Health and Fitness on the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I was provided with a free cruise from Carnival, however all opinions about fitness on the Carnival Vista are my own.

As people who work out on the regular, it is important to us to have active and healthy things to do, even while on vacation. I was so pumped to see that the Carnival Vista has plenty of options for health and fitness lovers, and we took advantage whenever we could, which meant more dessert for us!

fitness on the carnival vista

Up on the open decks, the Vista has a great sports and activities area. There was a huge caged in basketball court, and even though we never had the chance, we saw where they play volleyball up there, too!

There is also a really fun obstacle course, mini golf, ping pong, and other games you can play with your family.

Fitness on the carnival vista

Don’t forget about the one of a kind sky ride where you pedal all the way around the boat, up in the sky! Talk about a workout with a view. A walking/jogging track also goes around this area if you just want to take in the view or chat with a family member while walking and burning some calories.

Our favorite however, was the fitness center which is located int he Cloud 9 Spa.

They had tons of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, weight machines, dumbbells, bosu balls, medicine balls, and even a foam roller. There was definitely not a shortage of workouts to do here! They also had health and fitness seminars you could attend, personal training, and Pilates.

The treadmills have the best view in the house, looking directly out the front of the ship. it was gorgeous!

Fitness on the carnival vista

After you are done with your sweat session, you could pay a little extra to have access to the thermal suite (we got it free with our spa stateroom.) Here you can go into the sauna, hot tub, steam room, or several different cool showers.

I spent some time on the heated tile loungers to relax my sore muscles, which was just what I needed.

We worked out three of the five days we were on the ship, which I think is a great balance for a vacation. There is no need to ruin your routine or hard work just because you go on vacation. I love knowing that Carnival gives me great options and cares about my health, and hope you too will enjoy fitness on the Carnival Vista!

Better Body Jump Start FREE Email Challenge

2018 is upon us, as is the time we all make goals or resolutions for the new year. Let me ask you a question. How many goals do you ever actually keep? Let me make it a little easier…how many do you keep for at least a month? That number is hopefully higher, but the sad truth is that so many of us have GREAT intentions, but then fall off the wagon because we have no support or accountability, or we just plain don’t know where to start.

I want you to be successful in 2018, and actually stick with something. I realized 2 things: 1.) Changes can and need to be SMALL if we want to really make them stick, and 2.) it truly does take a village. I don’t know about you but when I’m working out with a group, I push harder than when left to my own devices. So I figure in health in general, if we are left to fend for ourselves, we may be likely to cheat, skip, and give up all together.

 

I want to put an END to excuses and an END to goals that never get met. That’s why I created the Better Body Jump Start 7 Day Email Challenge. This is a completely FREE challenge. When you sign up, you will get 7 days worth of emails in your inbox, one each day, with ACTIONABLE tips, motivation, ideas, and calls to action to get you going.

 

 

Remember, little changes add up to BIG things, so don’t discredit the small shifts you make in your schedule, habits, and life. I KNOW you can do this, and I want to help you prove to yourself that you can.

The emails may only go on for 7 days, but I CHALLENGE you to keep up the thins I discuss all the way through the month of January. At the end of January if you don’t feel stronger, healthier, more energizes, and better about yourself, then you can stop. BUT, if you do the things I talk about, then I know you will feel amazing and want to keep going!

All you have to do is click this link to sign up (make sure you confirm your subscription when it hits your inbox, and be sure to check your spam!) Please email me with any questions, I’m happy to help any way I can.

Let’s make 2018 the year you become the best version of yourself. To get you really thinking about your goals and what you want out of 2018, I decided to share with you something that I actually started a couple weeks ago but was nervous to share out loud, but I am letting go of fear and taking action in my life.

I started a podcast! It just so happens that my very first episode is all about goal setting. I encourage you to listen to it if you are on the fence about the challenge (it has nothing to do with the challenge itself) or if you are telling yourself NOT to make goals because they never happen for you. After you click the link, check out the December 18th episode. I hope you enjoy, and then will join in the email challenge.

