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Run DMT - I'm a mom on the run!

Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

Disclaimer: I was provided with a race entry in exchange for my honest review of my Iron Girl Clearwater experience.  The opinions shared are my own.

Prior to Iron Girl, I came down with a nasty chest congestion related to my allergy-induced asthma.  With difficulty breathing, tightness in my chest and a wet non-productive cough, a forced rest was my only option. Sadly, the congestion forced me to take two weeks off from running.

By Sunday, I still couldn’t breathe and I still continued to cough. During that drive down to Clearwater, I doubted myself and questioned my actions.  “Why am I here? Why am I doing this?” The questions played over and over in my head as I puffed my inhaler. I had trained so hard for this moment; I couldn’t throw in the towel.

In an attempt to motivate myself, I bought myself a new outfit the day before the race. The pink would at least help me look like an Iron Girl when I passed out on the course.

Finding it difficult to move that morning, I arrived in Clearwater about 15 minutes before the start of the race.  Then, like a ironic repeat of Sarasota, I needed a bathroom immediately, but the lines were so long. I spotted one woman forming her own line in front of the porta potty and I waited behind her for the next available one. I may cough the whole way, but at least I would start on time which was a relief in so many ways.

IMAG1205 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

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At the start corral, I found my friend, Leah. It lifted my spirits to see a familiar face in the crowd.

IMAG1204 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

After the national anthem, we were underway and I spotted Mike with a funny sign, of course.

IMAG1206 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

We ran through downtown Clearwater and circled around to the Memorial Causeway.  With only a mile into it, I was already experiencing a cough fit.  I simply kept my pace slow and steady. I tried not to push myself.

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By mile two as we headed into Clearwater Beach, I followed the advice of a random road sign and decided to take advantage of all the water stations along the course. With my hacking smoker’s cough, I walked each of the water stations as I rehydrated.

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We ran through the roundabout past Pier 60. It was a gorgeous morning to be on the beach. Just past mile three, we faced the second bridge leading into Sand Key with mile 4 at the top and I coughed the entire climb.

IMAG1236 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

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Once we reached Sand Key Park, I stopped for another water walking break. The volunteers shouted, “You’re looking great!” But I knew this was not my greatest performance.  At least I was ahead of the 2:30 pace group. The next mile and half led us through Sand Key Park, another training route for me.

IMAG1249 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

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After mile 6, we were back on Gulf Blvd when the 2:30 pace group passed me. For a brief moment, I hung my head in disappointment, but I quickly shook it off. This was not my best moment, but I was finishing something that others wouldn’t have even dared to do given the same conditions.

IMAG1256 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

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A little past mile seven, we turned to return back to Coachman Park. With only less than half way to go, I coughed and continued on my way at an even slower pace. At mile 8, we were offered Girl Scout cookies and I couldn’t stomach them. I just wanted to finish.

IMAG1261 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

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The St. Pete Road Runners and Team Psych greeted us at Mile 9 with high fives, big smiles, lots of cheers and cold wet towels. Now that was a treat that hit the spot!

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Feeling refreshing and rejuvenated, I was ready for the Sand Key Bridge that lay ahead.

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On the other side, we were led through the backstreets of Clearwater along Bayway Boulevard and Hamden Drive.  Upon our arrival, anxious and lovely little girls offered us water, but I politely declined. As a wise mom of three children, I chose to pass on the finger water and waited for the next water station.

IMAG1281 Iron Girl Half Marathon 2014 {Recap}

At the end of Hamden Drive, we turned the corner with only two miles left to go, which included the final causeway. Even with only short distance left, my body needed longer walking breaks.

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Just after mile 12, we reached the Clearwater Memorial Causeway and I tried my best to run up the steep incline.  I trained on these bridges and yet, I couldn’t find the steam to make it to the top. I felt like I was going backward.

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Finally I reached the top and I posed for a Causeway Kodak moment with the Sandy Key Bridge behind me and a palm tree as my hat.

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A few steps later, I bumped into the Best Damn Race crew.  “We were wondering what happened to you!” Haley said as she hugged me.

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One last loop stood in front of me and the finish line but not before one more photo with a spectator and a sign. Some may call me crazy and mental, but if anything, I am certainly tenacious. Just call me Tenacious D.

