5 Tips for Running When you Travel

Hi everyone! When you are reading this I may very well be on the road. Bobby and I have to make a quick trip out of state for a business venture I will tell you about tomorrow! There is a lot going on in our little world, but I did some blogging ahead of time and will be on social media @HeathersLG. Since we will be staying at a hotel and I have started half marathon training, I knew I was going to want to get some running in while we are gone. There is some planning that has to take place before you go, so I wanted to share some tips/my thought process with you.

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1.) Research the area: It’s not wise to just take off running from your hotel without knowing a bit about the area. Maybe you could even try to connect with local runners on social media and ask them their favorite routes. Traveling is a great time for exploring a new place! Maybe find a route that has a convenience store you can stop at along the way for a bottle of water, or a park with a scenic trail.

2.) Pack well: I know there are a million thoughts going in and out of your head when trying to pack for a trip and thinking about running gear may be the last thing on your mind, but if you have everything you need all together in one bag you may be more likely to actually go for a run when you reach your destination. I bring a drawstring bag with my GPS watch, headbands, GU, body glide, sunglasses, etc. whenever I travel so there is no excuse. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a couple running outfits and my shoes!

3.) Be safe: Always tell someone where you plan to run and what time you will be back, even if it’s a text to a friend or a front desk worker at the hotel. Be mindful of your surroundings! I never run with headphones when I am running somewhere new. I know I need to be on the lookout, especially in a bigger city where I am crossing streets and what not.

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Stopped at a crosswalk on a group run in Boston at the Healthy Living Summit.

4.) Make time: This is a big one for me! Travel wears me out yall. The last thing I want to do after a long day of driving or flying is lace up my running shoes! It is important to look at your schedule and pencil in a time to hit the hotel gym or run the roads, or it may not actually happen.

5.) Call the hotel: Hotel workers are your friend! Usually they are super knowledgeable of the area, and can hopefully tell you areas you should probably avoid, or a place where runners go on the weekend to log some longer miles. They may even be able to give you the number of a local running store you can call for help as well. It never hurts to ask!

I need to be held accountable while I am away from home to stick to my plan, so ASK ME on social media if I have run yet while I’m gone. I will be taking my tips to heart and getting my workouts in.

QOTD: What is your best tip for running in a new place? To you venture outside or stick to the hotel gym?

Coming Soon: The Henderson

Destin Florida has been a favorite vacation spot of mine for many years. I have great memories of staying in a condo steps from the sugar white sands, staying out in the sun all day and playing board games with my family at night (I know, I was a super cool teenager).

As I got older and then got married, our tastes and wants in a beach vacation changed, and we quickly fell in love with Henderson Park Inn, a wonderful adults only bed and breakfast right on the beach that is a part of the Southern Living Hotel collection. We have been guests of the Inn for the past three summers, so you can imagine my surprise when an email hit my inbox at the beginning of the year outlining a new hotel to be built right behind my beloved Henderson Park Inn. I had a moment of panic, followed by several questions.

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We went to Destin for our annual stay last week, and I am happy to report that the Innkeeper, Ryan Olin, put my fears to rest, and actually got me..dare I say….excited about the great things coming to the property. I sat down with him one afternoon to discuss the new resort, and I had quite the list of questions. Thankfully, Ryan had a great answer for every one of them, and then some. Follow along as I tell you about the newest addition to the beautiful Destin skyline…The Henderson.

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The Henderson will open in the summer of 2016 as a five diamond resort managed by Salamander, who is known for amazing dining and spa experiences. It will boast 171 rooms, a spa with 11 treatment rooms, two pools including an adults only area, a lazy river, a bar, restaurant, and beach access.

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This beautiful upscale resort will also include amenities such as free shuttle service to and from the airport, complimentary cars to take you around Destin, and tram service to the beach walkway 24 hours a day. Every room will have a balcony, and a smart TV. This place is going to be so nice! Think of it as a “beach club” experience. There will be chair and umbrella service, a pool bar, water and beach recreation, and lots of attention to detail.

