History and Hockey Sticks
March 25, 2016

History and Hockey Sticks

Megan asked me to write a few posts. Today I’ve decided to actually write one for her. Today’s topic is motivation. I’ve talked to a few people who are dedicated to keeping in shape and since I need to practice that craft more frequently, I always ask what motivates them. The responses are varied but I’d like to share a few with you.

                One of my friends and hockey team members is an airline pilot. In order for him to keep his job he has to maintain a certain level of fitness to ensure he can keep his endurance for the duration of some very long flights. For him, if he isn’t fit, he can’t support his growing family and that’s what keeps him in the gym as often as it does. Another friend of mine, who is also in the Air Force, had a difficult time staying in shape as well. He eventually got a job where he had to be in front of a lot of important officers and realized he was doing something wrong. He didn’t like his own reflection and that’s what triggered the change. I have never seen someone so dedicated to bettering himself from the inside out and I hope to be at that point sometime in my life too. The last of my peers I’d like to talk about has had a difficult road just to attain his goal of joining the air force. He dropped a very large sum of weight just to be eligible to enlist and once he was in, he figured he had made it. He was following in his brother’s footsteps. He thought he wouldn’t need to work out so much just to keep his dream. Then he failed a physical training test. That one moment inspired him to train harder and to stay in his dream. He realized his dream wasn’t a destination, but a journey he must work to complete. All three of these people have inspired me to find my own motivation.

                Most of you know that Megan was the one who got me into running when she signed me up for our first half marathon in 2014. Even though I loved the experience, I didn’t think I would do another one. Next thing I knew I ran another one that September. I was hooked by then and wanted to do more, but still lacked the motivation to train for them. Then we ran the Walt Disney World marathon in January and I finally found my motivation. I ran for 6 hours, 33 minutes and 54 seconds. That is unacceptable for me. I must do better on my next one, whenever that is. I endured muscle failure from the halfway point until I crossed the finish line and I do not want that to happen as badly as it did. After 16 miles I lost my running partner because I wasn’t motivated enough to train in order to stay with her. I will do better and that’s my motivation.

                There are a lot of motivators out there. Whether you are motivated to provide for your family, want to be happy when you look at your reflection, chasing a dream or simply trying to reach new heights, there must be something out there that motivates you. If you know what your motivation is, I encourage you to tell us what it is. If you don’t have that motivation yet, I challenge you to find it. It may take a long time. I’m in a job that requires me to stay fit and in 6 1/2 years I didn’t find a reason to go to the gym. But if I can find motivation, I know anyone can.

March 21, 2016

kensington socail

During my birthday/spur of the moment trip to London, we visited and toured Kensington Palace!

I’ll be honest, while I loved the shops and the fashion exhibit; I was very underwhelmed by the palace itself. Blasphemy, right? Particularly with how much I love England and the royals.

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However, the palace really focused on the past; with very little about the present or the recent past. There was no actual tour; just a wander through on your own with paper guides in each room. There were actual guides in a few rooms to answer questions as needed but they were not too prominent.

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I really love tours where I am taken room from room; given facts and details about the room; interesting tidbits about the residents, past and present; etc. I don’t expect a tour where I have to find my own way around when the palace is not a ruins [I expect this type of tour more with ruins].

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However, I was glad to visit Kensington Palace. I adored the Fashion Rules exhibit, which had just reopened after a closure to update the exhibit. I loved to option to try clothes on and see the child’s side of Queen Victoria was like.

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It was a great start to the London Trip and definitely something that I wanted to see in England!

March 18, 2016

byron social

When we travel, I typically have restaurants picked out and places we must eat while in certain cities. However, in London; I had nothing of the sort. As we were walking from Kensington Palace towards the underground, were were getting hungry for food. Toying around with the idea of heading towards Kings Cross for burritos like Chris and I ate last time we were in London; we checked out the map outside of the underground station. After seeing just how far we really were from Kings Cross; I looked around and saw a restaurant that looked cool!

