Friday, April 18, 2014

Eco Friendly Wine for Earth Day - Snoqualmie

With Earth Day right around the corner, I wanted to highlight an ECO friendly wine label called Snoqualmie from Columbia Valley. Their wines are made using sustainable and organic techniques, crafted from certified originally grown grapes. Snoqualmie wines are fruit-forward, and offer classic varietal flavors that are immediately enjoyable. The price point on these wines start around $10.

Snoqualmie has new ECO glass bottles which are among the lightest in the industry (397g). This results in a 13% reduction in carbon emissions. White wine labels now use EarthLabel™ by Smart Planet Technologies, Inc., an adhesive label system that provides improved barrier performance while reducing plastic content. Labels and other printed materials are on 100% post-consumer waste materials stock. Corks and labels are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council; guaranteeing sustainable practices at the source of origin. The corks are also certified by the Rainforest Alliance, an international group committed to conserving biodiversity through sustainability.
Here are a few comments on amazing Eco Friendly Wines from Joy Andersen, Snoqualmie Winemaker

Snoqualmie 2012 Chardonnay, “Crafted with no oak, this wine is a refreshing experience of true Chardonnay varietal characters. Pear and apple nuances accent the nose leading to clean fruit flavors on the palate.”

Snoqualmie 2013 Sauvignon Blanc,“This Sauvignon Blanc displays bright aromas of citrus and sweet apple, followed by fresh flavors of lime, passion fruit and white peach with a crisp, clean finish. This is a great wine to enjoy with shellfish.”

Snoqualmie 2012 Gewürztraminer, “Made from organically grown fruit, this wine is a pure expression of Gewürztraminer grape characters. Spicy, fruity aromas are coupled with crisp and juicy fruit flavors that will pair well with spicy ethnic dishes.”

Snoqualmie 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, “The 2011 ECO Cab displays aromas of currant and ripe red cherries with spicy tones and ample juicy structure on the palate.”.

Snoqualmie 2010 Whistle Stop Red Blend, “Rich aromas of black berries and cherries are accented by hints of herb in this Bordeaux-style blend. The palate is full of the same black fruit flavors complemented by soft supple tannins and rich, sweet oak.”

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Apera Bags Performance Duffel Review, Giveaway and Spring Sale

Have you ever had a stinky gym bag? They're the worst. I recently had the opportunity to check out Apera athletic bags, "a healthier bag". They have built-in antimicrobial product protection to inhibit the growth of bacterial odors, pockets to separate your wet stinky and sweaty sports clothes from your clean clothing. My first thought was what am I going to do with another gym bag.
That thought got swept away the moment I received the Apera Performance Duffle Bag. I knew my former weekend travel bag was replaced for good. Having two runners in the house means constant stinky clothes in suitcases when we travel.
I have used this bag 3 times over the past 3 weeks, for a mix of business and pleasure: My former roommates bacherlorette party, a weekend home for Gabe & I (we shared the bag) and a work related trip where I had to pack corporate, casual and workout gear. Each time, I had room to spare - even when we shared the bag. Other than the space, I love that there is a pocket which keeps my iPad (and Gabe's iPad mini) secure.
The Apera Performance Duffle Bag will be a perfect carry on bag during our trip to Europe. We can fit more than a days worth of clothing along with important items we do not want to store in our check-in baggage. Plus it is lightweight and comfortable to carry. A gym bag which seconds as a travel bag - double score.

Right now, Apera is having a HUGE sale, 40% OFF their entire line of Blue bags - so any style bag which is blue will be 40% off, including the Performance Duffel. This makes my bag only $74.40, marked down from $124. I am highly considering purchasing a second Apera bag for our trip to Europe.

There is also a Duffel Pack sale, the backpack version of my bag - any color of your choice is 40% OFF too. Jump on this right away!
Apera Duffle Packs - 40% off in April
Along with the sale, there is a giveaway through Apera called "Show Us Your Worn Out Fitness Bag" - one winner has a chance to win a bag of their choice, just by sending them a picture and 1-sentence description of why your current fitness bag stinks (literally or figuratively). Click here for more info!

