Happy Thanksgiving 2018

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! From my family to yours, I hope you have a wonderful day. This year has thrown us quite a few twists and turns, but we still have so. so. so. much to be thankful for.

Psalm 9:1:  I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.

8 Tips for Running in the Rain

Update: This post originally appeared in August of 2011 and has been updated for October 2018.

I have run several races in the rain, including the inaugural Rock ‘n Roll Providence half marathon, where there were torrential downpours the entire race. I definitely did some things wrong in that race in regards to running in the rain, but I learned some lessons and tricks to help you survive a rainy run.

8 tips for running in the rain

Remember, it’s just rain. It won’t kill you, so go running anyway! (Unless there is lightning or a tornado…then you are on your own!)

8 Tips for running in the rain:

1.) Wear a hat. This will help keep your head drier and help to keep water drops from pelting you in the face. Not getting water all in your face will make it not so bad.

2.) Waterproof your phone/iPod. No, you don’t have to have some expensive special case, a ziplock bag will do! I kept my phone in my Ziploc the whole race and it was fine afterward! Also, I could still type on the touch screen through the bag.

3.) Body Glide.  Even if you don’t normally chafe or blister, use Body Glide anyway. I don’t normally chafe badly but I did under ONE arm and on the outside of the leg  where the pocket was I kept my phone in. I heard people saying they usually don’t get blisters but because of squishy shoes, they did during this race.

4.) Wear moisture wicking fabric/clothing. Honestly, you should be doing this ANYWAY, but it will help keep you from chafing more than cotton will, and it will keep you more dry.

5.) Dress warmly. The rain will most likely make it a few degrees cooler than you anticipated, so take that into consideration when planning your race day outfit.

6.) Get out of your wet clothes ASAP! Prior to the race, use the gear check if there is one available, or run back to your hotel to shower and change, but don’t stay in your wet clothes! You need to dry off and get the chill out of your body.

7.) A garbage bag makes a great poncho. Seriously. Been there done that. Even if you don’t run in it, it can at least keep you dry while you wait for the race to start.

8.) Evaluate and possibly change your expectation. If you were thinking you were going to PR in said rainy day weather you still can, but don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t. There are other things to consider besides the actual rain that can slow you down. For instance, in Providence, at times it was raining so hard the drains in the streets couldn’t keep up with it, so there was standing water RUSHING over the street knocking your feet out from under you. Also, there were puddles everywhere and I couldn’t tell how deep they were, which could have caused me to twist an ankle. I treaded a lot more lightly than usual because of this. There were also several steep downhills I was afraid of slipping on in my wet slippery shoes. Take precautions and watch your footing. There will be other races! Think of it as an experience, and as a “mental PR!”

tips for running in the rain

QOTD: Do you have any other rainy day running tips?

Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I make a small commission if you purcahse through my link.

4 Easy Tips for Choosing a Running Route

Update: This post originally appeared in the summer of 2012, and has been updated for October 2018.

Whether you subconsciously do it or not, a lot of thought goes into planning a running route. People have preferences depending on training run, time of day, traffic, amount of people, and so on. I wanted to go into a little bit of detail about some of these options to help you (and myself!) plan the best running routes for your enjoyment and safety. Here are my tips for choosing a running route:

no matter where you are running, you can always take selfies while you workout!

 

1.) Type of run:

 

This will weigh heavily on some of the other things I mention so I thought I would bring it up first. A long run or an easy run may take you anywhere on any terrain at any time, but for a hill workout, for instance, you need well…a route with hills! So point being, take these suggestions with a grain of salt and adjust them according to the needs of your run for that day. Also, I get bored pretty quickly and would rather run a loop somewhere as opposed to up and down the same streets over and over. Example: My parents live in a big neighborhood with a clubhouse in the middle. When I visit, I park at the clubhouse and put water and fuel there, then run in one direction and back to my car, then the other direction and back to my car. This way I don’t get bored on the same streets!

2.) Safety:

This is way important, especially in light of things happening to people on running trails in the news over the past couple of years. Please don’t be one of those people who say “it will never happen to me”, because that thought alone makes you vulnerable. If you are running alone, you need to REALLY consider running:

-in an area with a lot of people.

-out in the open (not on a trail in the woods).

-carrying a taser, pepper spray,* your cell phone.

-when the sun is up and the area is well lit.

-with reflective gear on to make yourself visible.

-ALWAYS tell someone where you are going and when you expect to be back.