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On top of all of this, the Henderson will be home to 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space, something that is lacking in Destin. There will be private ballrooms, boardrooms, and 30,000 square feet of outdoor space to host private parties, weddings, and corporate functions. (Hello vow renewal?!?)

Guests of the Inn like myself were concerned about what that means for the adults only establishment that I consider one of Destin’s best kept secrets. I was assured time and time again that great strides will be taken to ensure the tranquility of the 35 room Bed and Breakfast remains intact. The guests of the new hotel will have beach access, but not free reign of the Inn itself, but instead designated areas and walkways (however, guests of the Inn will have use of the pools at the new resort!).

Ryan showed me exactly where the walkway will go along the side of the Inn’s property down to the beach, and we talked about gates, security, concierges, and making sure everyone remains happy at the Inn, and at The Henderson.

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I know some people have a large family, or prefer to do some of their own cooking on vacation, so there is something for everyone coming! Ryan told me about a condo building that is in the works as well to be completed at the end of 2016. There will be  one and two bedroom units near to The Henderson, with beach access as well. These condos will be available for purchase pretty soon from what I hear.

The news of the new resort is exciting not just because it’s going to be gorgeous and fancy, but because this is something that you won’t find anywhere else in Destin. This place will be the nicest new hotel you will find from New Orleans all the way to Tampa, and the most grand hotel built in all of Florida in the past five years.

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I personally cannot wait to see everything come to fruition from renderings to reality, and hopefully enjoy The Henderson for myself in the future.

Be sure to follow along on their Facebook page for updates!

QOTD: What do you look for in a beach hotel?

Walt Disney World 2016 Vacations

As I have mentioned many many times here on my blog, Disney vacations are my favorite. I have some amazing memories as a child and an adult with my family and friends thanks to the mouse. In 2010 I went on my first Disney Cruise Line cruise (not just for kids, I promise!) and am hooked.

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In 2012 I ventured to the west coast for my first trip to where the magic all started, Disneyland.

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These three vacation spots mean a lot to me, but Walt Disney World will always hold a special place simply because it was my first and most frequent Disney destination.

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Why am I telling you all of this? Because prices and packages for 2016 are coming out JUNE 22 for Walt Disney World and I cannot wait to start booking clients!!!! I have been a Disney travel planner for over five years now, and this is always a crazy but rewarding time of year for me. If you are interested in vacationing to WDW in 2016, email me at [email protected] for a free no obligation quote (my services are FREE!) Pricing for Disney cruise line for 2016 has been out for awhile, so I would love to give you a quote for that as well.

I can book your hotel and tickets

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Help you decide where to eat

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and even help you with those special extra activities while you are there, like spa treatments

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or a round of golf.

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Don’t forget about the waterparks, too!

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There is so much to do in WDW besides just ride rides, and I would love to tell you more about it!

Shoot me an email at [email protected] so we can start planning your family vacation.

QOTD: When is your next vacation? Where did you stay the last time you were in WDW?

Aloft New Orleans Downtown

When Bobby and I went to New Orleans for the Crescent City Classic the weekend of Easter, we decided to stay in a hotel close to the start line the night before as opposed to driving in that morning of the race as we have done in the past.

We ended up staying at the newly opened Aloft New Orleans Downtown, which was just a few short block to the starting line at the Superdome. I have never stayed at an Aloft hotel before but have heard good things, so I was excited to try it out.

We were given a corner room on the 15th floor with great views of the city, and even the Superdome! I loved the apartment-style feel, the bathroom was open to the bedroom with a space up top above the “wall” which was pretty neat.

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It had a very modern, techy vibe, and the room was huge!

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My favorite though was the New Orleans touch in between the beds. Who doesn’t love street cars? DSC_0033

Here is a closer look.

