Katy Home & Garden Show January 30 & 31 plus FREE Tickets

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I am so excited to attend the 2016 Katy Home & Garden Show this weekend. I have several home improvement ideas planned beginning with some DIY kitchen projects and I can’t wait to get some ideas from some of the 300 + vendors on site at the Expo as well as advice from the experts including Matt Muenster from the DIY Network and HGTV show, Bath Crashers and Ellen’s Design Challenge.matt pic

Matt will be talking about some incredible bathroom transformations during his presentation at the show on Saturday, January 30 at 11:30 a.m. and again at 2:00 p.m.. but I’ll also have the opportunity to interview him! I have some specific project questions ready for him….I can’t wait to get his advice!

This is the 10th Annual Katy Home & Garden Show held at the Merrell Center & Robinson Pavilion. In addition to Matt’s presentation and 300 plus vendors, there will also be a home improvement stage, food sampling, a kid’s activity zone and mini-gift market. Frank Bielec, of Trading Spaces fame, will be speaking about how to retirement proof your home.

Also. Food trucks. Hello Cousins Maine Lobster – I’m coming to see you so get those lobster rolls cooking!

SHOW DETAILS:

  1. January 30 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and January 31 from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Merrell Center in Katy, Texas
  2. Tickets are $9.00 (kids under 12 are free)

FREE TICKETS:

Want to join me at the show this weekend? How about 2 free tickets?! I’ll pick a winner at random on Friday, January 29th at 11:00 a.m. CST.  Easy Peasy!

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Follow me on Saturday on Periscope @jpatrickcomm where I’ll be coming at ya live from the show along with my friend and interior decorator, Melissa!

I was invited to attend the show for free but have not received any other compensation. All opinions and DIY project successes (and fails) are my own!

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What The Hell Were You Thinking? Three months with #bluehair

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photo courtesy of Sheri Marie Salon

A couple days before Halloween last year I dyed my hair blue. Brilliant, bright, big as day, sassy pants…blue. I was going as Joy from the movie Inside Out to a Halloween party and the store bought color spray wasn’t cutting it. I wanted to be authentic. Also – I always wanted to dye my hair.

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Someone asked me later (after Halloween was over and I was clearly keeping my hair color), “What the hell were you thinking?”

And I wanted to say:

I was thinking it’s just hair. And that I’m lucky to be working from home in this season of my life. And that I’m not getting any younger. And that dying my hair bright blue seems plain ridiculous for a 80-year-old, so I should get it done at the sensible age of 44. Because regretting never dying my hair blue seems like a silly regret to have.  And also – it’s just hair.

What I said was:

I know, I’m crazy.

And maybe I am. Just a little. But here’s the funny thing. Life for three months with blue hair was pretty amazing. Because every day. Every. Day. Someone, somewhere stopped to tell me they liked it. At the dry cleaners. At the grocery store. At the doctor’s office. At my kid’s school.

People with piercings and tattoos and people in business casual clothes. People with law and medical degrees. Young and old people. People who act and sing, groom dogs, teach school, crunch numbers, work on cars, own companies….

People who I would never had had a conversation with before would stop and say, “you go – girl.” One lady at a convention came over to me after the speaker had wrapped up and said “I couldn’t stop looking at your hair – I had to come and tell you how awesome it is.”  And someone else hugged me.  A stranger. Which was a little weird. But oddly, ok.

And also – people stared. And little kids pointed. And some people clearly did not like it. At all.

Which is ok, too. Because putting yourself out there means you accept both good and bad reactions.

Admittedly, during the first week I was a little timid. I thought – what the hell WAS I thinking? Because brown hair goes with everything and blue hair clashes with some outfits. Blue hair isn’t an accessory you can take off when you have an important business meeting or have a serious matter to discuss with someone and put on when you are going out for dinner with friends.

