Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Atlanta Mother's Day Events for the Non-Dainty

I prefer superhero movies to chick flicks.  I think live sporting events are super fun.  I'd rather be outside getting dirty than wearing a dress and behaving.  I have been known to drink beer out of a wine glass for appearances sake.

In short, I'm not very girly.

Don't get me wrong - I can clean up and act right with the best of them.  I just prefer not to.  I think this is why God gifted me with being a BoyMom.

For me, the traditional Mother's Day events just don't always sound fun.  I don't like shopping that much, unless it's at the thrift shop.  Mani / Pedi?  I'm not crazy about spending money on something that's just going to wear off soon anyway.  I can paint my own nails.  Fancy brunch?  This year I am really angling for wings and bacon cheese fries.

There have to be more mommas like me out there.  I've got some plans and suggestions for Mother's Day Weekend that are sure to please those of us with "different" tastes!

Image via Marvel

Captain America: Civil War
opens May 5th

Is it an accident that this movie opens on Mother's Day weekend?  I THINK NOT.  There are tons of superhero moms out there and seeing this film is the perfect way to celebrate them!  We've got our tickets for opening night on Thursday!  Choose a side and grab your popcorn!  (#TeamCap, by the way)

Photo Credit : Atlanta Braves

Atlanta Braves Girls Night Out
May 6th

Spend Friday night at the Ted with your Mom Squad!  The Atlanta Braves are playing the Arizona Diamondbacks and are celebrating us girls who "follow ball".  You can purchase a special ticket package that includes a pre-game party with a 90's cover band, an outfield seat, a really awesome sweatshirt blanket with the Braves logo and... a feather boa!  Grab the girls and head out to the ball game!

Family Canoe Day at the Chattahoochee Nature Center
May 7th

The Chattahoochee Nature Center has a special place in my heart.  We lived in Roswell when my older boys were small and were members there for years.  It was one of my favorite places to ramble with my guys in a fun, low-tech setting.  Saturday, May7th is Family Canoe Day!  For ages 5- Adult, it's a great introduction to canoeing with the CNC providing the supplies.  After you canoe, be sure to walk the trails and check out the resident animals!

Moms & Mimosas at the College Football Hall of Fame
May 8th

Y'all.  I'm pretty excited about this one!  We are all in for the SEC in my house and we've been wanting to check out this attraction for quite a while.  What better way to spend Mother's Day than sipping mimosas and spending time together as a family involved with something we all enjoy!  I may not be able to tell you what down it is or if anyone is offsides, but I do like watching the games and cheering for our Dawgs.  It's only right that Moms get free admission when an admission ticket is purchased.  There will also be free manicures and chair massages!

Mother's Day Catch with the Atlanta Braves
May 8th

If your heart lies with baseball more than football, head back over to the Ted for the Mother's Day Catch!  The $175 ticket package includes two dugout seats, a parking pass and a 20 minute "catch" session in the outfield!

I'm looking forward to a crazy fun Mother's Day weekend!

What are your Mother's Day plans or traditions?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Savannah, GA: Our Girl's Getaway Weekend!

I was in Savannah a few weekends ago to run the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon!  The race was GREAT and I was so happy to be an ambassador!

My weekend wasn't totally about the race, though.  It was my friend April's birthday on that Saturday and Savannah was the perfect city for our girl's getaway!  Our friend Jane was there from Orlando and after the race we set out to explore!

First stop was Marche de Macarons on Abercorn Street.  My kids were amazingly lucky that any of these made it through the car ride home.  The flavors are creative and the macarons delicious!  All their items are gluten-free, too.

We chose nearby Savannah Taphouse on Broughton Street for lunch and were not disappointed!  I get incredibly hungry a few hours after races and the Tap House had burgers that were PERFECT.  The service was excellent as well.

Time to shop!  I had already scoped out a couple of places that I very much wanted to check out.

The Savannah Bee Company holds an eclectic mix of items!  The location we shopped was on W. Broughton Street.  They even have a play space for the kids while you shop!  Various flavors of honey that you can taste before you buy are available in several different forms.  Further back in the store are the products made with that honey - all kinds of health and beauty items!

I bought a bunch of items that I'm tucking away to use as gifts.  I bought some of their Beeswax Lip Tint in Blackberry Shimmer and I love it!  I want to try the Tupelo Honey Shimmer, too.

