Archives for December 2017

The 8 Best Tips for Beginner Runners

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure on the bottom right sidebar for more details.

Running is a great way to stay in shape or even lose weight if you wish, but a lot of people just don’t know where to start. I have been distance running for eight years, and while not the fastest person ever, I do have some words of wisdom to share for beginners. Check out my 8 very best tips below.

 

1.) Start slow: one of the reasons people think running is such a daunting task is they feel the pressure to run a marathon–like tomorrow. First of all, that would be crazy, and second of all, you may never run a marathon and that’s totally fine! Starting out slow will give your body a chance to adjust and help you avoid burnout. I don’t suggest running every day to start (or ever really!) Try once or twice a week and see how you feel. The last thing you want is to get injured, so a gradual go is best!

2.) Go for distance first, then speed: I am a huge fan of the Jeff Galloway run walk run program, as well as the Couch to 5k program. Both will get you going but in a safe way. So many people think they aren’t truly a “runner” if you aren’t running the whole time, and that is simply just not true. Starting out with a run walk is not only safer for your body, but will enable you to go further distances and build up your confidence.

 

3.) Get some gear: When I first started running, I ran in cotton t-shirts and socks, which was not a pretty site in the hot and humid south. I chafed, got blisters, and was generally a miserable person to be around until I discovered the magic of running gear that fit well and helped wick sweat away from my body. Game changer! If you are comfy (and think you look awesome, too) you are more likely to stick with it! Here are a couple of my current favorites: Mizuno shorts , Mizuno top, Mizuno socks.

 

4.) Plan for before and after: Keep in mind that as a runner, there is more to it than just the run itself (say what?) you need to plan for your before and after, meaning what are you fueling your body with before you run, during, and after. I always eat before I run, but I give my body time to digest. I personally prefer these protein bars or a banana and peanut butter (depending on the distance I’m running I may eat more). If I’m running over five miles I always carry hydration, and typically fuel like a GU as well (these are my favorite!) Also you will need to warm up properly before you run, cool down after your run, and stretch and foam roll.

5.) Hydrate: I already mentioned hydrating before a run, but also make sure you are drinking enough before and after your run. Especially if you live in a hot or dry climate, if you are dehydrated you won’t be able to run as far or as fast. I personally get headaches when I”m dehydrated, which isn’t fun when running. If you need to carry water on a run, consider a hydration belt or handheld water bottle.

6.) Find an accountability partner/group: Fun fact: I actually started this blog when I wanted to train for my first half marathon. I wanted an accountability journal of sorts, and knew if I started blogging and people saw it, then I would HAVE to follow through. (Psssst. If you want to start a blog too, I have a free email course that can get you started!) Anyway, look around locally for a running group to join, or ask a friend to hold you accountable at work.

 

7.) get fitted for proper shoes: When I first started running, I wanted to wear whatever shoes I thought looked the prettiest on the shelf in the store. I knew nothing about my gait, what size I should get or the specific needs of my feet. I am much wiser now and know there are certain brands that just don’t work well for me. Currently I am loving Mizuno, and more specifically the new wave rider 21. They have a premium sock liner, a re-designed mesh upper, and a softer heel counter than previous versions. I hate tight fitting middles and toe boxes, and I feel like I have plenty of room in these shoes. They are breathable and great for the neutral runner. (If you don’t know if you are a neutral runner or not, I highly recommend going to a local running shoe store and getting a gait analysis). These are my new favorites, not to mention they come in several cute colors!

8.) Don’t quit! It’s tempting to give up when you are tired, sore, and not seeing progress as quickly as you would like. This is where a lot of people will give up and say they hated running or that it was too hard. What’s sad is if they would have held on just a bit longer they probably would have been happy with their results. We live in such an instant society everyone wants things to happen RIGHT NOW but becoming a runner takes time. I can attest to the fact that it may not always be fun, it is however, totally worth it, so don’t give up just because you are one of the beginner runners!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Mizuno. The opinions and text are all mine.

