Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Something I learned this month

Don’t stress over things that are not my responsibility.  This comes from my workweek last week.  Remember I said I’d get back to why I hadn’t posted for two weeks?  Well, the first week was when Boston happened.  After that, I’d come home and keep checking all the news info and did not have any urge to write at all.  The second week...well, that was because of work.  No, not my travel agent work-my HR/Payroll/Benefits job.

Don’t get me wrong-I love my job.  I get to do a wide variety of human resources stuff from payroll to benefits to government compliance reports with a bunch of other special projects thrown in.  I am constantly busy which is great since the workdays usually go by pretty quickly, and I like the people I work with in my office (doesn’t hurt to have cool bosses too).  Last week just was a bit crazy as in addition to the fact that it was a payroll check week, I was helping part of our department catch up on some stuff that was getting pretty far behind (me along with another woman in our group I should say).  And so every single day I was there late for a couple of hours (except Friday, I was darn determined to go home on time and I actually finished one minute before clock out time).  Which is great from the perspective of extra money for the overtime.  But the other part...

When I start a project, I want to make sure everything is done completely and correctly...forms with all the spaces filled in (and please, don’t sign above the box, sign in the box, that drives me nuts), all emails sent out, spreadsheets complete, cross those to-do’s off my huge dry-erase board that hangs on my wall, all mail sorted and checked...etc, etc, etc.  I can get a bit anal when my mild OCD starts really kicking in.  So I push and push to make sure I get to a good, COMPLETE stopping point each day, trying to get as many of the candidates processed as possible for the stores (I’ve been helping with applicant/new hire processing) as I can.  All this while still thinking in the back of my mind, “Don’t forget, you still have to process your own stuff, benefits enrollments, 401k packets to send out, spreadsheet to finish for the district managers...OMG don’t forget that other thing and this other thing and....”

You get the picture.

And so by the time I get home my brain is fried-like well-done fried.  I would open my laptop, check email and Facebook and then just crash for the night...all week.  When Friday came around I pushed hard all morning so I could get out on time.  Once my weekend was here I made sure to relax, enjoy and catch up.  Relaxed on Saturday and got a bunch of blog posts started (posted 3 on Saturday alone, 2 here and one on thedisneyworldfiles.com).  Had a fantastic day Sunday with my mom with lunch out and shopping (scored some GREAT Disney stuff for giveaways on my other blog!), then when I came home I did some more blog post work.  Felt great to be more or less caught up again.

So what did I learn?  While it’s great to help others out when they need it, don’t let trying to help someone else with their work (while only barely staying caught up on your own) stress you out.  Ultimately, their work is not your responsibility.  If you can help a lot, that’s great.  If you can only do a little, well that’s more help than they would have had without you.  Don’t let your own work suffer or stress yourself out trying to make sure your own work doesn’t suffer.  

Oh, and be sure to take time for yourself to relax and recharge.  I’m counting down to Memorial Day weekend when I’ll have a nice 4-day weekend to do just that ;-)

Monday, April 29, 2013

Race reports

April Blogger Challenge #9-an event you’d like to blog about and what you would say about it

So I think this one is meant kind of like an event you’d like to cover or report on.  For me, that’s easy--any race I’m running or doing volunteer shifts.  And yes, me saying that reminds me again I need to write up my report from this year’s Marathon Weekend.

When I write up a race report or race weekend report, I do it both for myself (so I don’t forget the events of the day-my memory really stinks) and for anyone else out there who may be interested either in that particular event or just running/volunteering in general.  And believe me, there are a ton of people out there looking for information about races.  Of my top four all-time viewed posts, three of them are race reports...one is from the Weston Rotary Run for Tomorrow, the other two are my two Expedition Everest Challenge reports (2011 and 2012).  Oh, if you’re curious about the other post, it was when I told everyone my training calendar was now live on my blog (which by the way it still is, click the tab at the top of the page that says Training Calendar if you’re interested).  My number one, all-time top viewed post is my 2011 Expedition Everest Challenge Race Report-almost every week I have views for that report.