Nourish Savannah was another stop on my list.  I'm not a very girly girl.  I use the most basic of bath products.  But something came over me in this store, y'all!  Soap, candles, bath fizzies... I went a little nutty.

The scents for all the products were amazing!  And for those allergic or sensitive, several of their products have no scents at all, so it's worth a look at their website.

I'm prone to low-grade migraines while my sons have been complaining about stuffiness.  I grabbed a few of these Shower Steamers - you place them in the bottom of the shower and once it gets nice and steamy in there, the disc is supposed to release its scent.  My oldest used the lemon & eucalyptus and said it helped.  I'm holding onto my lavender & peppermint for relief during my next headache!

Y'all.  I am IN LOVE with this product.  These salt scrubs are amazing.  I'm sad I got the small jars; next time I am definitely purchasing the larger jars.  These scrubs come in various scents and I think the southern magnolia is a little bit of heaven on earth.  Not only does this scrub slough off the dry skin but it also moisturizes.  So much so that after using it the water was beading up on my body in the shower.  Definite winner here.

A third stop was more for my husband than me.  He's the cook in the family and loves playing with different seasonings and mixes, so I went to scope it out.  The Salt Table is perfect for the adventurous cook!  It's not just seasonings, though.  They have sugars, teas, dips - all kinds of things!

After shopping, we had to get ready for dinner.  I promised the girls a fabulous dinner and I did NOT disappoint.

My family has spent many a vacation on nearby Tybee Island and we do not leave that island without a meal at The Crab Shack.

Poor Jane.  I thought that using the word "shack" in the title would tell her all she needed to know.  Jane will tell you herself that she is a high maintenance girl.  The parking lot started the fun.  Unless you get there early, the parking lot is a total cluster.  CLUSTER.  Jane asked if there was valet parking,  Not on Tybee Island, man.  And, maybe not wear the shoes with the high wedge.  The parking lot is gravel.

But it has fun photo ops!

And... gators!  You can feed gators.

The birds are a new addition since I had been there last.  There is a whole room full of lovely birds.

Did I mention the cats?  Lots and lots of cats.  Just roaming.  But don't worry - they're all pets and not strays.  We saw this fun sight while waiting for our table.

Yup, that's a raccoon, eating the cat food.  National Geographic in coastal Georgia, y'all.  These are all Jane's pictures, by the way.

We got seated on the deck and it was charming!

What?  The food?  Oh, yeah.  It's very much worth waiting for.  Jane is allergic to seafood, which is one of the saddest afflictions I can think of.  She got the ribs and enjoyed them.

I got the Captain's Sampler Platter for one.  Seriously - this is just meant for one person.

I did a pretty good job of demolishing that.  April had never tried crawfish before.  Back in the day, I dated a boy from Lafayette, Louisiana and was experienced with crawfish all manner of ways.  Including sucking the head.  (Insert totally inappropriate joke here)  April is not one to shy away from new experiences.

Another new experience?  Watching a family of raccoon scamper up the tree we're sitting next to.

The entire experience from start to finish was wacky and fun.  I love this place and I love the food.  This place is a MUST do when you visit the Georgia Coast!

That night we hit up Savannah Smiles dueling piano bar!  Y'all, there were about 500 bachelorette parties there.  We weren't quite sure what to think at first, but as the night went on (and Jane kept the beer coming) we got in the spirit and ended up busting out a few tunes along with the rest of the bar.  Don't wait to pee.  The ladies room gets backed up and, hand to God, they have an employee stationed at the men's room door to make sure we don't get rebellious and try to use that one.

The next morning I was woken up by a screaming kid on our floor.  7am, which wasn't ungodly but when you only went to bed about 5 hours previous, it wasn't appreciated.  After a bit I left April to go back to sleep while I went out.  The Savannah morning was gorgeous!

I had to head home early due to an appointment, but I wanted to squeeze in one last thing that I had missed on my last trip!

I definitely recommend this stop!  The Savannah History Museum is in a beautiful building off the visitor's center.  I spent some happy time poking around the interesting exhibits and was pleased to see that a lot of them had something hands on for the kids to experience, too.  Be sure not to miss the exhibits on the hallway wall outside the museum - there's some interesting stuff there that kids would love!

