Archives for June 2013

Splitsville Luxury Lanes: Downtown Disney

When I was visiting Walt Disney World in February, I had the pleasure of speaking with the owners of the recently opened Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney.

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At first glance, many will think it’s “just a bowling alley”, but the truth is it is so much more. The pictures and my descriptions really don’t even do it justice, you will have to go check it out for yourself. It truly has a “wow” factor that can’t be explained. However, I will do my best to convince you that this is a must do on your next visit to Disney World.

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I started my morning at Splitsville with a tour of building. WOW is honestly the first word that pops into my head. There is so much to look at, you could come back 100 times and still notice new details on every visit. I had the privilege of interviewing Guy, one of the owners. Guy explained Splitsville to me as a mix of hip and retro with a fun sensory overload.

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Owners Guy and Mark were college roommates. When they came up with the idea of Splitsville, they wanted the customers to walk in and be wowed. To love the entertainment, atmosphere and the food…then say “oh, and by the way, we went bowling, too.” The claim to fame here is actually the food, and it did not disappoint (try the nachos, you will be blown away!) The menu is huge and you will find something for even the pickiest of eaters, like me.

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A lot of the portions of the food are made to be sharable. Unlike traditional locations for bowling, you can actually eat at your lane while you bowl. You will find fare such as nachos and hamburgers, as well as fancy dishes like mouth watering steak and even sushi! The food here is very fresh (hand tossed fresh pizza dough for example). There are two kitchens, several bars, and plenty of places to dine. They also have an amazing drink menu, with my favorite being the birthday cake martini complete with sprinkles dotting the rim of the glass.

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Hands down, my favorite places to enjoy a meal are the outside tables. I have eaten both out on the downstairs patio where you can sometimes be entertained by a live band, or upstairs on the covered balcony, complete with it’s own bar and breathtaking views of Downtown Disney.

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My husband Bobby and I enjoyed dinner on the upstairs balcony in April

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I had never been to a two story bowling alley, so riding up the escalator was very cool. During the day families of all sizes come to enjoy themselves, and at night the upstairs lanes become more fun for the “big kids” like me.

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There are pool tables, the second kitchen, as well as more places to dine upstairs.DSC_0678

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There is a podium to walk up to if you would like to bowl, and one if you are there to only eat. If you choose to dine in, there are several different options for seating. (Inside, outside, balcony, etc.) It was a gorgeous day, so we chose to eat and have our interview outside on the downstairs patio.

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It was great to just sit and people watch while enjoying our food, and the company. I really enjoyed hearing about the story behind Splitsville and their vision for the future.

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Guy spoke with enthusiasm about reinventing bowling for America. They are about good food as well as good entertainment, and wanted a hip carnival atmosphere for customers.

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He also talked a lot about teamwork, and the employees seemed to be a tight knit bunch. Everyone was so friendly and went out of their way to greet us and make sure we had everything we needed. You can tell they all take pride in their workplace.

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Guy also mentioned the possibility of more Splitsvilles popping up around the country. There are already locations in Texas and Virginia, as well as two other Florida locations. I know they would love to expand to Disneyland in California as well.

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When I went back to Disney with my parents in May, I took them to Splitsville for lunch and some bowling. We had a great time and can’t wait to go back next time we are in town. It was truly one of the highlights of my trip.

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I had a great time learning more about this great place and hope to be back for a visit soon!

Splitsville Luxury Lanes is located in Downtown Disney’s West Side area. You can learn more about pricing and hours on their website. You can also follow them on Twitter.

QOTD: Have you been to Splitsville? What looks the most awesome to you about this place? Do you like to bowl?

June Photo Dump

Good morning! I didn’t get home until 10:00 last night, so the great post I was working on isn’t going up until tomorrow because I needed more time on it. So today you get a “wordless Wednesday” of sorts (just ignore that I’m using words RIGHT NOW….ok so I will caption them…) and see some of the photos I am dumping into my computer from my phone. Some have appeared on Instagram, some haven’t.

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Sweet girl

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Give me caffeine

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Pink kind of day

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Father’s Day delivery

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Sunset off the balcony

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Post run cool down, it was 92 degrees and 88% humidity.

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Golf outing

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QOTD: Which pic is your favorite? Is your photo album CONSTANTLY full like mine because you have too many pictures on your phone?

What’s Beautiful: Blogger Inspiration

This post is sponsored by Under Armour through Fitfluential

I have been posting a good bit about the Under Armour What’s Beautiful Campaign here on THLG, and I wanted to give you an update on where I am with my goal.

