that will be fun to add in some to fit in to my schedule.

     Here is my Tweaked Combination of the Two training schedules:

Week   Tues       Wed           Thurs      Sun                    
4/28                                      3.5 miles          
5/5     2.5miles   35min run    2miles      4 miles                
5/12    3 miles     35min run   2miles     4 miles                 
5/19    3 miles     40min run   2miles     4.5 miles              
5/26    3 miles     40min run   2miles     5 miles                 
6/2      3 miles     45min run   2miles     5.5 miles              
6/9      3 miles     30min run   2miles     10k race(6.2miles)
6/16    3 miles      3 miles       3 miles    7 miles                
6/23    3 miles      4 miles       3 miles    5 miles                
6/30    3 miles      4 miles       3 miles    9 miles                
7/7      3 miles      5 miles       3 miles    10 miles              
7/14    3 miles      5 miles       3 miles    7 miles                
7/21    3 miles      6 miles       3 miles    12 miles              
7/28    3 miles      6 miles       3 miles   1/2 Marathon (13.1 miles)
8/4      3 miles      7 miles       4 miles    10 miles              
8/11    3 miles      7 miles       4 miles    15 miles              
8/18    4 miles      8 miles       4 miles    16 miles              
8/25    4 miles      8 miles       5 miles    12 miles              
9/1      4 miles      9 miles       5 miles    18 miles              
9/8      5 miles      9 miles       5 miles    Talladega Half 13.1
9/15    5 miles     10 miles      5 miles     20 miles              
9/22    5 miles      8 miles       4 miles     12 miles             
9/29    4 miles      6 miles       3 miles     Tower of Terror
10/6    3 miles      4 miles       2 miles    Chicago Marathon (26.2)

Wish us luck as we try to accomplish this together! Our goal is to finish under 5 hours. I'm believing that we can do it!!

Happy Running and lots of fun training posts to come!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Country Music Marathon Recap...Rock n' Roll Series #RUNCMM

     Hey y'all...I did it!!! I ran my 6th Full Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee! I completed the Rock n' Roll Country Music Marathon!! 26.2 Miles of Yeehaw goodness. When I tell you that I have waited a long time to run this race....I have waited too dang long. AND boy oh boy was it ever worth the wait! 

     I'm not going to lie and tell you that it was easy because there was no part of it that was easy. One word. HILLS. However, the energy of this race was over-the-top and that Honky Tonkin' energy was just the boost I needed to get me through to the Finish Line!
This was the scene approximately 6:30am on the city streets of Nashville Tennessee!

     I started out the morning getting ZERO sleep the night before...there was a Bachelor Party going on right in front of my hotel room. The fellas were clearly not prepping to run a marathon the next day. Hydrating while dehydrating all at the same time. My hotel shall remain anonymous in this post because I'm not very happy with them and am in the process of getting a refund. I paid waaaaaaay too much money for my room to not get any sleep. I'm still trying to make up for my missed zzzzzz's. Insert mad runner face here. :/

     Regardless of the Bachelor Party shenanigans, I got out of my bed at 4:45am and was leaving my hotel room by 5:45. The race started at 7am and I wanted to get there a good bit early.  I was within a short 10min walk to the Start Line...It was a little chilly that morning so the walk was a good warmup. The high for the day was going to be 82 degrees so I knew I wouldn't be cold for long. 

     As soon as we made it to where all of the pre-race festivities were, I started looking for the gear check (aka UPS trucks) area. I brought a bag with my post-race essentials (jacket, extra banana, back up battery for my phone etc.) I found the trucks, checked my bag and then met up with a few of my running pals for pics and good running wishes.
Met up with Dave and Kim!
My Mom and Sis.
     I was with my a Mom and my Sis...we goofed off a little, took more pics near the start of the 5k and then headed over to Broadway (Start Line of Half and Full). Of course no trip to Nashville is complete without a pic in front of the guitar outside of a Legends. It's a family tradition! ;)
The Famous Guitar in Front of Legends...Always gotta get this pic!

     I noticed the St. Jude group gathering for a group picture and got a quick hug from my friend Sami and then off to my corral I went! I was so ready to start this race!!!!
St. Jude Group Pic
Why yes! It is the REAL Sami Cone!!!
    As I was getting into my corral, I was looking for another friend of mine from home. My friend Missy was running the half and I wanted to stay with her and my sis as much as I could for the first half. The second half was going to be quite a journey and I knew it!
Love my sweet friend Missy!
Early morning Start Line Pic!