So since I know there’s the demand out there for others to read the reports, I’ll keep writing them to cover my races/race weekend events.  What would be really cool is if some big organization would ask me to “officially” cover one as a blog post/article.  But that’s just me with my head in the clouds ;-)

What events would you want to or do you already blog about?

Motivation for your Monday

Remember...it's about your whole journey, not just what lies ahead.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

And my favorite blogger is..........

April Blogger Challenge #8 (days 22-24...yes, I know it's behind)-your favorite blogger and why
You all know how much I love Disney, especially Walt Disney World.  I’m always reading up on new things happening at the resort, checking out different online forums for trip planning, park tips and so on.  Plus I usually visit anywhere from 4-6 times a year.  So it should probably come as no surprise to you that my favorite blogger is someone who writes about WDW.  Some of you may already be aware of the site-it’s Josh over at easyWDW.com.  

First off, he’s in the parks ALL the time.  He provides insanely accurate crowd calendars (I have never gone wrong using them to choose which parks to visit on which days), in-depth analysis of events and has just the right amount of snark and sarcasm to make everything he writes a really fun read.  Those of you who like a more straight-laced, serious approach might not like that but for me, I get a kick out of his comments and it makes for very entertaining reading material.  He’s always got great photographs too.  He interacts with his readers when they leave comments which I think is great.  If you’re looking for a really good WDW resource, be sure to check out easyWDW.com...even if you’re not into the snark, the calendars and information are extremely useful and thorough.

I do have about 40 different blogs I to which I’m subscribed-I use the Reeder app on my Mac to pull in all the posts for me so I don’t miss anything.  Maybe somewhere between 15-20 of them post regularly.  You can see some of my favorites here on my blog in the sidebar (“My Favorite Blogs”).  Most of them are running friends (hi guys!)...I try to rotate the list every so often so when some people aren’t posting so much-or at all- for a while, I’ll rotate someone else in, I just don’t want the list there to be too long.  
Just half of my list...

...and the other half

Oh, and my runners-up for favorite blogger?  Dana over at The Dragyn’s Lair, Heather at Through Heather’s Looking Glass, Megan at Elbowglitter, Amy at The point one will getcha! and Jess at Run with Jess.  But I like all the blogs I’m subscribed to-after all, if I didn’t I wouldn’t have subscribed to them-but these are some that just pop for me.

Who's your favorite blogger?  Are you a blogger yourself? 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Lysol Touch of Foam Soap product review

As some of you may already know, I am registered with BzzAgent.com.  For those of you who don’t know what BzzAgent is,they’re a social marketing company.  You can sign up on their website to become a BzzAgent, and when campaigns come along that are a match for you, you can join and get some free or deeply discounted products to try out, then spread your thoughts about it to friends, family, online or off.  The companies who supply the products get word of mouth advertising, and you get free stuff.  I’ve done a bunch of campaigns, from chocolates to cosmetics to a cool all-in-one remote and a Sonicare battery-operated toothbrush.  This time around, I joined the campaign for Lysol’s Touch of Foam Anti-Bacterial Hand Wash.
I was sent a free full-sized bottle of the creamy vanilla orchid scent hand wash to try out along with 75¢ coupons to hand out to friends.  As soon as my kit arrived, I got the bottle out, snapped a pic and tried it out.  (Rest assured, all opinions given here are my own)

Now normally I don’t use anti-bacterial soaps.  I’m not a fan of all these anti-bacterial products everywhere (seriously, do I really need to use hand sanitizer after I clock in/out at work?  Might as well not touch the doors or computers or file cabinets, etc at all if that’s the case).  BUT, I don’t mind as much having anti-bacterial soap to use after using the restroom.  The only problem I run into?  These soaps always dry out my hands, so then I need to use lotion or hand cream afterward.