People who already knew me, knew the kind of person I was – that I love Jesus and being a mom. That I don’t sell drugs or steal and rarely lie (well – there was that time I couldn’t go to jury duty). But sometimes I would see someone who didn’t know me look at me and pass judgement.  And sometimes, sadly, people who knew me did the same thing.

The second week I decided that I needed to own it…embrace it 100 percent or dye it back.  Because you can’t walk around with bright blue hair and be all second-guessy. I needed to walk confidently and not apologize and probably stop calling myself crazy all the time.

I decided to embrace Joy for more than just a day.

Blue hair gave me permission to take risks. Not absurd risks. But get out of your rut kinda risks. After you dye your hair blue, ordering something different at a restaurant you always get the same thing at because you know you like it hardly seemed like a big deal at all.

And a funny thing happened after awhile. I forgot about it. And life kind of went on. I still struggled with helping my son with 8th grade Algebra and I worried about my weight and I dealt with anxiety. I worked and packed school lunches and went to book club.

Someone was staring at me in a doctor’s office last week and I thought maybe I had a booger on my face. It didn’t even occur to me that it might be my hair.

Here is my challenge to you.

  1. When you’re out and about – compliment someone. Tell a stranger you like their hair, or their dress or their boots…especially if you can tell they took a risk and put themselves out there.  Receiving a compliment from a stranger is a pretty amazing thing.
  2. If a friend takes a risk – acknowledge it. You don’t have to like it, but tell them you admire their courage. Not saying anything…says something.
  3. If you want to try something new, do it. Don’t let fear of what other people think stop you from living your dream.

Disclaimer: Before I dyed my hair blue I asked my immediate family members (my kids and husband) if they were ok with it. I wanted them to be comfortable with me and any questions or ridicule they might get from friends (and they did). My daughter said, “Go for it – you only live once” and my teenage son shrugged his shoulders and said, “Do what makes you happy” and my husband told me…..

It’s just hair.

Truth.

P.S. Yesterday I dyed my hair silver.

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Thank you to all the professionals (especially Shannon, Hiliary and Carolyn) at Sheri Marie Salon who take good care of my hair and make me feel pretty.

 

 

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My #StickaPic Craft Party – HP Social Media Snapshots Photo Paper @Staples with Special Discount

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I love to make things, especially during the holiday season. It’s fun to give homemade gifts and when I use photos in my DIY projects, it makes them extra special.

As an HP Smart Mom Panel member, I have been able to give HP insight into what a small business owner, blogger, mom and DIY/crafter likes about products such as printers and photo paper.  I’ve also been able to try out new HP products first hand. Recently I travelled to San Diego for the HP Print and Pamper Retreat where I was able to visit HP headquarters and meet with executives to give my input about product development.

During the trip, we also were treated to a craft night. I was in DIY heaven when I walked into the conference room at the Rancho Bernardo Inn and saw tables and tables of make and takes. I was inspired by the projects and couldn’t wait to get home to share what I learned with my friends! These projects and more can be found online at MyPrintly.com.

Taking an hour or two during the day to get creative with good friends is such a gift. Even though we haven’t even celebrated Thanksgiving, I put on some Christmas music and lit some cinnamon candles as we visited and snacked on some pumpkin goat cheese and scones. As my friends arrived, they printed photo “name tags” on HP Social Media Snapshots sticky photo paper with their favorite hashtag. It was fun to see what word they each picked to describe themselves.

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Other friends picked love and awesome. I chose brave.

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My friends loved using the free HP Snapshots app to access and print photos straight from their social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook as well as their smartphone’s photo stream. HP Social Media Snapshots 4×5 sticky back photo paper is perfect for creating projects. We made three easy and fun photo projects perfect for gift giving.

craft projects

1. Tile Coasters

How to make yourself: Get some stone tiles in the bathroom section of Home Depot. You can also use ceramic tiles for a more polished look. Print a photo onto HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper from Instagram using the free, HP Snapshots app. You can pick a white or black frame for your photo, or trim the border off completely, like I did. Peel off the protective backing from the back of the photo and adhere it to your coaster. Cover the top of photo and coaster with Mod Podge. After it dries, put four, small felt pad dots on the back of the coaster, one in each corner, to protect your coffee table.