Apera Sprint Bag - #giveaway on I Run For Wine
Finally - it is time for my giveaway! I am giving away one Apera Sprint Pack, the same bag they donate to Special Olympics athletes for every three bags they sell. This bag is the perfect size for a quick trip to the gym.There is a panel inside of the bag which divides the main compartment and keeps things organized in two separate areas. A large zippered pocket on the front of the bag gives you even more storage along with a large opening which allows you to pack your stuff quickly. For easy cleaning, wipe by hand with soap and water.

Leave a comment below letting me know what you currently use as a gym bag. Make sure you log your entries in the rafflecopter widget below as this is how I select my winner at random!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 14, 2014

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Registration and the tale of spinning medals

This Wednesday at Noon, early registration for runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will begin. This is for DVC, Annual Passholders and Disney Visa Cardholder which allows you to register for runDisney events a week before the general public. Since Disney races continue to sell out in record timing, this is a huge perk for fans of runDisney. It's hard to believe a year ago, I signed up for the runDisney Dopey Challenge.
Just when I came to the decision that I would not be running the 2015 Dopey Challenge, runDisney released a sneak peek to their Goofy Medal. The Goofy Challenge is a 2 day, 39.3 mile challenge, starting with a Half Marathon, followed by a Full Marathon the following day. 2015 will be an anniversary medal for Goofy - which is a spinning medal. It is very hard to look at this and imagine it not being part of my collection. I have 3 days to sit on this.

Since there will be an anniversary medal for this Novembers sold out 2014 Wine Dine Half Marathon,
runDisney decided to reveal it. This medal is continuing on the spinning trend. I am obsessed with this medal, which features the old medal design and on the flip side, the new medal. The Wine Dine Half Marathon is my favorite runDisney half marathon course and I look forward to adding this to my collection.
runDisney Medals are generally revealed a few months before the event. Not the case with anniversary medals. Marathon weekend is 9 months away and we have already seen the 10th anniversary Goofy Medal. Wine Dine Half Marathon is 7 months away and the beauty has been revealed (last year, I didn't see the medal until I attended the NYC Marathon expo). In 2012, runDisney revealed their 20th anniversary medal which was the start of the spinning trend. Gabe had already signed up for the half marathon and upon this medal reveal, he switched into the full. This medal is the sole reason he ran a full marathon.

Has a medal ever been the deciding factor on you signing up for a race?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Reebok #Skyscape Review - #StyleNeverStops

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Reebok.

Hi, My name is Megan and I have a shoe problem. I have been addicted to shoes since I was in elementary school. I remember purposely putting a hole in a pair of shoes so my parents would have to buy me new ones. With that said, my shoe collection is crazy big yet you will usually see me wearing the same shoes over and over.

I tend to impulse buy pretty shoes and never wear them because they are uncomfortable (yes I am talking to you Mr. Louboutin). Once I hit my 30's, I found comfort was the most important aspect of shoes and I now find myself planning my outfits around what will adorn my feet.
Through my relationship with FitFluential, I was able to check out a new concept from Reebok - the Skyscape Runaround. This is not a fitness shoe - it is an everyday shoe whose tagline is “So lightweight and comfortable, you’ll forget you have them on.”. I couldn't agree with that statement more.
I wear my Skyscape's around the house like they are slippers. I run errands in them. I have even worn them for a full day at Disney World without socks - and came home with zero blisters. Reebok Skyscape Runaround is now my go-to everyday comfort shoe.  Along with being comfortable, the Skyscape are also very cute. My fiance even stated he thought they were "good looking shoes" - whatever that means :) Maybe he saw the promo video of the shoes with Miranda Kerr! The below photos Skyscape Styling photos were done by Reebok to show various ways to wear these shoes.
A few features & benefits:

  • This shoe is crafted borrowing the materials and soft molding process used to create lingerie, which provides all-around comfort and creates a shoe so lightweight that it weighs only 5.0 ounces. 
  • Foam material in the upper for softness and flexibility
  • Low-cut design for added mobility
  • Seamless construction for minimized rub and irritation
  • Unique architecture designed to support the foot and provide all-day comfort
  • Minimal rubber accents only where needed for traction
  • Skyspring technology - features a unique design architecture designed to help support the foot and provide all day comfort
  • Machine washable
You can purchase Reebok Skyscapes online at In Store at Reebok, Reebok Outlet and Kohls (select locations). 

