Tampa Tuesdays

Hello friends! Now that I am living in Tampa, I am slowly learning my way around (with and without Google maps) and trying to immerse myself in all things Florida and Tampa. Because Tampa is a MUCH bigger city than the one I came from in Mississippi, there is so much more to explore and to share with you all, so I decided to start a new series called “Tampa Tuesdays”. I probably won’t do this every Tuesday, but whenever I have something fun and new to share with you about Tampa, I will try to do it on a Tuesday. It’s actually a little deceiving because I will also share things from surrounding cities as well, but mostly focus on Tampa restaurants, stores, and experiences. I hope you will follow along as I explore my new area!

Today I wanted to share with you about an amazing restaurant called Pelagia. This restaurant can be found at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel.

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Bobby and I were invited for a special tasting of their Christmas and New Year’s Prix Fixe menus , which were created by Chef Brett Gardiner.You aren’t going to want to miss this if you are local! How it works is you get to create your own menu by selecting one starter, entrée, and dessert from the prix fixe menu. We didn’t experience all of both menus (that would have been way too much food!) but we got to sample items from each.

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We started with an appetizer plate which had smaller portions of four appetizers you can find on the special holiday menus.

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What I loved about the menu is that it paired ingredients together that I would never have thought to put in the same recipe, but they came out amazing! Bobby’s favorite was the duck confit with sunchokes, frisee, pomegranate, and port vinaigrette. (top of the photo). My favorite (which totally surprised me!) was the grilled pear, watercress, maple bacon, and walnut dressing. (Far right in the photo). The pear wasn’t mushy, and the bacon paired with it had the most amazing flavor. I must try tor recreate!

Next we were given four samples of the main course to try as you can see from the above menu. Bobby and I both agreed that the rack of lamb with the blackberry sage demi was our favorite. So tender and juicy.

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Lastly, we were treated with samples of four of the sweet desserts on the prixe fixe menus. Anyone who knows me knows I have a sweet tooth, so I was most excited about this part, and it did not disappoint.

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My two favorites were the apple crumble dessert at the top left, and the eggnog panna cotta at the bottom right. It’s always fun to have festive holiday desserts, and these hit it out of the park. (The other two were wonderful too with great rich flavoring, but if I had to pick…) As a chocolate lover, I was surprised my two favorites were non chocolate, but that just goes to show how amazing they were.

The restaurant was beautiful and easy to get to from the front of the hotel, and the staff was warm and friendly. Even the private dining room had a unique flair, and a fun and funky chandelier.

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Reservations are available for seatings from noon to 8 p.m. on Christmas day, and throughout the day for New Year’s eve. The cost for Christmas day is $45 for adults and $18 for children 13 and under. For the New Year’s meal, the cost is $70 for adults and includes a glass of Prosecco (which I can attest, is delicious as well!). Prices exclude tax and gratuity. Please call 913-313-3235 for reservations, or you can make them online here.

*Bobby and I were provided a free meal from Pelagia, however all our thoughts and opinions are our own as we explore our new city! 

Thanksgiving 2016

Hola friends! I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving holiday with friends and family. Mine was a little odd compared to previous years, but I am glad I got to spend it with my family. Bobby and I were at my parents from Wednesday until Sunday. My sister even flew into town for a couple of days. Here is a quick recap of what we did.

Wednesday, we closed on our house in Mississippi. It was bittersweet, and the first rain we have had in weeks, so it was fitting for my mood.

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We drove to my parents house in Louisiana, and settled in for a few days of hanging out with family. Thursday included a lot of cooking, parade and football watching, and eating.

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Emma Kate watching the parade

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Emma Kate checking out the black Friday sales in the paper.

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After a delicious meal, we all took naps (as you should on Thanksgiving!) and then I went for a quick 3 mile run.

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After some photos, we went to visit some sweet friends that we are going to miss so much!

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On Friday, my mom sister and I went shopping and to lunch. Then Friday afternoon was spent watching all the Friends and Everybody Loves Raymond Thanksgiving episodes. Best shoes ever! We ate pizza and watched more football that night, after my dad brought my sister to the airport.

On Saturday, my dad and I took Emma Kate to the playground.

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My dad and I also ran a few errands, and then we just kind of chilled the rest of Saturday…and watched more football…and ate more food. On Sunday, my parents went to church while we loaded up the car and said our goodbyes after lunch. It was sad, but my family is coming to Tampa for Christmas so that will be fun!