Enter my new freebie.  As you probably guessed from the product name, this is a foam soap.  It’s nice and thick and smells delicious.  It lathers up really well, but most importantly for me-once rinsed and dried, my hands aren’t dried out.  They actually feel nice and soft and smell really good.  For me, it’s a winner...and I do recommend it to others. 
Thick, no-drip foam soap
I think I’ll try the Wild Berry Bliss scent next ;-)  I’ve already passed out all my coupons, but I’m keeping my eye out for a great deal so I can stock up!  Right now thru tonight Walgreens has it buy one, get one 50% off plus you get 750 Balance Rewards points when you buy 2, so I'm going to take a walk over to the store (about 3/4 mile away, good way to get a nice walk in) and grab a couple before calling it a night.

Have you tried Lysol’s Touch of Foam Antibacterial Soap?  What did you think?  What are your thoughts on anti-bacterial soaps (and other products) in general?

Remembering Determination and the Importance of Support

Yes, I know I haven't posted for a couple of weeks but I'll address that in a different post.  I wanted to get back to the blogger challenge and catch up a bit.  I'm skipping the day 13-15 topic...I did two posts for the day 10-12 topic so in my mind, that makes up for the skip ;-)

So the next topic was to pick any picture from your Facebook or Instagram pics and write about it.  You can see the pic I chose above; I actually didn't take the photo (obviously, I'm the one the red hat!).

This photo was taken by a ROTE friend during the 2011 Disney full Marathon as I was making my way from World Showcase in Epcot toward Future World.  I would guess this around mile 25.5, maybe a bit farther, and by that point my feet were killing me, my back was sore and all I was thinking was "just keep walking, don't stop, one foot in front of the other".  I was focused straight ahead when I heard one of the ROTErs, Joey shouting at me, "You're doing it Carra!"  I saw him walking with someone else-I can't for the life of me remember who-toward World Showcase and waved.  He is the one who actually posted this picture on Facebook and tagged me in it (thank you Joey!), and was the last ROTEr I saw before I crossed the finish line.

Even though my body was overwhelmingly sore, tired and ready to just collapse by that point, hearing and seeing people I knew cheering for me continued to lift my spirits and drive me on.  I didn't stop-even though I really wanted to have the Photopass photographer take my picture when I got by the fountains in Future World-I knew if I stopped I'd never get going again and I just wasn't going to let that happen with the finish line so close.  I was DETERMINED to get my Mickey medal!

My point in choosing this particular picture?  The importance of support.  When I first started my journey into the running world, I happened to come across an online forum of people who were runners who loved Disney and running Disney races.  I've made a lot of friends from that forum and having them online for support, advice and friendship before and after races and especially along the course cheering me and everyone else on is invaluable and tremendously motivating.  I can tell you without any doubt in my mind that I would have never been able to finish that race if it wasn't for my ROTEr friends-especially those I saw from the point of exiting Animal Kingdom through the end of the race.  They helped spur me on and get me going enough to leave those sweepers in the dust.

I gave shout outs to them in my 2011 Disney Full Marathon Race Report post, but I just wanted to recognize and thank them again-Joey (of course-you're always there with such kind and supportive words before and after races), Erica (super big hugs!), Tracy, and especially Colleen and Dawn-if you two hadn't of been there outside of Animal Kingdom, I would never have been able to dig so deep and start running to get away from the sweepers that were closing in-seriously.

Don't ever underestimate the power of your support crew-whether they are there so you can just hand off a jacket, grab a drink, pass you some Twizzlers or just clap/cheer/ring a cowbell/hold a sign...or scream your name, jump up and down or honk their horn as they're driving by you on the course.  They'll help keep you going and give you that push you need to make it across that finish line.

