Meals and Miles http://mealsandmiles.com One Girl's Journey Through Food and Running Fri, 16 Jun 2017 20:45:46 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 15754866 Hi! + Brooks Running Giveaway! http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/06/16/hi-brooks-running-giveaway/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/06/16/hi-brooks-running-giveaway/#comments Fri, 16 Jun 2017 20:45:46 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66893 more »]]>

Hi! I’m alive!

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks around here. Work has really been picking up at the office, my sister and her family were in town last weekend, and I simply don’t open my laptop up as much as I used to when I’m at home. Honestly, the days and weeks seem to fly by way too quickly – I honestly can’t believe we’re halfway through June!

Let’s play a little catch-up.

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

Dang, this show is good! The cinematography, the storyline, the characters – everything immediately pulls you in and it’s hard to look away. The modern dystopia depicted in the show is so relevant in the current political climate and definitely makes you think. The storyline was so enticing, that I downloaded the original book and have been listening to it on my daily commute, as well as my morning runs and evening walks with Maddie. Despite originally being written in the 1980s, the book still feels very fresh and not dated at all. If you’re a fan of the show – I highly recommend the book for a deeper dive into Offred’s head and thoughts.

What I’m Wearing: Le Tote

I signed up  for Le Tote last month and have really been enjoying it thus far. I head of a while ago Le Tote (thank you Facebook ads), but it wasn’t until I complimented someone’s shirt at bar class, that I actually became curious about it. She told me her shirt was from Le Tote and continued to gush over the clothing rental subscription service. Basically you pay a monthly fee that grants you access to an online closet you rent from. You select your pieces, wear them, return them, and they immediately send back another box of clothes. For someone who loves to wear new clothes, doesn’t have time to shop,  and likes to change it up – this sounded great. I did a test box and just kept it going from there.

LOVED this Free People dress I received in my first box.

If you want to try it, use this link for $25 off your first month.

What I’m Doing: Glazer Children’s Museum  

Derek and I recently purchased an annual membership at our local children’s museum and love it. It’s a great way to wear out an energetic toddler and it’s a great escape from the summer heat. It gets serious bonus points for being INSIDE, which is really key for Florida summers. We had a zoo membership last summer, but the heat and humidity were brutal. Plus, it’s nice to change up our memberships every year. Next year we might be touting our new Aquarium membership.

What I’m Excited About: Brooks Endorsed Athlete

I’m about a week behind, but in case you missed it, Brooks made a really cool announcement on National Running Day.

 

According to the fifth annual Brooks Global Run Happy Report, the majority of runners across the globe (62%) dreamt of becoming a professional athlete as a kid; however, big-time endorsement deals in running are generally reserved for only the fastest in the world. Brooks is mixing things up because the company believes all who run—fast or slow; chasing a personal record or feeding the soul—deserve support in their running pursuits. So in celebration of all runners everywhere, they want to help make those childhood dreams come true by inviting all runners to become a Brooks endorsed athlete with the Brooks Big Endorsement.

All runners can head to www.BrooksAthlete.com now to sign their endorsement deal with Brooks. All endorsed athletes will receive a $1 check, as well as bragging rights and access to a community of fellow endorsed athletes. It’s really just a fun celebration of runners everywhere and a big reminder of why I love Brooks so much – they really do believe in all things Run Happy!

Speaking of Brooks, they also just released the new Glycerin 15s.

The Glycerin shoes were my initial introduction to Brooks way back in 2009. I like to refer to them as Brooks’ luxury shoe since everything about the Glycerin is luxurious. They’re maxed out with cushion, keep my feet feeling strong, and are my absolute favorite shoe for casual long runs. I’ve pretty much run in every release since then and the 15s 100% live up to everything I love about the Glycerins.

I particularly enjoy the extra-cushioned wrap around for my heel. It’s so soft and doesn’t dig in at all, I almost feel like I could run sans-socks and not have to worry about any blisters in that area. I feel like my foot is wrapped in a big pillow.

Granted, I wouldn’t call these a flat and fast shoe for hard-core speed training days. But for the days you just want to run on cruise control – they’re perfect.

Giveaway Time!

So who wants to try a pair of their own? Brooks has graciously offered a pair of the new Glycerin 15 to one lucky Meals and Miles reader. All you have to do is leave a comment below letting me know what’s your summer running plans. Running a race? Sticking to the trails? Or Simply taking a break? Leave a comment below and I’ll pick a random winner next Wednesday, June 21st. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

Good luck!

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8 Items We Loved On Our Beach Trip http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/06/02/8-items-we-loved-on-our-beach-trip/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/06/02/8-items-we-loved-on-our-beach-trip/#comments Fri, 02 Jun 2017 12:25:31 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66877 more »]]>

We had a blast during our stay in North Captiva Island, but before the trip, there was a lot of pre-planning and coordination of ALLTHETHINGS on the backend. Amazon was definitely our friend and I discovered the joys of same day delivery (it truly is a beautiful thing). Here are a few purchases that made our beach trip a little easier.

  1. Puddle Jumper

My sister had originally brought the puddle jumper for my 2.5 year old nephew, but he wanted nothing to do with it. He preferred dry land and the kiddie pool. You do you, buddy. However, since we couldn’t keep Annalynn away from the water, we decided to try it on her to give her a little freedom. She LOVED it. It took her a few minutes to figure it out, but once she did, she didn’t want to take it off. I was a little concerned Annalynn was too young for the puddle jumper at 19 months, but it ended up working out fine. I ordered her own puddle jumper as soon as we got home.

  1. Inflatable Baby Pool

The baby pool was a clear winner of the trip. We dragged it to the beach each day and filled it with buckets of ocean water. All of the kids (ages ranging from 10 months to 2.5 years) enjoyed splashing in the water with their beach toys. It was also nice having the ability to keep the pool under the shade to limit sun exposure.