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Our room had two comfy queen beds (king beds are available), a flat screen TV, a desk, and plenty of other seating. I was afraid with so many windows, we wouldn’t be able to sleep. However, Aloft had us covered (no pun intended) with double shades on the windows, it was plenty dark for us!

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The bathroom area had two closet spaces, an in room safe, a refrigerator, and coffee maker.

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Also something I loved, a free bottle of water!

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We loved the lotion and soaps here, too.

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There was a sliding door where the shower was located. DSC_0029

Which by the way, was huge and really nice!

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We were also left a sweet note and some snacks. (Side note: There is a little store downstairs called Re:Fuel that is open 24/7 where you can purchase snacks and food and charge it to your room.)

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Bobby’s favorite part were the city views. He sat in the windows just looking around for the longest time. The hotel ahs a great vantage point! Can you see the Superdome?

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Since we arrived when it was dark, I waited to take pictures of the lobby and outside the next day after the race.

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Below is a picture of the WXYZ bar. When we checked in the night before, it was during happy hour and boy was this place hoppin’! Definitely seemed like the place to be for those wanting to enjoy the social scene. They also have live music and food here as well.

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As you can see the hallways carry on the modern and stylish theme of the hotel.

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We really enjoyed our stay here and wish we could have stayed longer! The proximity to the French Quarter was great, the room was huge and nice, and the staff was friendly.

They also offer meeting spaces if you are in town for business, so this place is more than just guest rooms! Another think I learned is that this is a pet friendly hotel (up to 40 pounds). There is also a gym and pool which we didn’t have a chance to check out (the pool isn’t open until May). We also took advantage of the free Wi-fi while we were staying at the hotel.

We didn’t really find many cons to the hotel. Valet parking was $39 plus tax which does make me want to have a heart attack, however it is on par with the price of parking for other hotels in the city. I would also say there was definitely a younger crowd staying here. We didn’t hear ANY noise during the night, but I can see this as being more of a hotel for partiers. That is totally fine, but I just like to be honest and warn people in advance who may not be as into that late night scene.

A huge thank you to Aloft New Orleans Downtown for letting us stay at this beautiful hotel for the night, we hope to be back soon!

Disclosure: I was provided with a free night’s stay in exchange for my honest review. Of course, all opinions are my own.

ASICS LA Marathon Weekend: Arriving in LA

WOW what a whirlwind weekend! I was looking forward to it for so long, and now I feel like I blinked and it’s over! I can’t wait to share with you some of the amazing experience I had all courtesy of the amazing folks at Asics. They truly went above and beyond to make our stay special. I want to back track and start from the beginning, Friday morning!

I headed to the New Orleans airport early because it was foggy and pouring rain. I parked and made it in quicker than I thought so I had a long time to wait. A lot of folks have asked why I fly out of NOLA as opposed to Jackson…3 reasons: 1.) No direct flights from Jackson. 2.) No southwest in Jackson so flights are more money. 3.) When I fly from NOLA I get to spend time with my parents the night before I fly out. ANYWAY, I was ready to get going and we finally boarded the flight!

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I scored an exit row seat so I had more legroom which was nice. I was able to take a nap, but by time we landed in LA it was almost 2:00 and I was starving!

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I was met at baggage by my driver who was holding up a card with my name on it (so cool!) and he took my bag and we headed to the hotel.

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I was staying in Santa Monica, at the gorgeous Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows.

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I had to hurry and check in and get to the hospitality room so we could get to the expo. The sweet girl in charge of us was taking Nathan and I since we had earlier flights. My room was amazing and so was my view!

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Way in the distance in between the trees you can see the Santa Monica Pier. Also, the finish line of the race was just a bit down Ocean Avenue to the right of this picture, right in front of the hotel.

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I headed to the hospitality suite, and I was starving. I had only had a smoothie at the airport and was getting woozie. Thankfully, super sweet Noelle with ASICS had gone to Whole Foods and gotten us sandwiches. Food has never tasted so good! I scarfed down my sandwich and an adorable ASICS cookie almost too cute to eat (almost folks, I may have had a few over the course of the weekend), and we headed to the convention center.

