Sunday, December 19, 2010

The P-Word

2 years ago, I had plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is when you have inflammation of the band of tissue that runs from the heel along the arch of the foot.
Causing this pain was the Newton running shoes, I probably should not have been training with them, I also have a low arch and over-pronation....So I had made a terrible decision that tri-season and ditched the Brooks stability trainers for these pink/orange fast moving things. As much as I am sure they work for others, I highly suggest you check with your foot doctor if you have had foot issues in the past.

So, with orthodics, lots of ice and biofreeze, and advil, I was back running pain free. I missed the Philadelphia 1/2 marathon back in '08. But by Jan '09 I was running, slower than before but I was running.

Apparently, you are supposed to change orthodics every year, and I guess with the non-stop running that wasn't a positive thing. Anyway, last Friday, I went out for my normal 6 mile run. I was completely stressed out from work and other things that were on my plate, the holiday's, etc and did notice a tiny pain in my heel as I was putting on my sneakers...Decided to say f' it, and put on my Garmin and run (dumb decision #1). It was a great run, despite this nagging little pain. I have to be honest, I really didn't think it was plantar fasciitis, because that pain went from heel to arch last time. This was mainly in the inner part of the heel to arch, almost feeling like a bruise. And well, for all of you that know me, I am not the most graceful lady.

So, I got ready for Amy's bachelorette party, put on my Jessica Simpson cute party shoes (dumb decision #2). (mine are the ones on the left - 4.5 inches to be exact)

and went out. Well, later in the night, besides my drunken normal klutziness, I realized I couldn't walk, it hurt severely. When your friends say you are walking like a crab and it wasn't just from having the cocktails, you know there was something wrong.

So I woke up and decided to take the day off (hangover helped that decision), and still planned on doing 14 miles on Sunday. But it hurt, all day, then to make matters worse we had party #2 for a surprise party. So, stupidly, trying to look cute, I put on the next lovely pair of shoes (dumb decision #3), and ended up with no-shoes for the remainder of the night, since I could barely walk.

Woke up, decided no 14 miles, go make an appointment with foot doctor on Monday. I rested all day, ice, biofreeze and in the back of my mind knew what it was - the love PF was creeping up again. Made my appointment, luckily I work from home and I had another deadline, so I just iced/biofreezed and waited to Tuesday.

Went to the podiatrist - no stress fracture! Well that is a good sign (I calculated that to be a longer rest period - thus no marathon or 1/2). Plantar Fasciitis, yes, but this time, I caught it early - yeah?? = I needed new orthodics. We made a plan, I was to drop down to the 1/2 marathon and he would have me running in 2-3 weeks. Okay, buddy, what do I need to do?

Week 1 -
  1. Cardio - swim only - and rest, rest, rest. No weights, no yoga, nothing, just stay off my feet.
  2. In case of running errands, Christmas shopping, wear orthodics 98% of the time (my old ones) even when I was sitting at my desk, including slipping in my dress orthodics that I never wear into any other shoes...
  3. NO HEELS - Okay, I have tons of flat boots.
  4. Wear some fancy brace that fits in my sneakers.
  5. Ice/Biofreeze - 4 times a day
  6. Advil - 2 times a day.
Week 2 - Christmas Week
  1. Start up bike only if no pain, do the trainer versus spin class to go on your own and ice and biofreeze immediately after.
  2. Start leg strength training, use machines so there is less strain on my heels.
  3. Start yoga again.
  4. Continue swimming.
  5. Get a new pair of running shoes (don't ask me twice...)
  6. Continue all of treatment regimen (ice/biofreeze/advil)
  7. If I have to wear heels - limited time and wear orthodics in them.
  8. At the end of the week take a visit to the doctor for an ultrasound to see how bad and if I can start running.
Orthodics come in 4 weeks. So from my calculations and just past experience, if I take 3 weeks max to start running, I can definitely bang out the 1/2 marathon in Feb. If I can do some long bike sessions for endurance, build my strength with weights, and continue swim sessions. Even if I have to go at a slower pace, I will be able to do 6 miles at rest end. That is what happened with my ankle injury last year, as long as I kept up the long and quality bike sessions, I still had the endurance, slower but it was there. However, no marathon. I am not being stupid, especially if I want to race and do well this season!