  1. Aveeno Baby Sunscreen

The Aveeno Baby Sunscreen is hands down my favorite sunscreen for Annalynn. It’s very mild, easy to apply, and kept Annalynn’s skin pasty white. We made sure to reapply regularly, while also keeping her under the shade as much as possible especially since she refuses to keep a hat on. How do parents get toddlers to keep hats on – teach me your ways!

  1. Pop-up Beach Tent

My brother brought the Pacific Breeze Easy Up Beach Tent and it was amazing. There was no need to spend 20 minutes trying to figure out tent poles, loops, or digging out instructions. He pulled it out of the bag, wiggled the tent to pop it up, and he was done. That’s it – no extra assembly required. It was a nice, cool spot for the kids to rest and I even enjoyed laying in it.

  1. Heavy Duty Beach Wagon

Even with 9 adults helping, it was still a huge pain to get everything to and from the beach… especially with 4 kids to wrangle at the same time. The folding wagon made life 10 times easier. Instead of filling up arms and bags – we just filled the wagon up. It was easy to load and easy to pull through the sand. Technically this was my parents’ but I’ve added it to my Amazon wish list for the future.

  1. #MomBod Friendly Swimsuit

This was my first swimsuit purchase from Amazon and it’s inspired me to buy many more. I first discovered that Amazon even had swimsuits when I was browsing the internet one day and stumbled upon a Buzzfeed article on the best swimsuits on Amazon. The Retro Halter Peplum Bikini instantly stood out to me. It was cute, had awesome reviews, and was only $25 – sold!

The suit is super flattering with retro high waisted bottom and a cute halter top. I like that I can chase Annalynn on the beach in it and not worry about anything popping out. It also conceals my soft belly, while still giving me some shape. Plus, it was $25. You really can’t beat that.

  1. Safety 1st Gate

The beach house we stayed at had 3 floors and a ton of stairs. I had ordered this gate right before we left and it came in handy. Not going to lie, it was a pain to get in secure, but once it was secure, it didn’t budge.

  1. Toddler Cot

I’ve blogged about this before, and I’ll keep blogging about, this cot is awesome. My sister actually purchased one for the trip and my 2.5 year old nephew did great on it. It’s easy to travel with, easy to assemble, and is the perfect size for a toddler. The cot fit perfectly between the closet and our bed. I highly recommend if you’re traveling with a toddler.

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I Love North Captiva http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/30/i-love-north-captiva/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/30/i-love-north-captiva/#comments Tue, 30 May 2017 21:00:52 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66862 more »]]>

 

I just returned from my family’s annual getaway to North Captiva Island and I’m already longing to return.

We first discovered the wonders of North Captiva Island back in 2010. My mom was looking for a pet-friendly beach house for our expanding family and stumbled upon the beauty of North Captiva Island. The whole family fell so in love with the island, that we’ve made it an annual tradition to return year after year. You can read my full, original review of North Captiva here.

If you’re looking for a tropical getaway in Florida, I standby my original review and can not recommend North Captiva enough. It’s the perfect peaceful island for a relaxing vacation. It’s only accessible by ferry – so you’re avoiding typical beach crowds – and you really can’t beat that lazy island vibe.

Of course, a few things have changed since our first visit. For starters, our family has grown. Now, instead of a house full of dogs, we have a house full of babies. This year we had four little monkeys playing in the sand.

James (11 months), Owen (2 yrs), Weston (10 months), & Annalynn (19 months)

There’s something truly amazing about introducing a place you love so much to the next generation. This was Annalynn’s second time on the island (and Owen’s third), but it’s almost like we got to re-introduce it to her. She was only 7 months last time and not even crawling yet. Now she’s a talking, opinionated toddler who had so much fun hanging out with her grandparents, destroying sandcastles, and splashing in the water. It was difficult to get her to leave the beach or pool! She could have easily stayed waterside all day if she could.

Really ,the addition of the kids just makes us love the island even more. We rented a house right on the beach again this year, which was perfect for four little kids on varying nap schedules. Instead of everyone having to leave every time a baby needed a nap, we were able to quietly walk away and put each kiddo down on their own terms.

Annalynn takes one nap a day and usually snoozes for 2-3 hrs right after lunch. We had a steady routine of playing on the beach in the morning, then heading back to the house for lunch and a snooze. We brought an extra baby monitor along, which made everything that much smoother. While she napped, we had the monitor poolside and were able to relax and enjoy some quiet baby-free time.

We also brought the toddler cot again this trip, which fit perfectly next to our bed in the room. I really can’t say enough about traveling with the toddler cot. It was light weight, easy to travel with, and could be assembled and dissembled in a matter of seconds.

At night we were able to put all the kiddos to bed and still have time to bring the chairs to the beach to watch the epic sunsets.

I managed to get one beach run in on our first morning on the island.

I was hoping to get another in, but sleeping-in just felt way too good to give up. I rarely get a chance to enjoy lazy mornings in my PJs and I wanted to take advantage.

Overall it was a relaxing weekend full of the beach, pool, hanging out with family, and watching movies. We only left our little corner of the island a couple of times for ice cream or a little exploration. Otherwise, there wasn’t really a desire to do much else. Sunshine, food, and family time – that’s all we needed.

Now it’s back to reality. Le sigh.

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Mac & Mia Review: It’s StitchFix for Kids http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/22/mac-mia-review-its-stitchfix-for-kids/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/22/mac-mia-review-its-stitchfix-for-kids/#comments Mon, 22 May 2017 13:18:58 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66849 more »]]>

I tried something new this month. It’s called Mac & Mia and it’s a clothing subscription box service for kids.

Yep, it’s basically StitchFix for kids. Or I guess I should really say StitchFix for babies and toddlers, since sizing ranges from newborn to 5T. The set-up is super similar to StitchFix (and a lot of other subscription box services). You create an account, set-up a profile, pay a styling fee, and in about a week you receive a box full of new clothes for your little one. You keep what you like, send back what you don’t, and schedule the next box at your leisure.