2. Photo blocks

How to make yourself: You can buy wooden blocks from a craft store like Michaels, but I had my husband cut them from wood. The HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper is 4 x 5 but the image will be smaller when you trim off the bottom portion that contains the message below the photo from Instagram. I left a border on my photo and trimmed it down to a perfect square – 4 1/8 x 4 1/8. You’ll need 9 equally sized square blocks to fit together to make a 4 1/4 x 4 1/4 square.

After printing a photo onto the HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper using the HP Snapshots app, trim your photo. Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the blocks, then adhere your photo to the blocks. Let dry then use an exacto knife to cut the photo along the lines of the blocks so they can be separated. Sand the sides of the blocks for an even finish. Repeat on all or any of the remaining 5 sides. You can also paint some of the sides with acrylic paint.

3. Christmas Ornaments

How to make yourself: Purchase a glass ornament at a craft supply store like Michaels. You can get a round glass ornament with a flat front and back surface which works well for adhering a photo. Print a photo onto the HP Social Media Snapshots photo paper using the HP Snapshots app. A smaller image works best for this craft. Punch out the image you want with a circle punch. Peel back the protective backing and adhere to the ornament. Using Mod Podge, cover the entire photo as well as a small border around the photo. Sprinkle glitter on the exposed Mod Podge (you can cover photo or just the border like I did). Tie ribbon around the top to match the colors in the photo and/or the glitter.

While in San Diego, I met the creator of the PicCollege app. You can make the coolest photo collages on your phone with their grids and templates that include themes for holidays and events. They even have templates for phone cases and greeting cards.

This is a PicCollage I made of my guests working on their projects. So cute! If you haven’t used this free app, be sure to give it a try.

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Deal Alert!

Now through November 30th, HP Social Media Snapshots are Buy One Get One Free at Staples when you use this link bit.ly/snapshotsbogo and click “redeem now”.

What are you making for the holidays?

As an HP Smart Mom Panel member, I received free products in order to host the HP #StickaPic Party. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Goosebumps Movie Review & The Inside Scoop from Lead Actors Jack Black, Odeya Rush, Dylan Minnette and Ryan Lee

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As a huge* Jack Black fan, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to screen Goosebumps as well as interview Black and the other lead actors from the movie, which will be released nationwide in 3D on October 16, 2015….just in time for Halloween.

Goosebumps (rated PG) stars Jack Black as author R.L. Stine, Dylan Minnette as Zach (who also appeared in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day), Odeya Rush as Hannah (The Giver and The Odd Life of Timothy Green) and Ryan Lee as Champ (This is Forty and Super 8).

The movie is about teenager Zach Cooper who is upset about moving from NYC to a small town in Delaware. Shortly after moving in, Zach meets his beautiful neighbor, Hannah and her father who he later finds out is Goosebumps series writer, R.L. Stine. Stine is a prisoner of his own imagination because the monsters from his books come to life if not kept locked within their pages. When Zach unintentionally unleashes the monsters from their manuscripts and they begin to terrorize the town, it’s up to Stine, Zach, and Hannah along with Champ (Zach’s likable but easily frightened new friend) to get all of them back in the books.

Since 1992, author R.L. Stine has written nearly 200 Goosebumps books featuring monsters of all shapes, sizes and varying degrees of scariness. I read books from the Goosebumps series to my son when he was younger and we’d both liked the stories that struck a balance between fear and funny that made the books enjoyable for both kids and adults.

According to Black, that was the main thing R.L. Stine wanted to come across in the movie as well. “R.L. told me to be conscientious of his audience,” said Black. “There are a lot of kids that will come to the movie so don’t go too terrifying. You can scare, but don’t traumatize. Keep the laughs and the scares coming and make it more like a thrill ride then a nightmare inducing horror fest,” said Black. “Like there’s no blood in the movie….we rode that line.”