Bobby refuses to let me run out on the highway or on the trails by myself, and I totally understand why. Even if you live in a “safe area” bad things can happen. Being observant and not playing your music too loud so it drowns out approaching people or animals can be a hindrance. Wearing headphones that still allow ambient noise is something I would highly suggest if you must listen to music.

2011-04-30_11.49.40

I run along the beach during the day when there is a lot of traffic and other people out on the path. I always carry my cell phone and wear my road ID.

3.) Weather:

The biggest weather concern where I live is the heat and humidity. A lot of thought goes into my weekend long runs due to the glaring sun and high temps. Running early in the morning or late in the evening is something I try to do (when Bobby is with me of course). We also try our best to find well-shaded areas, areas without a lot of traffic, and areas with water fountains, or a turn around point where we can pass by the car for extra fuel and water. Trails are a great option for the heat if they are shaded but you may need to bring along your own water bottle depending on the location.

DSC_2196

these trees don’t provide much shade.

Running in the rain is ok (as long as it’s not lightning) but be careful running on roads, as they can be slippery and cars may not be able to brake as well. We don’t get a lot of cold weather, but when we do we bundle up and hit a sunny route to keep us warm and try to stay out of the wind as much as possible.

4.) Distance/scenery:

I will be the first to admit I get pretty bored on long runs. Having somewhere new to run can be a great change and make things more interesting. Depending on the distance you need to go, you can plan to run a loop (not as boring) or an out and back (way boring!). I prefer to run on a beach or Boardwalk, or where there are a lot of people so I have different things to look at. Also, to keep boredom away, try running your usual route backward. I have different places I run depending on how far I have to go. (3 mile loop, 6 mile loop, etc). Also, don’t count out the treadmill to mix things up! I have done 10 mile long runs, half outside and half on a treadmill when it gets too hot outside.

d0241852

The lakefront in Louisiana is a beautiful place to run.

It may be a slight inconvenience to drive somewhere to run, but if it will help me run faster and be less bored, I am willing to drive a bit to get the job done.

2012-02-04 10.27.07

beach running is fun (but so tough!)

The same goes for picking races. I try to choose ones in fun cities, or somewhere scenic. I ran an out and back race that went through this boring road with no houses one time and it was 13.1 miles of torture!

562025_631860400148_61700476_32300575_1108471544_n

races along the beach are a lot of fun

2012-02-26-07.31.15_thumb

So are races in Disney World!

Bottom line, with a little bit of planning and effort on your part, you can make running more fun and not as “boring”. If you are stuck in a training rut, try to make sure you are having the best experience based on the weather, times of day, your safety, scenery, and the type of run.

QOTD: Do you have any other tips for choosing a running route?

Related: 5 Tips for running when you travel

*Some links may be affiliate links, meaning if you purchase from it, I get a small commission.

The 5 Very Best Disneyland Restaurants

Updated: This post originally appeared in 2013 and I am updating it now, in October 2018.

I have had the pleasure of going to Disneyland 3 times, and all three times were for runDisney races. We stayed for 4 nights each time and had the opportunity to eat at some fabulous restaurants. I don’t want to make one post per restaurant or go into a ton of detail, but I wanted to share with you all my favorite five table service Disneyland area restaurants and why I loved them. I hope you find a new favorite from my very best Disneyland restaurants list!

best Disneyland restaurants

1.) Napa Rose: Hands down the best meal we have had at Disneyland Resort. It reminded me somewhat of Citrico’s in WDW which I love. The service was impeccable, the food was delicious, and the atmosphere was relaxing but sophisticated. We ate here the last night of our trip on two separate vacations, and it was a great way to cap off a wonderful time. Don’t miss this one! They had a great steak for this meat lover.

NapaRose

2.) Blue Bayou: This one wins the top prize for best theming. What a cool idea to have a ride (Pirates of the Carribean) pass by the guests eating at the restaurant. The theming is amazing, and it feels like you are outside under the stars, on the bayou eating dinner. We loved the ambiance and the food was good for this Cajun girl, too. We asked to be seated by the water, (you may have to wait a little longer but worth it!) and got to watch the boats full of riders float by into the ride.

BlueBayou

3.) Steakhouse 55: This restaurant is a fancy place at the Disneyland Hotel. It has a beautiful waiting area and the restaurant itself is quite swanky, reminiscent of old Hollywood. The food was top notch here, I would put it as second best in the food category food under Napa Rose.  The mac n’ cheese was amazing. order it. Seriously. Another reason to stay on property. We just walked over from the Grand Californian for dinner. So easy!

