Author Archives: Anne

Chi-town

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Oh Christmas, I love you, but you are so much work!  This year Sugar helped me wrap some gifts.  She couldn’t get enough of me sitting on the floor and let me know that my presence was very much appreciated by running up and licking my face, and then running away just as quickly.  This went on about every 45 seconds until I just stopped trying to get anything done and just held her.  I will never have another dog that is as sweet as my Sugar Booger.

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December 25th was spent in Chicago with my cousin, her husband, and her children.  We went to an amazing German market.  There was mulled wine, cheese pretzels, and processed meats of all kinds.  In case you didn’t know, I’m a PANK- a Professional Aunt, No Kids.

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Linus and I spent some time at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago before heading to our flight.  It was awesome.  We got to talk about the best parts of this visit, which were those little moments that are unplanned and inexplicably joyous.  These moments happen while reading a book to a child, being able to revisit a childhood memory, or finding out something new about your relatives.  Deepening connection with others, especially with family or your family of choice, feels like the reason we are here, on this Earth.  I love to feel like a piece in a puzzle and when my people are close and connected, that’s just the best.

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Getting back to real life, I did my final run before Dopey and wore my Cinderella’s Carriage earrings to make sure that they weren’t too horrible to wear while running.  We leave tomorrow, so I’ll be MIA for the next 10 days.  Look for another post in 2 weeks when I can report on COMPLETING my first Dopey as well as going on my first Disney Cruise.  Words cannot express how excited for this runcation and for 2017 in general!!

Happy New Year, friends!

Princess Anxiety

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I signed up for the crown in the runDisney crown, the Dopey Challenge, for my 34th birthday last May.  It was impulsive and now I’m paying the piper.

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The Dopey Challenge consists of 4 races over 4 days- a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon, and a full marathon.  It’s 48.6 miles.

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My training has been inconsistent at best.  I’m having to rely on new-to-me products such as Biofreeze to help ease my aching muscles.  I smell like I’m 85.  And can I just say, when you train for a big run, or really anything…the amount of laundry…oh my jingle bells!  It’s like all I do.  Run and laundry, that’s it.

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But here’s the pay off.  You get SIX medals.  One for each race, that’s 4.  Then you get one for the Goofy Challenge- completing the half and full and if you do ALL of my races, you get the Dopey medal.  Some people just do one race, or just the Goofy Challenge, but if I’m going to book a flight, and hotel rooms, and all of that, I’m doing it all, baby!  Dopey here I come.  I feel kind of sick with anxiety just typing that.  Are human legs even supposed to travel 48.6 miles in 4 days?  I don’t know.  We’ll find out.

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If I’m being honest though, running at Disney World is something that I dreamed about for a long time before I actually was able to make my dream come true.  I love going to the expo, buying a bunch of runDisney merch, getting my bib, seeing the other costumes, getting the medals, and then celebrating at Disney Springs!  In short, I love everything about the experience.  If I have to haul my body 48.6 miles to participate in the ultimate Disney race weekend, so be it 🙂

What race is on your bucket list?  Reply below!

My First FULL

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Everyone told me to run a full marathon before taking on the Dopey Challenge in January (much more on that later), so I bit the bullet and signed up for my first FULL – The Philadelphia Marathon.  That’s 26.2 miles, in case you didn’t know.

Think about how far away you would be if you DROVE 26.2 miles.  That’s how far I RAN.  With my LEGS.  My HUMAN LEGS.

Linus, being the loving husband that he is, helped me prepare by doing Insanity with me.  I no longer sell Beachbody products, but this is one that I always enjoyed, so we dusted it off and pushed PLAY.  I also did a bit of running to prepare, but that training did not involve a shirtless Linus, so you’re welcome.

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Bright and early, we headed to the start line.  Linus was not running, but came to carry all the things.  This was the woman in front of me and I don’t know who you are, but I SOOOO needed to see this before I started.  Her sign says, “There will be days when I don’t know if I can run a marathon.  There will be a lifetime knowing that I have.”