And if you're looking for a group that will do all that for you-and so much more-be sure to check out Running of the Ears.  I know you'll be glad you did.  Here's some pics of the group:
This pic is from the Monday after the 2010 Marathon Weekend (my first half marathon)
A bunch of ROTErs at Downtown Disney at the start of race weekend 2010
A bunch of us volunteering at the mile 13 water stop at the 2010 Disney full marathon (see our red hats?)
Group shot before the 2012 Princess Half Marathon

Group shot before the 2012 Tower of Terror 10-Miler
Do you have a support group for your running/walking/racing?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Ya Gotta Have a Goal Part 2

So I’ve been doing this running thing since the Fall of 2008.  I’ve done 8 5Ks, a 10K, a Half Marathon relay, 8 Half Marathons, 1 Marathon relay (basically another half marathon since we each did 13.1 miles)...and one full Marathon.  Now before you go jumping to conclusions, I can tell you that NO, my other current goal is NOT anything longer than a full marathon.  And those of you who are my smartypants friends don’t go :poke: :poke: at me to consider it...it won’t work.  No, my goal is the Disney full marathon in January 2014.  
“Wait a minute”, you say, “you’ve already done a full marathon, how is that a goal?”   

I did my marathon in January of 2011.  I wasn’t in peak condition for it; My peak condition was Winter 2009/Spring 2010.  At that time, I had lost 45 pounds and was easily keeping a 15 minute per mile pace for the half marathons I was running and even got into the 14 minute mile range for my 5Ks.  For the marathon a year later, I had gained back about 20 of the pounds I had lost and finished in 6:59:09, a 15:59 pace...just barely making the pace cutoff (while trying to keep away from the sweepers...you can read about that in my race report if you’d like).  It was hard.  Probably the hardest thing I’ve ever undertaken and completed.
Me after my first half marathon-this was after losing 45 pounds

So why is it a goal again?  As I mentioned in my “Starting Over” post, I gained back almost all the weight I’d lost.  I’m basically starting from scratch again.  Almost worse than scratch since instead of regularly walking or even semi-regularly, I went almost all the way back to doing nothing after being swept at the Tower of Terror 10-miler.  Workouts and miles here and there...but no “real” training.  Plus I have that wonderful added bonus of all this extra weight back on again.

And so, this is going to be just like training for my first marathon...again.  I’ve already mapped out my training calendar through the rest of the year.  It is fairly straightforward through the end of August with no really long mileage until the marathon training portion starts so it’s more like a general exercise program until the end of summer...that way I can concentrate on the losing weight part, though I’ll still be doing miles at least 3 days per week the whole time.  As many of you know, trying to lose weight while training for a marathon can be difficult so I’m trying to get a head start on that part before the longer miles begin. 

I’d love to be at my goal weight before the time comes for the race, but that would mean losing about 80 pounds between now and then.  Just that part alone would be a HUGE accomplishment.  But with the long miles in the Fall and early Winter, I’ll be initially shooting for at least 60 pounds by race time.  The overall goal?  Finishing faster than my first marathon.  My more ambitious goal?  Finishing in 6:50:00 or less.  But as long as I finish without having to take a sweeper bus ride, I will consider my goal attained.  Again.

If you’re out there about to undertake your first full marathon journey, feel free to contact me...virtual training partners are always welcome.  Or if you’re just trying to lose a lot of weight like me...same thing.  Most of this for me is done on my own for various reasons which is really hard.  It’s so much easier to stick to a plan when there are others around that you don’t want to make excuses to.  If anyone out there wants to join up so we can all be accountable to each other (for losing weight or race training-virtual or otherwise), you can use the Contact Me page to get in touch.

What are some goals that you have?  
My goal?  This picture in 2014!

Ya Gotta Have a Goal Part 1

I’m addicted to Disney.  Most of you already know this...after all, my blog description up there at the top of the page does mention my “Disney obsession”.  One of my favorite things to do is plan my next trip to Walt Disney World.  I’ve even start planning (and booking and paying deposits on) trips that come after ones I haven’t even taken yet.  Many of those trips have been for runDisney events (8 events, 7 trips to run them with two more coming up); even more-LOTS more-have been just to go have fun in the parks.  I’ve been going to Walt Disney World for 35 years now, usually several times a year since I’ve been an adult.  Being at WDW just makes me happy-whether I’m riding the rides or just wandering around the parks people-watching; the whole Disney atmosphere just draws me in.