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At the bottom of the circular ramp, there was only a quarter mile left to go. Normally, I save a sprint for the finish line, but not this race. With staying steady at a 12:00 mm for the duration of the race, I couldn’t put forth anything faster than a 9:30, my normal race pace. I tried but I just couldn’t push it harder than that.

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13.1 miles

Time 2:35:29
Ave Pace 11:53
Div Pace 133/202
Overall 778/1230

That tiny, little push at the end put me over the edge and I couldn’t catch my breath. I needed help.  Once the medal was placed around my neck, I walked over the medical tent for assistance.  For the first time in my running career, I needed a breathing treatment.  The paramedic advised me to carry my emergency inhaler with me next time, which was some great advice.

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Despite needing help at the end, I am glad I didn’t defer. I trained so hard for this race and its tough course. Although I didn’t earn the time I hoped for and even did worse than last year, I’m glad I didn’t give up. There’s always next year.

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Because I am an Iron Girl.

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A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

spring%2520Beer%2520Fling A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer FlingDisclaimer: I was given two VIP passes to the Beer Spring Fling as part of the Tampa Bay BloggersBig City Events partnership in exchange for an honest review experience. The opinions shared in this review are my own.

When Iron Chef Allan and I heard that Samuel Adams Season Beers would be the featured beverage served at the Spring Beer Fling, we were there before the event organizers even tapped the kegs.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

All right so maybe that is a slight exaggeration, although we were definitely excited to attend the Spring Beer Fling.  Honestly, the lineup of craft beers and cocktails were very impressive.

  • Samuel Adams Cold Snap
  • Samuel Adams Rebel IPA
  • Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Sierra Nevada Torpedo
  • Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye
  • Fat Tire
  • Sunshine Wheat
  • Snapshot
  • Angry Orchard Cider
  • Twisted Tea
  • Deep Eddy Vodka cocktails

Once we arrived at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in the heart of downtown Tampa, I spotted the Subaru vehicles parked on the lawn. Being in the market for some new wheels, I was excited to sneak a peek at the new Forester without a high-pressure car salesman leering over me like a predator.  Sadly, the cars were locked so I could only window shop.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

After drooling over the cars for a short spell, we redirected our focus back to the beer and made our way to the VIP tent.  Much like the Margarita Festival, the VIP tent had its own private bar and attentive servers, however, this time, it offered a limited selection of Deep Eddy cocktails and beer, such as IPA and Cider, which is what Allan and I chose to drink first.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

Despite the limited selection of drinks, I enjoyed hanging out in the tent. We had a great view of the bands and a fun place to rest our drinks and chillax.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

Whenever we were tired of sitting or wanted to drink something different, we ventured out among the masses and explored the festivities happening throughout the Spring Beer Fling.  In the cooler months, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park is the perfect venue for events like this.  A gorgeous breeze off the Hillsborough River helped build a beach-like atmosphere.

IMG 5301 SMILE A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

With the addition of surfer rock music amplified throughout the park, the bands created the perfect soundtrack for this fun beach-themed festival as guests tried to ride a wave on a mechanical surf board.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

To add to the uniqueness of this festival, a handful of food trucks served eclectic sandwiches and appetizers. Allan and I shared a Mojo Chicken Panini and a Dadio (marinated skirt steak and grilled onions) with seasoned fries from Paniniriffic. Both were sandwiches were delicious!

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

Later we were joined by our friends, Chrissy and Mike, and we all split a pile of nachos smothered in cheese and  pulled pork from Street Surfer, which was also delicious.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

Big City Events pulled off another fantastic event and added one more fun-themed festival under their ever expanding party tent.  Sadly, Allan and I couldn’t stay as long as we would have liked to, but the time we spent at the Spring Beer Fling was truly a beachy keen time.

 A Beachy Keen Time at the Spring Beer Fling

Want to join me at Big City Events next festival, the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival on Saturday, May 24? Purchase tickets here.

Caillou Talking Doll Giveaway

Just in time for the Easter holiday, I have a fun giveaway to share with my readers. This Caillou Talking Doll is the perfect present for your favorite preschooler and perhaps the Easter Bunny can tuck this a special little gift in a good little girl’s or boy’s basket.