I’m not crying, you’re crying!  Without a ton of training and IT band pain that had me in tears the past few months, it was going to take brute mental strength to get me through.

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Brute mental strength and a great friend.  This is Sarah, you may remember her from a previous post when we ran the DIVAS Half together on a nice sunny day in September.  This day was not as kind to us.  Sarah and I suffered through freezing temps, a literal wind storm, rain, hail, and constant leaves flying in our faces (due to said wind).

Thought loop I had while running:

This is miserable, I hate this, will I ever be warm again, how much longer *repeat*

The time limit is 7 hours and we made it to the halfway point in 3 hours and 10 minutes.  When Sarah (the time keeper), announced this, I just knew we were going to make it.  I think my exact words were, “We’re going to God-damn finish this thing,” and I was right!

P.S. I owe you, friend!  You put up with me and were so encouraging.  I am SO SO thankful for our friendship.

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The bus ride back to the hotel was like living a dream and a nightmare.  Still high off of finishing, my mind wanted to celebrate.

My body was screaming WHAT.THE.ACTUAL.FUCK?

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After my victory on the streets of Philly, Linus and I had a fabulous meal at one of my favorite restaurants, Tinto.  Spanish food is my all-time favorite because I studied abroad in Bilbao and eating paella takes me back to one of the very best times of my life- ah, to be 20 again.  Or not, because now is also pretty good.

If you haven’t been to Philadelphia, it’s worth the trip.  Yeah, yeah, it’s not New York, but I think that’s what’s so great about it.  It’s not New York and it’s not trying to be.  The people and the City have a certain grit to them.  Everyone smokes and it’s fine because that’s life and maybe you just have to deal sometimes.  There is also a market called Reading Terminal where you can find just about every tasty treat that has ever existed.

Finally, the very best part of Philly is the Helium Comedy Club.  We saw D.L. Hughley after eating at Tinto and he rocked the house.  Seriously, we were laughing for a solid hour.  The opening acts were also amazing.  If I lived there I would go all the time.  You can see the best of Philly in a 3-day weekend, so put it on your calendar!

Shout out to my girl Melissa Ann who is in the hospital dealing with a melvin.  If you’re reading this, I hope you get out of captivity soon.  Love you.

Where is your favorite getaway?  Reply and let me know 🙂

Serving your followers

Hello Blog-o-sphere!  It’s been 10 months since my last post and I’ve thought about this blog every single day.  I started it because I was selling Beachbody products and wanted a bigger platform in which to sell diet and exercise plans.  I didn’t and still don’t feel great about that being the catalyst for starting this.  The truth is that I don’t want to sell you anything.  I thought I did, but that’s just not me anymore and I’m not sure it was ever my true reason.  If I’m totally honest with myself, I want to be known.

I’d love to say, “I’m just putting this out there in the world and I don’t care if anyone ever sees it.”  But that’s simply not the case.  I want my point of view to be out there, anywhere, and I want it to gain attention.  I want my words to lift others up, inspire people to be their authentic selves and do the things that bring happiness.  That’s all I can ever hope for in this life.

I’ve been listening to lots of podcasts lately.  The last one I listened to featured Glennon Doyle Melton, author of Love Warrior.  If you haven’t read it, please love yourself enough to spend $15.59 or $13 for the Kindle version and give yourself a few hours in which to read the most honest story of hard love and redemption ever written.  Anyway, Glennon was asked by a listener how to grow her podcast because she wanted more listeners.  This listener was debating whether she should do a blog in addition to her podcast, or if she should somehow advertise on other social media.  Glennon said to her, “Serve your followers on the platform that you already have.”  Ms. Melton has her own little blog called Momastery. It literally has millions upon millions of readers.  Glennon said that what she did when she had 14 followers is the same as what she does now.  She serves her followers. She said that serving your followers is what you can do to grow your audience and anything else you do is fake.  It’s fake to advertise yourself everywhere, or pay for followers.  The only way to truly make an impact is to do the hard work and be your genuine self.  If only one other person reads your posts, that’s it, you got it.  You changed one person’s day, job well done.