Pitching the idea of eating right there to Chris and Kelly; they laughed a bit but agreed. We headed over to sit down and enjoy a “proper hamburger” in England at Byron!

Funny thing, right? Americans traveling to London and randomly choosing to eat at a place that served American-style Hamburgers.

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Byron turned out to be a true treat! It was busy inside when we got there, but we got a table quickly and in short order, our drinks and an order of nachos. We ordered a coke float, a diet coke and a milkshake  and each enjoyed our drink immensely.

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Oh my gosh. The food was amazing; as well as delicious and presented well and quickly. The burgers were huge, well-cooked and flavored awesomely!

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Our total for the meal ended up being roughly 45 pounds, with the exchange rate costing us around 66 dollars. For three people and such delicious food; we thought it was a great meal!

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March 14, 2016

london notting hill social

During our quick trip to London, we stayed two nights at the London Premier Notting Hill! When we were booked our trip; I looked for quite some time as the typical places we stay when traveling wouldn’t work for this trip. Since Kelly was traveling solo with us; she requested that we stay in someplace a bit nicer/safer which I completely understood!

I found several places, but we ended up booking the London Premier Notting Hill, located less than 10 minutes walking from Kensington Palace. It was just 4 short blocks from the Bayswater underground station.

 Positives for the hotel definitely include the price for the location, the English breakfast that they served in the morning, and the comfy beds! It was also wonderfully clean and felt safe in every manner.

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Negatives for the hotel were the cost [higher than I like to pay for a hotel], the stairs in the hotel [it’s located in an older row house, which is gorgeous but involved three flights of stairs to get anywhere in the building at least], and the size of the room.

Literally, the rooms were big enough to turn around in and that’s about it. You could practically brush your teeth while sitting on the toilet and  shave while in the shower. Chris and I could not both fit in the bathroom at the same time unless one was in the shower. The rooms would not accommodate a wheelchair or anyone with mobility issues.

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I would stay in the hotel again if traveling on a girls trip or a trip without Chris as I felt safe the entire time there, even just by myself or with Kelly. If traveling with Chris, I would aim to stay back at the Horse and Stables that we have stayed at before for price and atmosphere.

*Room photos were taken by K.B.; during our February 2016 trip!

 

 

March 11, 2016

lion king social

While  planning for our quick trip to London, I decided I really wanted to see a muscial for my birthday! Narrowing it down quickly to Wicked, Mamma Mia or the Lion King, I must have looked at ticket sites for a week checking prices.

Finally, Chris suggested that as a birthday present, we see The Lion King! Wasting no time after that, I quickly booked us tickets! At the late date, needing three seats together meant we were sitting in the Grand Circle.

When our trip finally arrived, we met Chris at the Lyceum Theater  as he had seen Jersey Boys while we were out at afternoon tea.  After a few short moments [and some excitement], I had our tickets in hand and we began the climb to the grand circle!

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Once up there, Chris and Kelly settled into their seats while I went to the souvenir stand and the bar to get a soda! I got back to the seats just as the waiter was offering items. I then saw an adorable Lion King cup that you could have filled with a slushy! A few minutes later, I had a cup with a slushy and the show was ready to start!

From the moment the first sounds came out of the actors mouths, hidden in the boxes, to the time that the cast did their bows, I was riveted.

The costumes! The set! The music! I was in love  with it all.

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My only two negatives were that a few of the songs felt a bit “forced” or extended as they tried to extend the show to the full musical time. The other negative was that photos are not allowed during the show, and a guest in front of us constantly attempted to take photos. This resulted in a usher coming in and standing directly in front of me, blocking my view, while trying to get her to turn off her camera. Irritating for sure!

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Lion King is definitely a musical I am interested in seeing again, and I actually can’t wait to take my mom to the one in New York! She’s going to love it.

