I Conquered Everest! (The race, not the mountain)

As you may have heard, we went to Disney World a couple of weeks ago and IT WAS AWESOME! We have been dying to go to Disney since having Luna, and we found the perfect excuse to plan a trip: a race. Several months ago, we signed up for the Expedition Everest Challenge. So, not only did we get to spend 4 magical days at our home away from home, but we also got to experience a magical run and after party. I think Disney runs might be my new obsession!

run disney

The Expedition Everest Challenge is a 5k through Animal Kingdom at night with obstacles and a scavenger hunt! I’ve got your interest, right? It was an extra special race because it was the 8th and final challenge. Why? I’m not sure, but I believe it has something to do with the Animal Kingdom expansion… Anyways, to prepare for the run we picked out Winnie the Pooh themed costumes. I was Pooh, Bella was Piglet and Husband was Christopher Robin. (BTW, I don’t know if Husband will ever allow me to dress him in costume for a race again… apparently Christopher Robin isn’t super cool. Whatevs. It could’ve been worse, my original plan was the three kittens from Aristocats.) We also prepared by doing Insanity Max 30 and running almost never. It’s so hard to stick to a running schedule, am I right?!

kittens
You’ve got to admit, it’s a cute idea!
Here's what we went with instead...
Here’s what we went with instead…

our group

Even without running we totally kicked butt! We ran our fastest 5k ever at 22 minutes and 51 seconds! Husband placed 15th out of individual men, Bella placed 7th and I placed 8th out of individual women. I am super proud of us, and impressed with Insanity Max 30 for keeping us in good shape. It was very intimidating to start the race in the first heat. We were surround by individuals and teams who have placed or won the challenge in previous years. Some had run every single year. We were shaking in our tutu’s, but we managed to keep up with the pack and it was a blast!

Before the race began
Before the race began

We ran through the parking lot, through the park, through three (albeit mediocre) obstacles and across the finish line. At the finish line we were handed the usual bottle of water, a cool towel and a clue! That’s right, the challenge was only halfway over. We were to solve the first clue, run to the second, give the correct answer, receive the second clue and so forth. It was not easy to keep running, but we pushed through it and took a few breaks to solve some serious clues. There were a total of 6 clues and at the second finish line we had to hold up the “hidden Yeti” with our 6 solved clues in order to cross and receive our medals. It was exhilarating and so much fun!

We did it!
We did it!

Then, the after party. We celebrated at the post-race private after party in the park. The Dinoland and Asia sections were open for us to enjoy. There were characters, open food and drink stands and rides! Yay, for rides with no lines! We rode Expedition Everest, Dinosaur and Kali River Rapids. It may have been a mistake to get soaking wet on the rapids considering it was chilly out and night time, but it was still worth it to be in Animal Kingdom at night during our own private party.

We conquered Everest!
We conquered Everest!

We didn’t get back until almost 2am. (Wild night for us lame parents.) After spending the entire day at Magic Kingdom and running all night we were EXHAUSTED! It was definitely a night to remember. In fact, it was such a good time that we are already planning our next Disney Run: The Disney Princess Half Marathon!!! (And, by “we” I mean me and Bella. Husband is thrilled to be the babysitter.) Who’s with me???

There were characters all along the course cheering us on and Mickey and Minnie were at the after party.
There were characters all along the course cheering us on and Mickey and Minnie were at the after party.

Also, who has advice? I am SO not prepared. Good thing I’ve got 9 months to whip myself into running shape!

Cheers!

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#14DaysOfMe Challenge Complete

Two weeks ago, I challenged myself to a #14daysofme challenge wherein everyday I must pick one thing I love about myself, capture it in photo and share it via social media. While aware that this may appear to be narcissistic, I did it to not only change my own inner voice, but to encourage you to change yours. Positive self-talk is one of the most effective ways to improve depression and anxiety, but it takes a lot of work to change that negative inner-voice. The #14daysofme challenge was my answer to kicking off better habits and thoughts about myself.

The first two days were easy. It’s simple to find at least two things you like about yourself, but by the third day it started getting a little challenging. I began questioning anything I liked… What if I share this and everyone thinks “really? she likes that about herself?” What if I’m wrong? What if I sound cocky? What if I don’t like anything about myself? I almost asked Husband to help me out a few times, but I never never did.  You know what? I found something everyday.

And, what’s more, everyone was super supportive. I cannot tell you how nervous I was to post each photo, but everyone single one was met with words of encouragement, agreement and even appreciation. It started getting easier to find what I like about myself. I began feeling more confident and am now very aware when that negative voice sneaks back in and tries to knock me down. THAT is a huge step in the right direction. Oh how, I hope hope hope my little challenge may have challenge one of you to do the same and change your inner voice!