Check out this video featuring FitFluential Ambassadors and Miranda Kerr

It's been years since I have had "everyday" runaround sneakers but I can honestly say I love the Skyscapes and plan on picking up a few pairs in additional colors. What is your go to daily shoe?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Easy Homemade Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Salsa Recipe

This year is flying by. I say this every year but 2014 is out of control with the wedding. I feel like yesterday was New Years Day and now we are almost in mid-April! March Madness is over, MLB has officially started and College football season will be here before you know it.
We are a big College football family and it is often joked my first word was Gator. I grew up with every Saturday in the Fall revolving around watching games. In High School, I refused to seriously date anyone who was a Seminole fan and I stood by that until I met Gabe. Now I am marrying a Seminole........
My number one item to make during football season is homemade salsa. We go through this stuff faster than one can say Touchdown.  I've never made the same salsa twice, always tweaking the flavors around. When it isn't tomato season, I use canned fire roasted diced tomatoes. The recipe below is my base to salsa - the directions I always go by, then add this or that to the mix. One weird quirk about me - I love the taste of tomatoes but I hate the texture, so I always puree my salsa.
Garlic and Sun-dried Tomato Salsa Recipe
2 large tomatoes, diced or 2 cans of fire roasted diced tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, finely minced
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 jalapeno, finely minced (more if you like it spicy)
1 lemon or lime juice (I prefer lime)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes

Mix all ingredients together and place into a blender to puree. You can also keep it chunky by just mixing together. Let chill for at least one hour.
I recently brought my Salsa to a March Madness basketball party and received rave reviews. Along with the salsa, I brought various flavors of The Better Chip, including their two new flavors, The Better Chip Beet and The Better Chip Chipotle. TBC is verified non-GMO and Gluten Free, with only five easy to pronounce ingredients in each chip.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Oh What A Night! - Jersey Boys at Straz Center, Tampa

I wanted to take a quick second and wish my amazing fiance a happy birthday! Poor guy has to work all day and night but we were able to celebrate early by attending opening night of Jersey Boys Musical at the Straz Center in Tampa. It. Was. Amazing.
JERSEY BOYS, the Tony®, Grammy ® and Olivier Award-winning Best Musical about Rock and Roll Hall of Famers The Four Seasons: Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi. While I am very familiar with the Four Seasons, I found my self shocked as to how many hit songs they have and sang through half of the musical. Sorry to those who sat beside me. "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Rag Doll", "Oh What a Night", "Can't Take my Eyes Off You", and many more.
I loved learning the story about four blue-collar kids became who became one of the greatest successes in pop music history. The hit songs I mentioned above - they wrote them all. Before they were 30 years old, they sold over 175 million records worldwide.
Besides the amazing performance, I was very impressed with the stage. I spent my childhood and high school years in drama, so I pay special attention to the stage, set up, props, etc.
I can honestly say that last night will not be the last time we will see this show. It was by far the best traveling performance I have ever seen. No wonder Times Magazine proclaimed that Jersey Boys "will run for centuries" and tonight, #JerseyBoys broadway will surpass the record held by 42ND STREET to become the 13th longest running show in Broadway History. Congrats! The JERSEY BOYS creative team comprises two-time Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff, book writers Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, composer Bob Gaudio, lyricist Bob Crewe and choreography by Sergio Trujillo. The show contains smoke, gun shots, strobe lights, drug references, sexual situations and authentic “profane Jersey language.

Jersey Boys the Musical is in Tampa through April 13th with two shows on Saturday and Sunday. Here's a fun fact - Hayden Milanes, who plays Frankie Valli, was born and raised in Tampa! Tickets run from $48-$116 and can be purchased by clicking here.
Wednesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 10, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, April 11, 8 p.m.
Saturday, April 12, 2 & 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 13, 2 & 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival Food Menu

The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is my favorite Disney World event throughout the year. You get to see the most Beautiful topiary's all around the park while experiencing amazing food and drink. When Epcot decided to add outdoor kitchens to the mix, the festival was brought to a whole new level. This is very similar to the very popular food and wine festival which takes place during the fall. Multiple kitchens found around the world showcase feature specialty foods and drinks, many of which are themed after flowers. I wanted to feature my three favorite outdoor kitchens - Florida Fresh, Smokehouse and Lotus House. You can check out all of the other outdoor kitchens at Epcot by clicking here.