The good part to all this is that I HAD to go to the pool, since I go insane by not doing anything. I went there, and it was great. I did 2000 meters, I found a rhythm and I had a good time! I went again, different workout, 2000 meters and I found my groove again. I think I needed some good time off and realized how much I really do enjoy it. It is very therapeutic.

Today, I am finishing up some shopping, more decorating, cleaning and throwing in some P90x Chest and Back and the ab tape.

Positive Thinking Only! Make it Work!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What Doesn't Kill You, Makes You Stronger

That's kind of how I felt as I was doing my 5 mile track workout in 33 degree weather and wind that made me feel like I was in one of those bad dreams. You know the one where someone is chasing you but you can't run or walk....okay, I am being a little over-dramatic. Just like I dramatized my detox over the week. As I looked back over the week, it was pretty damn easy with the exception of the headache that lingered over 5 days...Once you get through the first few days, it becomes automatic, the eating, no caffeine, no drinking, etc. Where even today, I almost forgot I was!!!!!!!

I have a couple great recipes I would like to share:

Breakfast 1 or snack - Silken tofu blackberry shake

1 serving of soft tofu
1/4 cup blackberries
1 cup of soy milk vanilla non-sweetened
1/4 cup of fage 0% yogurt
agave for sweetener

Dinner 1 - Tofu Rice Bowl

Marinate tofu in soy sauce, rice vinegar, sirachi sauce and tspn vegetable oil.

Bring fresh string beans to a boil, drain, add some vegetable oil, put string beans back in the skillet, add some red peppers, a good amount of tamari ( a few circles of the pan) and cook until browned and softened. Add sesame seeds.

Have some brown rice in the rice cooker.

Spray a pan with Pam and brown the tofu. Scramble some eggbeaters. Add together in a bowl.

Dinner 2 - Faux ground meat green chili over spaghetti squash

Smart Meat Ground "Meat"
Tomatillos (about 10) chopped
1 Jalapeno chopped
1/2 package of Trader Joe's frozen roasted corn
Olive oil
Garlic chopped
1/2 can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1 onion chopped
1 cup of chicken broth
3 roasted poblano pepper chopped (To roast = place in oven for 30 min at 350 degrees to roast, place in a bag and skin.)
1 spaghetti squash

Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Add some chili seasoning, salt, place scooped out side down in casserole dish. Fill with about 1 inch of water. Place in oven at 350 for 45min.

Sautee garlic and onions. Add tomatillos, roasted poblanos. Let simmer for about 15 min, add ground "meat", add chicken broth, tomato sauce or diced tomatoes bring to a boil and simmer for 25 min.

Use a fork to make spaghetti squash - spaghetti like. Serve the chili over the spaghetti squash.

Salad - Pink Grapefruit Dill Salad

1 bunch of Radicchio
2 Endives
1 cup Spring Mix
Chopped pink grapefruit without skin
1/4 cup of chopped dill

For dressing use:
1 part White vinegar
1/2 part Olive oil
Dash of Agave

I kind of made this up and was delish!!

Last but not least, my personal favorite -Quinoa Panzanella Salad.

I had a holiday party on detox. I was a little worried but - Make it Work! I did have one glass of red with my mom and mother-in-law - I couldn't be rude!! I filled up my plate with salad, ate some veggies and hummus, fruit, and my quinoa salad.

1.5 cups of quinoa
3 cups of water

Rinse quinoa, add to water, bring to a boil and let simmer, covered.

8 Tomatoes on the vine (any tomatoes) chopped
1 cup of basil chopped
1/2 jar of kalamata olives pitted
1 jar of roasted peppers chopped (I like the yellow/red ones - looks pretty)
Capers (optional)
1 cup of pearled mozzarella balls

Add together mix with a dressing of 1 part balsamic, 2 parts olive oil, salt pepper.

