RANdom Thoughts about a #ChooseDreams Experience in Madison, Wisconsin, a Birthday Run and a Humid Run

July was an absolutely maddening month. Normally, July can be a bit crazy, but this year it was beyond the normal crazy around here.  I successfully survived Independence Day, three birthdays, the Food and Wine Conference (full recap to follow soon) and a #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams Road Trip to Madison, Wisconsin.

As a mom on the run, I was selected to represent the fitness portion of the American Family Insurance “Healthy Family Fit Lifestyle” #SundaySupper #ChooseDreams campaign, which was such an incredible learning experience. I was honored to have been part of the whole unbelievable please-pinch-me opportunity.

Did you know there were so many varieties of cheese and cheese hats for sale in the Dane County airport? 

Once Jennifer, Katie, Isabel and I landed in Madison, we headed to Trader Joes to purchase the items needed for our live Google+ hangout the next day. After we purchased most of the items, our gracious @AmFam host, Michelle, invited us to her house to prep the items. Then, we laughed and shared stories over dinner at Brasserie V, a very popular hot spot in Madison.

Early the next morning, we explored the Dane County Farmers Market for a few more items needed for the live demo. I shared a little bit about the farmers market here, but I will say once more that it was just incredible to see so many proud farmers sharing their homegrown products and encouraging us to sample the goods.  I have never eaten so much cheese in a 48 hour period in my life and I loved it!

Wisconsin Bread Cheese

Interesting fact, I also had no idea that Madison harvested maple syrup. Someone in the “Visit Madison” needs to promote that message a bit better, because here in Florida we only know Vermont and Canadian maple syrup. Of course, I had to bring the smallest jug that Homeland Security would allow me to carry onto the plane to share it with my family. I also purchased three maple syrup suckers for my kids because we are such big maple syrup lovers.

Maple syrup suckers

After the farmers market, we headed back to our hotel rooms to freshen up for the Google+ hangout at the American Family Insurance DreamBank.

American Family Insurance Dream Bank

Set in a refurbished bank with a vault still in tact, the DreamBank is this amazing family-friendly hands-on facility to help families set goals and fulfill them. Much like a living vision board, the DreamBank encourages everyone young and old to visualize their dreams and take steps to make it happen. It’s an amazing sight.

At first, I was so nervous, but once we started getting into the groove of the Google+ hangout, I felt at ease.  During the demo, the ladies prepared three variations of caprese salads including Jennifer’s Caprese Panzella Salad and the Hezzi D’s winning recipe, Bacon Chopped Salad with Strawberry Poppyseed Dressing, however, we swapped the poppyseed for chia seeds.

As for me, I shared my tips for family-friendly fitness and my portion of the program begins at 40:38.

Can you tell how excited I am to be sharing my tips with the audience?

I am truly so grateful to Isabel of Sunday Supper and American Family Insurance for inviting me participate in this #ChooseDreams event.

Of course, after the event, we crashed hard. We had been running on excitement and fumes and our adrenaline was running on overdrive. As soon as the Google+ hangout demonstration ended, the four of us had no steam left. We de-stressed and celebrated with a couple of cocktails back that the beautiful Hotel Red adjacent to Camp Randall Stadium. Once we reenergized, we grabbed dinner at the Brocach (Gaelic for badger den), another highly recommended Madison favorite. With a quaint British pub feel, this spot was definitely my favorite.

The next day, I celebrated my birthday with a 4.3 mile run through the streets of Madison. You can view additional photos of Madison here.

Next to the Google+ hangout, this was probably my second favorite part because I loved exploring the scenic capitol city on foot.  Madison is truly a beautiful city but I didn’t realize how fitness oriented and kid-friendly the city is. From public bike rentals to a gorgeous trail, the city encourages everyone to get out there and move all over Madison. It’s incredible.

As I ran, I took lots of photos, sweaty sefiles and smiled at many of the other runners I passed along the way. Like a Florida winter, the weather sat around 71 degrees with a cool breeze. Thanks to the cooler weather, I maintained an 8:30 pace for about a mile which I haven’t seen in a long time.

For the purpose of this run, I downloaded Map My Run, because I still have no Garmin. I also wanted to be certain of my distance and not get lost, which has happened while running through unfamiliar towns.

I felt so invigorated after my run and I was on such a runner’s high for my birthday. It was the perfect way to start the day.  A good run was truly the best gift I could give myself and something I have needed and wanted for a long time.  Thank you, Run DMT. You’re welcome, me.

After a five hour flight back home, my family met me at the airport that evening with a huge banner and I teared up.  I am truly blessed.

From Madison, WI, to Clearwater Beach in one day, I celebrated my birthday with a sunset dinner at Frenchy’s.

Clearwater Beach sunset

And then like waking up from a dream, I attempted an easy three mile run in the sticky humidity. Welcome to Florida!


  1. Stacy Uncorked says:

    Oh oh oh!! Look at all the amazing fun you had! And Happy (belated) Birthday! I love that your family met you at the airport with a sign. 🙂 Love all the amazing shots, too! You ROCK!!!

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