Florida Fresh
This was both of our favorite outdoor kitchens of the festival. The arugula salad was so simple yet delicious. I I will be making this at home very soon. The shrimp and grits had such amazing flavor - I kept going back for more. I paired this with a large glass of Florida Avenue Blueberry Beer from Tampa - which happens to be my favorite local beer. See why this was my favorite kitchen :)
Shrimp and Stone Ground Grits with Andouille Sausage
To eat:
  • Watermelon salad with pickled onions, BW Farm baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction 
  • Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro 
  • Florida kumquat pie
Watermelon Salad with pickled onions
To drink:
  • Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade® 
  • Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria featuring Simply Lemonade, Florida Orange Groves (St. Petersburg, Florida) 
  • Garda Italian Wine Blend, Quantum Leap Winery (Orlando, Florida) 
  • Rogue Valley Pinot Noir, Quantum Leap Winery (Orlando, Florida) 
  • Blonde Ale, Orlando Brewing Company (Orlando, Florida) 
  • Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Swamp Head Brewery (Gainesville, Florida) 
  • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company (Cape Canaveral, Florida)
  • Florida Avenue Blueberry, Cold Storage Craft Brewery (Tampa, Florida) 
  • Beer Flight – Blonde Ale, Cotton Mouth Belgian Style Witbier, Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale and Florida Avenue Blueberry 
The Smokehouse - Barbecue and Blues
Located in the America pavilion, this is one outdoor kitchen you can smell from far away. I was like a giddy school kid waiting to get my hands on the new Piggylicious bacon cupcake and it did not disappoint. I enjoyed one of the more unique beers I've tried - Billy's Chilies, a beer with a spicy kick. I was very impressed with the smoked beef brisket while Gabe loved the smoked turkey rib.

To eat:

  • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw 
  • Smoked beef brisket with collard greens and jalapeño corn bread 
  • Smoked turkey “rib” 
  • “Piggylicious” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s® Applewood Smoked Bacon 

To drink:

  • Magic Hat #9, Magic Hat Brewing (South Burlington, Vermont) 
  • Maduro, Cigar City Brewing (Tampa, Florida) 
  • Fat Tire, New Belgium Brewing Company (Ft. Collins, Colorado) 
  • Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company (Boulder, Colorado) 
  • Beer Flight – Magic Hat #9, Maduro, Fat Tire and Billy’s Chilies 
  • The Original Rib Shack Red Wine 

Lotus House - China Pavilion 
This is always my first stop during the Flower and Garden Festival. The candied strawberries are beyond and it is the one item I purchase every single visit during the festival. They take strawberries and candy them, topping with sesame seeds.
To eat:
  • Beijing-style candied strawberries 
  • Spring pancake with grilled chicken and green apple 
  • Vegetable spring rolls 
To drink:
  • Popping bubble tea 
  • Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice 
  • South Sea Storm – Guava juice with light and dark rum Plum wine 
  • Tsing-Tao beer 
  • Lychee aerated water

Monday, April 7, 2014

Curtis Stone's Grilled Chicken with Arugula and Zucchini Salad with Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette Recipe

A few weeks ago my friend Jen invited me to attend HSN Cooks with her. Before we went to the live taping, HSN served us a lunch from multiple celebrity chef's. There was an arugula salad which caught my eye and made everyone from the table go back for more. We later found it out was by Chef Curtis Stone and I couldn't wait to make this at home and share with my readers. This is a perfect spring salad which I could eat for days!
I adapted his recipe a tad, not including tomatoes while adding artichoke hearts. I also made mine without using zucchini. This was the first time I used my Blendtec to make dressing - I had to try this a few times as my first attempt came out with the consistency of aioli!
Lemon-Caper Vinaigrette: 
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon coarsely chopped drained nonpareil capers 1 tablespoon finely chopped pepperoncini
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 ounces baby arugula (about 8 cups not packed)
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
2 small, thin zucchini
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
note: I did not use tomatoes or zucchini in my version

To make the vinaigrette: 
  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the shallots, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, pepperoncini, parsley, and vinegar together. Gradually whisk in the olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat the chicken with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken for about 4 minutes per side, or until it is seared with grill marks and shows no sign of pink when pierced in the thickest part with the tip of a small sharp knife. Transfer to a cutting board.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the arugula and tomatoes. Trim the ends of the zucchini. One at a time, lay the zucchini flat on a work surface and, using a vegetable peeler and working from the stem end to the blossom end, shave off long, thin ribbons until you reach the seedy center. Turn the zucchini around and repeat on the second side, then repeat on the third and fourth sides. Add the ribbons to the bowl and discard the seedy centers of the zucchini. 
  4. Using your hands to avoid breaking the ribbons, gently toss the salad with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cut each chicken breast crosswise into thirds. Transfer a cut chicken breast to each dinner plate and heap some of the salad alongside. Drizzle the chicken and salad with the remaining vinaigrette and serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wedding Wednesdays - Welcome Bag and Hangover Recovery Kit

We are in the six month window of the big day. Where on earth did time go? The last nine months flew by so fast - I cannot imagine what the next six are going to be like.