#OpenFun With the New Carnival Horizon

If you haven’t heard, the all new Carnival Horizon, the sister ship to the Vista (which we just sailed on) will be ready for you to step foot on her in 2018. In anticipation of the new ship, Carnival wanted to get everyone excited in these dreary winter months by sharing scents from the ports the Horizon will be visiting. They created adorable soda cans fulled with scents from around the Caribbean, and trust me, they really DO smell like the tropical paradises from which they came, and will make you want to take a cruise asap!

 

Did you know that scent is very much tied to your memories, specifically vacation memories? That’s why Carnival is having a fun event in NYC where you can get a whiff of the Caribbean in a can today and tomorrow in Greely Square Park!

Don’t live in NYC but want to join in the excitement of the new Carnival Horizon? Carnival is hosting a sweepstakes on it’s social channels from December 12-16 where you could WIN A FREE CRUISE on board the Horizon! 

All you have to do is share what scent inspires you to vacation with the hashtag #OpenFun. The Horizon may still be under construction at a shipyard in Italy, but the fun starts now!

Did you know that the Horizon will offer the first ever Dr. Seuss-themed water park? It will also be home to the new Smokehouse Brewhouse with BBQ favorites from Guy Fieri, and the line’s first teppanyaki restaurant.

The Horizon will begin in Europe, then make her way over to the USA for a summer tour including stops in Bermuda and eight day cruises our of NYC before moving down to Miami in September of 2018. Start the fun now by searching the #OpenFun hashtag and share you favorite vacation scents!

Clearwater Uncorked 2017 Review

Disclosure: I attended the festival free of charge, however all opinions are my own.

The Clearwater Beach Uncorked festival takes place right on the beach next to Clearwater’s famous Pier 60. It’s a fabulous time to enjoy amazing food, drinks, and weather (December in central Florida is the best!) I had the opportunity to attend the festival for the first time, and it did not disappoint. 

Bobby and I checked in and were given media passes as well as some goodies before meeting up for a special presentation. The weather was PERFECT and I couldn’t wait to see all the fun things this day would bring.

The way the festival works is there are general admission passes and VIP passes for purchase. VIP’s get access to the tasting village at noon, while everyone else waits until 1:00. VIP’s also had access to an outdoor lounge by the pool at the Wyndham across the street. The lounge was open from 1:00-5:00, and the tasting village was open until 4:00. Media got to sneak in early before the madness and take some photos and here all about chocolates and desserts.

We toasted to the festival with the most adorable bottles of champagne.

And were treated to the most delicious chocolates I have ever tasted from Norman Love. (My favorite was the almond and chocolate one, I’m trying to figure out how to get my hands on more as we speak!)

We also heard from Norman himself.

Cake pops were also had by all (red velvet was delicious!)

After the dessert indulgence, it was time for us to work backwards and start tasting all the food and beverages in the tent.

There were so many options we really didn’t know where to start! Everyone was so friendly and answered all of our questions.

When I saw someone handing these bad boys out, I was so pumped. What a perfect invention! It was hard to eat and hold your drink at the same time, so, problem solved!

After awhile we decided to head over to the outdoor VIP lounge at the Wyndham across the street.

Patron popsicles? Yes please! I may have had more than one…

Again, so many options, and generous portions and as many seconds (or thirds) as you wanted!

Again, the weather was so perfect and the location was on point, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day with great food and great (and some new!) friends.

My only wish would be that it was open longer! I didn’t get a chance to visit all the booths because there were just too many and we only had four hours. I vote for opening an hour early next year. That would be my only criticism. 🙂

If you have the chance to go to Clearwater Uncorked next year, I would highly recommend it, totally worth the money. I have gone to a lot of events in the short year I have been in Tampa, but this one is near, if not at the top of the list!

To see more photos from the event search hashtags #UncorkedWeekend and #CLBU17. Fair warning, it will make you hungry!

Residence Inn Clearwater Beach

Over the weekend, Bobby and I were in Clearwater for a local beach festival, and were invited to stay at the new Residence Inn Clearwater Beach. If you follow me on social media, you may remember we attended the ribbon cutting for this gorgeous property last month. I was so excited to get to stay here after seeing the spacious rooms and pool at the ribbon cutting!