 

March 4, 2016

afternoon tea sociak

One of the things that I’ve always wanted to do was sit down for Afternoon Tea in London! Luckily for me, on our recent trip to London; Kelly and I got the opportunity to do just that.

When planning the trip to London, one of the few things that I was dead-set on doing was Afternoon Tea. I was wandering the internet, figuring out how to book it and stumbled onto Groupon where I found an afternoon tea at House of Fraser: Tea Terrace for 19.95 pounds. This seemed reasonable to me; so after a few clicks, I had a groupon on hand for a “Celebration Tea” for two!

On Saturday, after a delicious meal at Byron’s Burgers [check our our review of the restaurant]; Kelly and I caught the underground over to the Victoria station and walked the few minutes down the street to the House of Fraser department store! We wandered around the store for a little bit before heading upstairs to enjoy tea!

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Literally, the tea ended up meeting every expectation I had and surpassing many more. The Tea Terrance was beautifully decorated; in gorgeous shades of silver, white, pink and blue. The chandileers were just adorable; with tea pots and cups decorating them. The tables ranged from two-tops to ten-tops; along with the option of sitting at the couches or cozy chairs scattered around the room.

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The afternoon tea groupon that we had entititled each of us to a pot of tea of our choice, two types of sandwiches each along with choice of two scones each. It also came with a selection of little cakes.

Kelly chose a chai tea, with egg salad sandwiches and a ham and tomato salad along with apple and cinnamon scones. I choose a earl grey tea, with cucumber sandwich and a cheese and chutney sandwich along with fruit scones.

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We sat and enjoyed our tea for well over an hour; enjoying several cups each and devoting our scones and cakes. The sandwiches were a big hit, with our favorites being the egg salad and the cucumber. The cheese and chutney was not the favorite, tasting a bit like a french onion soup sandwich. Rather strange, but the scones made up for it. They were delicious, perfect with the clotted cream and jam we received.

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The tea pots and cups were dainty and lady-like, with the three-tiered cake tray fitting in perfectly on the table.

Overall, I LOVED our experience. I can’t say enough positive things about our afternoon tea and am already dreaming about going back.

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If you purchase the groupon; I recommend printing the groupon voucher itself as we saw several people having issues with their digital voucher where we had no issues at all with our printed one.

February 29, 2016

lodon social

In early February, Ryan Air [the frontier airlines of Europe] offered a flash sale of 1 euro flights. On a whim an hour and a half at lunch one day; I booked Chris and I flights London for the last weekend of February for 4 euro and 4 cents total!  I wasn’t even sure if he could get leave, but I figured that even if he couldn’t; I was only wasting like 5 dollars!

10 minutes later; I’d convinced Kelly to come along with us [even if Chris could come]! By the end of lunch; I’d booked her ticket and we were all headed to London!

I planned the entire trip quickly and while we ended up spending a bit more than intended [Lion King sorta did our budget in], we were excited to go!

Friday, February 26 dawned and after a quick day at work, Kelly met up with us at our house around 1900 and we drove to Frankfurt Hann. Our flight out was uneventful [but loud] and we landed in London just before 2300.

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And that’s where the fun began, not.

It took the three of us 90 minutes to get through customs. The three agents that were working detained 5 people; in that time for not having the appropriate passport/visia/entrance information etc.  They kept detaining a person/couple, escorting them to the area and then never coming back.

Meanwhile, I was standing in line getting agitated because the last train into London leaves at 1230 and we really had to be on it. We finally cleared the customs and RAN down to the train, making it with 9 minutes to spare.

That was the first minor issue of the weekend. The second occurred when we got into London Liverpool and found out the underground had already shut down for the night. One of the works told us which bus to take; so we headed out to find these mysterious buses. After 15 minutes of wandering; we gave up and hailed a taxi. 30 pounds later, we were safely at our hotel after getting a bit of a tour on the way!

We checked into the hotel and crashed, as the next day would prove to be super busy!