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We made it to the expo! Time to shop and get my bib!

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We headed back to the hotel with just enough time to change before happy hour at the hotel and then the VIP party. When Nathan and I got back to our rooms (they were side by side) we both realized our AC was not working. Yikes! I was sweating getting ready for the party, and I called maintenance as I walked out the door, crossing my fingers it would be fixed by time I got back.

We got to hang out outside and have a drink or two with the Kastors, some of the ASICS crew, and the other #TeamASICSLAM folks before our bus came to get us for the party.

Forecast for that night was BRIGHT, but we were ready. Smile Stay tuned…..

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QOTD: Do you bring food to the airport with you?

2014, Year in Review

2014 was quite the eventful year, starting from the very beginning. At the beginning of January, Bobby and I set out on a crazy adventure to run the Dopey Challenge in WDW. For those who don’t know what it is, here is the short version: 5k Thursday, 10k Friday, half marathon Saturday, full marathon Sunday. For full versions, scroll down towards the bottom of my runDisney page for full recaps! I’ll spoil it for you…it was super tough, but we survived!

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I even felt ok (well, crazy) enough to fly to California a couple days later and run the Tinkerbell 5k and half marathon.

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The day after I got home from all of my travels, I (at the prompting of a friend), took a pregnancy test, thinking it was pretty impossible, and apparently I was very wrong, because I was definitely pregnant! Turns out I had run Dopey and Tinkerbell pregnant and didn’t know. Little baby had already run some runDisney races! I announced in March….

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BUT, prior to that, I traveled back to Disney with my family to run the inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge in WDW, plus the 5k (5k Friday, 10k Saturday, half marathon Sunday). Sadly, I didn’t really get to enjoy this trip because I was having some serious morning sickness and suffering from the worst exhaustion I have ever experienced that I can’t even put into words. I ran the 5k with Bobby and my parents, the 10k with my mom, and stuck out the half marathon all by myself, with a very very upset stomach. I tried to make the best of it because 1.) I knew I wouldn’t be doing any runDisney races for awhile (a year it turns out!) and this was the first time doing a runDisney race by myself.

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After the secret was out, I was SO relieved, it was so hard to keep to ourselves!

In April Bobby and I ran the Crescent City Classic, a super fun 10k in New Orleans. Due to terrible round ligament pain, this would be my last race during my pregnancy.

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In May, we had a gender reveal party, and found out baby M was a baby girl! It was a really fun celebration with lots of friends and family.

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Bobby had sadly lost his job back in February (it’s terrifying to be pregnant and have this happen, trust me! So we took a HUGE leap of faith after many disappointing job interviews, and moved back up to where we used to live in Madison, Mississippi so we would hopefully have a better shot at Bobby finding a job since we were not locals. It was a HUGE blessing when we asked some friends if we could rent their weekend home while we waited for our home in Biloxi to sell (it had been on the market over two years) and while Bobby looked for a job. We ended up having a really relaxing and fun summer together on the lake. It was great to spend some quality time together before the baby arrived.

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In June, we headed to Destin, Florida for an attorney’s yearly conference to be recertified to practice law/take some classes. My parents tagged along so I wouldn’t be alone while Bobby was in classes.

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July was my birthday AND baby shower all in the same weekend. Jam packed fun, friends, and family.

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Also in July (it was a jam packed month!) Bobby got a job, AND we sold our house, AND bought another house, all within the span of about a week. I was stressed to the max, but also so thankful our prayers were answered and things were moving in the right direction.

In August we moved into our new home and tried to get everything unpacked before baby arrived. Apparently I did too much, because we had a pre term labor scare and I was told to sslloowww down. We still managed to get most of the house unpacked before the end of September.

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On September 24th, I was induced and we met our little baby girl, Emma Kate Montgomery at 4:22 in the afternoon, weighing 8 pounds 7 ounces.