Once quinoa is warm - NOT HOT - add to salad and mix. Put in the fridge until ready to serve.
Till next time!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Meals and Metal

??? From the title, you were probably saying, what????

Day 2 is still going strong, although there were temptations like going to an Italian place for lunch with my best friend and going to see Beyond Dishonor last night.

I started out the morning with a tried and true breakfast smoothie, the pineapple kale smoothie - however, I didn't have time for the "smooth" puree and ended up coughing up kale pieces and looking like I had missing teeth (pieces of kale made a toothy smile).

Before I left for the show, I was able to get in the Plyometrics - P90x, which I am still sore this morning, did a conference call and made tonight's insanely good dinner recipe -

Mushroom-Ceci (aka chickpeas in Italian) soup with quinoa.

1 package of dried porcini mushrooms
4 cups of water

3/4 of a container of white or portabella mushrooms
1/2 can of ceci beans (aka chickpeas)
1 carrot chopped
1 celery chopped
6 garlic cloves
1 swirl of olive oil
italian seasoning of some sort with parsely, red pepper etc.
1 cup of quinoa

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water for 30 min. Then strain and put juice aside.

Saute garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms in olive oil ans sprinkle some salt and seasoning.
Once softened add ceci beans and pour some of the mushroom juice in to simmer (reserving about 1.5 cups for quinoa).

Prepare 1 cup of quinoa with 1.5 cups of broth, bring to a boil and simmer until juice is gone.
Add everything together and serve. I did add some left over tofu pieces for some extra protein.

So as I was saying I went to see Beyond Dishonor and was strong and did not have a beer. Although, I think that is easier than no caffeine...

So anyway, you really should go to this link and vote for Beyond Dishonor -
Project Independent. Their album comes out 1/11/11 - Travesty. Check them out on myspace.

Besides the fact that my husband is in the band, they are fucking talented! The travesty album features songs based on movies such as Full Metal Jacket.

Lastly I would like to close this post with this video. When I went to see Beyond Dishonor, Mike says you need to stay for this last band, their songs are off of old video games (Zelda, Tetris, Powerrangers...) but with power metal. Well they were killer and just thought I would save a youtube video.

Video for Powerglove - Mario Minor

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Detox - Day 1 - "And so it begins.."

Day 1 was not so bad.
I got up early since I had interviews most of the day and had to work on some proposals.
I figured I would start out with some Bob's Red Mill oat bran, half of a Macintosh apple simmered in the oat bran, a little dash of honey and some TJ almond butter with flax seeds and some Yogi detox tea.

I made some water flavored with orange slices and cranberries to keep things interesting.

Yeah, that was all fine but 2 interviews later, I was hurting, tired (no caffeine remember!) , so I tried a snack and ate some Fage 0% and some blueberries. Later on, for lunch there was some vegetarian chili (canned from Whole Foods...exciting I know). Man - no caffeine sucks...But it is all good because 2 hours later I decided to do my 5 mile run. It took every bit of energy to get out of the house - it was rainy, dark and I was TIRED!! was a great run, I was supposed to do a Steady State run meaning I would be running at a pace slightly more than a jog keeping my heart rate around 148-150 - so I started out a little slow at 9:45, then started picking up to 8:45 - 9:00 for the remaining splits. Anyway, I got my energy back and finished up some work!