By the end of the two weeks, I couldn’t stop thinking of things I like about myself. In fact, today, the final day, I had a list of things I could have shared, but after reading this beautiful essay by Glennon over at Momastery, I decided to appreciate my many faults. I highly recommend reading it if you have or know anyone who has any sort of mental illness. (addiction, anxiety, depression, etc).

Help us manage our fire, yes, but don’t try to extinguish us.Tweet: What we mentally different need is respect. Help us manage our fire, yes-but don’t try to extinguish us. @momastery http://ctt.ec/e11Cc+ ‎ That fire that almost killed us is the same fire we’ll use to light up the world. And so we don’t want you to take what we’ve got, we just want help learning how to use what we’ve got for good.  – Glennon

(Funny, how you find just what you need at the exact right moment.)

So here it is, all 14 days of me…

The challenge may be over, but it’s just the beginning to my new habit of loving and encouraging myself. What’s more, is this little boost of confidence is already empowering me to encourage and remind others how they too, are beautiful and wonderful. Like, you. You, my friend are beautiful, brave, kind and strong. And don’t you forget it.

Cheers!

Dress Each Other Challenge

A while back Husband came across an article about a girl that let her boyfriend dress her for a week. He thought it was funny and asked if I’d ever let him dress me for a week. “Sure” I responded. I mean, why not? Husband has good taste and a good sense of style. He can pick out shoes I like and manages to dress himself well. As long as there’s nothing too important happening that week, I’d let him dress me. However, we soon forgot about the article and went on with our boring dress-ourselves lives.

Fast forward a year or so and the topic came up again. This time I decided we should try it, but only if I get to dress him too. So, the day after we got back from Texas we began picking out each other’s clothes. First, we had to establish a few rules.

1. It must be weather appropriate.

2. It must be occasion appropriate.

3. My outfit has to be breast-feeding friendly.

We dressed each other from head-to-toe for 7 days, and took to Instagram to create a contest. I let my friends on Instagram vote on who dressed who best, but then I thought some of you may want to put in your two cents. So today, the last day of our contest, I am posting all 7 of our photos so you can decide for yourself…who dressed who best?

Day 1 was an immediate disaster. I do not know what is wrong with Husband. How does someone who typically dresses himself so stylish fail so miserably at dressing me?! It began with him pulling out neon and floral together and me making disgusted faces and asking “Seriously?!” After a half-hour of me being horrified and Husband getting frustrated we created a couple more rules…

4. You must wear what the other person chooses without argument.

5. The “stylist” is allowed to make changes once their person is dressed because sometimes what you think will look great just doesn’t.

It was impossibly hard for me to not critique Husband’s choices. So instead of arguing with what he pulled out of the closest I just asked a few simple questions. Questions like this…

You know that’s my lingerie drawer, right? Do you want me to wear the neon pink bra under the white shirt? Did you know it’s 40 degrees outside? So, these 5-inch heels are for the grocery store? Do I get to wear shoes? Am I supposed to breastfeed in that? Pearls? Really?

Husband was less than thrilled with me, but really… this was his first outfit

Yup, there is a corset with garters under that see-through neon top. See what I'm dealing with here?
Yup, there is a corset with garters under that see-through neon top. See what I’m dealing with here?

Thankfully, he only improved after this first attempt. Here’s Days 1 through 7.

Day 1: We both dressed each other up for a fancy family dinner.
Day 1: We both dressed each other up for a fancy family dinner.
Day 2:  We went more casual for a day of shopping and running errands.
Day 2: We went more casual for a day of shopping and running errands.
Day 3: We went in completely opposite directions.
Day 3: We went in completely opposite directions.
Day 4: the lighting in this photo is awful, but we accidentally dressed each other in the exact same colors.
Day 4: the lighting in this photo is awful, but we accidentally dressed each other in the exact same colors.
Day 5: Easter Sunday! Clearly, Luna is best dressed here.
Day 5: Easter Sunday! Clearly, Luna is best dressed here.
Day 6: It's starting to get very challenging and a little less fun.
Day 6: It’s starting to get very challenging and a little less fun.
Day 7: Hallelujah, the end!
Day 7: Hallelujah, the end!

It actually wasn’t too bad to have my Husband dress me for a week. It was kind of a relief to not worry about what I was going to wear. Plus, he got me to wear some things I have neglected forever. But, let’s talk about what really matters…who won? Please vote “Hil” if you think I’m the best stylist and vote “Pete” if Husband is the best. We are both too competitive and we need a winner. Although, we haven’t decided what the winner/loser gets…any suggestions?

Vote for me!

Cheers!

 

 

10 Minute Prenatal Booty Workout

10 minute

I am happy to say that at 30 weeks pregnant I am still working out 6 days a week and loving the effect it has had  on my changing body. I’m not exactly trying to lose weight, but I’m staying toned and preventing too much weight gain. I sleep better, feel better (emotionally and physically) and keep my anxiety in check by keeping up with my daily workouts. Now that I am getting slightly uncomfortable and less graceful in my pregnancy I’ve had to seriously adjust my workouts. My abilities and energy levels changed on a day-to-day basis now!

