Wednesday, June 22, 2016

First Look - Lucky's Market Orlando

For a long time I have been saying that the East Orlando area needed some sort of natural foods market. While we have a number of Publix Stores, a Super Target and even a Winn Dixie, but there is no where with a good selection of organic/alternative options. This was especially frustrating when E needed to drink goats milk. The only place I could find it was at Whole Foods or Trader Joes. Neither of which are close.

When it was announced that a Lucky's Market was coming to our part of town, and that the store was a cross between Whole Foods and Trader Joes, I was pretty excited. It is located on a corner that I drive past pretty frequently, so I watched as they made progress on the store.

The stars aligned and I was able to check it out on opening day. (Yeah, I am a giant nerd, but I spend a decent chunk of time at the grocery store each week. The more pleasant the experience the better.)

My first impression is that this is going to be an amazing addition to East Orlando. Lots of nice produce, a ton of local products, a great cheese and meat selection, a bar with coffee and other delicious items (hello Kombucha on tap), and the option of beer or wine while you shop.

Yummy Cheese

Pineapple Ginger Kombucha

My second impression is that our grocery bill is going to go up. There are a lot more impulse items I want at this store than others in the area. (Hello fancy cheeses). That said, their prepared food items should offer a nice alternative to take out for the nights that cooking isn't going to happen.

Lots of options
Check back with me in a month or so and I can let you know if my initial impressions were on target. I know I will be shopping here at least for a while.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thank You to the Fathers

Today is Father's Day. It is a day of mixed emotions for me. My father passed away a few years ago, and that scar is opened a bit on days like today. He shaped me to be the person that I am today. He worked hard, but also showed me what an involved father was.

I wish Ellie could have known her Grandpa for longer.

That hurt is lessened a bit watching my husband be a father to E. As any parent will tell you, this parenting gig is no joke. It is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of patience and understanding. I am thankful that I have an amazing partner to share the load. 

This Father's day I would like to give a big thank you to all the fathers out there who are involved and active with their kids, but especially my husband. I probably don't say it enough, but thank you for everything you do.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Too Close to Home

Sadly it seems like mass shootings and terror attacks seem to occur more and more often. My heart went out to those in Paris and Brussels and I know that there are places in the world where attacks and violence are far too common. But this weekend, it hit far too close to home.

The news can give you the details, but a gunman killed 50 people and injured many more at a nightclub in Orlando this weekend. This was after another shooting the previous night.

I am a transplant, but have lived in Orlando for going on 14 years, give or take, so it is as much my home as anywhere else. It was only one venue, but it feels like the city as a whole, my city, was attacked.

Now, my clubbing days are long gone and the same goes for many of my friends (toddlers will do that), but one of the best things about Orlando is that it is a big-small town. That means that you know a lot more people than you realize and my heart goes out to the victims and their families. 

This type of attack, this close to home makes me wonder about the world. The world we are creating for my daughter and all those her age. One small glimmer of hope in all of this is that the people of Orlando have responded with positivity and strength.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Tips for Summer Running

Just in case you hadn't noticed...summer is here. Especially in central Florida. It seems like summer came overnight this year. One day it was warm, but manageable, and the next is was a total sweat fest. (It may just be that I didn't run much in May because of travel and a sick child.)
Time to sweat it out.

Living in Orlando, I train in what many people would consider summer conditions pretty much year round. Couple that with a constantly changing schedule and I have had to figure out how to run in pretty much all conditions. Here are some things I have learned about training when it is hot. (Please note: I am not a doctor or a trainer, so please research what works for you.)

Run Early or Late

It is going to be cooler when the sun is not beating down, so if you can go before the sun comes up or after it goes down it helps. Unfortunately E doesn't sleep very consistently, so early morning runs are an option for me.

Visors are your Friends

If you have to run in the sun, a visor is a huge help. It keeps the sun off your face, absorbs sweat, but still lets your head breath. 

BodyGlide will Keep your Skin Happy is never fun, but often a consequence of summer running. BodyGlide has made running in the heat so much better. No more painful bra lines.

Ban Cotton

I still remember when my husband, boyfriend at the time, convinced me to purchase my first tech fabric workout gear. It made running outside in the heat so much more comfortable. I couldn't imagine going back. (Little did he know that this would kick off a whole workout clothes buying problem.)

Find a Sunscreen that Sticks

Make sure you are protecting your skin. Finding a sunscreen that sticks and doesn't irritate your skin is huge. I like babyganics, but there are a ton on the market.

Replenish with Electrolytes

When the temperatures start to climb, I need something more than plain water when I am done. Something that helps replenish the lost electrolytes is key to not feeling dead for most of the day. Finding the right product for this one has been a challenge. I am not a fan of most of the sports drinks because of the taste or ingredients. I like Nuun and have been playing around with Coconut water.  