So, I’m going to write this weekly blog.  I’m going to put in the work with no expectations.  This is going to be from me, from the real me, to you, the person whose world I want to make a bit brighter.  Thank you for reading this and anything that is to come.

2016 Glass Slipper Challenge

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Disney races are my absolutely favorite type of races.  From the expo to the finish line, Mickey really knows how to throw a good party.  For the second year in a row I completed the Glass Slipper Challenge.  My friend Kate joined me for the festivities.

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Before the race we ate at Morimoto’s at Disney Springs.  It’s one of the newest restaurants, so you know I was dying to get a table.  The duck was exceptional.  Best carbo-loading ever.

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The atmosphere was stunning.  I felt like I should have left the flip flops at home and opted for stilettos instead.

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In order to earn the coveted GSC medal, you have to compete the Enchanted 10K on Saturday and the Princess Half Marathon on Sunday.  It’s a very full weekend of Disney running, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.  My friend Kate is new to running and decided to do the 10K with me.

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The Half Marathon starts at the butt crack of dawn, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you are DONE.  Plus, there is so much nervous energy at the start line, it carries you through the first 3 miles.

 

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Once you see the castle, you’re about half way.  The race route goes right through Cinderella’s house and it. is. magical.

 

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There is honestly so much to look at, you totally forget that your stomach hurts, your toenails are falling off, you have a cramp in your leg, you’ve run 9 miles and it’s only 6:45am.

 

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Completing 19.3 miles is the easy part after going through the anxiety-inducing sign up process, the training, booking the flights and hotels, packing and travel.  It’s not easy being a princess, but honestly, being in a community of strong woman runners is more than I could have dreamed.  The love and support that I get both in person and in the Facebook runDisney community fulfills something deep inside of my soul.  Plus, who doesn’t love running around Disney in tutus?!?!  If you’re on the fence about doing a race, you will not regret it!! 

Anne<3

Reflections on Teaching

I’m not sure if I’m going though a mid-life crisis, or just want to get a few thoughts down before I start forgetting everything, but I feel compelled to tell some stories from my teaching days.  I left education in 2014, but lately I’ve been thinking about my time in schools and some pretty funny stories have cropped up.  I taught kids with special needs for 10 years, so of course, I had my ups and downs.  Many students are not what you would expect.  I never had a kid in a wheelchair, I never cleaned up drool, and towards the end of my career in public schools, I even taught chemistry.  Just for the record, chemistry is difficult… you can imagine how tough it was balancing chemical equations with kids on the ADHD Express.  Ya know what I mean?

Anyway, in my second year of teaching, I had a special assignment to be the second teacher in a variety of classrooms.  I had to help kids who were struggling with certain subjects.  Here is a story about one experience that I will never forget.  Enjoy!

 

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It was time to get the kids ready to go outside.  We weren’t going to recess, we were doing a special project today.  Their teacher, Mrs. DiVivi, announced to the class that it was “Time to make Western Expansion come alive!”.  The bubble of energy in the room immediately shifted from a state of dogged concentration to one of excited elation.  The specialness of the day was all-consuming and everyone, even I, felt it.  I was also a teacher, but I was not the teacher, I was the special education teacher who came in to help one student who was struggling in math.  His name was George.  I sat and helped him during math time, in a little kid desk, almost as if I was a student.  Sometimes it felt that way too, but not as much on days like today, when I was invited to stay for the social studies hour and participate in facilitating special projects.  Today, I would take a role that at least resembled an adult.

I helped Mrs. D round up the students, all of whom were dressed in their various interpretations of old time-y Western wear and carrying pioneer-era food, bonnets, lanterns, and some had decorated wagons.  Mrs. DiVivi’s husband was a local taxidermist, so she carried a large box of animals that had been hunted, stuffed and mounted on very realistic plastic logs.  These creations included a rabbit, a snake and a raccoon mama with her three babies.  Their inquisitive expressions had been shellacked into place forever.  I carried the class juice boxes and we headed for the soccer field where orange cones were already set up to provide us with a designated track.