One thing we have been working on for months is our welcome bags. Since this is a destination wedding, all guests will receive a package at check-in. We wanted to have items in the bag which showed the New Orleans spirit while giving our guests a peek of the fun they would have over the few days spent in the big easy.
The first thing we purchased was personalized cups. New Orleans does not have an open container law so we wanted to make sure our guests had a cup they could bring from bar to bar for their refills. We decided on personalized plastic mason jars with a screw on lid and straw decorated with our names, a fleur de lis and the city/date of the wedding.
Along with the cup, we wanted to provide our guests with items to help them the morning after.

The ONLY store bought bloody mary mix I will buy is Zing Zang. Many moons ago, Gabe and I were both bartenders and pre-made bloody mary mix used to be something I turned my nose up to. That is until I was introduced to Zing Zang years ago. These days, I rarely make my own mix, because Zing Zang is perfect, just the way it is. In our hangover kits, we will provide our guests with 10oz bottles.

You cannot have a bloody mary without vodka. My newest DIY project is personalized miniature bottles of vodka. I am purchasing empty 50L bottles and creating labels which will feature our caricature. Once this project is complete, I will be posting about it :)

If I have a little too much fun the night before, there are few things I can eat. Pretzels are an item that helps me feel like a normal human being. My choice? Pretzel Crisps Everything flavor. At only 110 calories per serving, these wont hurt your diet.

Finally last but certainly not least - Blowfish for Hangovers. I was introduced to this product last year from a Klout perk. It really works. Not only have I tried it but Gabe and my best friend Keri also put their seal of approval on the miracle hangover remedy.
Along with the items above, we will be throwing a few additional New Orleans treats in the bag. We are absolutely including pralines. I haven't yet decided if we will get them personalized or not. You also can't go to New Orleans without getting beads. We live in Ybor City and there are a few parades through the year with mardi gras style floats and more beads than you could even imagine. Even prior to knowing we would get married in NOLA, I've held onto the "deluxe" beads. The "budget" beads would be tossed or handed to kids if they were around. Many parades later, we have over 150 higher quality beads we will include in our welcome bags. The photo above was from the 2014 Ybor City St. Patricks Day Parade.

Did you have welcome bags at your wedding? If so, what did you put in them?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Relieving Pain on the Go with #WellAtWalgreens

"I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This content has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its client. All health related suggestions and opinions expressed in this post are all my own" #CollectiveBias

I got my first official running injury in January. Ironically enough, it started with small blisters I got from walking around Disney. The little annoyances became a severe problem after continuous days of pounding the pavement during runDisney 'Dopey Challenge', a four day event equaling 48.6 miles (5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, Full Marathon). My mom and I went to 4 different stores in Orlando searching for Moleskin, the only thing I knew that could help relieving the pain and uncomfort at this point. Apparently the 25,000+ other runners in town purchased all the Moleskin to be found. During the full marathon on day 4, around mile 8, I knew something was wrong - more severe than blisters. Instead of stopping at the medical tent, I pushed on. Around mile 20, it hurt more to walk than run, so I wobbled those final 6.2 miles to the finish line. The moment I finished, I had one thing in mind - find the medic tent. I was instructed to go see my PCP the next morning.  The next day, my foot had doubled in size and those blisters turned into a bacterial infection called cellulitus, a diffuse inflammation of connective tissue.
We spent more time in and out of Walgreens during the Dopey Challenge weekend. If you have ever spent a weekend at Disney, you are aware of the time it takes to navigate around the property. I vowed to myself right then and there that I wouldn't go to another out of town event without an on the go active kit.
A key component for an on the go active kit for runners is Acetaminophen for relieving pain. This is the only over the counter drug handed out during a half marathon or full marathon at the medic tent. Instead of wasting time at a tent, I run with two 500mg Well at Walgreens Extra Strength fast release quick gels in my running belt. I also take one before I go to bed the night before a long distance event. Six hours post race, I will take a NSAID to reduce swelling.
After what I went through in January, I will never ever go out of town without moleskin again. I literally stocked up on this stuff at Walgreens after returning home from the Dopey Challenge. Of course, murphy's law, I have not had a blister since January. Other important items are non-latex bandages - If you are anything like me, you always need a bandage while traveling. Muscle & joint gel is another item I do not leave home without. One that is greaseless with a vanishing scent is always preferred. Finally an anti-itch cream - I have very sensitive skin and break into hives very easily. This helps me with skin allergy issues.