It’s this balance that director Rob Letterman (who also produced and worked with Black on Gulliver’s Travels) and the actors worked to create in the movie and they definitely nailed it.

“I sat next to him (Stine) when we watched it (the movie) in New York and he was super stoked,” said Black. “That was the most important audience member to me, more than any of the critics, it was ‘What does R.L. think?’ – the fact that he loved it was gold to me.”

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One example when humor breaks up the intensity of a scary scene is when they are in the middle of a car chase and Lee (whose character, Champ, is a big fan of the author Stine) tries to take a selfie with him to post on Instagram. Black (as Stine) throws his smartphone out the car window and Lee is crushed.

The struggle is real, Lee! I tried to control any possible Black fangirling in an effort to act professional during our meeting, but couldn’t resist getting a selfie with him and the rest of the gang which immediately (obviously) went up on Instagram!

Goosebumps the movie is based on the books written by R.L. Stine but not adapted from any one story. In fact, you’ll be happy to see dozens of the monsters you loved to hate from the series including the infamous Slappy the Dummy who leads the monster’s revolt against Stine. “He’s like the Hannibel Lecter or Darth Vador of all the characters because he’s the mastermind, he’s the smartest and the most sinister, he represents the darkest part of R.L.’s psyche,” said Black.

Black is the voice of Slappy and Avery Lee Jones was the puppeteer.

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In the beginning of the movie, Jack Black is downright mean…but after the monsters are released and he begins to work with Minnette, Rush and Lee to save the world, he’s very funny and extremely likable.

Black visited the real R.L. Stine while preparing for the role; however, the movie’s character does not depict the real R.L. Stein’s personality who is actually very funny and down to earth. “He’s an amazing guy,”  said Black. “He’s a brilliant writer so I kept that in mind while I was playing him. But the character in the movie is a lot darker…he has this sinister quality about him and is an antisocial guy who has locked out the outside world and that couldn’t be further from the case with the real R.L. Stine,” he said.

Stine didn’t mind the major departure. “He understood that’s the way we needed to play it,” said Black. “And he loved the movie.”  Black gave the character a bit of an Orson Wells type accent with a taste for the finer things and a bit of vanity and pride about his writing track record. There are several funny mentions of a rivalry between him and Stephen King.

Look for the real R.L. Stine who appears at the very end of the movie, albeit very briefly, as the new drama teacher named Mr. Black.

There are Easter Eggs throughout the movie including during the kitchen scene when the garden gnomes attack Black. They tie him up much like what was done to him in Gullivers Travels. There’s also a nod to the Cuckoo Clock of Doom in Stine’s basement. “Every monster that was ever in a Goosebumps book is in the movie somewhere,” said Black. “Sometimes they’re way in the back ground, so it’s fun to look for them – like a Where’s Waldo!”

You’ll see characters like The Ghouls from Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls, Snake Lady from Escape from the Carnival of Horrors, Bog Monster from You Can’t Scare Me! and others such as Cronby the cave troll, The Evil Clown, Vampires, The Witch Doctor, The Werewolf and The Abominable Snowman (who is the first to be accidentally released).

The Bug-Eyed Aliens, Praying Mantis and Blob were key monsters in the movie and the visual effects were cool. “The blob was entirely computer generated, so it was all imagination and the director painting the picture for us,” said Black. When it sucks Black into his body in the movie, Black was actually just standing on a table pretending like he was in jello.

Given the film’s rating and how comedy offsets the darker side, I do recommend the film to families with children. Yet, Slappy can be a little disturbing. Dolls that come to life and want to destroy the world can be a little creepy, so know your kids and what they can handle. I won’t have a problem taking my 9 year-old daughter and 14 year-old son. But I’ll probably cover my eyes when Slappy is on screen. He gives me (wait for it) goosebumps!