 

Tips for a Healthier Holiday

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

I will be hosting Christmas Eve at my house this year, which means a lot of planning, organizing, and making lists, as well as lots and lots of cleaning. When you have family members flying in from different states that are just coming from the airport, it’s even more important to make sure your house is clean and organized to keep germs at bay.

No one wants to be sick for the holidays, right? Here are five of my best tips for preparing for having a healthier holiday:

1.) Get exercise: The holidays are extra busy, which can make it tough to fit in your regular workouts, but this is something you really shouldn’t skimp on! Exercise can help boost your immune system and in turn may cut down on the amount of colds you get this year.

2.) Get enough sleep: Another tempting thing to skip out on is sleep. With late holiday parties and staying up past your bedtime getting your kids costume ready for the Christmas play, you may find yourself reaching for the snooze (and the coffee!) more often. Aim for 7-8 hours a night to keep your immune system up. Also, infection-fighting antibodies are reduced when you don’t get enough sleep.

3.) Wash your hands/sanitize when often: PURELL® Hand Sanitizer is the #1 selling sanitizer, and they also make soap, too! While washing with soap and water is best, sometimes it’s not possible to get near a sink, so make sure you have PURELL pocket sanitizer in your purse, car, and we like to keep a pump of it by the back door as we come in and out of the house. When you sanitize, make sure to leave your hands wet for 15 seconds!

4.) Disinfect and clean your house: The PURELL® brand has an amazing new Multi Surface Disinfecting spray that I am obsessed with. It kills 99.99% of bacteria and viruses in 30 seconds, is worry free around kids, pets, and food, and there is no water rinse required! It cleans with the power of bleach without harmful chemicals. Here are some common things to make sure you sanitize with your disinfectant spray: Highchairs, soft surfaces you can’t wash, your refrigerator, doorknobs, remotes, counters, light switches, handles on kitchen appliances, computer keyboards, and toys. (YES it’s safe on all of those things!)

5.) Sanitize your kitchen before meal prep: When cooking and preparing in the kitchen, it’s easy to forget about wiping down counters, cutting boards, and water faucets. Make sure to use the PURELL Multi-Surface Disinfectant for meal prep! Don’t worry, it won’t stain clothes or fabric, and is designed to quickly kill the cold and flu viruses.

healthier holiday

It comes in 3 scents: fragrance free, citrus, and fresh (my favorite!) and is available for purchase online at Amazon.com, Jet.com and Walmart.com. In addition, it is available at select grocers: Publix, H-E-B, and Shoprite and at Harris Teeter in January 2018.

runDisney Wine and Dine 10K Recap 2017

At the beginning of November, I had the opportunity to run the runDisney Two Course Challenge, made up of the Wine and Dine 10K and half marathon. I registered last minute and was under trained, so I just had fun with it, and fun was definitely had!

I didn’t take many photos during the race since it was dark when I started and dark when I finished, but I did take some video, which is at the end of this post. I will give a brief recap though.

I woke up at 3:00 and met my friend Amanda to go to the bus at 3:45 (last bus is at 4:00 and we were at the back of the resort). We were on a bus within five minutes, and got to the start with TONS of time to kill. (Side note: notice how straight and thin my hair looks here? Remember this for later).

This is one thing I dislike, that you are forced to arrive so early if you use Disney transportation. It was a few minutes after 4:00 when we arrived and the race didn’t start until 5:30. We hung out at the start and just chatted, went to the bathroom, etc. and then said our goodbyes and headed into our respective corals. I got as close to the front as I could and sat down. This is where I stayed for about 40 minutes waiting for the race. I didn’t want to play on my phone too much as I didn’t want the battery to die, so it was honestly pretty boring, heh. Finally they started moving the corals up, and then the race started. I was in coral B, so thankfully didn’t have to wait too long.




I started running and immediately remembered something about runDisney races, you get zero time to warm up since you are sitting in a corral for so long, then you take off on cold muscles. By the time I realized it was happening, my leg that has been bugging me tightened up like crazy and I knew I was in for a long weekend. It wasn’t bad, but I could “feel” it if that makes sense. My quad tightened then it worked its way down to my knee by mile three and was hurting a little.