I first heard about Mac & Mia about a year ago when my friend Diana emailed me raving about it. She has two kids and loved the convenience of the service, as well as the unique adorable clothes you won’t find anywhere else. I loved the idea but, at the time, Annalynn was outgrowing clothes at rapid speed and I couldn’t justify spending so much on baby clothes (warning: the clothes can be a tad pricey averaging about $20-$40 apiece).

I didn’t really look much into it, until I recently received an email from one of their stylists asking if she could style a box for Annalynn. She offered a code to waive the styling fee (which, by the way, you can take advantage of, too. Use this link for a $20 credit for Mac and Mia. You’re welcome.) and I decided to give it a try this time. Annalynn is a little older so she’s not growing out of clothes as quickly as she was before and I’m in the process of building up her summer wardrobe anyway. (p.s. not a sponsored post, but there are affiliate links in here)

Setting up a profile was quick and easy. I took a mini-style quiz and was able to request light and airy summer clothes for Annalynn. After I placed the order, the box arrived fairly quickly. The packaging was adorable and I found it amusing how much smaller the box was than my typical StitchFix box is.

As I mentioned above, the pricing is probably a little more than I’d normally spend on clothes for my toddler, but the quality is definitely there and the prices aren’t too outrageous. The most expensive item from this box was $40. Plus, if you keep everything, you receive a 15% discount. There was a sweet note from the stylist in the box, a pre-stamped return envelope, a price sheet, and a dress-up paper dolls for Annalynn to play with.

The box was packed tight and I was surprised with how much was in it. Each Mac and Mia box contains 6-8 items.

Now, I’ll spare you a full fashion show of Annalynn wearing everything from the box. To all the moms out there who can get their kids to change in and out of a dozen outfits for a full photo shoot – I salute you! There were some pieces I knew weren’t going to work based simply on size or my initial reaction when I saw the piece. However, there were some adorable pieces I instantly fell in love with and those were the pieces I wanted to try on Annalynn.

First up: Blu and Blue – Ikkat Romper ($40)

This was the first outfit that caught my attention as soon as I opened the Mac & Mia box. Oh my word, is this romper adorable! Of course, I fell in love with the most expensive thing in the box, but how cute is this?! Am I willing to spend $40 on a romper? Well, when you think about it, I have that $20 styling credit I could apply to the order (again, use this link to get your own credit!), so it would really be $20. That seems more reasonable. With that rationale, this is totally going in the keep pile.

Next, Bitz Kids – Peplum Cherry Dress ($30)

Please note the bow lasted about 5 minutes, but at least I got a cute photo out of it. 😉

This was another adorable dress. The cherry pattern, cut, and style make it a perfect summer party dress, especially when paired with a big red bow. It was a little big, but that’s not exactly a bad thing when it comes to toddler clothes – you’re pretty much guaranteed they’ll grow into it eventually. Unfortunately as much as we liked the dress, it wasn’t 100% love. It went in the return pile, but I may have some regrets looking at this photo. She is pretty cute in it.

Finally,  Lali – Printed Fringe Shorts ($29) and Frankie and Sue – Avery Tank ($28)

Every model requires a personal Mickey, right?

Those shorts! I loved those shorts right out of the box, but they did a weird puffing thing when I actually had them on her. I loved the print and style, but they just didn’t work on Annalynn. However, the tank top was adorable. It’s a really light weight material and has a criss-cross back – perfect for the Florida summer heat.

I ended up keeping the tank top and returning the shorts.

Overall we kept two items and returned the rest. We had fun with the Mac & Mia box and would definitely order one again. I’d say Mac & Mia is great for anyone who is looking for unique clothes for their toddlers. Every item in the box was adorable and a big step outside the box of what we usually shop for. It is a bit pricely for kids’ clothes, but nothing overly crazy.

If you want to try Mac & Mia for yourself, use this link for a $20 credit on your first box. Happy shopping!

 

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My Current Fitness Routine http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/18/bar-method-review/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/18/bar-method-review/#comments Thu, 18 May 2017 13:20:47 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66843 more »]]>

My fitness routine changes pretty regularly. I find something that works (until it doesn’t) and then I move on. Usually my schedule changes, something new comes up, or life happens. The only thing that ever stays constant is running, but even my approach to running can vary depending on my current goals and what races I’ve signed up for.

Recently my fitness routine has involved Bar Method classes. Psst…This is NOT a sponsored post, nor was I given anything free or discounted in exchange for a review, I’ve just legit enjoyed my experience with Bar Method and wanted to share it here.

A couple of months ago a co-worker forwarded a “March Madness” special for a month of unlimited Bar Method classes for $44. Umm… $44? Considering the unlimited packages are usually $175 a month, this was a great deal – sign me up! The real selling point was the ability to take classes during lunch. The studio is about a mile from my office and offers 45 minute express lunchtime classes. It’s really difficult to fit morning or evening classes into my current schedule, so lunchtime access is key. Even better, three of us ended up taking advantage of the deal on my team, so I instantly had two accountability partners to go to class with.

This was not my first time trying any type or style of Bar/Barre classes (I actually took my first one back in 2012), but it was the first time I made an effort to stick with it consistently. I’m usually more of a fan of intense cardio/ powerlifting. You know – the classes where you build up a sweat and know it’s a great workout based off how soaked your clothes are. Bar Method is basically the complete opposite of that and it didn’t exactly pull me in to want to stick with it. At least, it didn’t back then. Now? Those are all the things I love about it.

For starters, you don’t sweat. In fact, the floor is carpeted and the room smells amazing – no smelly, sweaty bodies in here. The AC runs cool, they run the fans, and it actually feels nice.  All the movements are tight, concise, and effective. A newbie coming in for the first time might question why so many swear by this workout… until they try it and they’re silently cursing the instructor halfway through. Trust me, it’s brutal. Brutal in a “my legs are shaking and I can’t possibly hold this any longer” way – not brutal in a “OMG I’m covered in sweat can can’t breathe” way. Sometimes I come back to my desk and it still feels like my legs/arms are shaking – but it took a few classes to get there, so sticking with it was definitely key.