I love the planning and booking so much, I’ve started an additional career centered around it.  In case you missed it in a previous post, I became an independent travel agent, specializing in Disney destinations.  I can actually book any kind of travel (and have), but Disney is my main concentration.  Do what you love, right?  And lately I’ve been laying the groundwork to start really growing that business...more on that in a bit.

I also love doing Disney races (that fact I’m positive you already figured out...you have, right?  Well, unless this is the first post of mine you’re reading).  Races in general are fun for me and I’m one of those people who loves the bling.  But being able to do races at my favorite place in the world?  That makes it a thousand times better.  But Disney races don’t come cheap and certainly aren’t going to start going down in price.  I know there are many people out there that are thinking twice about them due to how costly they are becoming.  I may eventually become one of those people if the prices go too high, but that’s a decision for the future...hopefully far in the future.  Though even if the cost of the races themselves get to high, I’d still go to volunteer (my new favorite thing to do at Disney races when I’m not running one) and to cheer my friends on with my sparkly Running of the Ears sign.

A ROTE friend who was running snapped this one of me (thanks Gina!)

Anyway, the point is one of the reasons I went into business for myself was to help earn money to pay for my Disney (and Disney race) obsession...among other things.  And that’s where the growing-my-business part comes in to play.

So that is my goal right now-growing my business.  I’m working on a few things regarding marketing.  And I want to create a tie with my other blog, The Disney World Files as well--I believe that my blog and my business complement each other and each can help the other thrive.  It takes a lot of time to do the behind-the-scenes stuff; but for me it is so very worth it.  If you have the time and inclination, I’m always looking for feedback on my website, www.enchanteddreamvacations.com as well as my blog at www.thedisneyworldfiles.com (don’t worry, as long as you’re offering constructive criticism you won’t hurt my feelings-I know there are things I can do better).

And while this is an important goal for me, it’s not the only one I have-hence the “part 1” in the title of this post.  Part 2 will be coming shortly...stay tuned friends...

And the Winner is...

So my first giveaway came to a close and that means it was time to pick a winner!  Congratulations to...................... Amy, my first giveaway winner!

And thank you so much to those who participated...while there were not a ton of entries (probably due to the simple prize I put up since this was a test run), I was able to see exactly how the Rafflecopter widget worked, figure out how to customize some things and so forth.  It was so simple to use and I love how you could see all the information from the entries in one nice spreadsheet.  And picking a winner is simple-just click the button.  So if anyone out there is looking for an easy way to run an online giveaway, yes I do recommend Rafflecopter (in case you hadn't figured it out yet).

Now that I am familiar with the widget, I'll be planning other giveaways for this blog and my other blog, The Disney World Files.  Of course the giveaways over there will be Disney-related...I hope my readers over here will check out my Disney blog...feel free to suggest topics or offer any feedback.  I'm working on expanding that blog with more frequent posts, adding informational pages, adding the giveaways, possibly guest posts and so on.  I've already changed the domain name from a blogspot one to www.thedisneyworldfiles.com to make it more official/professional (big thanks to my DH for helping me out...he's my computer guru!).

Now back to my regular scheduled blogging program...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

ONLY the Marathon

I already knew I’d be doing the full marathon at Walt Disney World for January 2014.  Once they made the announcement about adding a 10K and Dopey (doing the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and full Marathon), I was also thinking I would add on the 10K since it’s on Friday and the Marathon isn’t until Sunday...what’s another 6.2 miles, right?  Well, now I can rest easy knowing I’ve saved $100...the 10K has already sold out.  And that leads me to the title of my post...I’m ONLY doing the Marathon.  Betcha never thought you’d hear that phrase coming from me, huh?  That’s right, I’ll JUST be doing 26.2 miles for the weekend.  Ha!

Well, I’ll be getting 26.2 miles of fun on the same course from the 20th anniversary year.    Apparently there will be a new marathon medal for 2014 so at least I’ll get one different from the one I got back in 2011.  I’m planning on volunteering again, probably one or two shifts at the expo as well as the 5K and 10K.  I’m planning on cheering for the half again as well...need to be there on Main Street with my glittery ROTE sign!