Sadly, it was time for me to hit the road.  Another great Savannah weekend in the books!  But I know we'll be back.  My kids can't stay away from Tybee Island and now I have so many more reasons to head into Savannah!  If you're planning your own trip, be sure to head over to the Visit Savannah site to map out your own tour!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon 2016 - 13.1 Charming Miles!

Y'all, I was so happy to be selected as an ambassador for the Publix Savannah Women's Half Marathon & 5K!  I love the city of Savannah and I love smaller, more intimate races.  It looks like Publix and I are destined to have a special relationship since I just came off the Publix Georgia Half Marathon in March and it was my third time running that race.

What I DON'T love is running in the rain.  That's why I was watching the weather apps obsessively in the days before the race and cringing.  Not just rain, but thunderstorms were predicted for the start, tapering off to showers for the entirety of the race time.  YUCK.  But I had resigned myself and was just determined to plow through like a good little ambassadress.

But first I had to go to the expo!  This race is unique in that you don't get a shirt but get a cool tote bag instead, along with some other swag.  Full disclosure - I saw the bag and thought, "I have eleventy billion bags."  I used this one, though, when I was sherpa for my 3 kids for a day at Stone Mountain Park recently and it was perfect!  The way it hangs, the size, the zip top, the pockets inside... it's definitely going to be used a lot for outings.

It stormed all night long.  After we got up and dressed, we poked our head out on the balcony - it's not raining!

My friend April had come in from NC to celebrate her birthday in Savannah!  We met up with our friend Jane from FL and took the obligatory pre-race selfie.

We didn't get a drop of rain.  I was so thankful!

The corrals were honor system.  They gave a guideline of various paces matching each corral and asked participants to place themselves accordingly.  After a stellar rendition of the national anthem sung by another ambassador, Cecilia, we filed in the corrals and were off!

Since the 5K and half marathoners all start together, the first couple of miles are a little tight.  It breaks up, though, after the 5K runners split off to finish their course.  The only negative about not having the rain?  It was super muggy and I started peeling off my one layer immediately.  At this point, I was absolutely grateful for the New Balance tank and shorts I was wearing.  They were totally breathable and the wicking material was perfect. With the humidity and the fact that I was undertrained, I made the decision to just run it how I felt, no pressure, no time goal.  So, of course, I started taking pictures!

Savannah is known for it's beautiful squares and tree lined streets.  This course made the most of that!  I loved running past historic houses, statues and squares.  There were plenty of sweet, sweet people out and about, cheering us on!

We passed a church that had this sign outside:

If you know me at all, you know I was sorely tempted.  I had an actual thought process of what would happen if I went in and found something I loved - how would I carry it the rest of the race?  This is what happens in my head.

I regretfully moved on.

In the five years I've been running, I have NEVER been good at pacing myself.  Lousy.  I knew that I was going out way too fast for me and would pay for it later but I was struggling with slowing myself down appropriately.  And just like that, Claudia appeared!

Photo used with permission of Claudia at The Trendy Smoothie
 She was also an ambassador and was pacing the 2:30 group.  I decided to fall in with them and this decision saved the entire rest of my race!  Sticking with them gave me permission to slow down and still know that I would be coming in at a time with which I would be satisfied.  Even though I'm a run/ walker, I was still able to stick with her as she walked everyone through the water stops and some of the parts of the course that still had huge puddles from the previous night's rain.  Around mile 9 I fell back since I needed to knock down my intervals some, but I was so grateful that she was able to get me on track.

Even though I struggled a bit the last few miles, I could still come around the famous Forsyth Park fountain with a smile on my face!

I don't know what was up with that hair, but I was so happy to have my sparkly, spinny medal!  Although I had fallen back from the pace group, I still came in at 2:31 so I was absolutely satisfied with that.

I had stopped by the Savannah Magazine table at the expo and signed up for a new subscription.  My family loves Savannah / Tybee Island and I thought it would be nice to stay on top of what was going on there in between visits!  This scored me a wristband for their VIP tent after the race.  When I mentioned it was my friend's birthday on Saturday, THAT scored me a wristband for her.  THANK YOU!

The VIP tent offered mimosas as well as hot and cold items for breakfast.