So here is the most important part of the post - MY DINNER RECIPE!!
Spicy Butternut Squash - Sweet Potato Soup with Sweet Chili Tofu

1 big swirl of olive oil
3 stalks of celery chopped
3 chopped carrots
1/2 chopped sweet onion
6 cloves of chopped garlic
1/2 Macintosh apple (cubed)
1 butternut squash (cut and cubed)
2 medium sweet potatoes (cut and cubed)
3/4 of a box of organic vegetable broth
Firm tofu (pressed)
sea salt
Herbs De Provence
chili powder
Sweet Chili sauce or other marinade
green habenaro sauce

Heat up olive oil on medium, sautee garlic, onions, celery and carrots and little salt.
Once softened (about 5 minutes) add apples, sweet potatoes and butternut squash and add herbs.
Stir for about 5 minutes, add broth and allow to come to a boil. After about 3 minutes of a boil, lower to simmer for 25 minutes. Once soft puree the mix.
In the meantime, heat up a frying pan and some PAM. Add tofu with brushed on chili sauce, flip twice until browned and put to the side.

Serve with tofu and some green habernaro sauce and ENJOY!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Much Overdue Detox

What a wonderful holiday! It is my one holiday where my husband's family and my family celebrate at our house. We make the usual deep-fried turkey brined by Dad and then a couple of roasted turkey breasts. Everyone brings the amazing assortment of sides and then we follow that with pies, apple crisp and bread pudding.

Mom sleeps over so that we can marathon shop on Friday. We woke up and did the Kempro P90x followed by Ad Ripper. As the instructor, Tony, is saying "I'm 45 going on 46" my mom is yelling out "Yeah, well I'm 62 going on 63!" She is awesome! We then joined the "crazies
Saturday I got myself ready to go for a 12 mile run with little expectations since it was cold and windy, but ended up being a great run with good mile splits. I think I have figured out that I can't stop and take a mid-walk at mile 5 - just need to keep running. Had some good beer and quality time with my friend Tanya on Saturday night.

At Amy's bridal shower on Sunday, after a couple glasses of prosecco, I decided that I needed a much overdue detox. Even though the scale says an extra 4-5 lbs since the half - it feels like 10...As they say misery loves company so I recruited Erica, Michelle, Christine and Tanya to join in the fun for the week.
We decided we should do a Tuesday start so we could food shop. To make this more motivating for myself, I decided to post recipes from each day of the detox. I will preface this with the fact that Sat may have a little cheating since there is a holiday party...This is very hard to do over the holiday season, but something is better than nothing. My liver was asking for a little break. I do actually get excited about a challenge and it really makes me feel good and less bloated as I do today.

So here is the basics of my detox....
It is a meat-free, alcohol and caffeine-free, somewhat dairy-free, and gluten-free diet for a week or for me 8 days since I will be taking a partial cheat day on Saturday.

1. No caffeine or alcohol - the caffeine ironically is the hardest and I do my best but sometimes I need a green tea to get me through
2. Veggies - any kind - sweet potatoes (not white potatoes)
3. Fruit (not melons or grapes - too high in sugar)
4. Beans - all kinds...
5. Nuts and seeds but in moderation (NO Peanuts)
6. Rice and Rice products
7. Tofu/Soy products (you can do soy cheese, faux meat)
8. Corn and corn products (cornmeal and polenta)
9. Millet
10. Quinoa
11. Buckwheat (just make sure wheat free)
12. Rice milk, soy milk
13. Herbs/spices
14. Egg Whites
15. Greek yogurt fat free - my only dairy - more for the probiotic effect.
16. Limit - olive oil
17. Vinegar, hot sauce, tamari, soy sauce,
18. Agave, honey or stevia for sweetner
19. Avoid Oranges/Orange Juice if you get migraines or headaches

And so it begins, I am going to start creating my menu for the week later on.

I guess I have to finish that half opened bottle of red tonight....and maybe a three course meat dinner...just kidding...or not...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Will the Real Miss FancyPants Please Stand up?

What happened to Heather, the Miss FancyPants that owns close to XX pairs of Premium Denim (we won't be giving that number -it's pretty much insane) ...the one that opts for the Juicy Couture bag or the Marc Jacobs sexy red shoes (I even did a presentation once on them...), the REAL BECKY of the Shopaholic series .... is she still there??