The idea was that each group of students would drag their wagon, filled with all of their provisions, around the field of cones.  This was supposed to simulate the hardship felt by early pioneers.  They had an hour to make it around the field 10 times and they were free to stop and rest or eat their snacks as needed.  Being 10-years-old, everyone wanted to picnic immediately.  My student (bless his slow-math-learning-soul) was responsible for his group’s blanket.  Not food, not juice, not the wagon, he didn’t even bother with a costume…just the blanket, George.  I can just imagine the negotiation that occurred during last week’s Westward Expansion planning session.  The group leader, a bossy girl with one of those 2 name deals, like Sierra Leone, reasoned that George might screw up his task.  She could not risk inedible cupcakes or wagon decorations that were just string and glue, so she assigned George a task that required no cooking, no designing, no thought, no risk.  Just bring a blanket, George.  That’s all we need you to do.  Your group is counting on you for a blanket, buddy, so you have to bring it.

George was on.  It was time to picnic and all of the other groups were unfolding their blankets.  Half running, half walking, George appeared from behind the soccer goal, huge shopping bag in hand.  He knew he didn’t measure up to the other students in so many ways.  He wasn’t as smart, he wasn’t funny (at least not on purpose), he wasn’t good looking, and George was incredibly small for his age.  He wasn’t so small that you just KNEW his mother drank like a fish while she was pregnant, but definitely not big enough to totally rule out that possibility.  George set his shopping bag down and pulled out a mauve monstrosity.  It was a blanket that was old enough to be from the real pioneer days.  Pilled and full of holes, George just kept pulling out more and more material until at last, the empty bag blew away in a sudden gust of wind.  I watched it fly to the top of a nearby tree and mentally labeled it a casualty.  The children had watched the bag soar and chatted about possibly going to retrieve it as I started to unfold the blanket.  What happened next is something that I will never forget.  I unfolded the huge pink nightmare only to discover… cat turds.  Hidden in the blanket, were bunch of dried up, but nonetheless smelly, cat turds – about six of them.  Cat turds that presumably had been laid by the family pet and then forgotten about some time ago, holding onto that fabric more securely than that rabbit on the plastic log.  Prying them off was not an option.  In the same exact instant I was horrified and felt protective over George and his gross, feces-laden cloth.  Sierra Leone was walking over and I knew that if she saw the wretched state of the blanket, she would make a huge deal out it.  It would mean merciless teasing for George from here on out until he (God willing) graduated from high school.

I quickly searched both sides of the blanket and saw that only one side was turd-y.  The other side was relatively clean.  I quickly placed the blanket turd-side-down and stood on the part of the blanket concealing the poop.  Sierra Leone looked at me up and down, but I was not meeting her gaze.  This was partly because I was intimidated by her and partly because I was a full 2 feet taller and it was easy to look right over her head.  “Can you get off so we can spread out the blanket?” she asked, obviously annoyed with my presence in her immediate vicinity. “Sorry Sierra Leone, I was just kicking out the blanket to spread it out, why don’t you try spreading it out with your feet?”  The look on her face was two parts confusion and one part disgust.  “Why would we do that?  Isn’t it going to get our blanket all dirty?”  Yes, yes, Sierra Leone, it was going to mess up your perfect plan for perfect pioneer picnic day.  It’s not what you had in mind when you made your checklist of what to bring that included suntan lotion in case it’s too sunny.  It doesn’t fit the picture of what your mother had in mind when she meticulously hand-crafted wagon wheel cupcakes for the entire class even though you only had to bring sustenance for your group.  I know I’m ruining your good time, but it’s either this small inconvenience or years of torment for my George.  George deserves this from me.  He’s already sobbing about the stuffed raccoon mama and her three babies having to die to make a cruel piece of “art.”  That’s the kind of kid that George is, he feels things.  I mean he really, really, feels things.  He has more compassion for that raccoon mama than most people will ever be able to muster for another human being.  And you’re not bad, Sierra Leone, you’re not a bad little girl.  You’ll go on to earn almost every end-of-the-year award in our school.  You’ll have more hand-crafted cupcakes, recitals, and homecoming tiaras than most girls could even imagine.  You’ll probably marry well, move out of this suburb and into a better suburb, raise your kids and make them amazing baked goods.  I can’t wait to see your real estate agent ad on a park bench one day.  You will make it!