IMAG4608 Caillou Talking Doll Giveaway

My Little Lion Man loved this Caillou doll. What’s not to love?! He’s a cuddly version of the character that has been charming children for over 15 years on PBS. This Caillou Talking Doll wears a removable hat and backpack which my Little Lion Man accessorized with a tiny book.

 Caillou Talking Doll Giveaway

When you squeeze this cuddly Talking Caillou Doll, he shares a few French words and also names his favorite colors and friends.

Caillou Talking Doll retails for $34.99 and can found where all Caillou apparel, books, home video and other merchandise are sold online and in specialty retail stores nationwide.

CaillouTalkingDoll 800x1024 Caillou Talking Doll Giveaway

For this flash giveaway, one lucky Run DMT will win a Talking Caillou Doll. To enter, leave a comment telling me who you will share this doll with.  For an extra TEN ENTRIES, leave a comment on my review post.  For additional entries, follow the Rafflecopter prompts on the widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How My Little Lion Man Loved The Caillou Talking Doll {review}

Disclosure: I received a Caillou Talking Doll for the purpose of this review. All opinions are shared are my own.

Each of my three children have had different obsessions when it came to their favorite television characters. When my oldest daughter (now age 12) was a toddler, she loved Elmo and Dragon Tales.  When my eight year old was a toddler, she loved Dora the Explorer.

Now, I am reliving all those beloved preschool shows again with my three year old son, who loves all things Sprout. As much as he loves Thomas the Tank Engine, he can also make room in heart for Caillou and oddly enough, my girls never connected to Caillou like my Little Lion Man does. Like a kindred preschool spirits, Liam relates to all of Calliou’s experiences and adventures.

When an opportunity to preview the Caillou Talking Doll presented itself, I knew my little preschooler would love to cuddle his very own Caillou and go on real life adventures with him.  The moment the doll arrived on our doorstep, Liam wanted to play with Calliou.

 How My Little Lion Man Loved The Caillou Talking Doll {review}

As the box directly, we squeezed Caillou to hear him speak and learn some new French words. Since we try to incorporate Spanish into our daily routine, we found it exciting to learn some new easy French words such as “bonjour” (hello) and “merci” (thank you),  however, Calliou speaks in English mostly to share his favorite colors and friends’ names.

More than interactive French lessons, Liam found a new playmate with his new Caillou Talking Doll. Later that afternoon, Calliou went of adventure with Liam to the dentist.

IMAG4608 How My Little Lion Man Loved The Caillou Talking Doll {review}

The Caillou Talking Doll came adorned with a removable hat and backpack. Liam loved that Calliou carried a backpack just like the one he uses for school. He even found a small book for Calliou that fit perfectly inside his little backpack. How My Little Lion Man Loved The Caillou Talking Doll {review}

 How My Little Lion Man Loved The Caillou Talking Doll {review}

 How My Little Lion Man Loved The Caillou Talking Doll {review}

 Calliou’s light-weight, plush body offers comfort for little preschoolers while his soft molded hands and face bring to life the loveable character that has charmed children all over the world for over 15 years on televsion.

The Caillou Talking Doll, which retails for $34.99, will make a perfect present for any preschooler this Easter holiday, especially the adventurous preschooler type like my Little Lion Man.

Watch for a giveaway soon for your chance to a Caillou Talking Doll.

Caillou apparel, books, home video and other merchandise are sold online and in specialty retail stores nationwide.  

Music Monday: (I am) The Walker

rundmt musicmonday1 Music Monday: (I am) The Walker Since I’ve been fighting a chest congestion related to my allergy induced asthma for nearly two weeks, it’s been almost a fortnight since I last ran. On Sunday, I faced Iron Girl Half Marathon with two weeks off from running and a hacking cough.

Running with a wet, barking cough similar in sound to a nasty smoker’s cough certainly wasn’t pretty and probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done. Actually, it’s probably the second dumbest thing I’ve ever done. Remember when I attempted to run a marathon with plantar fasciitis?

But then they don’t call me Tenacious D for nothing! Well, if they don’t call me that, they will once everyone hears how I tried to run an Iron Girl Half Marathon given my mental and physical state.