In good news, I did survive the Dopey Challenge and came home with 6 brand new medals that weekend (3 of the 6 shown in the photo above). I also have been able to continue running but have to keep close attention to my toes.

With the upcoming wedding and trying to save for a house, we are cutting costs everywhere you look. One thing that I started a few months ago was purchasing private label products from stores. For the most part, I wouldn't know the difference if I didn't see the packaging. #WellAtWalgreens has an amazing lineup of products available and are pharmacy recommended - plus by purchasing one of these private label products will give back to your community and I am all about that. Walgreens Way to Well Commitment - Beginning February 1, 2011 through December 31, 2014, 1¢ from the purchase of every Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness product, up to $3 million annually, will support bringing preventative wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Commitment®.

Do you have a travel wellness kit? If so, what is inside of it?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Self Magazine - the new Mean Girls #tutusrock

Self Magazine, a publication who "supports" women in nutrition, health, and advice made a colossal mistake in their April issue. The magazine has a page called BS Meter - their guide to what's legit and what is lame. Warning, I ramble when I am mad and Self Magazine really upset me.

If you follow this blog, you know I run a lot of events at Disney and dress up for every one of them. runDisney celebrates runners of all shapes, sizes and speed. Spectators will see thousands upon thousands of runners wearing tutus, sparkle skirts, fairy wings, superhero outfits. I've seen it all, including men in tutus.
So it shocked me when I saw the above photo circulating in social media. People were outraged. When I first saw the photo, I became upset. To quote Self Magazine: New Running Tulle, a racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster. Now if you told us they made people run away from you faster, maybe we would believe it.

I was pissed. I couldn't believe a magazine who is supposed to support and encourage women to become healthier would make fun of anyone who is out there accomplishing a goal, regardless of what they are wearing. Self Magazine should be celebrating people who are out there doing something for themselves. Not making fun of their outfits by calling them Lame........

Yet there is more to this story than Self being a "mean girl".  The two girls in the photo are Glam Runner co-founder Monika and her friend Erika. The two ran the L.A. Marathon together, dressed as superheroes. Monika was recently diagnosed with brain cancer and was running the marathon in the middle of a year of chemo. Tara's bib, supporting Monika, said "Die Tumor Die", which you can clearly read in the magazine print.

Monika told NBC that she had no idea that she was going to be made fun of and never would’ve agreed to releasing the photo if she had known how it was going to be used. In fact, they were excited when contacted from Self Magazine for rights to use their photo in the magazine, thinking they would be featured in a positive light. Since starting Glam Runner in 2011, Glam Runner has produced about 2,000 tutus and has donated $5,600 to Girls on the Run -- a nonprofit that has a 12-week training program for girls ages 8-13 to prepare for a 5K race.

Self Magazine Editor-in-chief Lucy Danziger says she was ‘mortified’ after Self put Monika Allen’s homemade racing tutu on its ‘BS Meter.’ "I am personally mortified," Danziger told USA Today. "I had no idea that Monika had been through cancer. It was an error. It was a stupid mistake. We shouldn't have run the item.". Cancer aside, this should have NEVER been published. Whily Self is apologizing for publicly shaming a cancer victim, their stupid mistake was making fun of someone for what they are wearing and I feel they owe an apology to anyone who has ever dressed up for a race.
photo from Through Heathers Looking Glass Facebook
Moving onto positive tutu news, a few months ago my friend Heather was featured in the Orlando Sentinel. They discussed why she dressed up for races; you can watch the video here. Like me, Heather dresses up for every race (although her outfits are way cuter than mine) and we have had multiple discussions leading up to events discussing what we are going to wear. It's part of the excitement of running at Disney.