     Time to start y'all! I LOVED where the start Line was located. So cool seeing the streets of Nashville completely filled with runners. I've been here for fun, concerts and festivals lots of times but this was just really great!!!!

Country Music Marathon Start Line..But first, Let us take a Selfie!
     Come on everybody...He we GOOOOOO!!!

    We took off and circled the block, running around where the new Music City Center is located heading back towards Vanderbilt University. We ran through lots of quaint neighborhoods and even ran past a few Country Music recording studios. How cool is that?? 
Let's Do this! GO!!
The Spectators ROCKED!!!
     The spectators were endless and just full of crazy personality and before I knew it, I was coming up on the split. By this time, I had left my Sis and Missy and was on my own. Mile 11...Goodbye Half-Marathoners. Omg. I'm going to the left! ALONE. Reality has sunk in.
The Split! Omg. I'm going left!
So So happy to be running on Music Row. 
    There were SO many water stops along the way. I stopped for almost all of them, even when I didn't think that I needed to. I knew it was going to be hot and I didn't want to play around with the heat. The heat is real and I've seen too many people dehydrated to not stop! Drink up people!!!!
Brooks Mile!
My Favorite Verse...Hebrews 12:1.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses,
let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
     Mile 14....this is really getting tough but I'm still hanging in. I'm on my third Gu. I can do this!
Howdy from Mile 15!
     Mile 17... I'm feeling the hills. WHAT is up with my legs??? I know now that both of my second toes are bruised. Not only are there uphills, holy moly the downhills are hard too. #BlackToenailProbs

     We are on the switchback now and that's just mentally tough.

     There's crazy people talking in my head now.  "All of those runners on my right?? Yeah they are in front of me. How do I look? Are they happy they are in front of me? They look so much better than me. Buddy they are trained. Why am I slower??

What's going on?!?! I'M LOSING MY MIND. Get me past the switchback!!!"

     Mile 21.... We are running through a gorgeous park. This was a nice change of scenery from the city. Lots of shade here but not as many spectators. And oh, have I mentioned that there was a live band at every mile?!? That was a cool bonus!!
Running through the park with some Country twang on the side of the road.
     Mile 24...I'm out of the park and two miles away from the Finish!!!! How crazy is this??? I'm about to be a six-time marathoner. Really just crazy. 

     Mile 24.5.... Runner down. Pulling over...goodbye decent time. There was two other people on the scene but I don't care. Runner down is serious business. I know I would appreciate the help if I was laid out on the side of the road. He was a younger (maybe mid-20's guy) who looked to be in terrific shape. Just goes to show that anyone can fall out mid-race. 

     We got his legs elevated, shielded the sun from his face, poured water down his throat given to us from runners passing by who were carrying water. There was a stop a little ways back that was giving out cold bags of ice so I ran back just a bit to find one of those on the ground, got it to him just before police and medical arrived. Alright I'm good to go now. Back to the marathon....

     Keep running. Keep running. Keep running.
The most beautiful sight in all the land...LP Field!!
      I see LP Field!!!!!! Hallelujah!!!!! The Finish Line is near!!!!!! That last half mile was a killer. I was  mental case by this time and I wanted my medal. 

     Heading in to the finish line at LP Field was one of the sweetest moments of my running life!! I did it!!!! YeeeeeeeeeHaw!!!!!!

     My mom and my sis were waiting for me and I needed food and hydration pretty quick! I've never chugged chocolate milk as fast as I did after that race!!! 

     There were lots of refreshments and beverages at the finish line and a band playing too! We took medal pics, got my gear bag from the UPS truck and headed back towards the hotel! I needed a shower and more food stat!
Finisher's pics!
    Overall, I cannot say enough good things about the Rock n' Roll Country Music Marathon. From the expo to the post- race party, I would totally do it again. And I'm planning on it. See you soon Rock n' Roll and Nashville, you were my kind of party! ;)
Good Morning from Country Music Marathon!

So excited to add my first Rock n' Roll Medal to my Full Marathon Bling collection!
For more information on this race and other Rock n' Roll Series events, please visit

Happy Running Ya'll!

Disclaimer: I was provided an entry to this event and worked with Rock n' Roll as a Rock n' Blogger in exchange for my press coverage and race review. All opinions are my own.