Honestly, the first 3 miles were really boring until we got into Hollywood Studios. I only saw I think one character in the park, and the line was super long so I passed. We then headed across the way to the Boardwalk It was so humid the decking was slippery so I had to be careful.

I saw the line for tourist Genie, and it was long but not SUPER long, so I hopped in line because, why not? I don’t know if I have ever taken a picture with him. (Notice how wavy my hair is now!)

It was nice to take a little breather in the super thick humidity, and then I moved on to EPCOT.

I saw these guys in Canada (do you think they wold be upset if they knew I never saw their movie?)

I then knew I was in the homestretch. It was so weird running here in the dark, it’s usually daylight by time I get to this point, and think I have only run in the dark here the year I did Dopey.

I made it that final familiar stretch I have run so many times, and crossed the finish line somewhere around 1:04. Not bad for all my stopping!

wine and dine 10k

I was smiling when I finished, which is all I cared about. I was so thankful to have the opportunity to run so last minute, and in my favorite place. It’s often during races I am reminded how truly blessed I am.

wine and dine 10k

Now on to the half marathon recap! But first, in case you missed it, here’s my expo recap, and don’t forget to check out my video below:

Why You Should Workout This Winter

Even though I live in Florida, temperatures are still finally starting to drop (hallelujah!) While this makes me happy, especially around the holidays, it also makes me want to curl up on the couch with a Halmark movie–er…book…and just…not move. While this sounds quite relaxing, it’s not exactly beneficial to my waistline. So, on behalf of EcoDrink, a healthy and easy way to get your vitamins every day, I’d like to share with you 5 reasons to take your workouts outside this winter:

1.) General Happiness: Exercise increases your endorphin levels which in turn can put you in a better mood, but did you also know the effect is heightened when exercising in the cold? This is due to the fact that you have to work harder in cold weather, so your endorphin production is boosted more than normal, and in turn, your happiness level. Confession: Whenever someone talks about endorphins and happiness I think of the movie Legally Blonde!

2.) Vitamin D boost: Did you know that about 80 to 90 percent of your vitamin D comes from the sun?  It’s pretty easy and fairly common for people to become vitamin D deficient in the colder months since they aren’t spending time outdoors. (Well, unless you live in Florida like me!) Vitamin D helps to keep your bones and immune system strong, and can also give you an additional dose of happiness.

3.) Burn more calories: Cold weather causes your body to regulate its temperature better meaning you can exercise for longer and burn more calories. Does shivering count as a workout? This sounds like a win to me!

4.) Less sick time: Some studies have found that regular outside exercise in the cold helps reduce the risk of flu by 20 to 30 percent. Through low-temperature training, the body adapts to the cold weather and, with time, strengthens the immune system against it. A a mother of a germy preschooler, this gets two thumbs up from me.

5.) It pairs well with EcoDrink: The EcoDrink Multivitamin is a healthy and convenient way to get your recommended daily dose of essential vitamins and minerals. Full of electrolytes and antioxidants to keep you hydrated and healthy, EcoDrink is a refreshing and delicious thirst quencher that provides energy and aids in muscle recovery after your workout to make the most of your time. It’s also a great way to get in extra water. Just pour the powder in 16 oz, shake, and enjoy! Also, EcoDrink Naturals is made with stevia, not sucralose and can be found on Amazon!.

ecodrink

The folks at Eco Drink have offered for me to run a GIVEAWAY for two lucky readers. Two people will each get two boxes of the flavor of their choice mailed to them to try out (they are all yummy!) Please follow the instructions below, and the giveaway ends at midnight on 11/26. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Superhero 5k Race Recap 2017

Our neighborhood hosted a 5k last weekend so of course Bobby and I had to participate. We got to sleep in to a reasonable time and just drive to the front of the neighborhood to run. I’m all about convenience so I was excited to run it!

What I was not excited about was the weather. While it wasn’t hot thankfully (low 70’s) it was 100% humidity, which was absolutely brutal. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s back up!

I slept in until 6:20 which was nice for a race morning. We got up, ate breakfast and got ready, then woke Emma Kate up. My parents came to watch her while we ran and they met us at the front of the neighborhood where the race was starting.