Lately I have combined my love for Shaun T’s workouts, Pilates, yoga and dance to create my own prenatal-friendly daily workouts! I typically workout from home and I have very little equipment, so I decided to create workouts that use little space and absolutely no workout tools! If you have weights, bands or balls at home then  feel free to add them in for an extra challenge. THAT’s the great thing about working out at home, you can adjust any workout to your own needs.

Today I will be focusing on glutes, and like one prenatal exercise DVD recently told me “your glutes are you booty muscles!”…just in case you didn’t know. WARNING: I live with very spoiled pets that demand attention at all times. So, they are pictured in almost every photo…little hams! Also, I had attempted something new with my hair in the morning and it ended up looking a little like Shirley Temple. Try not to let it distract you.

Here’s my “10 minute Prenatal Booty Workout”! (Although, I believe this can be used for non-preggo friends too!)

1. Squats (2 minutes) 

Squats are quite possibly my favorite move ever. There are so many different kinds of squats to keep your workout varied, they can be easily modified or enhanced AND it does wonders for that booty. Try 1 minute of regular squats and then one minute of tiny pulses at the bottom. To modify, you can put a resistance ball between your lower back and the wall. For a challenge, add some weights or bands and lift as you squat. Don’t forget to dig deep as you squat and try to get below 90 degrees! If you get bored you can squat with your feet closer together or extra wide.

squats squats2

2. Lunges (2 minutes)

Another classic that’s simple to adjust… Try standing with feet together and alternating squats, right then left. Do these for one minute. After, hold a low lunge on the right side and pulse for 30 seconds. Switch, and try it on the left! To modify, you can hold onto a wall or chair for balance, elevate your front foot or use a smaller range of motion. Doing one leg at a time will be a bit easier too. For a challenge, add those weights or bands and lift as you lunge! You can also try stepping out to the diagonal to mix things up a bit. *Remember to keep your knee directly over your ankle as you lunge. Do NOT let your knee move over your toes.

feet together alternate side lunge

3. Pilates Leg Lifts (2 or 4 minutes)

Woohoo, now you get to lie on your side! Lie on your right side, keep you hips stacked on top of one another, rest your head in your right hand and keep your left hand in front of your belly. Do leg lifts for one minute. Be sure to squeeze your glutes and try to keep your hips from swaying, hold that core! Now, switch to your left side. To modify, you can add a ball or rolled up towel under your armpit for more stability. For a challenge, add on! Circle the leg to the front for 30 seconds AND the back for 30 seconds.

pilates leg lifts stack hips

4. Booty lifts (1 minute)

Lie on your back, bend your knees and let your arms lie flat by your sides. Squeeze your butt and press your belly up. Do full lifts for 30 seconds, then pulse it up for 30 seconds. Be sure to keep your shoulders, hips and knees in line as you lift. To modify, you can use a smaller range of motion or simply take a break. For a challenge, extend one leg and keep lifting, but don’t forget to switch legs half-way through!

booty lifts

belle
Get out of here Belle!

squeeze

5. Leg Extension with a Twist (2 minutes)

Get on all fours, knees directly under hips, and hands directly under shoulders. Bring your right knee in towards the left elbow, then extend back and to the diagonal. Repeat for one minute and of course, switch sides. To modify, skip the twist. Bring your knee straight in and straight back. For a challenge, add an arm lift. Bring your elbow towards you knee and extend your arm out as your leg extends back.

leg extensions extend

Stretch: This stretch requires balancing, so if you are feeling unstable at this point find something to hold onto as you stretch. Stand on your left foot and cross your right foot over your left knee. Bend down, lean forward and feel the stretch in your glutes. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides.

stretch

BONUS: Plie Squats! If this ten minute workout simply wasn’t enough then add on the plie bonus. Open your legs wide, turn your toes out and bend down to a 90 degree squat. Keep your back up right and arms out straight to the side. Plie squat for 30 seconds. NOW, for a serious challenge, add some pulses. Pulse low for 30 seconds. Lift your left heel and pulse for 30 and lift your right heel and pulse for 30. Finally, lift both heels and pulse for 30 seconds!

bonus right heel both heels

You did it!

woohoo

This ten minute workout is great for your pregnant butt, but don’t forget to get in some cardio today. Walking on the hills around my neighborhood with my little dog is one my favorite ways to get in some cardio and extra gluteal work.

for two

If you are working out and pregnant PLEASE be sure to stay safe and follow my Ten Tips for Prenatal Exercising. Keep it up Mama’s!

prenatal exercise

Let me know what you think of this workout and what future workouts you would like to see.

*Update: Since having Luna, I’ve created more “10 Minute workouts with a toddler“. Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you and your new little one can continue exercising and having fun together!

Cheers!