With the exception of a few 5K's and the 2013 ING NYC Marathon, I have worn a tutu or sparkle skirt in every single event I have participated in. So that's 2 full marathons, 7 half marathons, 2 half marathon relays and various other distances. So to the "Mean Girls" at Self Magazine, does that make me Lame? I think it makes me pretty Fetch if I say so myself.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Underground Cellar Sonoma Winecation Getaway

How would you like to win an all-inclusive and unforgettable VIP weekend in Sonoma wine country for you and your 3 best friends? Sounds like my dream come true all thanks to Underground cellars.

Underground Cellars is an exciting new online wine marketplace that randomly rewards wine buyers with free upgrades to rare and private-stash bottles from prestigious wineries. For instance, you commit to purchase a $42 bottle of wine - you have a chance of receiving the bottle you initially purchased or you may be a lucky wino with a bottle of $250 cab. No matter what, you get what you pay for - but chances are, you get much more. To celebrate the launch of their new website, Underground Cellars is giving away an amazing VIP trip to Napa along with additional prizes. 

Weekend getaway for 4 to California's exclusive Sonoma wine country 
Stay at the luxurious 5,500 sq. ft. Villa Terra Nova Retreat 
Behind-the-scenes private tour of Iron Horse Vineyards, by winemaker David Munskgard 
VIP chef's dinner at award-winning "the girl and the fig" restaurant Roundtrip airfare, luxury transportation, and many other surprises!

Have you ever been to Napa? Many are shocked when I tell them I have never been out there but it's on my bucket list and I entered this contest! Click here to enter too! Follow Wine Underground on Twitter: @ucellar and Facebook

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Wedding Wednesday - Raccoons, Chocolate and Amazing Customer Service, The Knot

There are few times in my life that I would write a blog post solely on customer service. This is a story of a chocolate loving raccoon and a company who went above and beyond to fix something that was not their fault: The Knot. They came to the plate big time and their customer service amazed me - a big thank you to their agent Destiny who saved the day.
My parents house has become ground zero for everything wedding related. We don't have the space to store anything in our condo. Not to mention, while I am very detail oriented, I am horribly disorganized and tend to lose stuff.

A few weeks ago, The Knot was having a huge sale on personalized Napkins, $9.99 w/ free personalizing and shipping. We ordered a set of Eat Drink and Be Married along with a set of Fleur de Lis since we are getting married in New Orleans.
Mom instructed me to order the two sets along with personalized Hershey Kisses, which were also the cheapest we have seen. Since we got free shipping, we figured why not? We could freeze them leading up to the wedding and all would be fine.
examples - not our actual kisses - unless we suddenly changed our names to Kristin & Thomas
I found it odd that Mom hadn't told me the package from the Knot had arrived but never questioned it. Although I should have........They live on a golf course and have raccoon's who come out during the day. They like to steal dog food and apparently wedding shipments.

I was on the phone with my Mom when my Step-Dad Hank exclaimed "where did these Hershey kisses come from and why are they all over the back yard?? Wait, they say Megan and Gabe......." Mom and I both went silent. He found 7 dark chocolate kisses. Mind you, they come in packs of 100, which meant there were 193 missing Hershey Kisses.

Mom and Hank found the box which once contained the Hershey kisses and napkins by the canal. This whole scenario was not the Knot's fault. UPS left the box at the door and ran, as they do every time a shipment is dropped off - my 9lb toy dachshund scares off the drivers. It's quite comical to watch actually.

When I called the Knot, my intention was to try to repurchase them at the price I originally got them for - they had gone up double in price since the day I ordered. The Knot replaced them and reshipped them with no cost to me. WHAT!! Thank you so much to both The Knot & Destiny for her customer service excellence.

This was above and beyond what I expected. I learned a lesson from this - if you are ordering anything perishable, have it sent to your office. And raccoon's like milk chocolate better than dark chocolate.

Monday, March 24, 2014

runDisney Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon opens for registration tomorrow & new packet pickup information

The highly anticipated Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon weekend opens for registration tomorrow! If this half marathon follows the trend of the other Disneyland races, it will sell out faster than Incredible Hulk rips off his clothing. Set your calendar reminder and be by your computer at Noon EST - click here for the registration page.