They played on the playground with Emma Kate and were at the finish line when we crossed so it worked out well. Anyway, this was a very small race, and it was admittedly weird that a “race course’ was through streets that I regularly run during the week. Our neighborhood is huge, so I was bummed to see we would be making two loops around the same streets (I knew I would get bored). Oh well, it’s just 3.1 miles I thought to myself. The race was chip timed, but what I didn’t realize until after was that there was no starting mat, so everyone’s gun time was the same as their chip time. I started towards the back, and had I known there was no starting mat I would have started closer to the front, because my time is about 3 seconds off because of this.

So we started promptly at 8:00, and my goal was to keep a sub 9:00 minute pace which I thought was reasonable in the weather conditions. (Had it been less humid I would have shot for sub 8:45 for a PR.) Bobby took off and was way ahead of me, and I just got into a groove listening to my music and running this familiar course. I made the first loop, and Bobby passed me going the other way. We high fived, and I was still feeling good, keeping about an 8:45/8:50 overall pace for the first 1.5 miles.

I hit mile two and was POURING sweat. It kept getting in my eyes and burning, and I kept wiping my eyebrows and forehead but there was so much of it that it really wasn’t helping. I knew I should have worn a visor and was cursing myself in that moment for forgetting. I kept hanging on to my pace until I got to about mile 2.5. I looked down and realized I was running a 9:20, and I was barely hanging on to that.

I pushed as hard as I could and got it back down to right around a 9:00 mile pace, and started getting that awesome nauseated feeling you get when you are pushing really hard. My face was on fire and I just couldn’t push any harder than I was. I made the last turn and saw the finish line and my family.

I crossed in 27:39, but I estimate I ran a 27:36 with the delayed start.

My PR is 27:13 but was in 50 degree weather and very low humidity, so I think with another chance in better conditions I can beat my old PR, which is encouraging.

This is my “leave me alone I need to keep walking so I don’t puke” face.

Finish line hugs are the best.

Bobby did really well. He ran a 23:13, which is 3 seconds away from a PR!

We were both super thankful that one was over, but still had a good time.

After the race, Bobby jumped in the pool fully clothed, and Emma Kate played on the playground before we all went to change and hit the pool. It was a great day and a fun time!

Protein on the Go

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

I workout a lot, but for some reason I am constantly struggling to get enough protein in my diet. I don’t eat fish, so am limited to chicken and beef mainly, and well lets face it, that can get old after awhile and hard to eat at every meal. I am also the mom to a busy little girl, and our household is always on the move. A lot of days I just need something quick to eat or drink that requires little effort but is still healthy. Since it’s so hot in Florida for the better part of the year, I had taken to making smoothies a good bit for breakfast or lunch. While this is an easy on the go meal, it can still take a lot of time to prepare.

I was super stoked to see the Premier Protein shakes at Costco, and was shocked to see that the contained 30 grams of protein! That’s a LOT for a small container guys. They are only 160 calories, and have one gram of sugar. The three flavors are Chocolate, vanilla, and bananas and cream (my current fave.)

Even more exciting is that for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of shakes at Costco. Good nutrition and a good deal, now we are speaking my language.

I have been drinking 4-5 of these guys a week now and I can honestly say not only do they taste good, but they keep me full. Since I work from home, I am prone to snack a lot (confession, I know.) But after drinking one of these shakes I don’t even want to go neat the pantry because they fill me up.
Also, after a hard workout I often have a hard time stomaching most food for an hour or so, but KNOW it’s important that I refuel within the first 30 minutes to recover. The liquid nature of the drink is so much easier on my stomach and something I can drink right after a workout without problems.

For those days when I do have time to make a smoothie, I am always looking for new recipes. Check this fruity one out:

TROPICAL SUNRISE SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS OF MANGO SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen mango
• 1 sliced orange
INGREDIENTS OF BERRY SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 cups frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries)
• 1 frozen banana
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all mango smoothie ingredients into blender.
2. Blend until smooth and pour into glass.
3. Rinse blender container.
4. Place berry ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour berry layer on top of mango smoothie. Enjoy!

Don’t forget, for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of Premier Protein shakes at Costco.

QOTD: What is your favorite type of protein smoothie? Recipe? 