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Everything since then has kind of been a blur, HA! Lots of sleeping, rocking, bouncing, and feeding has taken up my time since then. At the end of October Emma turned one month old. How can a month go by so fast but yet SO SLOW at the same time?

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November brought Thanksgiving, cooler weather, and a calmer baby.

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December came quickly, and it was Christmas decorating, smiles from Emma Kate, and making Christmas plans.

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We also said goodbye to my first baby girl Sassy this month. She had a happy 13 years, but I still miss her every day.

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Looking back, I can’t believe all of those happened in the short span of a year. At the same time, Running Dopey back in January seems so long ago. We had some of the best times of our lives in 2014, but also some of the most difficult times. It’s fun to look back over a year, let out a huge deep breathe, and say “we made it, whew!” But…now we start all over again. It’s refreshing, but at the same time scary. I’m still working on how I want to “handle” 2015, so more on that after Christmas as I’m still trying to process 2014. I do have some big things I want to accomplish, and not that I have a child it does change the way I look at and approach the year.

Thank you for spending 2014 with me, one of my goals is to get back to blogging more times per week. Smile I hope you take some time to reflect on 2014, the good and the bad. Looking at the not so fun things can be difficult, but if we use them as an opportunity for growth, then we can make those tough times worth something.

QOTD: What is your favorite thing you did in 2014?

August Flashback to 2013 with Under Armour

Thank you so much for all of your encouragement, tips and advice on yesterday’s blog post. I am happy to report we went on the hospital tour yesterday, so one more thing out of the way woo hoo!

It’s Friday, my brain is fried and I am sure yours is too, so no crazy in depth post today, I thought I would keep it light with a fun flashback post to last August. These posts have become even more comical to me now that I am pregnant. The thought of doing some of the things NOW I was doing this time last year make me laugh. Let’s take a look.

This time last year, I had ben invited to Baltimore to hang out at Under Armour Headquarters for a couple of days, and I had an ABSOLUTE BLAST. I learned a lot, met a lot of great people, and got to go shopping! I remember being so amazing at how cool it was outside, I’m sure everyone got tired of me saying it!

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We worked out, we shopped, we met with lots of different design teams from apparel to shoes, and ate very well!

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We even got to do some rooftop yoga and have massages all at the Four Seasons where we were staying.

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I had never been to Baltimore, and although it was a quick trip, it is one I will never forget! Under Armour is a great company that gives a good, strong message to women, and I was honored to be a part of the weekend and become an ambassador. Now if I can only get them to make maternity gear…

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You can check out all of my Under Armour visit recaps below:

Visit part 1

Visit part 2

Visit part 3

Visit part 4

*Photos courtesy of Matt Ryb

WINNER of the virtual race giveaway is Tim Lollar! Please email [email protected]! If you did NOT win, please please consider joining in the virtual race anyway or donating to the cause to help save these sweet pugs!

QOTD: What is one thing you learned when you traveled to a new city for the first time (like how I learned it’s COOL OUTSIDE in Baltimore in August!)

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Back in July when I was in Orlando for work, I spent one night at the Hard Rock Hotel on Universal’s property and visited both parks. I already posted about Universal Studios, and it’s time for me to post about Islands of Adventure, specifically Harry potter (you can read abut the read of Islands of Adventure here).

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The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is in the back of the Islands of Adventure park. I got there super early before it got crowded and took a bunch of photos. my husband is a huge Harry Potter fan so I watched all the movies with him right before I left so I would understand everything. Even for a non-superfan, it was really neat to see all the detail that went into this section of the park. I really enjoyed myself!

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hogwarts castle

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The first thing I did was walk to Hogwart’s and get in line for the Forbidden Journey ride. It was a VERY cool ride, very well done and a lot of fun. I rode single rider and had no wait, so I hopped back in line and midway through the second time…I got very nauseated. I closed my eyes for the rest of the ride hoping I could make it until it was over. Luckily I was ok, but my stomach was upset for the rest of the day. So, if you get motion sickness on rides, keep that in mind for this one. Apparently my stomach could handle once but not twice. Such a shame because now I am scared to ride it.