So, I have been looking for the ultimate motivation, I was tired of running a 10K or a half-marathon and not knowing if I could go faster. I have tried the Polar Heart Rate Monitor and broke on me twice. I wanted the ultimate watch machine, the Christian Louboutin, the Lanvin...the Garmin 310xt. I couldn't believe how much excitement one watch could cause.
Now I have to say, I debated a while because the 305 is now $130 bucks! The 310xt with HR monitor - $400. So I had saved some birthday money and some other savings and I guess technically I could have bought the 305 and still had about $300 (well the math is off but you get the point) to use on the Sam Edelman over the knee boats...


but...when it comes to technology, I am a sucker for the best and well it had better satellite reception, longer battery life (although I am not using it to do an Ironman...yet...I never remember to charge things), it was lighter, wireless transmission of data, waterproof...and to top it off I had a 20% coupon to be used at Haddonfield Running Company from the 10K Bridge Run the prior week. I think that race gave me money - $20 for the race and $80 off of this beauty!!

The day I bought it, it was a similar feeling to when I bought my yellow leather Juicy bag, or when I went to Saks and bought my first pair of Marc Jacobs heels, I skipped (no I literally skipped) out of the store with my little bag and went home to check this baby out. I charged it the first day, registered the Garmin. The second day I went for a 4 mile run. OMG - the DATA!!!! I love data, I am in Market Research, right? This is really what I needed for my training. This was like a nerd's dream, there were graphs, numbers, heart rate charts, mile paces....ahhhh....

The old Miss FancyPants that saved $400 could have bought these dreamy looking boots by Elizabeth and James...

or maybe this Rebecca Minkoff bag...

but the NEW Miss FancyPants well she bought the Garmin 310xt...

So I know you are thinking - "what did you do with the $80?" "did you save the rest of the money? Maybe put it back in the bank?" WHAT??? Just so that you know SHE is still in there...because SHE (yes, I am talking in the 3rd person) bought these friekin awesom BCBG shoes...

All right, I didn't actually buy them then, I actually bought them a month ago and just found the reason to rationalize the purchase.

Don't worry, I'm still here - I finished my summer to fall/winter swap, re-did the closets, focused on what to get rid of and what I needed...
Over the past month, I picked up some cute (some more practical then others) things at H&M - I can't wait to wear this with nude dress with black platform booties and black leggings and a big ass belt...

Lululemon (the Anthropolgie of exercise attire) where I got some great winter running pants and a winter running jacket. This of course was practical since I did not own neither and would be useful for my training...

and a cute boutique in Montreal called Espace Pepin where I found a shirt, a dress and to die for CHOCOLATE SOAP....

I skipped again, because, even when you know you should not have bought some things and well, maybe that could have gone toward the tri-bike but you know what? Life is Short and a girl's got to look cute!

For all of you that think I have a problem, don't worry, I am on the saving wagon again...and am thinking of making a MissFancyPants ebay store so I can sell some of my jeans, purses and shoes that I don't use.
Stay tuned to next post - including some fall recipes, new beers and the trials and tribulations of cold weather running...

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Decision of Doing a Full Marathon & Some Motivation

After the half-ironman, I lost the desire to continue training right away. I knew by committing to a marathon meant my training needed to start right away in October. So I started stressing, do I do this thing or not? So I kept up with running 2-3 days a week making one my long run of at least 8-10 miles, just in case..Plus I didn't want to start at ground 0. I really just wanted to keep it stress-free and go with the flow until I made up my mind.

I was so swamped with work and traveling for work, I barely had time for anything besides running. I started losing my mojo big time. I would be home and do some weights two days a week. It felt really nice to do something different. I took a couple spin classes, rode outside with some new biking attire (see below motivation tools). Off-season wasn't so bad.

I thought I should be in the pool since I hadn't been in one since the last swim before the half-iron. But I couldn't even stomach the pool. I went to the pool once with Nicole and I felt like I forgot how to swim. I was so slow. Usually, I am a second behind her, but this was short on ridiculous. We decided to throw in some paddle work which at least I stayed up front, but as soon as we took them off to do a 200 interval set...gone. My analogy for Nicole was like the little wind up toy. She took off her paddles and just went, leaving me 15 meters behind...that bad...