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

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

New Mizuno Wave Sky


Disclosure: This post about the new Wave Sky is sponsored by Mizuno through Fitfluential. All opinions are my own.

If you have been reading my blog lately, you know I have been struggling with a quad/knee injury that sidelined me for around 8-9 weeks. Not running was no fun, but I knew I needed to be extra careful when I did come back to the sport. When I was asked to try out the new Mizuno Wave Sky, I was pumped as the timing was when I was coming back from my injury, and I couldn’t help but think maybe some new shoes would help my knee to not hurt.

wave sky

Well, I was absolutely right. Not only has my knee not hurt running in these new shoes, but I feel like I am running on a springboard. There is just something about running in new shoes that makes me run taller and faster. However, after five runs in the Wave Sky, that feeling has not gone away with the cloudwave technology in these shoes.

wave sky

This is a neutral shoe, but it has plenty of cushioning, and as someone who prefers a wider toe box, I am happy to same my toes have not gone numb like that have in other shoes. I also really like the new thicker premium sock liner for a better, more comfortable fit.

Wave sky

This shoe comes in three great combos for the women, and you can check them out here. I have a feeling I will wear these out really quickly and will need a new pair, I’m digging the pink and want to get those next time!

QOTD: What do you look for in a new shoe? Have you tried Mizuno running shoes before? What is your favorite color combo on the new wave sky?

May 2017 Goals

Happy new month! I know for most of the country it’s just starting to warm up and people are thinking about getting outside and doing outdoor activities. However, here in Florida, it’s getting into the mid 90’s and it’s time to hibernate inside for the next 6 months! Before we get into my May goals, let’s take a look at April. I have some interesting stuff going on this month so read all the way down!

1.) Be able to run the Star Wars Half pain free: C Well, my knee did hurt for the majority of the race, but it was manageable and I was still able to run/walk. The good news is every day it got better and better after, so it isn’t like it stayed hurting the same amount for days and days after. It’s been over a week and I have been walking pain free for 3 days. Back to foam rolling, stretching, and walking. (Please realize I knew that running 13.1 pain free was a stretch. Anyone who doesn’t run for 8 weeks then tries to run a half is going to have some aches and pains, but I am just glad my quad gave me zero pain, which is where the injury began back in February!)

PhotoPass_Visiting_WDWRUNDISNEY_400815928885 (2)

2.) Organize extra room: B+ With Bobby’s help, we moved some of the storage items out and the room looks a lot better. I still have a couple of boxes and a handful of random items I need to find a home for, but it looks so much better than it did last month!

3.) Walk 4x’s a week: B I am giving myself a B because there was one week I only walked 3 times. It made me feel good to be able to do “something” even though I wasn’t running. We had some nice weather last month so I’m glad I got to take advantage of that before the heat set in. I was walking up to 3 miles at a time pain free!

———————————-

May goals:

1.) Eat Salad 3x’s a week: If you know me at all, you know salad is not my thing. However, I have been trying really hard at making myself eat it, and I know it’s good for me, too. I have been adding fruit and other things I like to make it easier, and so far it hasn’t been so bad (I started my experiment over the weekend). I know it will help my overall health!

2011-07-30091701

2.) Organize my guest room: Now that one room is almost completely cleaned out, it’s time to move on to the guest room. Same as last month, this room just needs some purging and organizing to make me not want to keep the door shut all the time!

3.) Lose 4 pounds: Ok guys. Here is the big one. It’s something I have been trying to ignore since March, but I can’t any longer. I was doing so well maintaining my weight when we first moved to Florida, but then I got injured. I thought I would only be out of commission for a week or two, so I didn’t bother trying to do other workouts because I thought my body could use a break. Then two weeks turned into a month then six weeks and two months. Yes I started walking after 6/7 weeks, but with the way I was eating I was still gaining weight. After our most recent trip and feeling gross after eating fried and fatty foods for a week, I decided my body needed a cleanse/reset.

I have sold Advocare for years, but I generally don’t talk about it unless someone asks me, and then I took the past 6 months off because of the move etc. However, I think the best thing for me right now is to do the 24 day challenge. I have done it a few times in the past and it’s a really good jump start for me to get back on track. Please hear me when I say it’s ENTIRELY possible to lose weight without this program. I have done it before. However, sometimes I need a little more motivation and a strict schedule to follow, an I think right now this is what I need.