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I aim to inspire people of all walks of life and at all fitness levels. I think everyone should feel welcome in our community, and should feel encouraged and inspired by others to reach their goals.

So, I thought what better way to get the message out about inspiring people than to enlist some amazing female bloggers who are also a part of the What’s Beautiful competition. They have all agreed to do SOMETHING this week to inspire others. Let’s see how many people we can reach and keep the inspiration going. Pass it on!

Cristina:

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“I will get four people to do this with me tomorrow.”

Erin:

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“I will encourage as many people as I can to get up earlier at least once this week and workout!”

Stephanie:

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“I will inspire other busy mom’s to prioritize time for themselves to be healthy. I will do this not through words, but through actions.”

Suzi:

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“My goal is to successfully complete my yoga course so that I can inspire my clients to try something new as I offer free Yoga classes over the summer.”

Natalie:

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“I will encourage a friend to lace up and go running”

Jennifer:

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“I will leap outside my comfort zone of fitness and encourage someone to try new things!”

Coco:

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“Show friends on Facebook not to be afraid of getting sweaty”

Amy:

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“I will encourage my step daughter to run with me”

Presley:

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“I will inspire my family members to make smarter, healthier choices every day this week!”

One simple act of inspiration is all it could take to get someone moving! Will you help me pass it on? If YOU need encouragement or inspiration be sure to visit one of these ladies’ blogs and follow their What’s Beautiful profiles. You can join the What’s Beautiful Competition, join my team, and help inspire other people!

QOTD: What is a simple way you can inspire someone this week? What about something with social media?

Favorite Race Photos

Ah, race photos. We love them, we hate them. We pray that we will get at least one good one where our faces aren’t contorted and we don’t look like we are one step from death. A great race photo is in fact a rare thing. I have run many, many races in just a few shot years and only have a small handful of race photos I actually like. Below is my all time favorite, taken at the runDisney Princess half marathon in 2012. I’m smiling, and my body isn’t in a weird position. To be fair, I didn’t “race” this race which is why I look all fresh and happy….but still, it counts, and remains my all-time favorite.

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I wanted to share some of my favorites with you, but first I thought it would be fun to share some not so great ones. To be honest, these aren’t terrible because well…I don’t keep the crappy ones, but the reasons why I dislike a lot of these has to do with the race itself and the memories the photo brings back. So I will share some of my least favorite that I still have, then some of my favorites (and why). here we go!

Least favorites:

Run for Life half marathon October 2010. This was my 3rd half marathon, and it was in early October in Mississippi = HOT. It didn’t start until 9:00, so temps were already in the 80’s and sunny, with no shade. I was determined to PR, even though it was the first half I had run by myself and I was a bit nervous. I almost got hit by a car that didn’t stop when the police officer said to, and I was BORED to tears by this course. I thought I would die of a heat stroke, and it was my first experience with a big mental battle during a race. I still remember fighting back and forth in my mind about stopping and walking. I won the mental battle, and was rewarded with a 3 minute PR. But I hated that race if you can’t tell by the look on my face.

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Gulf Coast Half Marathon 2011, Mandeville, LA. I ran with TNT and got a 4 minute PR. This race was fun but I was stupid and forgot to wear sunglasses. We ran the length of the lakefront directly into the sun and it blinded me, as you can see. I look a little goofy….

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Women’s Half Marathon December 2012, Baton Rouge, LA. Ah, the heartbreaker. I was primed to PR, but it was when I was struggling with calf cramps. This was one of those races where I just didn’t “feel it” from the very beginning and knew it would be a long race. I missed my PR by less than a minute if I remember correctly, and was pretty unhappy as I crossed the finish line. Isn’t THAT a pretty face.

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August 2011, Rock n Roll Providence Half Marathon. Oy. This was the inaugural race, and I was VERY out of shape. I worked the runnngskirts.com booth and was exhausted with tired legs, not to mention since it was August I was NOT in half marathon shape. Of course I had to run anyway even though I knew my time would suck on this hilly course. To make matters worse, I was going to barely make my plane, and the race STARTED LATE and then it monsooned, MONSOONED rain the ENTIRE 13.1 miles. It was so, so miserable. I was soaked to the bone for days it seemed. I just wanted this race to be over! You can tell in the puddles in the photo that it was raining and well, my shirt isn’t supposed to be that color. My skirt almost started to slide down it was so heavy with water!

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Now that THAT ugly part is over, here are some of my favorites:

Princess marathon weekend Tangled 5k, 2011. Ran with some fellow bloggers and had SO much fun, which I think is pretty obvious.