Should be another fantastic trip...who’s coming along with me?

Oh, and don’t forget, if you’re headed to Marathon Weekend too, I can help you book your trip...just drop me line ;-)

Here's some memories from 2011:

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Another just for fun entry :-)

So today’s topic for the April Blogger Challenge I’m doing is “favorite color and why”.  And I LOVE purple.  Any shade from the palest lilac to the deepest violet.  I even painted my office a lovely pale violet shade at one of our previous homes.

Yes, I am aware there is a difference in “purple” and “violet”.  I usually lean more toward the violet since it has more blue in it than purple.  If you want to read about the difference between purple and violet, click here for purple and here for violet to see the Wikipedia entries.

For me, the violet hues just feel relaxing and comfortable while the purple ones just make me feel happy...I can’t explain it better than that.

I also am a fan of red, especially the deep crimson shades...but purple/violet is and will probably always be my #1.  

What's your favorite color and why?

While you're here poking around, please don't forget to check out my fun test giveaway with a real prize located here.  It's a small but cute prize of a Disney Parks Growth Chart...I'm using this giveaway as a test for myself to try out the Rafflecopter widget (so far I'm really liking it, very easy to use).  I'm going to be growing both this blog and my Disney blog (The Disney World Files) and one of the things I want to do is host giveaways on both blogs so I'd love it if everyone would try it out.  Any and all feedback is appreciated!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Is The Indulgence Worth It?

Losing weight is hard.  Well, for most people anyway.  It gets harder when you get those sugar cravings, those I’ve-got-to-have-something-sweet-where’s-the-darn-chocolate type of cravings, know what I mean?  And you know how the elusive “they” tell you not to deprive yourself, just have a small portion of that craving every so often so you don’t go overboard by doing something crazy like eating a whole gallon of ice cream or an entire cake because you haven’t had any sweets in forever?  I do totally agree with that philosophy...I mean, if you’ve been having something all the time in large quantities and you stop eating/drinking it cold turkey, sooner or later the dam will break and you’ll find yourself sitting on the floor surrounded by empty containers of those old favorites.  And you’ll feel miserable about it to boot.

I was in Publix the other day picking up a few things and I was having one of those cravings.  Yes, bad timing for the craving to be going on while in a grocery store (especially while in Publix with their heavenly bakery cakes).  Anyway, I came across these little mini-cups of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  They’re very small, you can see by this pic where I have it next to an 8-oz can of tomato sauce how small it is.

 The serving size is right about a half cup--which is normally what a serving size of ice cream is considered.  Pretty inexpensive-only $1.15.  It came with a tiny spoon in the lid, too.  Maybe they think the tiny spoon will make the ice cream last longer so you’ll feel more satisfied eating the little portion.  I say “little portion” because, even though a half cup is considered a serving size, who really only eats a half a cup?  Measure yourself out a true half cup of ice cream and you’ll see what I mean...even when you get ice cream at a scoop shop, a single scoop is more than a half cup.

So back to the title question-is the indulgence worth it?  Well, it depends.  This particular indulgence-a half cup of B&J’s Cookie Dough ice cream-will set you back 250 calories.  Yes, you read that right.  250 calories.  So for me, I would need to do at least 2 miles just to work this tiny half-cup of indulgence back off.  And honestly, even with the tiny spoon making the eating of the ice cream take longer...still not terribly satisfying.  Did it taste good?  Heck yeah!  But overall--not worth it...not at all.  Especially since the portion size is so small.

What to have instead when I crave something like this?  My go-to desserts are by Healthy Choice-their Pomegranate Blueberry Frozen Yogurt Bars (90 calories, 1 gram of fat) or even better, their Fudge Bars (80 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber).  Both are much more satisfying.  Another choice I like is making Jell-O sugar-free pudding, especially butterscotch or chocolate flavored, and topping it with a small dollop of Cool Whip Free or Cool Whip Light.  All of these are less than half the calories of that mini-cup of ice cream and are also more filling.