When I posted about Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon a few weeks ago, I could hardly control my excitement. My Mom was a fan of Marvel characters, so by age 4 I knew the names of all of the super hereos. At the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend, runners will be joined by the likes of Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Hawkeye, and Tony Stark. This event will take place at Disneyland® Resort and will feature a brand new 13.1 mile course. The weekend will be filled with a power-packed weekend of fantastic fun and amazing excitement with mighty runs, incredible surprises, a night time pasta party (additional fee). This is one medal I have to get my hands on.

Packet Pickup Instructions UPDATED starting at Avengers
Alrighty runDisney fans - this is confirmation about a rumor which hasn't been very popular among the runners. Packet Pickup instructions have been changed. Starting with the Avengers race, no absentee packet pickups will be allowed (with the exception of parents picking up minors packets). This means registered runners must be present to pick up their bib. Please keep this in mind while registering tomorrow. This makes me think back to Dopey weekend when I had to pick up my Dopey bibs, my Moms 5K & 10K bib and Gabe's Full Marathon bib. If it weren't for the fact I was there to pick up Mom's 5K bib, she wouldn't have been able to participate that Thursday.

From runDisney's newsletter: Due to travel concerns, the original Packet Pick-Up Policy will be in effect for the Expedition Everest Challenge, Disneyland® Half Marathon Weekend, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10 Miler and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. Starting with the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland ® Resort in November, runners will no longer be allowed to have individuals pick up these items on their behalf. Adults, however, will be allowed to pick up participant packets for runners under age 18.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

#ad Tyson Gluten-Free Chicken Southwestern Cobb Salad Recipe #CookItGF

I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. 

The past few months have been an absolute blur. This is my busy time of year at work and mix that with a side of running, races, wedding planning and blogging - I have no time for myself. My favorite time of day is 5:30, when I pour myself a glass of wine and cook a fantastic dinner. I prefer to spend one hour plus in the kitchen, which is how I relieve stress. Not so much these days. I have found myself making quick fix recipes. I was home last weekend visiting my Mom and we saw an in-store demonstration at the Daytona Beach Sam's Club for Tyson Gluten-Free Chicken Breast Fillets - a pre-grilled fully cooked boneless skinless breast. I was a bit skeptical at first and left highly impressed, with a bag in hand.

My brother was diagnosed with Lyme disease a few years ago and one of his many Doctors instructed him to go on a Gluten Free diet during his treatment. My family had to find many learn about cooking Gluten Free options in the house. One of my favorite Gluten-Free recipes is a take on the cobb salad. When I make salads at home, I leave out bacon, cheese and other items which add on calories; you seriously do not miss those items. This salad is so delicious and easy to make. Using Tyson Grilled and Ready Gluten-Free Chicken breasts made it even easier. In less than 20 minutes, I had this delicious salad.
To make this salad you need the following:
  • Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets, Gluten-Free
  • Greens of choice - I used arugula
  • Avocado 
  • Black Beans
  • Roasted Cherry Tomatoes, cut in half (*see notes below) 
  • Roasted Corn on the Cob (*see notes below)
  • Choice of a Gluten-Free dressing, I used Annie's Naturals Chile Lime Vinaigrette 
  • Cilantro for garnish
I decided to warm my chicken up in the oven vs. microwaving it. The conventional oven instructions are at 375 for 18 minutes. *I decided to roast my corn and tomatoes at the same time while my chicken was heating up.
Pre-Heat oven to 375
  • Pull back the corn husk and remove the silk, remove the outer layers and pull back up to cover. Place directly on the oven rack for 30 minutes. 
  • When there is 20 minutes left for the corn to cook, place two frozen Gluten-Free Tyson Grilled & Ready Chicken Breast Fillets in a pan and place in the oven alongside the cord
  • When there is 10 minutes left, place the tomatoes in the oven, I put them in the same pan as the chicken
  • Meanwhile, place the arugula on a dinner plate
  • Heat up your black beans and drain
  • Cut up your avocado
  • Once the chicken, tomatoes and corn has cooked, remove from oven
  • Dice the chicken in bite size pieces
  • Cut the corn from the cob
  • Lay everything in one layer along the bed of arugula
  • Garnish with cilantro
If you want to check out Tyson Gluten-Free Chicken for yourself, Sam's Club has three upcoming #CookitGF in-store demonstrations on 4/4, 4/5/14 and 5/4/14. Both my Mom and I were very impressed with this product and it made for an easy, quick and delicious lunch.