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Although running with asthma by no means makes me Flo Jo, it does make me a hard core idiot runner. Some runners I know would have deferred given the same situation rather than produce a less than stellar finish time on their personal running record.  Not me; I had to prove to myself that I could do it, even if I passed out trying. Or more likely, wind up in the medical tent for an emergency breathing treatment after crossing the finish line.

IMAG1316 Music Monday: (I am) The Walker

Despite all the training I put into trying to beat those Iron Girl bridges and hoping to PR, none of that mattered when now my only hope was to finish and avoid taking a DNF. With that determination, I coughed the entire 13.1 miles and ran about a 12 minute pace. And at some point, I came to terms to being The Walker, all due to a medal and my pride.

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“Ooh, crazy’s what they think about me
Ain’t gonna stop cause they tell me so”

Iron Core Music Monday: (I am) The Walker

Have you ever deferred a race for health reasons and/or injury?

Stay tuned for a full Iron Girl Half Marathon recap tomorrow.

Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper

8386507597 11017bb3e2 o Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupperWith my Sicilian-Italian-Hispanic heritage, it’s like a culinary clash of the cultures being married to a Scotsman. We try to find common ground when it comes to food, but unfortunately our differences in food isn’t always palatable. I had to educate him on all things tomato and pasta related and to be fair, he had to educate me about how to make things from scratch (one of the many reasons why I call him Iron Chef Allan).

Remember when the Romans tried to invade Scotland? Thousands of years later the Scotsman are still holding back the Romans, at least in my extended family.  When planning family get-togethers, we often experience culinary cultural clashes that would revival the Hatfields and the McCoys. The two heritages have such different customs when it comes to foods and neither family will budge. Holidays meals have become a cultural melting pot and the dinner table as diplomatic as the UN as we try to accommodate everyone’s requests.

Mestanza and Taylor Clan edit Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper

Putting aside popular dishes such as Haggis and Braciole, our families have more similarities than differences and occasionally a common food ground can be found. Since many Italian and Scottish meals include sausage and other cured meats, thankfully the two families can agree to a food truce over tapas.  Such was the case with my husband’s family Scotch Eggs.

I had never heard of Scotch Eggs before I married Allan and truthfully, they were a hard sell. As my mother-in-law’s signature dish, I faced Scotch Eggs at many family gatherings and for years, I turned my nose up at them just for the sake of being stubborn. With Scotch Eggs the staple at several family celebrations over the years, eventually my own inner Hadrian’s Wall fell and I succumbed to trying them. As to no surprise, I loved Scotch Eggs. Now, I demand anticipate them and even learned to make my own.

 Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper

Years later, I see Scotch Eggs as a symbol of both families: a tough exterior protecting complex layers with a colorful, nourishing middle at its core.

 Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper

Of course, when I replicated the dish I had to add my own flare to Scotch Eggs by serving them with a Sriracha Dipping Sauce. Much like our little Scottish-Sicilian-Hispanic family, Scotch Eggs are evolving with a little spicy kick.

Scotch Eggs pin 682x1024 Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper

A week before Easter, this week’s #SundaySupper theme is Stuff, Roll, and Wrap. After coloring dozens of hard-boiled eggs for Easter, Scotch Eggs are the perfect to way to use all the leftover hard-boiled eggs on hand after the holiday. This recipe can be easily made gluten-free by substituting the flour and Panko bread crumbs with coconut flour and rice flour.

Scotch Eggs
5.0 from 5 reviews

Print

Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Appetizers, Tapas
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
A traditional Scottish dish with a crunchy bread crumb coating covering a sausage and hard-boiled egg middle and served with a spicy dipping sauce.
Ingredients
  • 6 hard-boiled eggs, shelled
  • ½ lb loose breakfast sausage
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 ½ cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees; preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prepare three pie pans for the coating. Add flour, salt and pepper in one pan. Beat one egg another pan for an egg wash. Pour Panko bread crumbs into another pan; set aside.
  3. Divide the sausage meat into six equal portions. Take one handful of sausage meat; wrap and mold sausage meat around one hard-boiled egg.
  4. Roll egg-covered sausage in flour pan and shake off excess flour. Dip in egg wash and then roll in Panko bread crumbs. Set on parchment paper and repeat steps for remaining eggs.
  5. Place all six eggs in electric skillet and cook until golden brown. Turn often to brown evenly and prevent sticking. Remove from Scotch Eggs from skillet and place on baking sheet; finish off in oven for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove eggs from oven and let stand for 10 minutes to cool and set. Serve with Sriracha Dipping Sauce.