Think about a Hydration Loop

I hate carrying things with me when I run, but I need water on long runs, so I created a loop that brings me back to my water every 2 or 3 miles. That way I can stop and grab a drink, but don't have to carry a bottle. (Warning: this can feel a bit repetitive.) I know people who use trails or other routes with water stops as a solution too.
I don't mind summer running, but I know it is not for everyone. Hopefully these will help you to embrace training in the heat and enjoy the speed benefit when the temperature drops.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Managing the Rungery

Not only is today National Running Day and Global Running Day, but it is the start of half marathon training for me. I am excited to get back to running with a goal and a purpose in mind. I am also a little nervous, because I haven't had a great training cycle since before I got pregnant.

I have been working the past few months on building a solid strength foundation before upping the mileage. To add to that, my training plan is also built with some additional base building before the mileage really starts to climb

One of my biggest struggles during training is the rungerys. As I start running more, I get crazy hungry and my sweet tooth is a bit out of control. The past few years I haven't been great about monitoring my nutrition during training, and I think that some improvements can be made.

A big focus for me is going to be increasing my protein intake and decreasing the number of sweets I eat. That is why I am excited about the new Chobani Simply 100 Crunch line of yogurt. I am a big Chobani fan already and  and these offer a nice treat with a good amount of protein (10g per container) and just enough sweet to satisfy my sweet tooth. (You can find out more about Chobani Simply 100 here.)

The Simply 100 Crunch yogurts are great because they are one of my favorite things (yogurt and topping) all in one package. With flavors such as Mango Cone Crisp, Blueberry Cookie Crumble and Strawberry Chocolate Truffle there are some great options for my sweet tooth.

Even when training, keeping weight in check is a balance between eating and activity. These are a nice 100 calorie treat to balance with my workouts. If running is not your thing, there are lots of ways to burn a 100 extra calories in a day. My friends at Chobani have outlined a few. (Playing with E at the park or in the pool are some of my favorites.)

(Disclaimer: Chobani provided some of the information for this post, but all opinions are my own.)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

If I Could Ask Why?

Without a doubt we are fully into the "why" stage with E. I thought everyone was exaggerating when they talked about this stage of development, but yeah, no exaggeration happening. It is all "why" all the time.

While I love E's curiosity, sometimes I can't answer "why" 10 times before we make it out of our subdivision (we are talking about a quarter mile here). There are also many times when I just don't know the answer and I don't want to give her wrong information.

All of this got me thinking...what if I could ask E why? Here are some of the questions on my list.
  • Why is asking you to potty before bed the end of the world?
  • Why do you like to put food in between your toes and then eat it? (Yeah, she is gross.)
  • Why do you like to lick everything, like counters and the railings at Disney? (I told you she was gross.)
  • Why is 5:45 a.m. an appropriate time to wake up....every day? 
  • Why does it seem like a good idea to jump from the coffee table to the couch?
  • Why is kicking off your shoes an appropriate response to being angry? 
  • Why do you like to eat toothpaste? (Even the mint kind.)
  • Why are you obsessed with everyone's naked booty (even when we are all fully clothed)?
  • Why is picking up your toys the end of the world?
  • Why do you ask why about everything? 
  • Why do you have to grow up so fast? (It seems like I blink and she is bigger)
I joke about all the why questions we are answering right now, but I hope that E never looses her curiosity. Exploring the world is fun and the world would probably be a better place if we asked "why?" a little more often.   

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Making a Masterpiece

Sorry that things were quiet here last week. A crazy week and a sick toddler is a terrible combination for a part-time blogger, but this week I have something fun.

One thing that I didn't realize when we bought our house is how much wall space we would have. We added some square footage when we bought our house, but tall ceilings and an open floor plan mean a whole different scale to deal with. When we moved in, it was a large giant blank canvas.

Last fall we painted the interior of the house and that added a little personality. I started to look at unique and interesting things to add to the wall, but quickly realized that our budget was not going to get me a whole lot.

I am the world's least crafty person (craft stores tend to give me an anxiety attack), so I was a little nervous when I decided it would be a good idea to have Ellie help me make some art. My idea was to have her finger paint on canvas. (Yeah, what could go wrong with that.)

Before I could back out, I bought some canvases and paint. My husband helped me pick colors that went with the furniture and accessories we already had in the room. Then those items sat in our office for a few months, because it takes forever to get projects done with a toddler.

I finally got around to painting the canvases white so the fun could begin. One Saturday morning we headed out to our backyard and let E use her hands to create a painting. We started with the dark blue, then did the turquoise and then some additional dark blue. It was a lot of fun and E seemed to enjoy herself. We even picked her up and let her be a brush to go across all the paintings.

I let the blue dry for about a week. Then had E add some copper accents to go with a couple of lamps in the room. 

Another week and some picture hangers later we had a masterpiece above our sofa. (Okay, so it may not be a masterpiece for everyone, but I love it.)

Our one of a kind art

It may have taken us a few weeks to get all the blue paint off of E's nails, but that was the only fall out from this project. In my world, that is a huge win. Now we have some fun art and a great story behind it.