Check back on Still Living The Dream for a post about other fun things I learned during my visit with Jack Black and the other cast members!

*For clarification, when I say “huge” I’m referring to the amount of admiration I have for Jack Black not my actual size. I mean, I do have some weight to take off – but I’m only 4’10” which is actually quite small!

Disclosure: I was invited to a movie screening and given the opportunity to interview the actors as a member of the press for review purposes. I did not receive any compensation and all thoughts and opinions and fear of ventriloquist dummies are my own!

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PediaQ (Pediatric Urgent Care House Call) is coming to North Houston!

Thank you, PediaQ, for giving me the opportunity to share this wonderful service with my readers. While I was compensated for this post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

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These two. They are my loves.
And when they don’t feel well, I will do anything I can to help them feel better.

Fast.

Have you heard about PediaQ? It’s a pediatric urgent care house call service that started in Dallas, but it is coming to North Houston next month!

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After contacting PediaQ through the free APP, a nurse practitioner comes to your house in the evening or on weekends to diagnose and treat your child for symptoms and illnesses including strep & the flu, vomiting & diarrhea, UTIs,  stomach ache, ears & sinus problems, eye infections, asthma & allergy related problems, Pneumonia & RSV, cuts, bites & burns, and sprains & strains.

I love this concept because of how convenient it is for parents. As a mother of two children, I understand how difficult it can be…especially for those who have younger kids, to have a child get sick in the evening or on the weekend when the doctor’s office is closed. This can be especially difficult if your spouse isn’t home.

Several months ago a friend of mine had a sick child. Her husband was out-of-town on business and it was after the pediatrician’s office had closed. She knew it was probably an ear infection as her son often gets them; however, he was in a lot of pain and she didn’t want to wait another 12 plus hours to get him in to the pediatrician’s office. She didn’t want to wake up her two younger children to take them with her and her son to the urgent care center because while the wait at an urgent care center is much shorter than an emergency room, you just don’t know how long you will be there. Plus – it’s not ideal to take healthy kids into doctor’s office/hospital to be exposed to germs.

Luckily, her mother was able to watch the younger kids while she took her older one to urgent care. But it was still a while before her mom could get there. Two hours later…she was back home with her son and she was right – it was an ear infection. With antibiotics in hand, her son slept well that night but it would have so much more easier (and quicker, too) if she could have kept her son at home, comfortable in his bed, and had a PediaQ nurse practitioner come to their house to diagnose him and prescribe antibiotics. They even pick up prescriptions for patients!

So what’s the skinny about PediaQ?
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How does it work? 
1. Download the free PediaQ app and request a nurse practitioner visit.
2. Receive a phone call from the nurse practitioner within 10 minutes to discuss your child’s symptoms.
3. Your nurse practitioner will arrive within one hour AND he/she will stay with you a minimum of 30 minutes to properly diagnose and treat your child!What does it cost?
Whatever your regular urgent care co-pay is! Your insurance is billed as if you drove to an urgent care center. Their is an additional convenience fee of $50 if you call before 10:00 p.m. and $100 after 10:00 p.m. BUT the convenience fee is waived for a limited time right now during their back-to-school special!If you don’t have insurance, or don’t want to use it, PediaQ’s cash pay pricing is very competitive compared to pediatric urgent care centers, and much less then the ER for common illnesses. Check them out online for more information about PediaQ’s insurance policy.
10369200_1674163772802869_8045093916687603366_nWhen is this service available?
Seven days a week – weekdays from 4:00 p.m. to midnight and weekends from 8:00 a.m. until midnight.You can check them out on Facebook to learn more and read some of the reviews left by people who have used the service.PediaQ is so excited to offer those in The Woodlands area this service starting next month (October 2015).  Personally, I can’t wait until it’s available every where!

I was compensated for this post; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Five Ways Traveling Helps Connect My Family #TravelforReal #FamilyForward

I love to travel.