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This picture is from the Women’s half I spoke of earlier, but threw this one in because it’s actually a decent picture.

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Ah, my first marathon, 2011 Disney marathon. We took it slow and had a blast.

 

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Princess half marathon 2013. Love this because 1.) Running in a costume is awesome 2.) It was a SUPER fun race 3.) Where my current PR stands. I am waving like a princess running down main street. It was SO humid that morning, I was already drenched at this point.

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Disney marathon 2013. Another fun race, the second leg of Goofy’s challenge, running through Animal Kingdom. I knew I was going to make it, and was enjoying myself!

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Rock n Roll New Orleans 2012. This finish line photo shows me on the brink of exhaustion, but it  means a lot to me because I pushed SO hard to PR in this race. I worked the expo again for running skirts, so was pretty tired. Bobby paced me because I wanted to PR so badly. I remember pushing so hard at the end and telling him I didn’t think I could do it, but I did somehow! We were blessed with great weather that day, too.

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Disneyland half marathon 2012. You can just SEE how much fun I am having in this picture. I loved running in California, NO HUMIDITY! I was ecstatic, I didn’t know what to do with myself, Running was SO much easier. We weren’t even trying and I was just a few minutes off a PR just because I could breath. It was a very cool race.

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Disney half marathon 2010. This one means a lot because it was my VERY FIRST half marathon. I knew nothing about running then and had JUST started to blog and read blogs. It was freezing that day, 23 degrees and sleeting. My pigtails had hardened and had ice on them. I have never been so cold. But we did it and it started an addiction to runDisney.

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Again, not for the race but for the photo. This race was actually a disaster, the day after I got off a cruise and was land sick. I ran this race nauseated the whole time and ended up in urgent care after. Oh joy. But I like the picture! I look relatively normal.

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Jazz half marathon 2012. I really enjoyed this race up until mile 9 when I had my first calf cramping episode ever. I was actually feeling great and smiling the whole time and just enjoying myself and the race, it was such a great feeling and makes me remember why I run in the first place.

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So there you have it, some of the worst and some of the best of my race photo collection.

*You can find recaps to all these races and more on my races page under “running”.

QOTD: Do you ever buy race photos? Do you judge a race photo by just how it looks or also from the memories of the race it brings back? Would you be interested if I did a post on reader’s best and worst race photos?

Weekly Workout Recap: June Week 2

Morning lovelies! This week I slowly started to get back to running. My knee still gets sore after, but it isn’t really bothering me when I run.

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Love my new hearts! Get 15% your runningskirts.com order with code “SKIRTSASS”

I am going to continue to stretch and strengthen plus foam roll and hope it all works itself out. Even though I did slowly start running again this week. I made sure to take more rest days so I didn’t overdo it on my body. I wasn’t feeling good this week so I let myself sleep 9 hours at night and took a nap on Saturday after my run. It was glorious. Here is what the week looked like:

Sunday: rest

Monday: 1 hour elliptical, weights

Tuesday: 2 miles outside, weights

Wednesday: rest

Thursday: weights, 30 minutes stationary bike

Friday: rest

Saturday: 4 miles outside with Bobby

I am hoping to go back to body pump this week and just take it easy with the lunges/squats and any twisting around. Also Hopefully I will run a five miler on Saturday as my long run, as well as two shorter runs in the week. Fingers crossed I keep healing up and getting stronger!

Also, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the dads (and fur dads) out there! I am so thankful for my dad and everything he has done for me and my family over the years!

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QOTD: Would you rather sleep for 3 hours a night on a comfy bed or as long as you want on a cold hard floor?

Golf Outing

On Thursday, Bobby and I hit a local golf course because Bobby had a couple for 9 free holes of golf the course sent him on his birthday. It was a hot afternoon, but we figured it was as good a time as any.

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I of course was the official driver and locator of golf balls in the trees. Smile Poor Bobby doesn’t get to practice as much as he would like. He hasn’t played in a year!

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It was an older course that wasn’t in great shape…but really for free I wasn’t going to complain, but wow it was bad. At some parts, the path just disappeared and you went off into the grass until it reappeared again. There were tree roots going all through the course, and the sand traps had more grass in them than sand. Oy.

However, I did have fun zipping around in the cart and keeping score for Bobby. I also got to putt a few times. I’m not too shabby, but let’s also say I have no future in golf.

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I also got to try out my snazzy new Under Armour shoes. Love them, way cool.

It was a fun way for the two of us to spend a couple of hours together just goofing off and having fun. We are hoping to go back and do the same thing next week. Maybe we will wait until about 6:00 instead of 2:30. I was ready for some air conditioning!