DisneylandHotel

4.) Café Orleans: Café Orleans is a quaint little place in the Orleans Square section of Disneyland park with an adorable outdoor eating area. I love that the weather in southern California is so mild that there is lots of outdoor seating at Disneyland. We sat outside and people watched and ate gumbo and other goodies under an umbrella. it was peaceful, and a perfect lunch spot. This says a lot coming from a New Orleans native who is usually very critical of places claiming to be “New Orleans-Y.” The Monte Cristo sandwich is to die for, but is very rich, so be warned!

CafeOrleans

5.) Storyteller’s Café: This was the first dinner we eat after arriving in Disneyland. It is at the Grand Californian where we typically stay and is a fun way to kick off the trip. Bobby loves a good buffet, and this one while not huge, had a lot of delicious food that we both love. It has a light and childlike atmosphere while still being beautiful! If you aren’t staying at the hotel this would be a great opportunity to check out the beautiful grounds.

DSC_0622

QOTD: Have you eaten at any of these places? Which one looks the more appealing to you? Do you have a different Disneyland favorite?

6 Hacks to Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthy

I will be the first one to admit that I struggle with healthy eating. I can work out all day long, but then I want to reward myself with pizza and fudge every time. The good news is, I know my weakness, and over the years have been able to figure out a few ways to “trick” myself into eating better for you foods as opposed to junk food. Admittedly, they don’t always work (sometimes you just have to have some ice cream, y’all) but these hacks have definitely helped me more times than not. So here we go, 6 hacks to trick yourself into eating healthy:

Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthy

1.) Trick yourself into eating vegetables: This one may take some trial and error, but I have found ways to “sneak” in vegetables into my meals so I don’t even know they are there. For instance, I love smoothies, and when I make one with spinach, I legit cannot taste it. Score! Another great idea is a product I found out about called Easy Peasie. It’s a vegetable blend you sprinkle into food, genius! There are even new packaged meals and sides that are out that include veggies in them such as Oprah’s O That’s Good food line, which is comfort food with a healthy twist. You can also experiment with veggie noodles like cauliflower or zucchini. Sneaking veggies into casseroles that already have a ton of other flavor is another good way to add in a little extra veggie goodness.

Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthy

2.) Slow down: In our society, we tend to do everything so darn fast, including eat. This does not give our bodies enough time to digest and signal to our brains that we are full, which can lead to overeating. Slow down, chew well, and enjoy every bite. This may help with indigestion issues and eating too much at once!

3.) End the happy plate mentality: I believe this one is especially “big” in the south where we are taught to “clean our plate”, but I have found myself doing it to my child by making her create a “happy plate” before she gets up from the table. It’s a hard balance because if it were up to her she wouldn’t eat dinner at all, but I also don’t want her to think she always has to finish her meal even if she is full. So how to combat this as adults? A couple of ways. Try eating from a smaller plate, or just put less on your plate. You can always go back for seconds if you are too hungry, but don’t put too much food on your plate then feel pressured to finish it just because it’s there!

4.) Have healthy snacks ready to go: When I’m hungry, I can be quite irrational and make decisions that aren’t the best. This includes reaching for the easiest snack, which is usually something not so healthy. To end this problem, I started making sure I always had healthy ready to eat snacks at my disposable so when I start getting hangry, I can just grab and go, and not worry about spending ten minutes slicing fruit or cooking up something that is better for me. Think fruit already washed/cut/peeled etc. sitting in the fridge, small bags of nuts already portioned out on the counter, egg muffins made and in the freezer to heat up and eat quickly, etc. At least for me, I’m less likely to grab chips or candy when healthy stuff is easily accessible.

5.) Try flavored water: As you may have heard, a lot of times when we are hungry, we are actually thirsty. And, if you are anything like me, drinking a glass of water is just not that exciting. However, fun fruit infused water with a twisty straw IS exciting! Make it fun and you are more likely to drink. Try this infuser bottle* and add in some oranges, apple slices, and blueberries!

6.) Make dinner fun: Don’t save your best china and flower vases for Christmas dinner, live a little and use them on a random Tuesday night. Who cares if it’s taco Tuesday, go on and be fancy! Pick some wildflowers, put them in a pretty vase, light some candles, or use a tablecloth. Whatever is fun for you and makes you happy! I feel like if dinner is pretty and fun, I am more likely to be ok with eating healthy food. Give it a try!

I hope you found these tips valuable and will share my 6 Hacks to Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthy, you never know who you will help by passing it along!

*If you purchase through this link I will make a small commission.

20 Questions 2018 Edition

Hey guys! I am super slammed this week so thought I would keep it a little lighthearted and fun with a survey blog post. (Who remembers back in the day getting these via email and forwarding them to all your friends? Ah, memories!) So here is a little way to get to know more about me. Copy and do your own on your blog or social media for fun!