And then it happened, I had one really good run of 9 miles, felt really, really good and decided I would weigh out the options here.

The positives:

  • New Orleans meant vacation to see little brother.
  • Christine would run the marathon and Nicole was running the half.
  • My sister would come to see my brother and they both could hold up signs.
  • Focus on running and getting better AND providing a great base for next year's half-ironman training.
  • If we had another hard winter I could always drop down to the half. I was paying a $5 difference. That seemed like a pretty good deal to me.
The negatives:
  • 26.2 miles....
  • Jersey winter snow storms = possible dreadmill training.
I weighed out the options and decided to embark on my marathon journey.

I have a couple stipulations to this journey:
  1. I was still considering this off-season which meant if I couldn't do a long run on a Sun you just make it up on a Monday which meant LOW STRESS...
  2. Continue with cross-training - lots of strength training (finally got my P90x...), biking, field hockey, maybe swimming...
  3. Have fun!
In order to kick this into gear, I needed some pick me ups (i.e. shopping) on

Arm Warmers - for those bikes and runs when it is a little brisk. I love these SmartWool ones.

Long Bike Pants
- I need to get outside and bike more when the weather is chilly. I love Sugui and got a good price on these. They are warm and have zippers on the bottom and nice cushion for the tush.

A new Wind Jacket - I love this....It's by Skirt Sports and it has a great pocket in the back for either riding or running that you can store some things. It worked great for a 40 degree bike!

I would like to close this post with a new quinoa recipe I got off of Gluten-Free Goddess and my Fall Beer Selection...

Maple Pear Quinoa Salad
(This is a slightly off-version of the goddess's recipe)

1/2 cup of dry quinoa
1 Ripe Pear,peeled and chopped
1/2 bag of baby spinach
1/2 cup chickpeas
some cubed Yancy Fancy Champagne Cheddar
1 bunch of fresh Italian Parsely chopped
Maple syrup
White balsamic vinegar
Olive Oil

After you cook your quinoa, mix the pear, spinach, cheese and chicken in a large bowl.

In a smaller bowl mix 2 tbspn of maple syrup, 3 tablespoon of white vinegar and 4 tablespoon of olive oil. This should give you plenty to store the rest in the fridge. Great dressing. I poured about half on the salad and seasoned with salt and pepper. I served it with tilapia.

Fall Beer Selection

Weyerbacker Imperial Pumpkin Ale with a dollap (yup a dollap) of Southern Tier Creme Brulee - this is great because the Pumpkin Ale is not too pumpkin tasting, and the creme brulee adds a slight sweetness. A nice alternative to actual dessert.

Southern Tier Oat Stout - it's not sweet but has notes of vanilla, chocolate and oats...could it be healthy - just kidding...

Farnum Hill - Farmhouse Cider
- I am not a big fan of cider beer but this tasted like a tart dry prosecco with a nice apple cider taste.

Mission Brewery Double IPA - it has an orange toffee flavor and is by far one of the better IPAs I have tasted in a while.

Happy Running!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Off-Season Part 2 - Big Onion Club Disney Vacation

So...where did I leave off...Oh yeah, my whirlwind of travel for work, I returned on Friday and we were leaving for Disney on Sat. I had fit in a 10 mile run pre-work trip, a couple in hotel room workouts and then I was able to get in another 6.5 mile run before leaving for Florida on Sat morning.

Vacation #2 - Disney!!

I love Disney, we go every year with my family and it is, for lack of a better word, "magical." We started out as kids, when I was 8 and every year the choice was: Florida vacation, a pool, or air conditioning....we opted for Florida every year. Side note: My parents got air conditioning finally while I was in college, no pool though...However, 10 years ago they came home with a time share with Disney Vacation club - BONUS!!!!

Just to give a little more background, my maiden name is Cipolone which is Italian for "Big Onion." You can follow @bigonion (Anthony) or @bigonion75 (me) on twitter. While this was considered embarrassing in high school, I
have embraced it with age (ahem 35 this year...).