Anything cold would have tasted so good right then, but those mimosas hit the spot.

And that oatmeal.  It had never looked better to me.

You know what else was in that tent?  Free chair massages.  Couches.  And a roof over our heads for when the little bit of sprinkle did finally happen.  Someone from Savannah Magazine came over and took our picture.  I was really pleased until I realized later how janky my hair looked and that will be captured for all eternity.  Oh, well.  Have another mimosa and a massage.  Well done, Savannah Magazine!  I looked up from my massage and saw April talking to someone.  Someone who happened to be my friend Katherine from home!

From start to finish, being an ambassador for this race has been a stellar experience.  Everything was well organized and pre-race communications regarding the weather were frequent.  I am definitely putting this on my calendar for next year and you should, too!  Save the date for April 8th, 2017 - I'm told registration will open in a few weeks!

I'll round this out with a lesson for me to be grateful for what I have.  My friend Bonnie lives in New York.  She ran the Syracuse Half Marathon the same weekend I ran Savannah.  Here's the side by side picture:

Yup.  My southern butt will take rain and humidity any day.  You can soak up her amazingness  by reading her recap.

The race also organized a session of Yoga at Ellis Square the next morning.  Some of us, however, were out a little late celebrating a birthday Saturday night and sadly did not make it to yoga.  Ahem.  Maybe next year.

Y'all put this one on your calendar for next year and come on down - the Hostess City would love to welcome you!  

Friday, April 8, 2016

To Bikini or not To Bikini: Is It Really Anyone's Business?

So... the bikini thing.

I've seen several posts lately about how we should all just wear the damn bikini this summer, celebrate our "mom bodies" in all their flabby, stretch-marked glory and clink margarita glasses around the pool.

I can support women wearing what they want.  I can certainly support margaritas by the pool.

But... do I have to wear a bikini?

It's almost swimsuit season - are you ready to rock what YOU want?

I mean, I did last summer.  For some reason, I got it into my head that this was something I should do.  This was important to me.

It wasn't a skimpy thing. At the very least, it wasn't skimpy on a girl that really couldn't spill out of anything no matter how hard she tried.

I think the fact that I was turning 45 was making me a little crazy.  I rolled up at the neighborhood pool, the lake, the Florida beaches with my 3 children and my bikini.

Overall, I'm a skinny girl, but as stated earlier, I'm 45 and I've had 3 babies.  That leaves its toll on the exact area the bikini is made to feature.  If I laid down flat on my back or, alternately, stood up very straight, I LOOKED AMAZING.  True story.

It's that pesky stuff like sitting up to read, bending over to reach the sunscreen or grab another strawberita out of the cooler that causes momentary reflection on my tummy wrinkles and lack of judgement.  What really did me in, though, was looking at all the pictures after the summer was over.  OH.

I should probably mention that my skin color would best be categorized as translucent.

Below is the only picture I could find of the entire summer that even remotely shows my mid-section.  So, yes, in this picture, I look pretty good.  I must have deleted the rest that show the parts I don't like.  That little extra that turns into rolls.  Those stretch marks.

Maybe I SHOULD be more confident and not care, but I do.  And that's okay,  Because when we dislike something about ourselves, we can be motivated to change it for the better.  I don't want to wear the bikini again until I see if it's even possible to tighten up the baby pooch.  You know, the one from the baby that was born almost 8 years ago.

I also don't want to spend the summer constantly thinking about this and talking myself into being confident. I don't want to always be conscious of the position in which I'm sitting.  I want to clink those margarita glasses with my friends.  I want to be authoritative when I berate my children for being obnoxious at the pool, knowing that I will be the center of attention with my loud mouth.

There's another question that stays in the back of my mind.  Do my teenagers' friends need to see me in a bikini?  I don't think it's wrong, but I also think there's a time and place for everything.  If we're at the lake or a vacation beach, I might bust it out again.  But the local pool? I'll probably choose to be more modest.  I don't want to be uncomfortable and I don't want to make any of them uncomfortable.

So, instead of encouraging women to wear the bikini, how about we stay out of their wardrobe?  Ladies, you wear whatever makes you happy and confident at this place in your life.  I'll be looking for the cutest little tankini I can find. You do you, boo.  Bring the margaritas and meet me at the pool.
(But if you wear that bikini in front of my children, can you please not make it too revealing?  Puberty isn't kind.  Thanks.)