I’m a runner with tight hips, so my flexibility is terrible. And despite years of being dragged to ballet as a kid (sometimes literally kicking and screaming), I have zero grace or residual form. For the first several classes, the instructor was constantly over me adjusting and correcting my form. I got called out… a lot. When I registered they mentioned it would take at least 10 classes to feel comfortable in class, and they were absolutely right. I’m at 20 classes now, and I’m still adjusted or corrected at least once per class, but not nearly as much as I used to be. I actually feel semi-comfortable moving into position without having to check everyone’s form around me 100x before committing. It’s starting to stick, which is a huge confidence booster out on the floor. It didn’t come overnight, I’ve definitely put the work in, and am happy with where I’m at, though I still have so much more to learn. There are quite honestly some positions where I look around and think “how the hell are all these people so flexible?!” And then I attempt it, laugh at myself, and move on. Hey – at least I tried.

Since becoming a mom, I’ve struggled to stick with any sort of strength routine. I’ve been doing Bar Method for 2 months now and it’s been awesome to see some results. Even if I’m probably the only one who see the difference, I’m gaining definition back – finally.

I’ve been doing Bar Method 3x, running 3x a week, and taking Saturday for a rest day. I’ve loved this routine because it works perfectly with my current schedule. I wake-up early on mornings I have to run, sleep-in on mornings I do bar, and I don’t feel crazy burnt out. Bar Method has been great during lunch and having my co-workers take the classes with me means I have automatic accountability partners to go with. We all completed the original challenge and then signed-up again when the studio offered us another introductory package of $99 for one month of unlimited classes.

I’m still going month-by-month (these classes ARE expensive), but right now it’s worth it for a little “me time” in the middle of the day.  At the very least, Bar Method inspires me to get out during lunch and stick to strength training. Who knows what my fitness routine will be months from now, but right now I’m enjoying where I’m at.

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Staying Organized at Daycare http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/09/brother-label-maker-review/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/09/brother-label-maker-review/#comments Tue, 09 May 2017 12:03:20 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66830 more »]]>

This post is sponsored by Brother.

Any parent who has ever had a child in daycare knows how easily things go missing. We’ve lost bottle tops and sippy cups, clothes and shoes. Our daughter Annalynn has come home with gear that wasn’t hers, and I know her stuff has gone home with other kids. I was warned this would happen going into it, but man is it a wakeup call when you’re actually in it. Of course, this is in no way meant to fault the daycare or the teachers, it’s just what happens.  I can only imagine how crazy it is to keep track of that many kids and all of the stuff that goes with them. I lose stuff with just one kid at home – it happens.  So my goal as a parent is to make it as easy as possible to keep track of my kid’s gear.

Here’s how I’ve learned to make it work:

I only send stuff to daycare we can live without or is easily replaced.

Annalynn has a dedicated drawer at daycare that holds her blanket, spare clothes, extra pacifiers, etc. The spare clothes are there in case there’s an accident or something happens to what she’s wearing. It’s rare that she needs to use them and there have been times that outfits will stay in there for months without being used. In most cases she usually outgrows them before she needs them. Often times those clothes will get lost in the shuffle and we never see them again. Because of this, I only send spare clothes that we have no attachment to. The spare clothes tend to be random clothing that were hand me downs or permanently stained.  If we don’t see them again – no biggie.

Have extras of everything.

When we first started sending Annalynn to daycare with bottles, I only had the exact amount of nipples, tops, and bottles that she needed for each day. Then one day she came home without a bottle’s top and I panicked. I had to run out to the store that night and replace it so we would have enough for the next day. After that I doubled up on all of our bottle supplies. She probably comes home with something missing every two or three months, but there is no more panicking and no more late-night runs to the store.

Label Everything

My husband loves to make fun of me because I now label everything. Trust me, I didn’t start out this way, but I’ve slowly evolved into the mom that marks her daughter’s initials on every diaper cover and bib. True story.

I recently started using the Brother P-touch PT D210 label maker and it has been a true game changer for my labeling obsession. Writing with a marker eventually wears off and ordering custom labels can get pricey, but P-Touch TZe labels are durable and they stay put. They’re also water-resistant, fade-resistant, and temperature resistant.  Plus, the P-touch D210 offers lots of ways to personalize your labels: 14 fonts, 97 frames, and more than 600 symbols.

When the P-touch arrived, I legit spent over an hour playing with everything it can do. I mixed and matched all of the fonts, symbols, and borders until I found the combination that worked best for our needs.

Replacing the P-touch TZe tape is simple, and there’s a wide variety of tape colors to choose from.

The berry pink tape with white text was my ultimate favorite. It has great contrast and is really eye-catching.

Yep, as you can see, I went a little crazy, but sometimes you need to be a little crazy as a mom.

The P-touch PT-D210 is available for purchase at Staples.

How do you stay organized for daycare?

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Day in the Life: 5/4/17 http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/04/day-in-the-life-5417/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/05/04/day-in-the-life-5417/#comments Fri, 05 May 2017 01:20:11 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66818 more »]]>

5:03am: Alarm goes off… because 5:00am felt too early and 5:50am seemed too late. Press snooze anyway.

5:08am: Alarm goes off again. This time Maddie knows what’s up and starts licking my face. Okay. Okay. I’m up.

5:10am: Grab the leash and take Maddie for a walk. We do two loops around the neighborhood and I attempt to wake up.

5:35am: Back at home I fill Maddie’s water bowl and hop in the shower. Do I shave my legs today or can I wait a little longer?  Meh. I can go another day.

5:50am: Sit on the couch with my coffee and scroll through Facebook for 10 minutes. I tell myself that at 6:00am I need to get up and be productive. Pinky swear.

6:03am: Couch time is done. Time to blow dry my hair and be productive.