18034194_10158651111815626_1043508768670304183_n

However, I would love some accountability, so I thought it would be a great idea to open this up to my readers and see if any of you wanted to participate in the challenge with me. If you purchase the products from my link and if I get enough interest, I would open up a Facebook challenge group where we can hold each other accountable, share recipes, workouts, etc. to make it through the 24 days. If you are interested in joining in, you can email me at [email protected] or just purchase the challenge bundle here and I will be notified. If you have any questions please let me know! (PS: if you want 20% off your order, you can become a distributor. There are NO auto ships and NO minimum orders, simply purchase what you want when you want, you just have to pay the $59 distributor fee and it’s good for a year. You can choose to sell to others or just keep the discount for personal use. However, if you sell enough, you can get your discount up to 40%!)

I would be happy to discuss the options with you, or go through any add on products you may want to try for the challenge. I would love for you to join in with me and lose a little weight and get healthy before swimsuit season! (I am looking to start the challenge within the next two weeks, so if you would like to participate you would need to order this week to have time for shipping!)

QOTD: What are your goals for May? Is it hot where you live?

*Don’t forget that if your goals are in front of your face all the time you are more likely to stick with them! Click here to get my set of FREE goal and fitness tracking printables.

Tampa Tuesdays: Valspar Championship 2017

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the Valspar championship and a media event at Innisbrook here in Florida. Being new to the area, I had not yet had a chance to visit here, and was excited to go. A few bloggers were selected to attend a foodie event during the tournament, and I wanted to share my experience with you from that, as well as the Toby Keith concert we attended the next night on the driving range!

When the bloggers all arrived at the event, we were lead through the tournament towards the Grape and Grain. I had not been to a PGA tournament in many years, so it was fun to see everything as we walked through.

golf

golf2

At Grape and Grain, celebrity chef Ming Tsai was doing a cooking demonstration. After the demonstration, he chatted with us bloggers, answered questions, and we got to taste some of his food. He was super personable and easy to talk with, and took photos with all the bloggers. What a special treat to have him at the tournament!

golf4

Afterwards, we got to walk around a little bit. Valspar had some really cool decorations scattered about. I especially loved the chandelier and flower centerpieces!

hp0a4PcMe97c_4LuFAnmBAmDNB0CS8WXXNAW_Kgg5jUpX92IB

4S1WmTSILPTbYwVz3T3uK2C5EoA7RtCLqjBiQQpSRlgpX92IB

We were then treated to a special lunch outside. Did you know that you do NOT have to be a member at Innisbrook to eat at the restaurant? I HIGHLY recommend you check it out. All of the food was SO amazing. We even got to chat with the chef!

golf6

gopzqMxbCcsatzeyEfOAp-eoDnjtRX5YIsYcW5PNbMEpX92IB

We had flatbread, lamb, chicken wings, shrimp, as well as many other things to sample.

golf7

Everything tasted so fresh. I can’t wait to bring my husband back here I know he will love it!

golf8

After lunch, we relaxed for a few minutes out on the gorgeous deck overlooking the course while sipping on watermelon drinks. So light and refreshing on a warm day!

golf9

The next afternoon, my husband and I headed back to Innisbrook to see the end of the day’s play of the tournament and attend the Toby Keith concert. We really enjoyed the concert but were bummed it started much alter than anticipated. We didn’t get to stay for the whole thing because we had to go back to pick up our toddler.

7ciHLKRQU6HPxMayZqnjzao_MMs3w3M-giiA2zu5OVopX92IB

toby

IvhBDIS4ra1cdIqACHm9chMih9YYQdzAJE9gWfv1kwIpX92IB

All in all a great weekend with great weather. They really know how to do a golf tournament! Everything was very well done from the food to the course to the entertainment and volunteers. I’m sure we will be back!

QOTD: Have you ever attended a PGA golf tournament?

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to the tournament as well as a day as media in exchange for my honest thoughts. However, all opinions are my own.