1. Do you have any nicknames? Not really anymore. Growing up I was bird legs, and little Bridges (my last name).

2. Are you named after anyone? My parents just really liked the name Heather, and I share a middle name (Lynn) with my cousin.

3. Do you have any siblings? Yes I have one older sister, and she lives in Texas.

4. Where did you grow up? I was born in Metairie (right outside of NOLA) and when I was about 2 we moved to Georgia where we lived till I was 8. Then we moved back to Louisiana where I finished my “growing up.”

5. What activities did you do in high school? What didn’t I do? haha. I played volleyball, basketball, and ran track. I was president of the National Honor Society, and I led a before school Bible study. I’m sure I’m forgetting things but those were my main activities.

6. Where did you go to college? Mississippi College (NOT to be confused with Mississippi State or Ole Miss)

7. What activities did you do in college? I played intramural flag football, basketball, and volleyball. I was also in a “tribe” which was our version of a sorority. (Baptist college, yall).

8. What did you study in college? My degree is in psychology with a minor in business administration.

9. What was your first job out of college? I was a secretary for an engineering company while I coached volleyball and took graduate classes at night to become a teacher.

10. What kind of music do you like? Country and Christian (Carrie Underwood is my spirit animal).

11. What’s one hobby that you’d like to take up? That’s a tough one. The thought of taking up another hobby is exhausting. Can napping be a hobby?

12. What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? Everything from a teach to a ballet dancer. (HAHAHA).

13. What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now? I cannot share but it’s big. Pray for me.

14. Do you have any irrational fears? Oh yes. Sharks, snakes, heights, water I can’t see the bottom of, and clowns.

15. Have you ever traveled outside the country? If so, where? Just on cruises. I have been to Mexico a bunch and the caribbean and Bermuda.

16. When’s your next vacation and where are you going? I don’t have one planned but guessing Disney. Heh.

17. Do you speak any other languages? So after taking 2 years of Spanish in high school, I’m proud to say I can say two words in said language.

18. What’s one talent that you wish you had? Singing. For sure. (Carrie Underwood, remember?) I can “blend” ok but do not have a soloist voice.

19. What’s something that you wish you could do one more time? Play high school sports. I miss it so much.

20. If you weren’t in your current job, what would you want to be doing? Oh Lawd with the tough questions. Traveling more. Spending more time with my family. Relaxing more. What job allows me to do that? 🙂

5 Reasons to Attend the Valspar Championship This Year

Last year was my first time going to the Valspar Championship here in Florida. As an athlete, I am always up for watching a sporting event, but then I learned that there is SO MUCH more going on than just the playing of golf itself. There truly is fun for the whole family, so I wanted to highlight five (of many!) reasons you will want to get tickets to the Valspar Championship this year!

1.) Food: This is more than your typical sporting event concession stand food. There will be a food truck rally with local food trucks. There will also be the Gape and Grain, which will house upscale beer, wine, and spirits, as well as Frenchy’s Pool Party which is great for families.

2.) Music: Valspar LIVE! Will take place on Saturday, March 10th, with not one, but TWO country music stars– Jake Owen and Dustin Lynch who will play at the conclusion of the tournament, and YES the concert is FREE with your tournament ticket! Last year, the combination of PGA TOUR golf and Valspar LIVE! produced the first single day sellout in tournament history and a repeat is possible in 2018. I was there (Toby Keith) and it was so much fun.

3.) Activities: Loving the tiny house trend? Then you will love the tiny homes block party behind the 18th green. Fans will be able to check out these homes painted in bright Valspar paint colors. This area will also have complimentary popsicles and autograph sessions on Thursday and Friday. Also be sure to check out chameleon cove, a beach and relaxation zone, featuring a 100-ton sand sculpture which is TWICE as big as last year, with colorful fan seating and concessions. There will also be a family fun zone featuring a 16-foot-tall rock climbing wall, monster putting green, Imagination Playground as well as arts, crafts, and games.

4.) Players/Tournament: Of course there is a golf tournament going on as well! Rory McIlroy, the four-time Major Championship winner will be among the new names joining the tournament. Adam Hadwin is the returning 2017 Valspar Champion and will be back to defend his title.

valspar classic

5.) Charity/Veterans: Last year, Valspar Championship generated $2,412,196 for charity, – an increase of 13% from the previous year. The tournament has now generated just under $39 million for charity since 1977! So amazing! There will also be a Birdies for the Brave Patriots’ Outpost — one of the TOUR’s largest Patriots Outposts. The Outpost is a hospitality chalet with complimentary Chick-fil-A, Marco’s Pizza, Michelob ULTRA, and Coke products.