It was nice to have a few days to rest and recharge before the moving in madness begins this week!

Southwestern Egg Muffins

Hey friends! Today I wanted to share something a little different. I haven’t done a recipe in awhile, but this one I really wanted to share. I have been counting macros, and realized I have a hard time getting in protein. I don’t like to eat eggs by themselves, so I finally found an easy way to get in a little more protein by making egg muffins.

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They are super simple to make, here are the ingredients:

– 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese (shredded)

– One carton of egg whites

-One bag of Birds Eye protein southwest blend from the freezer aisle

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DIRECTIONS:

-spray bottom of a 12 cup muffin tin

-preheat oven to 350

-warm up protein blend in the microwave for 4 minutes

– spoon the blend into the cups evenly

-distribute cheese evenly into the 12 cups

-fill the cups with a carton of egg whites, use the whole carton

-Bake at 350 for 20 minutes

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You could really use any veggie blend from the freezer aisle at the grocery store with this recipe, but I prefer the southwest blend because it has more protein, and it has a little kick to it which makes the muffin not taste to much like eggs.

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I can eat two or three egg muffins at a time, so it’s a great protein source! Also, you can put them in a bag and freeze them, and pop in the microwave for a minute or so for an on the go breakfast with staying power. Here are the nutrition facts per muffin:

Calories: 83

Protein: 7.1 grams

Fat: 1.5 grams

Carbs: 9.5 grams

Enjoy! I would love to hear if you decide to make these, or what other blends/veggies you use instead.

QOTD: Are you a big egg eater? What is your go to breakfast food?

5 Things Friday XVIII

Happy Friday! Here are five things for you to start off your weekend.

1.) KIND snacks was nice enough to send me some of their NEW breakfast bars to try out. The are made with 100% whole grains, featuring five super grains – oats, millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa – to keep you going throughout the day. Flavors include: Blueberry Almond, Honey Oat, Dark Chocolate Cocoa, (my fave!) Peanut Butter, and Raspberry Chia.

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2.) Yesterday, Bobby and I were involved in a wreck. We were rear ended when we were stopping at a red light. Thankfully, my Toyota 4Runner is a beast and while it will need some bumper work, it looks way better than the other ladies car. We were all three in the car and are all thankfully ok (and yes I know I need a new car seat.) But it happened on a day when we had multiple appointments to get to so it just kind of threw a kink in the already stressful afternoon. But cars can be fixed, so we are not worried about that.

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3.) Emma Kate had a follow up with the doctor who put her tubes in her ears and he said they looked great! We have to go back again in 6 months but I am so glad we went ahead with the surgery. She was getting infections twice a month and now she has only had two since November.

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4.) You can now book your Disney vacation package for most dates in 2017 (up to 499 days out) and I would love to book for you! Email me at [email protected] for a free quote.

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5.) More eBook news coming next week! I can’t wait to share more with you, and a huge thanks to those of you that have offered to help with social media posts during launch week. If you are still interested in doing a social media post for me during the pre sale or launch period, please email me at [email protected]

QOTD: Have you ever been rear ended? What is your favorite KIND bar flavor? Are you planning a Disney trip for 2017?

5 Things Friday XV

Friday, we meet again! I hope everyone had a great week, and has an even better weekend.

1.) Mother’s Day: Mother’s Day is SUNDAY. Hopefully you were already aware of this fact and have plans to mail a card/send a gift/visit your mother. Do something. Your mom put up with you your entire life, including your angsty teen years, so tell her thank you.

2.) Beat the sun: ASICS is once again trying to beat the sun with a fun race, and this year they are including some amateur runners, and you can vote for your favorite! (ppstt. Ryan is a fellow ASICS ambassador, just saying.)

3.) Fabletics fun: Check out these adorable new pants and top I got from Fabletics this month. I love the top because it’s super light and nice and long for a tall person like me. The pants have tiny little cut outs in the pattern and I love the bright color. Very comfy!

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This post contains affiliate links, which means I get a small commission when you shop through them. However I would never advertise a product that I myself wouldn’t use, so thank you for supporting my blog!

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Also, how fun is my RunningSkirts.com skirt?