6:12am: Head back to the kitchen and prep breakfast. I like to have breakfast ready to go before Annalynn gets up, so she gets to sleep in as much as possible. This morning’s meal was a mix of cereal, fruit, peanut butter, and yogurt (for her).

6:20am: I head into Annalynn’s room to wake her up. She’s not really a morning person, so our routine allows her a couple of minutes of tossing and turning before deciding she’s finally ready to seize the day. While she’s gaining the motivation, I’ll pick out her clothes for the day and set them on the changing table.

6:23am: Annalynn nurses for a few minutes.

6:27am: After she’s done nursing, I change her diaper and dress her for the day.

6:32am: We emerge from her from her room and Annalynn heads straight to her high chair in the dining room. She knows this routine well.

6:33am: I give Annalynn a handful of cereal, berries, and a yogurt pouch. While she eats, I put her hair in pigtails for the day and reheat my coffee. Afterwards I sit down and eat my own bowl of cereal.

6:50am: Derek is up and takes over Annalynn duty. I put the breakfast stuff away, feed Maddie, and head to the room to curl my hair.

7:00am: I pick a dress from the closet and pair it with a pair of shoes and necklace.  I throw my workout clothes in a bag, hoping I’ll be able to take a class during lunch.

7:10am: I give Annalynn and Derek both kisses and head out the door.

7:17am: Arrive at Publix and head inside to pick-up a few supplies, including some items for teacher-appreciation week (which I’ve totally been slacking on). Today’s theme is chocolate, which should be an easy one to pull off. I grab a bag of assorted Hershey candies, a salad for lunch, snacks for my desk, and call it a day.

7: 30am: Back in the car and on my way to work.

8:00am: Arrive at work. Looking stylish with my giant tote. I’ve recently consolidated all of my little bags into a giant tote. I’m still a crazy bag lady, but the big bag makes me feel more efficient.

8:30am: I log on and attempt to reserve my sport for today’s Bar class, but quickly realize I have an offsite meeting at 1pm and can’t go. Darn. No bar class today.

9:00am: Have super productive conversation with male co-workers regarding dry shampoo. They are all baffled at its existence.

10:00am: Break into my bag of cashews (BOGO at Publix this week!) and snack on a couple of handfuls.

11:00am: Oh, look! I was quoted in an article on Racked.com about Lularoe and Disney. Proceed to tell my coworkers that I’m famous now. They all ask what Racked is. Okay. Not famous. But still a cool article.

12:15pm: Consume my Publix salad for lunch.

12:30pm: Prep candy bags for teacher appreciation week. They’re so fancy, you can just call me Pinterest Mom. 😉

1:00pm: Offsite meeting with potential client.

3:00pm: I was so excited to try the Chameleon Cold Brew Vanilla Ready-to-Drink Coffee today. I fell in love with the concentrate version when the company sent me some sample a couple of weeks ago and grabbed the ready-to-drink version at Publix this morning for a mid-afternoon pick me up. Unfortunately I didn’t read the label. The Chameleon Vanilla Coffee concentrate is unsweetened with natural vanilla flavor added, while the ready-to-drink version has added sugar. It’s not a lot of added sugar, but it was just enough to give it a sweet flavor. I’m just not a fan of sweet coffee, especially ready-to-drink sweet coffee. I was definitely bummed.

4:00pm: More cashews to get me over the hurdle.

5:10pm: Close up for the day and head home.

5:40pm: Pick Annalynn up from daycare.

5:50pm: Arrive home and it’s pouring. I quickly get Annalynn out and head to the garage. It’s locked. I don’t have a key for the garage, so we head back into the rain to go to the front door. Annalynn is laughing and trying to catch rain drops with her mouth. She finds the whole thing hilarious.

5:55pm: Attempt to take Maddie outside, but she’s not budging. She’d rather hold her pee for another hour than head outside in the rain. Your call, dog.

6:15pm: Annalynn plays with the magnets on the fridge/ dishwasher while I start dinner. She loves taking the magnets back and forth between the fridge and dishwasher – hours of fun!

6:30pm: Derek arrives home and dinner is almost ready. We’re having breakfast for dinner: pancakes, bacon, eggs, and fresh mango.

6:45pm: We sit down to have dinner as a family. Annalynn loves the meal and has two pancakes, a full egg, and two servings of mango.

7:10pm: Derek gives Annalynn a bath while I take Maddie outside and load the dishwasher.

7:20pm: I help Annalynn brush her teeth, then take her to her room for pjs and story time.

7:30pm: It’s bedtime. I nurse Annalynn and then give her one last kiss goodnight before putting her to bed.

7:40pm: Maddie and I head out for a walk around the neighborhood.

8:00pm: Derek and I watch an episode of the Daily Show with the creators of Pod Save America. It’s his new favorite podcast and he’s a big fan of the trio.

8:10pm: While the show is on I pull out my laptop and start this post.

9:00pm: Bedtime? Maybe.

Good night!

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My Review of the Juno Redesign http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/04/25/my-review-of-the-juno-redesign/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/04/25/my-review-of-the-juno-redesign/#comments Tue, 25 Apr 2017 11:59:35 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66810 more »]]>

My favorite sports bra of all time (the Brooks Juno) recently had a complete overhaul and I wanted to share the details with you guys.

A little background…

I originally discovered the Juno sports bra when I was pregnant with Annalynn and my boobs basically grew three sizes overnight. Suddenly the running tanks with built-in shelf bras I had been relying on were no longer cutting it and I needed something heavy duty to support my new DDs. I met with a sports bra fit specialist, who introduced me to the Juno. It was love at first run. I now own 5 in various sizes (thanks to pregnancy, breastfeeding, and my ever-changing body) and it’s also my go-to for lounging around the house, as well as running.

So what’s new with the Juno redesign? According to Brooks, they’ve added increased ventilation and an updated back design. The redesign makes the Juno more breathable and easier to get on and off.