After a proper English breakfast, we headed out to see Kensington Palace. After the palace and lunch at Byron, Chris took off to see Jersey Boys while Kelly and I had Afternoon Tea at the Tea Terrace at House of Fraser. Later that night, we met up for the Lion King!

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Sunday morning, we caught a taxi back to London Liverpool at 0430 with the train departing at 510. We grabbed some breakfast once through security and had a quick flight home! After an hour and fifteen minute drive back to our house, Kelly headed home and Chris and I crashed to take a nap.

It was a busy 28 hours in London but well-worth the adventure! The only thing that I would have done differently was stayed out by Stanstead at a hotel with a shuttle and taken the train in early Saturday/out late Sunday. It would have saved us quite a bit of money and stress.

February 26, 2016

Make a differencein your life!

One of my favorite things to do since I was a young child is volunteering. In fact, you could practically say that it’s on my blood; since my entire family has been involved in community service since before I was born. My local community service organization, Rewastico Creek Ruritan, as chartered just 3 days before my birth! I was there when it was chartered, just not born yet!12669675_10154564180702738_6000464040243993191_n

One of the items on our bucket list was for me to volunteer with RESA  for 60 hours within 6 moths! Luckily for me, that was very easy to complete as with being on the board, both general and executive as time has passed, I average 20-30 hours a month!

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Some of my favorite opportunities that I’ve gotten the chance to volunteer with RESA at are Sweet Treats, The Thrift Shop, and feeding the Fisher House!

Over the past year, I’ve logged over 300 hours and I can’t wait to see how many more I can log while making a difference in the community!

January 29, 2016

race

After my disastrous photo experience during my first half marathon, I was determined to come home with better photos of my first marathon adventure. Luckily for me, I did! After realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to run the race, I decided to just have fun and get as many photos as I could!

Here’s my top 5 tips to loving your race photos [and an additional tip for extra magic!]

Don’t stop moving when you see a photographer. The angle that the photographers on makes it very unflattering if you stop.

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2. Smile! If you are enjoying your race and having a fun, you’ll naturally have a smile on your face and the photographers will grab a shot!

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3. Keep an eye out in the areas that you think there may be a photographer. I was able to cross the road a few times because I saw a photographer far enough away to safely get across the road. Be careful, though- don’t just cut across people, particularly if they are running! Particularly at Disney, it’s hard to move in some of the congested areas!

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4. Pick an outfit you know you won’t be adjusting eight zillion times. I felt comfortable and wasn’t adjusting my outfit the entire race. During princess, I got an awesome photo of me adjusting my skirt…. It wasn’t flattering.

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5. Know what pose you like for pictures like Character stops! Over the years, I’ve pretty much perfected my character pose- hands on hips, feet either crossed or bent. During the race, my feet ended up straight a lot because I was in pain, but I kept true to my hands on hip look! I love the way I look in my photos, so it works!

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And my extra tip is one told to me by the marathon photo working at a recent expo: If you even think you might want more than one of your photos, pre-buy the deal they have at the expo. If you end up hating all of them, you can get it refunded. If you love them, like I did, you’ve got a great deal!

January 25, 2016

Chris' first marathon

Posts from the spouse: Chris’s take on the Walt Disney World Marathon

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Let me back track a few days. My leave started on the 4th, however due to availability of flights, I did not get out until Wednesday, the 6th. If we are going by EST, I was up at 830 on Tuesday night. By the time I got to BWI and then took two more flights to get to Jacksonville, it was 1am Thursday morning. After all of that, you would think I would get a day off. Unfortunately, thanks to my Mother-in-law, who suggested a 5k run/walk be added to the schedule for the Ruritan National convention, Megan and I had to run a 5k at 1pm on Thursday. For some reason I was very excited to run and when we spoke to the company that produced the course for us, it was expected that I be the pacer for the race and therefore the guinea pig to make sure the course was easy enough to understand so no one got lost. Lucky for me, the course was pretty easy to figure out and I started out in the lead, seemingly having no problems pacing for the group, seeing as how 95% were walking the course. Every few minutes I would check behind me to make sure people were following correctly. As far as I could tell there were no issues.