Sriracha Dipping Sauce
5.0 from 5 reviews

Print

Recipe type: Easy
Cuisine: Appetizer, Tapas, Condiment
Author:
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 6
A tangy, spicy dipping sauce to compliment many dishes
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup Canola Mayo
  • 1 Tbsp Sriracha Hot Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
Instructions
  1. Add mayo and Sriracha to a small bowl. Mix until well combined.

 Stuff Roll and Wrap SundaySupper Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupper

For more fun ways to stuff, roll and wrap food in time for Easter, visit all the #SundaySupper selections. Thanks to Amy of kimchi MOM for hosting this week’s #SundaySupper!

Starters and Snacks

Entrees and Mains

All Things Sweet

8386507597 11017bb3e2 o Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce #SundaySupperJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on Twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.

Pinning and Planning – Week of April 13 Dinner Menu

PinningPlanning RunDMT Pinning and Planning   Week of April 13 Dinner MenuI need to do things a little differently for this week’s Pinning and Planning feature. Firstly, tomorrow I will be participating #SundaySupper’s Stuff, Wrap and Roll Recipe Lineup.  For my big #SundaySupper premiere, I’m showing off my Scotch Eggs with Sriracha Dipping Sauce.  I am so excited to finally be able to participate along side the most outstanding foodie bloggers that make the Super Supper Movement team.

With my #SundaySupper going live tomorrow morning, I needed to have my Pinning and Planning feature posted before the #SundaySupper post. Not a big deal, it’s just more a scheduling thing.

On Monday morning, Students across the state of Florida face the dreaded FCAT. With the stress of the test, students are recommended to get plenty of sleep and eat good a breakfast to be on their best game for the test.  Therefore, Iron chef Allan and I thought we would add our breakfast menu to my Pinning and Planning feature this week so my readers can see what my kids will be eating each test day morning.

Sleep is essential and fueling your body right is critical whether you’re an athlete or test-taking student. Just like long distance runners, test-taking students have to prepare their bodies for the long haul of assessment tests. It’s so critical for kids to eat the right foods to boost their brain power.

As a mom of three, I always notice a huge difference in my kids when they eat a well-balanced breakfast with a bit of protein, fruit and carbs. For that reason, I want to make sure they have enough of vitamin rich foods on their plates before the most important test of their little lifetimes.  Since eggs are high in protein, contain several essential amino acids and rich in Vitamin B2 (for energy),Vitamin B12, Vitamin A (good for eyes), eggs are truly the best test-taking fuel.

I will also be making smoothies this week with a tablespoon of chia seeds.  If your kids refuse to eat meat like my little 8 year old vegetarian, sneak a few chia seeds into their foods. Believe it or not, these tiny little chia seeds are full of fiber, rich in Omega-3 and pack full of protein and because they are so tiny, my kids mistake them for strawberry seeds in their smoothies.  And yes, they are the very same CHA-CHA-CHIA from the grass growing pets from the 80s.

Chia Seeds pin Pinning and Planning   Week of April 13 Dinner Menu

Chia seeds are wonderful, but they do tend to run wonderfully pricy. For more bang for your buck, buy chia seeds in bulk at your local health food store, like Whole Foods Market. I actually found an organic 20 oz bag of chia seeds at TJ Maxx for under $8.00. If you want to fuel right without breaking the bank, watch for deals like that near you.

Tomorrow morning, I will be running the Iron Girl Half Marathon and then the family and I will head down to the Taste of South Tampa.  The vendor line up looks AMAZING and I cannot wait to try everything.  After that, we’ll head home to mentally and physically prepare for a week of test-taking.

Good luck to all Florida students taking FCAT this week!  Here’s our protein-rich breakfast and dinner menu for the week.