I sat-in on a product demo with the Brooks team a couple of months ago and was pumped when they broke down the lighter and smoother look of the new Juno. The main complaint everyone has with the Juno is how difficult it is the get on and off. If they somehow fixed that issue, then they would be my new heroes.

I had been planning to purchase the redesigned Juno to test it for myself, but ended up lucking out when I checked into Brooks’ Altitude Camp last month and there was one waiting in my gear bag. Sweet! I think I let out a little squeal when I saw it (anyone else get this excited with new sports bras? Just me?).  I headed straight to the bathroom to change clothes and put on the new bra.

Unfortunately, I knew something wasn’t right from the start. The sports bra felt big and loose. I re-checked the size and it was the exact same size of the Juno I had just ordered in December, and had been wearing pretty regularly, but this one felt different. The fabric was gapping/puckering pretty excessively at the front and the band felt loose, even though I adjusted everything to the tightest setting.

I found a Brooks employee and she agreed something was off. I ended up trying three different sizes until I found a combination that worked. I had to go down a full cup size and band size to get the right fit. I asked Brooks if the Juno redesign affected sizing, but they didn’t believe it did (however, multiple reviews on the product page do state otherwise). At first I chalked it up to almost being done breastfeeding and my boobs being all over the place, but my newest Juno (purchased right before the overhaul) still fits great in the larger size. This isn’t faulting Brooks, just a bit of a heads up in case you decide to order a new Juno in the future. If you do, I would definitely recommend heading to your local retailer and trying the new Juno on first before committing to any size. In my opinion, the sizing and fit are definitely different.

Once I got the right fit, in terms of support, the rest of the bra is pretty comparable to the original. Everything feels contained, secured, and isn’t moving. I can run for miles and not worry about any pain creeping in or crazy marks from straps digging into the my shoulder. The shoulder straps are still wide and lightly padded, and the adjustable straps that the Juno is famous for are still there and, in my humble opinion, still one of the best parts about the bra.

The material itself is a lot lighter and noticeably more breathable than the original design. The cut of the Juno is also a bit smoother and very modern feeling to the touch. As a hot and sweaty Florida runner, I do appreciate the cooler direction of the bra. However, as far as the highly marketed ease of getting the redesigned Juno on and off, I honestly not tell much of a difference.. At the end of the day it’s never fun taking a sweaty sports bra off, no matter what the design is. Unless you get rid of the supportive cross back of the straps, I don’t see much of a way around that. If you are looking for ease in taking a sports bra off, may I recommend the high-impact Brooks Jubralee. The Jubralee has an open back with just a simple closure, so there’s no need to bring it over your head to remove – you just unhook it. I own it, and while it is a great sports bra, I find myself missing the additional support of the crossback every time I wear it. Yes, the Juno is a pain in the butt to take off (again, as are most sports bras), but if that means I get more support because of, then so be it.

So here are my final thoughts on the Juno redesign:

The Good:

  • Same great support
  • Lighter, more-breathable material

Not-so Good:

  • Sizing runs big and fit is very different
  • Still a pain to peel off

In the end, I’m still happy with the Juno and it will continue to remain my go-to sports bra. I do hope they address the sizing and fit issue as it does seem to be an overwhelming concern out there. Again, if you plan to purchase a redesigned Juno I can’t recommend enough heading to a specialty running store and going through the fitting process in person. It will save you a big headache in the long run.

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Easter Hopping 2017 http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/04/17/easter-hopping-2017/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/04/17/easter-hopping-2017/#comments Mon, 17 Apr 2017 17:43:28 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66756 more »]]>

Happy Belated Easter!

I know I’ve said this before, but the older Annalynn gets, the seriously more fun holidays become!

Last Easter Annalynn was still working on sitting unassisted and wasn’t sure about all the plastic eggs everyone kept handing her. This year she was an egg hunting machine and it was so much fun to watch.

Our Easter celebrations actually began a few weeks ago when Mary hosted an early Easter Egg Hunt Brunch for all of the friends’ kiddos. It’s always fun to get the kids together, especially for holidays or other interactive activities.

It was Annalynn’s first official Easter egg hunt on two feet and it really didn’t take her long to grasp the concept. She loves picking up toys and dropping them in buckets, so putting eggs in a basket was a no brainer.

She also enjoyed decorating eggs with stickers and then refused to give up her freshly decorated egg. Which was adorable… until she dropped it and the hard boiled egg broke into a hundred pieces. There was no putting humpty dumpty back together again after that.

Her school hosted a “Spring Extravaganza” on Good Friday that included an egg hunt, picnic, and other activities.

The teachers saidAnnalynn was a “pro” and knew exactly what to do when it came to collecting eggs. She’s got mad skills.

On Saturday our neighborhood hosted a giant egg hunt at the neighborhood park that had a couple of hundred kids, thousands of eggs, raffles, and more.

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing makes you feel more like an adult than being in a sea of parents with your kid waiting for an Easter egg hunt to start. Luckily the hunt was at the park so we spent 30 minutes going up and down the slides, swinging, and walking in circles.

30 minutes to wait for the start of a hunt that lasts less than 5 minutes. There was an 8 egg maximum, but that didn’t seem to bother Annalynn. She just kept dumping her bag out and re-hunting the eggs she had just claimed – problem solved!

Finally, on Easter Sunday, we ditched the rest of our Easter traditions and  started one of our own by heading to the beach.

It was actually Derek’s idea and it was perfect. We slept in, made a big breakfast, Annalynn napped, and then we headed to the beach. Pretty good Sunday if you ask me.

I know this is a totally random post, but I wanted to quickly jot everything down for my own memory. Time flies way too fast around here.

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Exploring the Great Smoky Mountains with a Toddler in Tow http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/04/11/exploring-the-great-smoky-mountains-with-a-toddler-in-tow/ http://mealsandmiles.com/2017/04/11/exploring-the-great-smoky-mountains-with-a-toddler-in-tow/#comments Tue, 11 Apr 2017 20:57:53 +0000 http://mealsandmiles.com/?p=66713 more »]]>

Oh, vacation, how I love you so!