Now, I’m not always a good girl and I do sometimes cave and get the “bad” stuff.  But it happens, I shake my head afterward and move on.  I’m working on it...a work in progress...and like I said, losing weight is hard.  I just have to make the right choices.

Do you have a sweet tooth?  What are your go-to treats that fit into your eating plan? Yes...I am looking for ideas LOL.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

10 Words That Describe My Blog-April Blogger Challenge #2

1-Disney-my biggest addiction!  Especially Walt Disney World...I can never get enough of WDW :-) 

2-Running-or, okay, walk/running...but still, I’m out there moving! 

3-Pictures-I like to include pictures with my blog entries, I think it makes them more interesting
4-Recaps-as in race recaps, I try to recap all of my races-not just because others may be interested in them, but as a way for me to be able to look back and remember all the fun (and not-so-fun) times.  Interesting tidbit?  My Expedition Everest recaps are my most viewed posts and continue to get views every week!

5-Lighthearted-most of the time anyway.  I prefer to have people smile when they read than have to break out a box of tissues
6-Honest-I don’t put fake stuff out there
7-Free-that’s right peeps, you don’t pay a cent for any of this content!  Okay, you had to buy that computer...and get internet service...but hey, you didn’t just get that to read my blog, right?
8-Friendly-I welcome everyone to come read.  Even if you don’t agree with something I say, as long as any comments you post or emails you send me aren’t nasty, derogatory or the like, everyone is welcome here :-)
9-Personal-yes, I am writing about my own life, experiences and opinions.  Not too personal of course (that’s reserved for only my DH) 

10-Growing-my audience has grown and is still doing so.  I’m looking at ways to expand pages within my blog, connect with other blogs and sites and just keep things interesting here.  After all, if there’s nothing to bring others here, it’ll just be me all by my lonesome...and that’s no fun, everything’s more fun with friends :-)

If you have a blog, what 10 words would you use to describe it?

Don't forget to check out my post from yesterday with my test giveaway.  I'm giving away a fun Disney Parks Growth Chart...just something simple to test out the Rafflecopter widget (my first time using it) to prepare myself for future giveaways on my Disney World Files blog.  I know the growth chart is not a big, fancy prize, but I'm just using it as a way to learn the Rafflecopter stuff.  Please try it out.  If you win and really don't want the chart (though you could give it to a friend or family member who might use it), I can treat you to a drink during any race weekend we're both at instead. Deal?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Time for a test giveaway with a real prize!

All right everyone, are you ready to be my test subjects?  Many of you know either from reading my posts or by checking out the page tabs at the top that I have another blog, The Disney World Files, that is strictly about Walt Disney World.  I started it almost one year ago (it’ll be one year since my first post this coming Monday) and I want to really start growing that blog, especially since I want to intertwine that blog with my travel business-you may remember I became an independent travel agent specializing in Disney Destinations last August-so I can not only grow the blog but also grow my business.  After all, I plan on using my earnings from my business to help pay for my re-emerging race habit.    

Anyway, one of the things I plan on doing is hosting giveaways from time to time, but I’ve never done that before so I’m trying it out here first.  And yes, there is a real prize!  It’s nothing huge, but it’s simple and fun--a Disney Parks Growth Chart. The measurement markings are on the left side:

 It actually goes all the way up to six feet high so even if you’re a grown-up kid (like me!), you could use it for you and your friends...or just start measuring your little kiddies if you have them and you can keep it up until they’re taller than you ;-)  

I figured this is something cute that people would like that I could use for my test giveaway.  So yes, even though this is a test so I can figure out how to use Rafflecopter (everyone I know who has used it says it’s really easy so I thought I’d give it a try), you can still win a fun prize.  Once I know what I’m doing, I’ll start doing my Disney blog giveaways and maybe even do some more over here from time to time...so please help this newbie-giveaway person out by participating and feel free to share with others.  I didn’t make any of the entry options mandatory-meaning you don’t HAVE to do each entry option if you don’t want to...though you would need to do at least one of them to get an entry.