4.) Complete cookie: I know I am late to the party, but I just had my first Complete cookie recently and yall, eating protein has never been this tasty for me! I am hooked. I have only tried chocolate chip and birthday cake but they are both delicious! I usually eat half a cookie then save the other half for the next day.

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5.) Email list: Another huge thank you to those that have signed up for my email list via my free printables or my free how to start a blog e-course. If you want to join my email list (I only email bi-weekly right now) without signing up for one of the above two options, you can do so below. Thanks so much for your support. Lots of good things coming, and subscribers will be the first to know!

QOTD: Have you ever had a Complete cookie? What are you doing for Mother’s Day?

Farmer’s Market Date Night

Last night, Bobby and I had a date night. We decided to eat at a restaurant called County Seat at the town of Livingston, and it just so happened it was also opening week for their farmer’s market! You may remember me posting about Livingston before when we went there for Santa pictures with Emma Kate. We hadn’t tried this other restaurant so thought it would be a great opportunity.

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The décor was adorable, and we had a super cute booth. I love the tables!

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I ordered one of the drink specials. It was really good, but all I remember is it had prosecco and hibiscus in it.

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I ordered a burger on a pretzel bun and brie mac and cheese. The mac and cheese was delicious, and the burger was good but had a little too much pepper on it. Bobby got a tuna melt and sweet potato soufflé. It liked the sweet potato’s but we were disappointed in the portion size for the sandwich.

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I know I’m dorky, but check out how cute the bathroom is!

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After we ate, we walked over to the farmer’s market. It has been yucky and rainy all day so the turnout was small, but it was fun and we walked away with some lettuce, sweet potatoes, and a tomato.

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They had music playing and Home Depot was there doing crafts with the kids.

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The rain held off while we were there, which I’m sure the vendors were happy about!

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After that we drove around and looked at some open houses of new construction homes in the area. I may be in the minority, but I LOVE touring new homes. There is just something so fun and exciting about it to me, talking about what you love and what you would do differently. I rally enjoyed myself and am glad we were able to get away for a couple of hours. We will for sure be back at the farmers market this summer. If you are ever in the area, you should stop by!

QOTD: Do you ever go to a farmer’s market? Do you like looking at new homes?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 5 Part Two

We ended halfway through our Grand Cayman day in my last installment. After we got back to the ship, we decided to go to the gym. I most definitely was not in the mood to workout, so I just did a few weight machines then did 45 minutes on the stationary bike while I read my book. I planned to eat a lot at dinner that night because we were going to Palo, so the gym was definitely needed! We were literally the only ones in there for the first half hour, which was nice, but also kind of funny.

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Bobby stayed to do some more working out, so I sat on our balcony and read my book with Grand Cayman in the background. Not too shabby of a view.

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I can’t remember what else I did that afternoon, probably took a nap, to get myself ready for my favorite dinner, Palo! Palo is an adults only restaurant on board the Disney ships, and it is amazing. If you have cruised Disney but never diner at Palo, I highly highly recommend you reserve a spot on your next cruise!

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After we checked in, we went on the balcony and enjoyed the most gorgeous sunset. Sadly, my iPhone pictures don’t do it justice, but it was breathtaking.

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We were soon seated at a table all the way in the back with a great view of the ocean.

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Our server was great, and I love how they don’t rush you. Based on the below photo, you would think there were four people at our table. No no, just use two.

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Always ALWAYS save room for dessert at Palo! Best chocolate soufflé ever.

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We were also given this very sweet message from the chef for our anniversary.

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After we were sufficiently stuffed, we headed out.

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This guy was waiting foe us in our room.

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Someone gave us this Star Wars mask and I think it’s SO FREAKY. Bobby saved it and occasionally sneaks up on me with it. I am never amused by this.

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We got out of our fancy clothes and into some sweats and headed to one of the movie theaters to see Inside Out. I hadn’t seen it yet, and it was super cute. Then it was off to bed, because our Star Wars Day at Sea was the next day, and I knew a very excited little boy who wasn’t going to want to miss any of it…well, maybe excited big boy is a better term!

QOTD: Do you workout on vacation? Have you eaten at Palo?

Live KIND

Kindness makes the world a better place, and I think we could all agree on that. I am currently partnering with KIND Snacks and want to encourage you all (and myself) to Live KIND. every day™. How can we do this? Doing things for your taste buds, your body, and your world is a great start!Live KIND

As an athlete, I am KIND to my body by exercising, eating nutritious (and delicious) foods, taking rest days for my body, and my mind. I have been working really hard better myself physically by going to boot camp four days a week and running twice a week since the beginning of January. I don’t always feel like I am being KIND to myself in the middle of a tough workout (haha) but I know in the end that it will be worth it!