So, I went back out onto the “street” to go in some shops and take some pictures.

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I decided it was high time to try a frozen butterbeer, and oh my goodness it did NOT disappoint. You MUST try this if you visit!

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I hung around, drank my butterbeer, and took photos just enjoying the scenery. I bought some grapes from a cart on the “street” and then noticed it was getting VERY crowded so I high tailed it out of there.

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The above ride is:

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I came back a little later and some of the crowd had died down. I walked through the restaurant the Three Broomsticks and took some photos.

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Then I noticed a gathering at the stage. The choir was performing!

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Followed by some fun and games.

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Everyone was so in character and did a great job.

If Harry Potter merchandise is what you are after, you will not be disappointed. So. much. to. choose. from. They have everything from clothing to stuffed animals to candy and movie replicas.

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I had a great time exploring and can’t wait to go back and bring my husband! These photos just scratch the surface, there is so much more to see and do.

QOTD: Are you a Harry Potter fan? Favorite book or movie? Have you been to this park?

I would love to book your Universal vacation or tickets for you! Email [email protected] for a free quote. I can book for you at NO extra cost added to your vacation.

An Under Armour Visit

I was given quite the surprise last night ….

I’m going to BALTIMORE! In TWO WEEKS! The amazing folks at Under Armour have invited me and three other lovely ladies that were a part of the #WhatsBeautiful campaign up to their headquarters for two days of fun. That’s pretty much all I know, just know I am SUPER stoked, honored, and humbled.

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I did a lot of this when I found out.

If you will remember, Under Armour’s What’s Beautiful is a competition to redefine the female athlete. It’s a great initiative to make women feel strong and self confident. My goal was to reach other women and help them to become better versions of themselves. In the process, I truly hope I touch some of you, even if just a few, then my hard work was totally WORTH IT!

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Never fear, you all know I won’t let you miss out on the fun. I will be live tweeting, instagraming, facebook posting, blogging, you name it. It’s going to be epic. Be sure you follow me on all my social media sites (see the icons on the right sidebar up towards the top)

Now to go pinch myself. Is this really happening? Thanks Under Armour and Fitfluential!

QOTD: Have you ever been to the headquarters of a brand like this before? Did you enjoy the What’s Beautiful competition?

RWS Features #48

 

It’s race day! Today is the first of two races I will complete this weekend. Today is a half marathon and tomorrow is a full marathon, to complete Goofy’s challenge here in Disney World. Please say a prayer for me, and check out Twitter and instagram, (both @runningwithsass) I will be posting! While I am out running my booty off, you can sit comfortably at home and read about sweet Emily from Travel With Emily!

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1.) How/Why did you start blogging?

I like to travel and found myself sending out lots of emails to friends and family describing my various trips.  I started my blog as a concise way to share my travels.  Along the way it has grown from recording my travels to sharing my journey to find my inner athlete, albeit a slow one. 🙂

2.) Sum up your blog in a couple sentences:

My adventures and misadventures as I travel, train, race and take photos along the way.

3.)What do you wish to accomplish/achieve by blogging?

Blogging is a way for me to be creative, and a place for me to document my life.  An added benefit has been the connections I’ve made along the way.

4.) What is your biggest healthy living accomplishment?

I would say my biggest healthy living accomplishment so far was completing my first half marathon.  I discovered the joy of crossing the finish line and realization that you can do anything you put your mind to.  Since then I have gone on to cross the finish line many times.

5.) What is your blog URL and twitter handle

Blog: http://travelwithemily.wordpress.com

Twitter: @em425

Thanks for sharing Emily! Everyone be sure to go visit her blog and say hello!

QOTD: What is your favorite part about traveling?