Over the couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to visit several different destinations …but the best experiences I’ve had by far have been the adventures I’ve taken with my family.

It’s funny because I’ve noticed recently that the further we get from home, the closer my family tends to get.

At home we all stay so busy and so focused with whatever is consuming us at the moment….school, work, scouts, soccer, running events, musical performances, housework. While we make it a point to  sit down together for dinner as frequently as possible and spend time as a family together on the weekends…it’s hard to coordinate schedules as the kids get older.

When we travel – it’s like we’re all in on the same page. We get closer on vacation by:

1. Navigating different roads – Whether we’re taking a full-on, Griswold family road trip across several states in the mini-van or we’re just trying to get our rental car from the airport to the hotel….finding our way together has a way of bringing us closer. Sometimes we give each other a hard time, but there’s a sense of adventure even in getting to your destination.

5 ways traveling helps connect

 

2. Experiencing something new  – Whether it’s paddle boarding or visiting the world’s largest ball of string …when we all try or see something that is new to all of us for the first time – we bond. I especially love it when do something different spur of the moment and all end up loving the experience….thrilled with conquering something new….together.

3. Trying different food – I don’t know what it is, but my kids will try new food/dishes when on a vacation that they’d never try at home. And I love to eat out…no dishes, no grocery shopping! When we are by the ocean, I crave seafood. When in New Orleans, I had to have a beignet from Cafe Du Monde…Paris – macarons! One of the things I always do before I leave on a trip is to ask friends and family where there favorite restaurant is.

4. Meeting new people  – It’s always fun to meet people while traveling. Some of the coolest conversations I’ve had have been with locals in a non-touristy spot. But we also love to talk to people who, like us, are vacationing. When in Destin, we bonded with some SUP enthusiasts when we rented paddle boards and ventured far from the shore. Others doing the same thing would give us tips on paddle boarding or a good spot to dive for sand dollars. There’s something about being on a similar adventure that brings you closer to those you’ve never met!

5. Staying at a nice hotel – Call us crazy – but we love staying in a nice hotel room all together. At home, we scatter after dinner for homework, chores and practice. Even when we sit down to watch a movie together – I get up frequently to put in a load of laundry, answer the phone or do something else “I just remembered I didn’t do but really need to”. When we are in a hotel room – there aren’t any distractions. I have no desire to clean. When we watch a movie – I pay attention. We even like to bring cards or small games to play before going to sleep.

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We are so excited about our next adventure! In less than two weeks, we’ll be joining families from across the country as part of the #FamilyForward Universal Orlando Adventure hosted by Mom It Forward along with Universal Orlando Resort, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, DohVinci, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Loews Royal Pacific Resort.

This trip is unique because in addition to going to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, watching the Blue Man Group, visiting Universal’s Wet n Wild Waterpark and staying at the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific Resort,  Mom It Forward has organized other activities and projects that are designed to bring families closer together. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for us!

We’ve been counting down the days and have loved getting a first-hand look about what it will be like to stay at Loews by seeing photos other families who are staying there are posting on Instagram on the #TravelforReal hashtag. We are so thankful they are doing this because it allows us to get a REAL look at what it’s like to stay and play there from the perspective of families like us. From what we’ve seen, we are in for a real treat! From the hotel room, to the pools and restaurants – the hotel looks amazing and we are so excited to get there.

We can’t wait to share our experience with you – so be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter .

 

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Inspiration Where You Least Expect It

Tonight my nine-year-old daughter told me to get on my running shoes and come outside with her. I begged her to go upstairs and play. I didn’t want to go outside. It’s like Mars in Houston right now and I’ve been feeling bad about myself for skipping work-outs. I have had a hard time keeping up with my running group….a bad start to a new running season. So I thought I should watch Big Bang Theory re-runs and eat chocolate instead.