Sunday – Taste of South Tampa

Meatless Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

  • Breakfast- Berry, Banana and Mango Smoothie (made with Greek yogurt and chia seeds) and a toasted bagel
  • Dinner – Veggie Omelets with sautéed potatoes

Thursday

  • Breakfast – Poached Egg English Muffin Sandwiches with a side of fresh fruit
  • Dinner – Leg of Lamb with Red Potatoes and a Mixed Greens Salad

Good Friday (No School ) – Celebrate FCAT with a Easter Tea

Saturday – Leftover Lamb Curry

Easter Sunday Brunch

What’s on your breakfast and dinner menu this week?   What do you like to feed your kids for breakfast before a big test? What are your plans for Passover and Easter?

When Life Handed Him Lemons, He Made LÉMONESSE {review}

Disclosure: I received a bottle of LÉMONESSE for the purpose of this review and to promote the LÉMONESSE Kickstarter campaign. The opinions shared are my own.

Being a blogger puts me in the unique position to stumble upon some of the most amazing people. I often find myself meeting people from all walks of life who sadly find themselves in an unfortunate situation and yet somehow, turn it into a positive experience.

Such was the story of Adam Leja. After a crippling car accident caused by a drunk driver, life literally handed Adam lemons and he made lemon water. Believing that perhaps the pressure of alcoholic consumption causes people to be careless, Adam decided to create a beverage that would “refresh with finesse” while offering a healthy, guilt-free refreshment to social gatherings.

 When Life Handed Him Lemons, He Made LÉMONESSE {review}

LÉMONESSE is the first organic lemon water. Natural spring water infused with organic lemons and a hint of lemon oil to offer a rich, refreshing and crisp drink. Presented in a gorgeous glass bottle, it’s as visually appealing and as it is flavorful.

 When Life Handed Him Lemons, He Made LÉMONESSE {review}

When I received my bottle LÉMONESSE, I immediately placed it in the fridge to chill overnight. Ice cold tap water served with a slice of lemon is a ritualistic refreshment for Floridians, but I didn’t want melted down ice cubes to hinder or water down my sample of LÉMONESSE. I wanted to taste it ice cold and savor the flavor for an honest review.

So what did think of LÉMONESSE?

I served myself a generous pour in a wine glass to offer the satisfaction of a sophisticated beverage on par with its beautiful bottle presentation. While its milky white appearance fooled my brain into thinking of it as sweet beverage, my taste buds loved the tartness. As a low calorie, healthy beverage, I found LÉMONESSE to be quite refreshing. It will be a perfect companion to our cook-outs this summer.

 When Life Handed Him Lemons, He Made LÉMONESSE {review}

If you are interested in sampling LÉMONESSE, learning more about the product or even backing this product, visit the LÉMONESSE Kickstarter campaign here. Like LÉMONESSE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay to in the LÉMONESSE loop.

Jersey Boys Just Too Good to Be True

Disclaimer: The Straz Center provided me with three tickets to Jersey Boys in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.

Since my parents grew up on similar streets as the main setting of Jersey Boys, I dragged them to the opening night performance. I knew they would relate to the storyline and love the show, but more than similarities, my parents were part of the storyline.

The story is told from the perspective of each of the Four Lovers Four Seasons: Tommy DeVito, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio and Nick Massi. Each player spins their own version of the musical journey of four guys that stood under a streetlamp dreaming about making it big.

Tommy DeVito discovers a young and green Francis Castellucio with “a voice of an angel”, who transforms into Frankie Valli because an “i” looks more appealing and more Italian than a “y”. Years of playing bowling alleys and lousy lounges brings little luck for the Four Lovers until a young Joey Pesci (yes, THE Joe Pesci) introduces the guys to Bob Gaudio, best known for his one hit wonder “Short Shorts”.

Diana short shorts 748x1024 Jersey Boys Just Too Good to Be TrueThat’s where my family’s bizarre connection (a Jersey Boys six degrees of separation, if you will) comes into play. My mom knew Diana from The Royal Teens. For one fleeting moment, the musical became more about Woodside Women than Jersey Boys.

Obviously, this musical wasn’t about one hit wonders, although Bob Gaudio worried that he would wear that label for the rest of his life rather than actually land a record label. Once Sherry enters the scene, Gaudio realizes his talent for writing hits and the rest is musical history.  His songwriting magic combined with Frankie Valli’s distinct sound puts the Four Seasons on the pop charts repeatedly.