QOTD: Do you play golf, or ride in the cart? Hate golf all together?

Disney Fantasy: Palo Dinner

I cut part 4 short because I wanted Palo dinner to have it’s own post.

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I am glad I am writing this one after dinner, or I would be dying to eat all of the delicious food! If you have been on a Disney cruise and have not dined at Palo you are missing out on a great experience. I can’t believe we waited this long to do it!

We checked in and waited in the waiting area for only about 3-4 minutes, when Ivan, the server we had for Palo brunch appeared! I was so happy we had him again, it felt more comfortable since we had already seen him before and he knew what we liked.

We had a great table facing outward towards the ocean, it was nice and cozy. Just like at brunch, I loved how we didn’t feel rushed at all. We ordered our drinks and enjoyed the view while Ivan brought us some antipasti (I have no idea why I don’t have photos of this!) Ivan did a great job of explaining everything, and I tried some things I have never had before.

Ivan also did a great job of explaining everything on the menu to us. After appetizers we were also brought a lemon sorbet palate cleanser.

Bobby ordered some kind of shrimp

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Veal

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tuna

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I had white bean soup (not pictured) and  Beef tenderloin. I can only speak for what I ordered, but the soup and beef were both excellent! There were two sauces for the beef and I liked them both, so delicious!

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Of course soufflé with vanilla gelato and chocolate and vanilla sauce. Holy yum. So rich but so delicious.

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Ivan prepared mine for me. It was amazing. I am so glad I left room for this dessert. My hands down favorite of the whole week.

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Again, we were never rushed, and loved how our waiter only had one maybe two other tables so we got taken care of very well. We will definitely be back!

Here are a few things to remember about Palo:

– Palo is an adults only restaurant. That’s why God made kid’s clubs. Smile

-Reservations for Palo can be made online for cruise guests:   Concierge Guests: 120 days in advance
Platinum Castaways: 120 days in advance
Gold Castaways: 105 days in advance
Silver Castaways: 90 days in advance
First Time Cruiser: 75 days in advance

-It costs a little extra to eat at Palo, but SO worth it! Brunch and dinner are both $20* per person.

(*price has since gone up to $30 per person but still worth it!)

– There is a dress code to dine at Palo. We like to dress up anyway so it was no problem, but make sure you pack something appropriate if you plan to dine here!

-Palo holds back some reservations on the boat for when you embark, so if you couldn’t get a reservation online be sure to visit Palo asap to try to snag a reservation once you get on the ship.

QOTD: Are you more likely to try a food you have never liked before at home or at a restaurant, like me?

*I would love to get you a cruise quote! Email [email protected] for details

Triathlon: Bobby’s View

Bobby took over my blog for the day, I hope you enjoy his point of view!

Each year our neighborhood hosts a triathlon. Two years ago we spectated, and last year we volunteered. I’ve been saying for more than the past two years that I wanted to do a triathlon, but I somehow still managed to surprise Heather when I told her that I was actually going to do it.

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Granted the shock was probably due to…well this is how the conversation went:

Me: “I’m going to do the Tradition triathlon this year.”

Heather: “What?! It’s less than two months away and you haven’t trained, don’t have a wetsuit, or even a bike!”

I was tired of putting it off and this was the perfect opportunity. Besides, I have been lifting weights and running for years and this was only a sprint tri, how hard could it be? Okay, so I’m not completely oblivious. I know that anytime you participate in an athletic event that your body is not used to, it’s tough.

For those who don’t know, a sprint tri is short. Mine was one lap around the lake = 600 yards, a 17ish mile bike ride, and a 5k (3.1 mile) run. I knew that I could handle the run and I bike at the gym often, so it was really just adding in a swim. I began training as much as I could. I ordered a wetsuit and had Jen’s husband, Jeff, help me pick out a bike. By the time I had everything, the triathlon was a month out.

Swimming… is a bit different over long distances than doing laps in there pool where I pause between each one and catch my breath. I found this out by participating in a training day with the local running club. Rather than describe that painful experience, let’s just say I ended up watching YouTube videos on proper swim technique and doing how-to-breath exercises in the pool. I joined the club again for a bike/run brick workout (brick workouts are doing two of the events in one training session for those who, like me until recently, didn’t know that) and felt confident I could at least complete the tri.

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Heather did a write up on the day of the event that you can read here: http://heatherslookingglass.com/bobbys-first-triathlon/

I’ll simply add a few comments. I finished and was okay with my time. Something I didn’t do well was transitions. Apparently this is NOT the time when you sit down, rest, take a few drinks, dry off five times, and enjoy the scenery. I refuse to admit to the actual time it took me in my transitions, especially after seeing the posted times of everyone else, but let’s just say there is PLENTY of room for improvement.