The truth is I’ve felt bad about myself about a lot of things lately. I had an incredible experience at an oil and gas company leading a group of extraordinary people over the last year. I was in awe of their talent each day and I think I made a difference, too.

But I didn’t see my kids. I was missing school functions and even when I was home. I wasn’t home. Things slipped through the cracks. My health wasn’t good. And other things at home weren’t good either.

So I took a leap of faith and accepted a contract position which allows me to work from home and will give me more time to be with my family. To take care of myself.

To blog!

So there’s a learning curve and I’ve fallen a couple times over the past couple of weeks. But I’m getting my sea legs…figuring out my cadence….finding my new normal.

Still – I didn’t want to run tonight. But Annie told me to run with her. So I put one foot in front of the other and before we knew it – we ran 2 miles together.

Here’s the thing – the inspiration I didn’t realize I had has been sitting on her canopy bed down the hall reading Judy Moody chapter books to her stuffed animals and turning cartwheels where ever she can find six inches of clear space.

Annie.

She talked to me the entire two miles. Telling me that I was awesome. And that she admired me because I keep running even when it hurts. Even when I’m tired. Even when I feel I can’t. That I take the longer route because while it’s harder, it’s worth it.

She told me that running is like having a lemon aid stand to earn money to buy a camera (hint, hint – she wants a camera!) You can’t just have one lemon aid stand and expect to earn all you need for the camera you want. You have to have a lot of lemon aid stands….and you know – it just kinda all adds up.

What?!

When did my daughter get all smart and insightful.

And damn. When did she become a good runner?!

So maybe I’m not in the best shape after our little run tonight – but I’m better.

And also…I’m back.

 

 

 

 

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Massage Envy Spa (Giveaway for 1-hour massage in Cypress, Texas!)

Did you happen to see my Sprint Tri recap post last year? I talked about how a massage helped me prepare for the race. I’ve competed in several triathlons since then, and massages are such a huge benefit to help me prepare and recover from these athletic events.

But I’m learning that massages are really a good thing for me to experience on a more consistent basis. I was reminded recently why I love Massage Envy and how I need to sign up as a member so I can take advantage of the therapeutic benefits (relieve stress, relax muscles and improve range of motion) at a cost so much more wallet-friendly then other spas.

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The Massage Envy Cypress location off of 290 invited me to see their newly renovated space and treated me to a fabulous hour-long massage. It was incredible. They recently moved a stone’s throw from their previous location into a much bigger facility; a 15-room, 4200-square-foot spa which includes four upgraded spa rooms, two couples’ rooms and a large tranquility room.

When I arrived, I filled out paperwork so my therapist, Jessica, could understand exactly what I needed and wanted to get out of the session. My wellness coordinator, Kathy, asked further questions to be sure I knew all my options. I wanted a deep tissue massage with some stretching. Kathy suggested the Deep Muscle Therapy, warming and cooling thermal products to provide deep muscle pain relief from injuries and chronic conditions or limited mobility due to athletic training, to enhance my experience. 

I was relaxed the minute I walked in, so I didn’t take many photos – but I did get a couple of the tranquility room. Look at that beautiful stone wall.

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Jessica brought me back almost immediately and the session was amazing. The Deep Muscle Therapy was wonderful and so worth the extra $12.00. She made sure the pressure was comfortable and immediately found the spots on my neck that needed to be worked out and helped stretch my legs and arms. I felt like a million bucks when I was finished and I can’t wait to go back to see Jessica again. I felt like she really cared about my health and both Kathy and Jessica were so helpful and caring…it was like I had my own wellness team!

Massage Envy offers members a great rate of just $59.99 for a monthly massage and additional massages during the month are only $39.99. They also offer Murad Healthy Skin Facials, which I would love to get sometime soon!

Do you leave in the Houston/Cypress area? Want to win a free one-hour massage at Massage Envy to try it out for yourself? Be sure to enter the giveaway! For more information about Massage Envy in Houston, check them out on Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I was given a complimentary massage in order to write a review. No other compensation was received and all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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Salata Eat Light at Night Promotion (free salad or wrap!)