In 2002, we started the Big Onion Club Drinking Around the World in EPCOT. We began this little tradition when we met some people in England who told us about this crazy little idea. We tried it and failed miserably. The reason being, as we walked to Germany (from Mexico this is the 4th country) we got side-tracked with shots of jager. You obviously can see why we did not make it past Italy...

Every year, we became smarter, more efficient, like a well-oiled machine. We would pre-plan, we found out that we can order 8oz beers in some countries, therefore, if you didn't want to drink the LaBatt's in Canada (yuck) we could have a smaller one and actually enjoy the larger ones in countries such as Germany and Norway. We learned to only do this time honored tradition when they had "extra magic hours" which meant we could stay later and not have to rush.

We start at a different end every year so that we don’t always look too drunk in pictures in the ending countries (Mexico or Canada). We also go during the food and wine festival which allows us to constantly grab food to fuel us during the “race.” For all you triathletes and runners, this is the same concept as taking a Gu every 45 min to an hour...

So back to 2010. This year was a little different - Mike and I had our OWN time share -

we bought into the Animal Kingdom Disney Vacation Club.We have joined the other Disney zombies...

We had some newbies this year - Kaela, Anthony's (my brother @bigonion) girlfriend...

some returning Disney guests - my in-laws - Nancy and Carle LaCouture...

and Tamara, Mike’s sister and her family came down at the same time,

which included some little “onions in training..."

guess you can never be too young to start, LOL (OK THERE WAS NOTHING IN THIS GLASS - THIS IS JUST A JOKE)

Animal Kingdom Lodge was an amazing place - we were able to see animals every morning including warthogs...

and zebras acting like cute little dogs laying on their backs.

While there we did the usual - visit Magic Kingdom and of course were able to get our favorite Dole pineapple and vanilla twist, yum.

Went to breakfast with Disney with the characters, since it was the kids first time, where I had my picture taken with Minnie since I wanted to duplicate my grandmother's picture back in the 80s.

On Tuesday, Mike, myself, and Kaela went to Islands of Adventures to "geek-out" at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter - utterly amazing...

We went to Hogsmeade, where we had saw some Chocolate Frog's Legs at Honeydukes...

We got a little scared when we saw the "wanted" ads.

but then went to the joke shop to check out the Pygmy Puffs.

We saw some owls - complete with owl poop,

including Hedwig.

We drank some pumpkin juice...

followed by the bar to have some Hogsmeade brew...

After a few drinks, we checked out some wands where Mike bought Dumbledore's wand (while wearing his Antoine Dodson shirt - Hide yo kids, hide yo wife....they rapin everyone out here...).

Later, that evening, we surprised Little Ant - with a 30th surprise party!

On Wednesday, we embarked on the "Around the World" adventure at EPCOT...

We started in Mexico where we also saw Donald...

then to Norway (we were a little sad that they took away the boat),

we then went to China (where we saw children in positions that should not possible)

Aww - this was in Germany - how cute...mommy and daddy...


Germany (beir...need I say more)

Italy (homeland)

and to see Dominic the Donkey...

the USA

Japan (ok this is where it starts to blur) and then Morrocco (still blurring, but apparently got through and ate some beef pita thing)

France (where we somehow look sober for our yearly shot - we were engaged here in 2002)

UK (where we hit the bar, real smart moves) and then Canada (apparently)

After all that, at least we didn't get a drinking and driving ticket on Test Track - woa!

The rest of the week went by so fast, fitting in the previously named MGM studios, where Ant got his picture taken with Mulan...

and Animal Kingdom...

It was a fun trip and we finished it off with a dinner at Jiko.

Mike and I spent our last night going out for our anniversary, hanging, napping, Phillies game and then going back for the Electrical Parade.

We have decided we may have to do 10 days next year not 7....

Till next year Disney!

Back to reality, I never thought I would say this but I got a FULL Marathon to train for...

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