Since this is a test for me, I didn’t make it a long contest-it will end on 4/10/13 at midnight.  In the meantime, feel free to enter and share and so forth so I can get a handle on how the widget for the contest works.  Let me know if anything doesn’t seem to work right or if you have any questions.  And if it’s not a prize you’d really use, you probably know someone who would, so you could enter and give it to a friend or family member if you won and didn’t want it for yourself.

All right peeps, here you go...

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 1, 2013

10 Things My Readers Don’t Know About Me

April Blogger Challenge #1
  1. I collect full-sized swords and daggers.  I started at the first Florida Renaissance Festival that I went to and normally pick one (or more) up every time I go.  I’ve also picked up a couple at Epcot (one each from the Japan and China pavilions).  I’ve got some pretty cool ones, including these babies:  

  2. I’m addicted to paranormal romance books (mostly Young Adult).  And there are a ton of them available for FREE in Amazon’s Kindle bookstore.  How addicted you ask?  At last count I have over 550 of them.  I think I need serious help (and no, I haven’t read them all yet but still check Amazon almost every day to see if there are any I don’t have yet). 
  3. I can’t stand seafood...well, except for tuna fish sandwiches (but only solid or chunk white tuna, can’t stand that “chunk light” stuff-yuck!).  Can’t stand the smell, though I tolerate it when others are eating.  Funny thing is, when I was a kid I ate nova, lox and whitefish.  Now?  No way, no how, nuh-uh.  Good thing is, my BFF is exactly like me when it comes to seafood, so I’m not alone.
  4. I have a horrible short-term memory.  If I don’t write something down when I think it or log it in my phone, I’ll forget.  Classic example?  DH and I stopped at a grocery store for a few things (I can’t remember what, it was many years ago).  He didn’t want to go inside and asked me-right before I stepped out of the car to enter the store-to also pick up a can of ravioli.  And yes, as you may have expected, that was the ONE thing I forgot...even though he had JUST told me a few minutes before.  And he has never, ever let me live that down.
  5. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime under any condition just...like...zzzzzzzzzzzzz
  6. I’m actually shy in person.  I tend to stay on the fringes unless I’m with family or a group of close friends.
  7. When I get in a mood, I can sit for hours on end watching through complete seasons of my favorite shows.  I usually start at the very beginning of a series and keep going until the series finale.  Of course this can take days, weeks or longer since I still have to work and do other life stuff.  And yes, I can watch my favorites again and again.  My faves? Buffy, Angel, Charmed, Firefly, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and SG-U. 
  8. I used to be a pretty good bowler.  I had an average in the low-190’s, a high game of 289 (darn 10-pin!) and two 700 series.  And then Hurricane Wilma decided to blow thru South Florida causing enough damage to the center I bowled in for it to close down...and I wasn’t going to drive any farther somewhere else so I pretty much stopped bowling altogether.  I tried to get back into it a few years ago, but my average never got above 165 or so (using my bowling balls from 5 years prior that had been sitting in a hot garage may have had something to do with that).  I don’t bowl anymore except for parties that might be held at a bowling center.
  9. I don’t need much to keep me occupied.  I can curl up on a couch with my blanket and just start out the window and be content.  Or just sit reading for hours on end (do you get why I’m addicted to the Amazon Kindle bookstore?).  I don’t constantly need new books, shows or activities either-if it’s something I really like, I can read, watch or do it over and over again.
  10. I never, ever thought I would become a blogger.  I’m just not the writer type.  Voracious reader and watcher, sure, but writer and blogger are never words I would have expected to be used when describing me.  Then I decided to lose weight, get in shape and chronicle my journey and it kind of snowballed from there.  Now I have 2 blogs that I try to keep up with.  So ladies and gents, never say never about anything...it might actually happen when you least expect it.

So, what don’t your readers (if you are a blogger) or your friends (if you’re not) know about you?  Were you surprised by any of the things I listed about myself today?