One thing I am always careful to do though is to take a rest day each week. Too many people think they need to push hard seven days a week, and for me personally that is not being KIND to my body. I need to recover and rest to get even stronger. I typically do my longest workout (my long run) on Saturday, so Sunday makes for a great rest day for me. I think it is also important to take a mental health break, whether it be going for a walk with your dog or taking a quick nap, sometimes we just need to think about nothing!

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A part of being KIND to my body is also what I am fueling it with. I have to eat healthy foods or my workouts aren’t as effective, I feel sluggish, and get really tired. I eat KIND snacks after a tough workout to refuel me and tide me over until my next meal. They are really easy to just throw into my gym bag or purse to eat on the go, which fits in well with my busy life. They are a solution for every day! My favorites are Almond and Coconut, and anything with chocolate.

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I also think it’s important to be KIND to your taste buds. I love to eat delicious food, and sometimes for this southern girl that means home cooked comfort food! But, those are treats, and for the most part we try to eat healthy, especially to teach my toddler good healthy eating habits. Anyone with a toddler can tell you that sometimes trying to get them to eat healthy foods is like trying to bathe a cat. We continually give her lots of greens (she loves green beans), protein like turkey and chicken, and healthy fats like avocados but sometimes she turns them away. I know it’s just a phase, but it can be frustrating at times! Mixing veggies in with foods she already likes helps as well. Also, she LOVES my KIND snacks! Anytime she hears me rip open a package from the pantry she comes running and holds her little hand out for a bite. It’s so cute, but I usually end up having to open a second bar so I get enough to eat!

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As much as I think it is important to be kind to yourself, it’s also important to be KIND to those around you. I grew up doing volunteer work though my church and was raised to always keep others and their needs in mind. We can always do more to help others, and I think doing first hand work with those less fortunate is something that is very eye opening. One such experience happened to me this time last year, and has still stuck with me. I had the opportunity to help out with a Feed the Children charity event in New Orleans in conjunction with the Run Rock n Roll Series. We spent the afternoon giving food and toiletries to needy families in the area, and it was such a blessing to me to get to chat with some of these people, hear their stories, and do a little something to brighten their day. I truly believe we need more KINDness in the world, and that if we can all do a little more, things could be amazing.

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QOTD: What are you doing to Live KIND. every day™ for your body, the world, and your taste buds?   Check out how we “Live KIND” on our blog, http://www.kindsnacks.com/blog/, and follow KIND snacks on  Twitter/Instagram/Facebook – @kindsnacks and chat with them using #LiveKIND.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of KIND.

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Mr. Sanchos

We woke up the next day in Cozumel. We have been to Cozumel many times before on previous cruises, and we typically go to the same beach, but wanted to try somewhere different this time. I had heard great things about Mr. Sanchos through various message boards, so we decided to give it a try. Mr. Sanchos is an all inclusive beach club that has  pools, drinks, tons of food, the beach, free wi-fi, and many other amenities. It is kid friendly, and open every day except Sunday.

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We were so stoked to go bask in the sun and drink fruity drinks all day…until we woke up to a storm. When I say it was raining…it was raining, yall.

In true Disney fashion, we were handed awesome ponchos as we exited the ship. We trudged up the pier in the driving rain, getting soaked along the way. We made it to a taxi, and were headed to the beach. As soon as we got to our destination, it stopped raining! This was a miracle because it was supposed to rain all day.

Excited to get going, we headed to the entrance and were greeted by our server for the day. We were told what was included for us, and what was extra (the inflatable water toys are extra but because of the weather, they didn’t even have them out, also things like massages, hair braiding, wave runners, snorkeling, and horseback riding were extra.) If you don’t want to go the all inclusive route, there are al la carte options as well.

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You get a LOT of stuff for the price! I am married to a garbage disposal, so I knew he would eat over $55.00 in food alone, and well, I like my fruity drinks. We were shown around, and explained that there was a buffet but we could also order from the menu. Because of the weather, there were not many people there, which was fine with us! There were plenty of lounge chairs and tables with adorable straw umbrellas.