George…eh, we don’t know.  I can’t see George’s future, but he’s probably not headed for the bright lights of real estate benches.  All I know is that I need to protect him from his circumstances.  I doubt his mother knew about the cat turds, but she probably wouldn’t have cared much either way.  Kids were kids and cats are cats, and we just do the best that we can.  I get it, but today I have to be the best special ed teacher I can be.  Sometimes that means sitting in multiplication hell and sometimes it means standing on cat turds.  Why do I do this?  Because I’m sure that there is a teacher in my past that stood on my preverbal cat turds.  That’s why we do it, because when you can, you must.

C’mon kids, help me kick this blanket.

One of THOSE days…

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I really have no room to complain, really.  I have a wonderful husband,  I get be a dog mommy to two fabulous dogs, I live in an awesome house, etc.  I really shouldn’t complain, and yet…some days y’all…some days just get to me.  The first problem today was that I received notification that I had a letter at the post office with insufficient postage.

OK, no big deal, I’ll just drive the 10+ miles, plus pay the needed 49 cents to retrieve said letter so that I may read its valuable contents.  I get to the post office after battling horrible DC traffic only to discover that the letter in question is nothing more than a Chanel ad.  A FUCKING ad.  FOR FUCKING CHANEL WATCHES.  Now I will never buy a Chanel watch because you made me go 10+ miles in the rain and traffic, Chanel- all because you didn’t know that a square envelope requires additional postage.  Coco would be mortified.

I called the Chanel store listed on the advertisement, explained that I was deeply dissatisfied with their knowledge of the postal system, and the exact sentiment expressed by the salesperson was, “I’m sorry, have a good day.” And then she hung up. HUNG UP.  I could have straggled the bitch right through the phone. Again, Coco, I hope you’re watching this shit from above because your people need help.

Untitled My second issue of the day came when I realized that a customer of mine had returned their challenge pack.  OK, I get it.  You thought twice about spending $140, or whatever…it happens.  It just sucks because I had met my goal and it’s the very end of the month, so getting new customers is tricky in the final hours.  I get it, I shouldn’t have been coasting, and I should never take for granted that I have my goal in the bag when I sell a challenge pack, but honestly, I’ve never had one person back out of getting these incredible tools!  Usually people are SO HAPPY to start something new, they never think about returning it!  I reached out to this customer 5 times since she ordered and never received a response…so I know I did my job.  Some people just don’t want to help themselves.  Or me.

Anybody wanna help a sistah out with this, here’s the link: 21 Day Fix

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Then, coming home from class, it was raining and traffic was a nightmare.  God bless the people that suffer through this every day.  I could not.  I would literally lose my shit.  By the time I got home, I was hangry, upset, and seriously had to pee.  It didn’t help that I absolutely HAD to stop and get gas on the way home.  in the rain. with no umbrella. FML.

UntitledAt least I got to come home to this guy- and my husband.  Husbands are always good for kissing your forehead and pour you a glass of wine.  OK, enough you guys.  I can’t.  I just can’t.  I’m going to bed.  

How do you get through tough days?  Leave a reply because I’m seriously in need of some ideas!

2 Chicks in Tiaras

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This is how I feel right now.  I’m recovering from running the DIVAS Half Marathon through beautiful Virginia Wine Country.  13.1 is no joke, but it was really fun.