The swim was the hardest part for me. The wetsuit made it easier, but I still need to work on breathing. I had a hard time keeping oxygenated and had to flip over and back stroke a few times. Even with that, my time was good because I can swim relatively fast for a 200+ pounder between the breaks. The bike was the easiest part, and the course was pleasant. The run was doable, though it was a crazy experience getting to run on legs that felt one part Jello and one part cement, at least for the first mile. Oh the sound of feet flopping around.

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It was an overall good time and I plan to do more in the future. I like the distance of the sprint tri because it doesn’t make me feel like death, but is still challenging. I simply don’t have the time, or the desire for that matter, to put in the training it would take to do something like an Ironman, so I’ll stick with the short ones. If you are like I was and want to do one, just sign up and go for it.

I’ll leave you with this video I took during my training:

QOTD: What do you wish you knew about running or a tri before your first race that you learned the hard way?

Harmonic Shampoo and Conditioner Giveaway

I’m owning it, I am the worst blogger of the week. A lllooonnggg time ago I was contacted to try out the Harmonic shampoo and conditioner. It somehow got pushed away, out of sight out of mind and I never followed up with her on the product. Luckily we were able to touch base so I could host a review and giveaway because y’all, this stuff rocks!

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Saying a hair product is awesome means a lot coming from me because I am NOT a “hair” person. If you know me at all, you know my hair is in a wad or ponytail 99.9% of the time. I straighten it maybe 10 times a year, and don’t pay any extra attention or care when it comes to what products I use. However, after using Harmonics products, my eyes have been opened! I LOVE this stuff!

It is an anti-aging, antioxidant rich, volumizing, super smooth, non-frizzy and nourishing shampoo. It is formulated without sulfates, parabens, silicones, ethoxylates, PEG, phthalates, and synthetic fragrances. Every hair type can use it, and it rids hair of build-up, leaving hair in its cleanest, purest form.

My favorite two things about this product: 1.) It smells AMAZING and 2.) It makes my hair softer than it has EVER been before in my entire life. I am officially obsessed. SO having good smelling shampoo that makes my hair feel great but is also non toxic and good for me? Yes please!

Intelligent Nutrients was kind enough to offer a giveaway to one THLS reader! One of you will receive a Harmonic shampoo and conditioner ($46 value).

Follow the rafflecoptor instructions below to enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Plans.

Something I have really been struggling with lately is planning. I can’t help it. It’s part of who I am, what I do for a living, and what I enjoy. However, this character trait of mine can easily become a negative thing in m life if I let it get too far ahead.

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What do I mean? I mean sometimes in life we can plan and plan and plan, and when something doesn’t go exactly the way we had it envisioned in our heads, we get all bent out of shape. Well my friends, this has happened to me more times than I can count. Hear me. I’m not saying you should sit around and wait for things to happen and never get anything done, of course not. However, sometimes I feel like I push so much to get on to the next thing or part of life, that I get ahead of God, and the plans HE has for my life.

It’s so easy for me to have goals, wants, and dreams in my head. But in my life, practically nothing I “dreamed about” happening happened EXACTLY like I pictured it. The funny thing about it is a lot of the things that DID end up happening are way BETTER than I had planned them out myself. Shouldn’t that tell us something? God’s plans are SO much bigger and better than our little pea brains can even comprehend.

So then we say ok…”then why won’t God just TELL me His plans, so I will know what I am supposed to do.” Oh boy, I ask this one all the time. But the truth is, I am *gulp* glad I don’t know everything, because I would probably have run away screaming. If I knew I was going to move from a town I loved, if I knew my husband and I would have to deal with family betrayal and pain, and if I knew about 100 other things we have struggled with I would have been hiding under a table with my eyes closed hoping it was all a bad dream.

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Friends, sometimes God DOESN’T reveal everything to us to protect us. He knows just how much we can handle in that moment, and wants to lead us step by step to the next thing when we are ready to handle it. Sometimes it is so frustrating, but I hope to be able to look back one day and see things happened just the way they were supposed to in just the right time they were supposed to.

I am  glad it’s not up to me to plan every little detail of my life, because I would fail miserably. Sometimes we need to remember to not jump ahead, sit back and relax, and watch things unfold in the proper time. I know it will be worth it!

Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.

QOTD: Are you a planner like me? Do you ever get frustrated when things don’t go according as planned or don’t happen as quickly as you would like?