Salata logo

I’ve shared with you my love of Salata before.

Salata Salad Bar high res (1)

Salata, The Next Generation Salad Bar, offers over 50 toppings including my favorites: grapes, strawberries, black beans, crab and the absolute best fat-free mango dressing EVER (which is 0 Weight Watchers PP – BTW!) They also have wraps, soup and some of the best iced-tea and lemonade flavors.

Salata Wrap high res

So naturally, I was thrilled when Salata recently invited me to enjoy a complimentary meal to learn more about their current Eat Light at Night Promotion and awesome offers for free food items for their mobile club members.

I often visit Salata during the day to eat, but salads aren’t just for lunch. In fact, a good salad with lean protein makes a great dinner.

A recent article on Healthline.com recommends eating lean proteins, veggies and fruits in the evening and specifically avoiding starchy carbs three hours prior to bedtime to maintain weight. Melissa Lanz, founder of The Fresh 20, said in a HuffPost Healthy Living article that “nutritionally, dinner should be a light, well-proportioned meal that is under 500 calories.”

Salata ELAN

On September 8th, Salata began offering mobile club members  in participating Texas, California and Illinois locations a coupon every other week for free items, complimentary protein upgrades and add-ons.

I know, I know, it’s way past September 8th….but it’s not too late to get in on the deals. 

How to become a Salata Mobile Club Member

To join – just text “Salata” to 777111. You’ll get a a coupon that’s good for a week. New members will also receive a buy one, get one free salad or salad wrap offer immediately!

Score!

Do you love Salata? What are your favorite toppings?

I was given a complimentary meal at Salata in order to review and share news about their Eat Light at Night promotion. I didn’t receive any other compensation and all thoughts and opinions (and favorite salad toppings!) are my own!

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Color Fun Fest 5K – November 1st in Houston (Discount tickets!)

color toss with logo

I love attending local fun runs and have participated in many over the last several years. I can’t believe I haven’t had the opportunity to experience a color run yet. I was going to go to the Color Fun Fest last spring, but the event date conflicted with the kid’s swim team meet, so I couldn’t go.

I am so excited that the Color Fun Fest 5K is coming back to Houston this Fall for a Halloween Edition on November 1st and that they invited me to be their guest to join in on the fun.

My kids participated in two triathlons this summer and Jackson is on his school’s cross country team, so you could say that races are starting to “run” in the family. (I know, I’m terrible. I just couldn’t help it!) So we are all going to do the Color Fun Fest together. The best part is, kids 12 and under participate for FREE!

Since the event is the day after Halloween, costumes are encouraged. They have two runs; a day run at 5:00 p.m. and an evening run at 7:00 p.m.

This is a fun run so it’s not timed. The 3.1 mile course includes:

  1. 5 color stations along the run with thousands of pounds of color to shower runners (made of vibrant food-grade cornstarch that is safe and natural)
  2. High energy music along the course to keep families pumped up
  3. Night run features industrial strength blacklights and visual effects
  4. 2 water stations on the course
  5. A course with enough lighting to safely run at night
  6. Post run celebration with vendors, food and live entertainment

 

Color fun fest w-logo nighttime

Event Details:

November 1, 2014 : 2:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Day Run starts at 5:00 PM / Night Run starts at 7:00 PM. Event concludes at 10:00 p.m.

Sam Houston Race Park – 7575 North Sam Houston Pkwy W, Houston TX 77064

Discounted Tickets:

Join the fun and get your tickets now. Still Living The Dream readers can score tickets for an epic discount….just $20!

Use discount code: LIVINGTHEDREAM when you register here. 

Not in Houston? Color Fun Fest events are happening all over the country. Check them out online for a city and date near you!

I am receiving complimentary tickets to the race on November 1st in return for promotion of the event; however, I’m not receiving any other compensation and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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