P.S. Vito is not dead.  He’s just totally zonked out and his tongue is trying to escape from his mouth.  Plus, it’s sweater weather in Virginia <3

Untitled I ran the entire race with my good friend, Sarah.  After picking up our packets at the gorgeous Landsdowne Resort, we had dinner in order to fuel our bodies for war running.  Here we are with matching brownie sundaes.  

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The next morning I woke up at 5am and didn’t even brush my hair.

I just did like Elsa and let it go.

Untitled I had to take a picture of these two.  Look at their shirts!  I need that tank like, yesterday.  

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We ran through Virginia vineyards, and some very posh neighborhoods of Loudoun County.  It was lovely.  The weather was perfect, nice and cool with a bit of a breeze.  My only complaint is that the course was a bit hilly.  A lot of people commented that there was no chance of setting a personal record due to the hills.

Untitled Yes, we’re in pink.  Everyone was in pink.  The DIVA races are super girly and fab-u-lous.  We got tutus, tiaras, boas, and medals at the finish.  We chatted the entire way, so it really took our minds off of how much we were straining ourselves.  Sarah and I shared some sparkling cider and happy relief when all the miles were run.

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Could these medal be any more perfect for this blog??

Do you run solo or with a friend?  Do you also chafe from tutus??  Leave a reply!

Best Healthy Meal Ever

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I’ve been eating a ton of buffalo lately.  We have a farmer’s market in my neighborhood that sells all kinds of buffalo products- ground buffalo, buffalo steak, liver, even leather bracelets.

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If you don’t have one of these, you should definitely invest the $10.  It’s a spiralizer and you can make zucchini noodles for days.  You can get yours Here 

Untitled You can spiralize every little piece of zucchini.  I end up cutting up the parts that I can’t get through the spiralizer.  

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I decided to use a new sauce from Trader Joe’s.  It had a lot of capers, which is not really my cup of tea, but take a look at the sugar content…

Untitled TWO grams of sugar!  Yes!  It can be done!  

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Voila!  Dinner!  Super low carb and so much like regular spaghetti!  When it comes to the 21 Day Fix, it’s 1 1/2 green, one red, and one blue if you add cheese like I did!

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Plate of buffalo for the dogs 🙂

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You should totally try this!  I make buffalo or ground turkey “spaghetti” at least once per week.

 

 

What’s your favorite healthy meal?  Leave a reply!

Day of the Diva

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Well, it’s started!  My crazy Halloween planning is in full force!  This year’s theme is “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead” and clearly, we needed all of these cool skulls from Jo Ann Fabrics!

Untitled And I also needed this awesome orange and black apron so that I can be the (self-appointed) Queen of Halloween!  My party isn’t until October 30th and yet, I can’t help but think nothing but Halloween thoughts.  I have a very vertical house with 4 floors, so my decorations are elaborate, and tricky to get up sometimes.  I’m planning a digital display on the first floor for the trick-o-treaters.  This year is truly go big or go home!  Wait, we’re going big AT home…more on the festivities later!

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All of this planning is making me hungry.  I tried out these new nut bars from Think Thin.  They have a bit more sugar than I would like (8 grams), but the taste is out of this world!  I get absolutely zero dollars from Think Thin, but I just thought I would share this tasty little snack.  Anne approved! 🙂

 

Untitled Speaking of things I love, I got my Love Finny sweatshirt in the mail today!  Finny is the son of a high school friend of mine.  He has Muscular Dystrophy and will one day be in a wheelchair.  He’s is the sweetest little soul and I love the design they came up with for these fundraiser shirts.  I always share their posts when they do these shirt sales, so be on the look out if you’re my FB friend.  If your not my FB friend, why the heck not?  If you’re on my blog, you should at least be following me on the ‘Book.  https://www.facebook.com/annebk Untitled

This was an incredible mail day.  I got my awesome new sweatshirt AND a new flavor of Shakeology!  I got a bag of the vegan tropical strawberry.  I can’t wait to bust into it!!

What’s your favorite thing to get in the mail?  Can people still not reply??  I will try and figure this thing out….again….thanks for reading!