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We set up our little spot at a table, and ordered our first round of drinks as well as some chips and guacamole.

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The drinks are good, yall. I didn’t taste a ton of alcohol, but they were delicious. My favorite was the Blue Sea. The chips and guac were amazing as well. II t was so nice to know we didn’t have to look at food prices all day!

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I decided to take a walk around to get some photos while Bobby read a book. Also, the free wi-fi is up by the buffet under a giant pavilion, so I brought my ipad up there to check my email and text my mom to check on the wee one.

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I also checked out the bathroom which were very clean, for those wanting to know (this is always important to me!) In fact, everything was very clean on the whole property.

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The pool looked really awesome with the bar at it and there were tables and chairs IN the pool which I thought was neat.

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Anyone care to swing?

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Hammock for a nap maybe?

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Our server was very attentive and balanced that very hard line between coming to check on us too much and not enough, he really did a great job.

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After a little reading we ordered some more food. I got the quesadillas, Bobby got the shrimp tacos as well as coconut shrimp, and I got more of the delicious guacamole and a bottle of water.

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We also ended up ordering a couple other things but I can’t remember now, however everything was tasty!

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We left around 3:30 as all aboard for the boat was 4:45 and we still wanted to shop for some tequila. One thing to note is as you walk in and out you have to pass by a bunch of people trying to sell you things and some were kind of…persistent, and I just told them no thank you, but just a heads up for those who get anxious by those types of things. Some ladies came around a couple of times asking if we wanted a massage or hair braiding and we politely declined. They weren’t annoying or pushy though which was nice.

Would I go back here? Absolutely! Hopefully on a sunny day, and I would ask for double shots in my drinks. When I weighed out the price of the food and drinks alone, we would have spent more than $55 a person, not to mention the use of the facilities and what was super important to me, the free wi-fi. It’s great to be able to check in on work or family without paying the ridiculously high prices for data on board the ship!

All in all we had a great day at Mr. Sanchos despite the weather. If anyone has any questions about it I would be happy to answer! (Be sure to follow them on Facebook for updates and great beach pictures!)

QOTD: Have you ever been to a beach all inclusive? What do you do on a rainy port day on a cruise?

Disclosure: I was provided with two complimentary day passes from Mr. Sanchos, however all opinions are my own.

A Weekend in Houston

Hi friends! So I spent Thursday-Sunday with my parents and sister in Houston, TX. She bought a house in the summer and needed my dad’s help to do a few things, and since I haven’t been to see her yet, she asked if I would come. First I went to the gym Wednesday to run 5 miles on the treadmill.

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That afternoon Bobby’s mom came, and I drove down to my parent’s house and spent the night with them. We went out to dinner and turned in early because my dad wanted to leave at 5:00(!) the next morning.

The drive to Texas was uneventful, and we arrived around lunch time to these two sweet girls, Cadence and NOLA.

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It’s so funny to be around these huge dogs when I am used to my nine pound toy poodle! They think they are lap dogs…

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We hung out at the house and did some cleaning that night, and the next day my sister had to work so we drove up to the Woodlands to visit some of my parents friends. We had lunch at Panera, then headed back down to Houston to do more work around the house and get ready for dinner. We went to this really great Mexican restaurant that had delicious food, but the drinks were expensive and we had to valet park. I’m not meant for city living yall!

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Saturday we did even more work around the house, and then headed to the Galleria. I had never been, and man that is a big mall! Ice skating? Fun!

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My dad and I hit up the Disney store while my mom and sister did some shopping, and he got a couple of things for Emma Kate. I’m glad he doesn’t read my blog, because he might kill me for posting this picture. (Mom, don’t show him, mmkk?)

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We were going to go out to eat again that night but were so tired we decided to just order pizza. My sister and I walked to go pick it up, and we just relaxed and hung out watching Netflix. I’m now hooked on House of Cards. Anyone else?

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We got up early Sunday morning and left, and were able to meet up with Karen in Lake Charles for a few minutes to grab some PJ’s coffee. We couldn’t stay long but it was great to see her and Baby Seal!

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We made it back to my parents, where I then turned around in my car and drove home. As soon as I got home me, Bobby and Emma Kate headed to a Super Bowl party. To say it was a long day is an understatement. But it was a good day, and I’m glad I joined in on the visit!

QOTD: Have you been to the Galleria? Go nuts in the Disney store?