As you can see, there are tons of reasons to get your tickets to the Valspar Championship this year. Just click this link to be taken directly to the page with tons more information. Hope to see you there!

 

Disney World’s Toy Story Land

It’s finally coming! The long awaited expansion at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Toy Story Land, will be opening on June 30th! I have been fans of the movies for many many years, and now love that my three year old is obsessed with them as well. It truly spans generations and I’m so pumped Disney is finally adding in some “extra” fun for Toy Story lovers.

5 Things to look for at Disney's Toy Story Land opening at Hollywood Studios on June 30th.

Here are 5 things to look for:

1.) Two new rides: Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers will join Toy Story Mania as fun rides for all guests to enjoy in this new land, where you are “shrunk down” to the size of a toy. Slinky Dog Dash will be a fun filled family coaster, and in Alien Swirling Saucers you climb into a toy rocket and join the aliens on a fun adventure. You may even get chosen by the claw!

Disney World's Toy Story Land

2.) A new restaurant called Woody’s Lunchbox: This will feature a walk up quick service window with old fashioned soda floats. I can’t wait to see the full menu, I’m sure it’s going to be amazing.

3.) An expanded Toy Story Mania ride: This ride will go to three tracks so less wait time and more time enjoying the attraction. You will go through a carnival game box as you approach the attraction. I can’t wait to see it this summer!

4.) New characters: Newbies to the area like Rex Jessie and Sarge and others will be able to be seen in Toy Story Land, like in the photo below. How cool is giant Jessie?!?

Disney World's Toy Story Land

5.) A Model: A model of the all new Toy Story Land is currently on display in Walt Disney Presents at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, be sure to check it out on your next visit in anticipation of the June 30th opening. It’s coming up so soon!

Disney World's Toy Story Land

Christmas Recap 2017

Happy January guys! I can’t believe it’s now 2018. How many of you are still forgetting and writing 2017 on everything? Hand raise! We had a great Christmas, but just like every year it flew by so fast and I want it back! Here are a few of my favorites photos and things we did.

The Friday before, Emma Kate had PJ day at school and obviously had to show them off.

Saturday we made reindeer food and fudge.

Christmas eve we went to church along with my mom and dad. 

Love singing Silent Night with just out voices and the candles. So beautiful. 

After church, we hit up PDQ. I know it’s not very traditional, but we knew we were going to be cooking all the things that night and the next day so I was not up for cooking again for lunch.

Bobby cooked pork chops for dinner and mom was in charge of bread, which is terrifying because she always burns it. So she sat in front of my oven to make sure she didn’t. Bless it. 

We made cookies for Santa and left them by the tree with some milk. 

We read the Christmas story from the Bible and the Night Before Christmas. My sister’s plane arrived just in time for her to get to join in and tell Emma Kate good night.

My mom, dad, and sister left to go to their house, then Santa came!

On Christmas morning, I made EK sit at the top of the stairs and wait just like I used to do. She was a trooper even though she didn’t really understand ha.

She ran downstairs to see that Santa came, and was so excited! She even had gifts in her stocking.

This is my FAVORITE Christmas photo from the day. Sums it all up perfectly. 

Happy girl loved her “doctor things”

Self timer for the win!

We got ready then drove down to my parents new house for the day. It was my first time seeing it with furniture and I love it!

Emma Kate even has her own room.

Also, Santa made a visit to Grammy and Papa’s house, too.

Bobby also got in on the gift action. (and he got me a laptop!)

Maybe a future career?

The weather was in the low 70’s and perfect.

We had our big meal at lunch, and it was delicious.

Santa even left Emma Kate a cupcake.

Self timer again! 

Lunch goodness.

Christmas day is also my moms birthday so we had a cake, of course!

Emma Kate learned how to “drive” papa’s golf cart.

The sign of a good day, asleep int he car by 7:30. We drove home and were so sad it was all over, but thankful for the great memories!

I hope you had a great Christmas with your loved ones. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Episode 1: Goal Setting Strategies You May Not Want To Hear (But Will Work!)

Episode 1  of my new podcast is fitting for the new year, goal setting. In this episode I talk about the biggest reason you aren’t reaching your goals, and we have a little chat about not making excuses (all said in love!)

I give some calls to action to get your 2018 off on the right foot.

Links mentioned in the podcast:

Average Girl’s Guide to Living an Above Average Life Ebook