I got across the main street bridge and neared the half way point. At that turnaround I decided I would walk a little to let others catch up. That didn’t last too long because there was one other runner who was keeping decent pace with me. I ran until I got back to the main street bridge and then decided I would walk back up the bridge because I had built up a half decent lead on him. By the time I got down the bridge he was only about 100 yards behind me. I kept pushing, thinking there was no way I wouldn’t finish this thing first, because I had lead it the whole way. My running turned to sprinting for the last 200 yards or so. Apparently the other runner wanted to catch me. I sprinted until the end and when I finished I looked behind me to see the other runner walking towards the finish line. He came in about 30 seconds after I did, so I guess I convinced him not to race me to the finish, but I didn’t know that. Overall it was a very fun course and one I would love to do again. The only problem was I went a little too hard and my legs were just a tad sore by Sunday. I did not stretch or ice like I should have. OOPS!!!

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Back to the marathon. Sunday morning, we got up nice and early, at 2:30 and by 3:20 we were parked and napping in the car. A half hour later we made our way down to the area and met our friend, Chrissy, for the race. She and I were in the same corral and I thought she could help me keep pace. I think I slowed her down more than she’ll admit, but I could not have finished without her. We walked down to the starting line, said goodbye to Megan, who was a few corrals short of us, and then we got settled in our corral. It didn’t seem like a marathon. I felt comfortable and wasn’t too anxious to get started. It was probably because I was too tired to care. The first 7 or 8 miles were great. We ran a 2/1 run/walk until I couldn’t do too much more of that. I had my first Clif Shot at mile 7, not realizing Chrissy had one at mile 4. We slowed down a bit, but still managed a 3-hour flat half. Not bad for the little training I did. Shortly after the half way point, my right calf blew. As soon as I finished walking it off, the other one went. By the time we got over 16 miles, both of my quads had had their fill. I stopped in the middle of the course until I could walk again. That was my longest mile, at over 20 minutes long. At around the 19-mile marker we started entering the ESPN Wide World of Sports. This was the dreaded part that I was told would be terrible. It was actually one of my favorite parts. Although my 19th mile was about 19 minutes, I was able to crank out 13,16, and 14 minute miles to finish up in WWOS. I enjoyed it because of the change of track which was a lot easier on my feet along with the twists and turns that I could just get lost in. Just before I hit the 21-mile marker, I finally saw a familiar face, Megan was just entering WWOS with the balloon ladies only about 45 seconds behind her. RUN, MEGAN, RUN!

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The 21st mile, while not the slowest, we the most boring. It was almost a completely straight line with nothing to help, except the knowledge that I almost hit magical number 22. The great thing about hitting mile 22 is that about half way through it, you can no longer be swept. So long as you complete the other four miles, you will finish the race regardless of time. The miles seemed to get longer and longer, until I hit the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Entering the world showcase was a feeling I had not experienced at all during the second half of the race. Joy! The last mile was ahead of me and I could see nothing but a sea of spectators cheering us all on. Running around the Germany pavilion and sensing that I no longer had sodium in my body, I had to force myself not to run over to a couple who had bought pretzels the size of my torso and like the salt off of them. At last, I was exiting the park, meaning I was almost at the finish line. I ran, like nothing had happened, and crossed the finish line after 6 ½ hours. Tired, starving, thirsty, in pain and above all relieved that it was over. I collected my medal, sat down to eat a banana and slowly hobbled to the car. The next morning, I literally ate nearly two pounds of bacon. Amazing, salty bacon. Oh how I craved thee. Overall it was an amazing experience. I cannot thank Chrissy enough for carrying me through 16 miles and Megan, for believing in me. I cannot wait to start training for the Disneyland Paris half marathon in September to earn the inaugural castle to chatlet medal since, as Megan says, it’s all about the bling.

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