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Race Costumes on the Cheap - Thrift it up!

I've worn some form of costume to every single Disney race that I've run.  The days leading up to the 2016 Princess Half Marathon were busy, but I couldn't break the streak!  I'd run through some of my favorite princesses, a sassy fairy, a villain and a hero.  What next?

I've gotten hooked on superheroes, mainly The Avengers but I'm totally into the tv show Agents of Shield.  Ming-na Wen as Agent May kicks butt!  But then I remembered - she also gave voice to another female warrior - Mulan!  Time for a mash-up!

Looking for anything at thrift shops takes patience and possibly  multiple stops.  I got SUPER lucky by snagging everything I needed in one place!  Here's a pic of Mulan at Walt Disney World to give you an idea of what I needed:

What I already had:  I have a black running skirt and was going to wear that for the Agent May part since she dresses all in black.  And... that's it.  That's all I had.

I figured I could just get some scraps of fabric for the blue and red around the middle.  I headed over to the section that has fabric odds and ends as well as table & bed linens.  Anything goes - think outside of the box!

I even saw the perfect color in a bedskirt and was so tempted - but while it was a great price for a bed skirt, it was a little pricey for a piece of fabric I was gonna wrap around my middle.

I headed over to the "athletic wear".  Thank goodness, this thrift shop actually sorts things into size.  Some shops sort things into color, which can help but I prefer narrowing in on my size.

It's really helpful to take a picture with you to remind you of what you need.  I thought one top was perfect - until I held the picture up to it. Wrong color entirely.

The top I ended up with wasn't perfect, but it was close enough for me!

I don't have a picture of it, but I ended up finding a tank top in the exact color blue I needed for about a buck.  SOLD!  I just cut off the straps and folded it to the width I needed.  Best part was that since it was a cotton shirt, it was well worn in - soft and comfy!

Don't forget to look on endcaps and baskets of stray pieces.  I found exactly what I needed in one of these grab bags for .99!

It had not only the red fabric I needed for the costume and my hair, it had the PERFECT color accent for the neckline.  I wasn't even going to really worry about that piece, and it was there waiting on me!
Now.  My next purchase was kind of a long shot.  Agent May, of course, fights her way out of any situation wearing amazing boots.  I wanted that.  I found these for a few bucks:

I attempted to deconstruct them so that I could use them like boot covers over my running shoes.  This took a LOT more work than I expected.  So, those cheap boots were constructed a little better than I thought.

So - after all that seam reaping, life threatening X-acto knife wielding, was it worth it?

Um, No.  That looked ridiculous.  Some ideas pan out, some don't.  I hadn't gotten my black compression socks yet, so I just bought some cheap knee socks at Target and hoped that they would not cause blistering or other irritation.

Final touches - the SHIELD patches I got from Amazon!  I used these as armbands held on by safety pins and hem tape.  In fact, I used A LOT of double-sided hem tape.  I don't sew.  At all.  But this stuff was amazing worked perfectly.

The last piece - you can't be Agent May without mirrored sunglasses.  I found these at the Big Lots across the street from the thrift shop.

Here was the final product on race morning!

Everything held up great during the race, although having all those layers around my middle was a bit warm once the sun came up!

My friend Kristen got in on the Marvel / Disney mash up with me and made a great Captain Snow costume!  We were even able to save our friend Wendy from a speeding train!

I love the challenge of taking an idea in your head and making it happen!  Hunting down all the pieces, finding things you didn't even think about... it's a lot of fun.  And it was so much cheaper than if I had ordered a brand new tank top and gone to a fabric store for the other pieces I needed.

You CAN have fabulous race outfits on a budget!

Check out some of my other thrifted / cheap outfits:

Belle for the Princess Half 2013 - a mix of Halloween clearance and thrift

Tiger Lily for the Tinker Bell 10K 2014

Fireside Girl (Phineas & Ferb) for the Tinker Bell Half 2014 - a mix of thrifted and borrowed

Queen of Hearts for the Princess Half 2014 - a mix of thrifted, clearance scraps and duct tape!

Mrs. Banks for the Princess 10K 2014