Our studio king room did not disappoint. It was HUGE and had a full kitchen plus living room and sleeping area with a very modern but cozy vibe. Plenty of room for a family to spread out.

The kitchen had a stove, microwave, dishwasher, and refrigerator. There were even bar stools at the counter if you wanted to sit and enjoy a meal.

There was plenty of space going into the bedroom area, and the television swiveled so you could view it from the living room or bed. (Not going to lie, we may have eaten dinner in bed while watching football!)

My favorite has got to be the modern bathroom. It has a huge shower and ample space for storing your things. There is even a little hallway going into the bathroom with drawers and a counter to put your things (or your suitcase) on, as well as a closet. it was nice and bright and we had plenty of towels, which is always a bonus.

The best part about this property is the proximity to the beach. We were a block away from the sugar white sands, and we could even see it from our room! No need to use your car, it’s so walkable here to everything from shops to restaurants to of course, the famous Pier 60.

Residence inn clearwater

Something special that this hotel offers is a gorgeous rooftop infinity pool overlooking the bay. What a set up!

I could stay here all day.Residence inn

There is also a free breakfast, a fitness room, conference rooms, and valet parking. Everyone we encountered was so friendly, and we had a great stay. I hope to come back and visit this hotel soon, so I can enjoy it and all that Clearwater Beach has to offer.

Disclosure: I received a free night stay for my review, however all opinions are my own.

Carnival Cloud 9 Spa Stateroom Tour

Disclosure: I sailed on this cruise as a guest of Carnival, however all opinions are my own.

Recently my husband and I had the opportunity to sail on the beautiful Carnival Vista for six nights as we visited Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. Our trip was amazing and exciting, and we were even more pumped to find out we were staying in a Cloud 9 Spa stateroom. Immediately I did some research to see what this would entail.

Cloud 9 spa

First of all, the overall color scheme of the room is different than the other staterooms. It may be cliche, but it was very “spa like” with calming greens and blues. The room was so bright but also cozy, it was hard to leave some days!

Another perk of these rooms are some upgraded amenities such as spa toiletries, and the use of bathrobes and slippers in our room. The toiletries were replenished as much as we needed during the cruise which was a nice touch.





The proximity too the spa itself was definitely a bonus, as we were literally just steps away from the relaxing hallway leading to the treatment rooms, thermal suite, fitness room, and more. We were also very close to the adults only Serenity deck which is where we hung out often. It was nice not having to go far!

Guests staying in these staterooms are also given a special spa discount. When you purchase three treatments, you will get a discount on each, 20%, 30%, and 40% respectively. Not to mention, we had access to the thermal suite which included the amazing heated tile lounger, whirlpool, saunas, and more. We also got our own body scrub and sponge to use there!

We wouldn’t hesitate to book one of these special Carnival Cloud 9 spa rooms again, we were definitely spoiled! Be sure to check out my video tour of our stateroom below. (Room 14217).





Westfield Shopping Spree Giveaway

It’s time to get serious about your holiday shopping! If you live in the Tampa area, you can also check out all the fun holiday offerings at the Westfield malls in Brandon, Citrus Park, and Countryside.

Of course the thing every child wants to do is visit Santa! You can come tell him what you want for Christmas through Christmas Eve. You can even get a fastpass (shorter, faster line) by purchasing your photo package in advance online. (visit each mall’s website for a complete list of hours). 

Emma Kate was SO pumped to meet Santa and tell him what she wanted for Christmas. The photographers were great, and the set up was super cute, too. I was not expecting to see Mrs. Claus so that was a fun treat! Our photos were ready instantly to take home with us, no waiting around. 

There are last minute/extended hours shopping from December 15-24 at the malls. Also, be sure to check out the website for more details on discounts and special events.





Not sure what to get that special someone on your list? A Westfield gift card makes a great gift, because then they can pick out what THEY like best!

westfield

Who wants a chance to WIN a $100 Westfield gift card? Just follow the rafflecoptor directions below. I will announce a winner on the 12th. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own.