Derek, Annalynn, and I just returned from a long weekend in the Great Smoky Mountains and it felt so good to get away. We spent some much needed time disconnecting from civilization and enjoying as much time outdoors as a family as we could.

It was Annalynn’s first flight and – despite months of worrying and planning – she did great. We flew Allegiant Air which, if you’re not familiar with it, is what I like to call a “no-frills” airline. The tickets were cheap, but everything else will cost you, as you pay in an a la carte format for luggage, carry-ons, in-flight beverages, etc. We paid in advance for our checked luggage, avoided paying a $5 boarding pass fee by checking-in via the airline’s app, and chose not to pay the extra $30 per person to pick our seats ahead of time. This was a bit of a risk traveling with a lap child, but thankfully it worked out. Fortunately we were also able to check the stroller, car seat, and carry on a diaper bag for free.

We had an early flight out of St. Pete Thursday morning. We packed the car and got Annalynn up and dressed at the last minute possible. She had a yogurt (because the world would end if she didn’t eat as soon as she got up – no matter the time) and then fell asleep on the drive to the airport.

Despite our attempt at traveling “light” (is that even possible with a toddler??), it was pretty comical unloading the car in the economy parking lot and reloading everything in the shuttle to take us to the airport. It was also raining – yay! It did get easier from there. I ended up wearing Annalynn in the Tula and we loaded everything in the Bob (our stroller) for the trek from the shuttle to the airport. The car seat actually fit perfectly on the Bob, as well as the diaper bag and Derek’s back pack.

(Photo was from our way home, but you get the visual)

I was able to push the stroller and Derek pulled the suitcases. Once inside we checked the suitcases, stroller, and car seat. I had purchased this car seat bag off of Amazon the week before and would highly recommend it. It made checking the car seat incredibly simple and was easy to spot at baggage claim.

Once we dropped all of our stuff off, navigating through the airport wasn’t a big deal. I was able to wear Annalynn in the Tula through security and had no problems with her diaper bag or her sippy cup full of water.

There was a little delay due to lightening in the area, but Annalynn just walked a few laps around the airport to burn out some energy before boarding.

Since we didn’t pay extra to sit together, Derek was a couple of rows behind us. I figured we could switch off Annalynn duty halfway through the flight, but we didn’t need to. As soon as we boarded I put on an episode of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and she fell asleep right around take off. We had a window seat but lucked out with an empty middle seat and a guy on the aisle seat who didn’t mind sitting by a toddler. I even managed to catch some zzZzzs myself.

The flight was short and Annalynn woke right when we landed – just in time for a snack. I wore her off the plane and then let her run around at baggage claim to burn off some energy before heading to the rental car.

After that we installed the car seat in the rental car and were off. Honestly, it was almost too easy flying with Annalynn. The diaper bag was stuffed full of new toys, books, and snacks, but we didn’t end up needing any of it for the first flight. I think having an early flight and a sleepy toddler definitely helped. I crossed my fingers for the worse on the way home and kept some of the new toys hidden for the remainder of the trip just in case.

Derek wanted to try a Man v Food place he had googled the day before, but they didn’t open until 11. I searched “fun things to do” on Google maps and found a nearby park with trails about 10 minutes from the airport. I mean, we’re here to hike – so let’s hike!

It was a little wet and cold, but it felt good to walk around and stretch our legs. It was Annalynn’s first hike and she enjoyed looking at all of the trees and the little river the trail took us along. We did a 1.2 mile out-and-back along the water with Annalynn on my back. It was actually a good test to see what her limits would be for the trip. She lasted about 3/4 of the way before she was bored of the new surroundings and ready to try something new. That’s when we started a very loud never-ending round of “wheels on the bus” which I’m sure made the trail runner who passed us very thankful for her earbuds.

We finished the hike right as the restaurant was opening and enjoyed the tv-famous BBQ burritos from Sweet P’s. (p.s. they were amazing and really filling!) From there we hit the grocery store before heading to our cabin just outside Pigeon Forge.

I’ve been to the Pigeon Forge area countless times as a kid and an adult, but it’s been at least 5 or 6 years since my last adventure to the Smokies. If you avoid the super-touristy (and extremely out of place) areas of Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, it’s really a peaceful, family-friendly area to explore and get away from civilization.

We ate at one of my family’s favorite restaurants, Applewood Farmhouse, on our first night.  The hearty southern comfort food really hit the spot and Annalynn enjoyed her first bites of apple fritters, fried okra, and chicken and dumplings.

She still, however, does not like mashed potatoes. What kind of kid doesn’t like mashed potatoes?!? She’ll eat almost anything (including the fired okra!!), but refuses mashed potatoes. Strange kid.

With all of the gear we were already traveling with, I really didn’t want to mess with bringing the pack ‘n’ play, too. We were staying in a cabin we rented through VRBO that didn’t have a crib (nor did I expect it to). I did a little research a couple of weeks prior on what Annalynn could sleep on that I could easily fit in a suitcase. I basically found two options: the toddler blow-up mattress or toddler cot. Annalynn sleeps pretty well on a cot at daycare (or so I’m told, I’ve never actually witnessed this) and it was the cheaper option… so I crossed my fingers and ordered the cot. I opened it as soon as it arrived and she immediately hopped on the cot and laid on it as if she was going “night, night.” Hmmm… this might work. I figured Plan B would be moving her to bed with Derek and me if something went wrong.

Derek set the cot up in the cabin’s second bedroom with her favorite blanket. We removed the room of all hazards (including the night lights that she had developed a fascination with as soon as we arrived) and went about our normal routine: bath time, story time, sleep sack, nursing, and then bed. Before we put the sleep sack on, we asked Annalynn where she was going “night, night” and she climbed on the cot. The kid got it. I nursed her, gave her the pacifier, and then set her on the cot to sleep. Done.

Then I checked the monitor every 10 minutes. Obviously.