As with any story about a star’s rise to fame, there are always egos, struggles, conflicts and lots of girls. But through it all, there was always the music. As the story unfolds, the audience finds themselves enthralled with the characters and singing along with the cast.

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For this production, the cast plays multiple roles as well as multiple instruments. With the absence of an orchestra, the cast sings and dances while strumming a few bars on the guitar. Even a full horn section finds its way on stage for Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You (a song that almost never saw the light of day).

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To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the musical biography of Jersey Boys, but you can’t wrong with a musical rich with Jersey mob-like finesse and f-bombs.  Much like the accents and explicit language, the songs seamlessly weaved into the story line without appearing too forced into place and like the Gaudio-Valli partnership, it just worked.

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Experience the just too good to be true Jersey Boys and Tampa’s own Hayden Milanes as Frankie Valli now at the Straz Center April 8 – 13, 2014. Tickets range from $48-$116 and are available online at www.strazcenter.org.

Electrodash 5K {Recap}

Disclosure: Our friends, my daughter and I received Electrodash 5K entries in exchange for my honest review of our experience. The opinions shared are my own.

Electrodash Girl Electrodash 5K {Recap}One of my goals this year was to participate in as many fun runs with my kids as possible. The Electrodash 5K did more than define a fun run, it out-shined many other fun runs that we’ve experienced.

With fun runs, it’s often hard for me to let go of a particular finish time and just run for fun. With the absence of a clock, Electrodash 5K made that easy for me from the start.  I also decided to wear a rainbow neon light-up tutu to really get into the spirit of this particular fun run. The tutu paired well with my Lorna Jane tank and my new running Rynner shoes from The Walking Company.

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As Team Run DMT Neon Runnerds pulled up to the Florida State Fairgrounds, we noticed that many of the inflatables were deflated along the course which seemed odd.  As we approached the packet pick-up, we heard rumors that the fairgrounds had lost power about an hour before we arrived, but thankfully everything was back online now.

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Of course, the power outage caused a delayed start, however, it offered more time for all the Electrodash participants to enjoy the neon dance party.  Honestly, no one seemed to mind the delay, expect for OCD runners like me who are used to a prompt gun start time.  Once again, it was another fun run reminder that official start times do not matter for 5Ks where the main objective is good time, not a finish time.  The overall experience is what matters most.

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Once we connected all our glowing gear, we moved to the arches which represented the start line.  Electronic dancers entertained the crowd to the beat of electronic dance music which boomed through the fairgrounds.  The glowing dancers also commenced the start of the race.

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Allana, her friend, Sofia, Mica and her daughter, Lily, ran ahead as Emmalynn and I just shuffled along. Emmalynn and I would run a bit and take walking breaks as needed. With all the fun neon, glowing props along the course, it seemed like we were encouraged to take lots breaks and take twice as many photographs.

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Although we ran this same course last year at the Color Me Rad, the course had a very different feel in the dark. With several small potholes in the pavement, I had to be careful where my foot landed.  Thank goodness for supportive footwear!

Normally during races, I watch for friends on the course but it was hard to find familiar faces in the dark. It didn’t matter that we didn’t seen anyone including Big Sister because Emmalynn and I were enjoying ourselves immensely.

About a half mile into the race, I needed to use the restroom and Emmalynn loved teasing me about needing to take a potty break.  “Why didn’t you go before the race?”

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At the halfway point, we found another DJ spinning fun electronic tunes. Lots of people stopped for a dancing interlude to enjoy this glowing Kodak moment.

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Honestly, there were so many fun Kodak moments along the course from the glowing globes and jellyfish, neon dancing arches and the neon tree garden.

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Even after the halfway DJ, we ran through multiple dance parties along the course.

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Simultaneous dance parties were definitely the focus of the race.  With all the fun on along the course, Emmalynn and I nearly missed the finish line.  As we ran back through the arches at the start, I mistook the main stage for the finish line.  In the dark, we didn’t even realize we ran past Mica, Lily, Allana and Sofia.

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After the race, we stayed for a little bit so the older girls could dance and Instagram more photos.  By 10:30, I was shattered after a long day at SeaWorld.

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My girls and I definitely found the Electrodash 5K to be a glowing good time.  We’re excited to shine our way at the next fun run!

IMG 20140321 203424 Electrodash 5K {Recap}

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