She was exhausted from the long day, so it didn’t take her long to fall asleep. She moves around a lot in her sleep at home in her crib, and it was no different on the cot. We found her in several positions throughout the night and even on the floor at one point.

As far as I know, falling to the floor never even woke her up. She seemed happy in that position, so I left her. When I woke up the next morning, she was back on the cot, curled up under her blanket, and facing the other side. Apparently she woke up at one point and realized the cot would be comfier than the floor? Whatever works for you, kiddo!

She ended up sleeping in until 8:30, when we woke her for breakfast. I’m telling you – that big day of travel wore her out!

Oh, and while Annalynn slept, mom and dad enjoyed the peace and quiet of cabin life.

Local beers and hot tubbing for the win. Now THIS is what I call a vacation!

We made breakfast at the cabin the next morning, then hit the road to Cades Cove. Cades Cove is a historic valley in the the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley was home to numerous settlers before the formation of the national park. There’s an 11-mile, one-way loop road that circles the cove and allows tourists to explore at a leisurely pace. It takes about two to four hours to tour Cades Cove, longer if you walk some of the area’s trails. If you go, I highly recommend paying $1 for the auto-tour guide at the entrance. Cell-reception is spotty at best (I ended up just putting mine on airplane mode to save battery) and it gave some great facts along the way.

The scenic drive is gorgeous and educational, but can be a bit much for an energetic toddler who is bored of their car seat. We ended up making a few stops along the way to explore and let her run off a lot of energy. There were actually a lot of great open areas Annalynn could run crazy around.

And we had a bear sighting. You just have to squint your eyes to see it.

We stopped at a cute little café called Elvira’s after the tour and enjoyed Green Fried Tomato BLTs (yum!) and some chocolate pie.

After that we headed out to hike Laurel Falls.

So, funny story, I had read beforehand that this trail was a “paved path” and “popular with strollers.” We took the Bob and figured it could be an easy stroll up. Ummm… wrong.

I saw this sign right before we started making our way up.

Hmmm… should we turn around? Nah – how bad could it be? Let’s keep going. Famous last words, right?

Derek ended up pushing the stroller the whole way up and down. God bless him. It was a rough and bumpy right for Annalynn, the path was crowded and narrow, and I’m pretty sure everyone passing us thought we were crazy with this massive stroller on the path. I mean, I thought we were crazy.  We eventually saw a few other families with strollers that made me feel a little better.

Eventually we made it to the top (yay!). We parked the stroller next to another stroller (see – not the only ones!) and I put Annalynn in the Tula on my back.

Annalynn is obsessed with splashing water and was so pissed I wasn’t letting her down to explore. It’s how when you become a mom everything starts screaming “danger” and being at the top of a waterfall with a one-year old was one of those situation. Sorry, kid. There’s no way in hell I’m letting your feet hit the ground here.

We started our descend and it occurred to be that the stroller might be a little easier to push if I locked the front tire. Umm… too bad I didn’t have that thought on the way up. Turns out the lock tire was key, so if you ever decide to be crazy and take your jogging stroller to Laurel Falls, don’t forget to lock the tire!

The walk down actually wasn’t bad. In fact, Annalynn fell sleep! Whoa.

Oh, well. I’m not sure I would take the stroller up that path again, but if you’re considering it, I will say it is doable.

We picked up BBQ on the way home and called it a night. Annalynn had another great night on the cot and Derek and I fell asleep watching Shark Tank. Vacations are a lot different as an adult.

Saturday morning we toured Tuckaleechee Caverns. It was also Derek’s 33rd birthday. Happy Birthday, Derek!

There are a few other caverns you can tour in the area, but Tuckaleechee at the best reviews and I can definitely see why. If you’re afraid of heights or tight spaces, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you’re up for a little adventure then it’s definitely worth it.

Also, if you bring your one-year old I would definitely recommend wearing then in a carrier. There are several tights spots and stairs that was just easier to have her on my back for. However, I would also recommend snacks. We forgot to bring any and Annalynn was seriously hangry by the end of the 1.5 hr tour. We were the family with a screaming baby stuck 100 ft underground. Our sincere apologies to everyone in our group.

We headed back into the park to see a few waterfalls.

Then had picnic lunch by the water.

We headed into Gatlinburg for the rest of the afternoon, which was a huge mistake. The cute little town I remembered from my youth has changed so much in recent years and is now a crowded, tourist trap. So many people. So not our scene. Annalynn was also refusing to nap in the stroller, which was turning into a toddler meltdown. We headed back to the car and ended up driving in circles so Annalynn could get a decent nap in. An hour later she was a completely different person. Never underestimate the importance of a good nap!

We had an early dinner at the Old Mill Restaurant in Pigeon Forge.  I had never been before, but my mom had recommended it as a great place for Derek’s birthday dinner. She was right, it was another great restaurant featuring delicious southern comfort food.

Man, the southern food on this trip was good, but I was really craving a salad and steamed vegetables when we returned home.

We took our time packing up on Sunday morning and then said goodbye to our cabin at the last possible minute before checkout. I think Annalynn enjoyed her first cabin experience.

We headed into Knoxville and killed some time exploring the Ijams Nature Center, which was a pretty cool place if you’re looking for something fun to do in the area.

Finally, we had an amazing lunch at SoKno Taco Cantina (thank you, Yelp!) before heading to the airport.

Luckily the flight home was just as easy as the flight out. Annalynn and I had a window seat again, but this time the whole row was full. The people next to us were nice and even offered up some snacks to Annalynn. She watched Mickey Mouse Clubhouse pretty much the whole flight, only falling asleep for the last 20 minutes or so.

 

I wore her off the plane and that was that. Vacation time was over. Booo….

It really was a great trip and both Derek and I look forward to returning as a family in the future. We can’t wait until Annalynn (and future siblings) are old enough to go white water rafting, ziplining, horseback riding, and more. The fun has only just begun!

 

 

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