See Jane Run Half Seattle race recap

Last year when I ran my first Half Marathon at Disneyland, I knew there would be more in my future. The highs and lows of the hours and hours of training to get there combined with the exhilaration of crossing the Tinker Bell Half finish line was a feeling unlike any I’d ever experienced. 13.1 instantly became my favorite race distance.

I was honored to have been selected to be a Race Ambassador for The See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon in Seattle, Washington on July 13, 2014. I had heard great things about the race and looked forward to participating in it. I had never been a Race Ambassador before and it sounded like a fun opportunity. Seattle is about a 3 1/2 hour drive from the Portland area so it was close enough to not have to fly – or break my travel budget – to get there.

I decided to drive up the night before and stayed at the Residence Inn near Lake Union. Thank goodness for air conditioning – both Portland and Seattle were having a heat wave. The weather was in the 90′s and a heat advisory was issued for the race. As a native Pacific NorthWesterner, I have no love for running in the heat, it’s pretty unbearable to me. I’m constantly in awe of those of you who run in those hot temps, especially year round. Anything about 65 feels hot to me when I’m running. So I was really NERVOUS about the heat. 

I checked into the hotel and the AC was working poorly. It was really warm in my room, the thermostat was an old school one that only read warmer and colder – I’m guessing it was in the high 80′s. I called the front desk to let them know but the hotel was at 100% capacity so I couldn’t switch rooms. I decided to crank up the AC full blast to “colder” and leave to have some dinner, hoping the room would be cooler when I came back.

Based on a recommendation from the guy at the front desk, I had an AMAZING dinner across the street at Duke’s Chowder House. If you like Clam Chowder, you will love their selection of chowders. I had a little sampler of 3 different ones. I liked their Award Winning classic one the best but all three were tasty. They even include their Award Winning Clam Chowder recipe with your meal. The top left one was Lobster Pernod, the Award Winning was top right and the bottom was Northwest Seafood Chowder, like a Cioppino. I chose that one because the server told me it was her favorite. It was good! Big pieces of seafood including a mussel on top.


I went with the Thai Ginger Halibut with sticky rice for my entree from their Fresh menu. The thick halibut filet was perfectly cooked and tender. It was crusted with macadamia nuts, light tasting and along with the rice provided a good combo of protein and carbs to fuel me up and keep me going for the next morning’s race.


And just because…I ordered dessert! I really wanted just a scoop of ice cream but when I saw the vanilla bean ice cream plus a chocolate chip cookie, well I didn’t want to resist. And notice how the cookie got the most likes on Instagram ;)


When I got back to my room it was a little colder, thank goodness, but still hot. I went to bed early but couldn’t fall asleep until around 2 am because it was still too warm. Once I fell asleep, I must have power slept because I felt wide awake when my alarm went off at 6. I got ready and went to downstairs to grab my go to pre-race breakfast –  oatmeal, coffee with milk, and a banana with peanut butter. 

I forgot to take a pic of “flat Denise” before the race but I wore my Mizuno Wave Inspire 9′s (one of 3 pairs I rotate), my new Lucy Activewear Straight Up Strength Capris (LOVE them!), and the black Under Armour short sleeved shirt I wore for the Newport Half in May.

The race was held at Gas Works Park, full of scenic views and a huge grassy area where the expo was the day before and the after party would be held. The start and finish line were on a path right next to it. There were no corral assignments but there were a few signs held up for pacing. I got in the 9-15 minute pace group. It was already getting warm outside, especially with all of the runners crowded in together. It was a good mix of people both running together in pairs and multiples, as well as a bunch of solo runners like me. Lori Shannon, owner of See Jane Run, was doing the announcing and the energy of the crowd felt lively and fun!


At the starting line – ready to go!

If you’re trying to PR this race, definitely line up toward the front. I had a “just finish” goal so I was toward the middle of my starting group. When we reached the starting line, a few groups were walking right off the bat, 3 astride, and spaced out so they were taking up the full width of the path. Those of us who started off running had to slow down, wait, and find our opportunities to run around the groups. It created some bottlenecks right from the beginning. Those bottlenecks quickly cleared up once we got outside of the park and had more space to run. 


Part of the running path. Running next to Lake Union was gorgeous!

The course itself was absolutely beautiful. We ran over two bridges and along Lake Union. Some of it was residential, some was along bike paths, and all of it was interesting to see.There were two sections that were out and backs and the course was mostly flat. The hills were in some of the most scenic areas that literally were breathtaking. 


Picture break mid race :) I LOVE those Lucy Straight Up Strength capris. So lightweight they helped keep me cool in the blazing heat.



View from the course

We shared parts of the course with families with strollers were out enjoying the weather, bicyclists, and other runners on their Sunday morning runs. Some of the bicyclists came a little close to the runners and I saw a near miss of a runner’s elbow and a speeding bicyclist right in front of me. Thank goodness no one was hurt. There were a lot of Police Officers and friendly See Jane Run volunteers on the course and at busy intersections directing traffic and showing us which way to go. The course was well marked with See Jane Run signage along the route as well. There was also excellent support at the water stations with plenty of water to keep us hydrated. At one table they even gave us 1/2 full large bottles of water. The See Jane Run team definitely prepared for the heat :)

The race finishes where it begins at Gas Works Park. Running back in to the park the way you left it feels awesome. You really have come full circle and you KNOW you’ve accomplished something really big! The support was great again at the finish, announcing as you run in and there were more bottles of water and bags full of food for the runners. I forgot to grab my food bag until about 20 minutes after I crossed and there was still a full table of them. They even had 2 different drink choices – a SoDelicious vanilla almond plus protein milk (my choice) or Gatorade. You also get a glass of champagne in a keepsake glass with a chocolate bar of your choice. 

After I picked up my champagne glass, I saw a familiar face in the crowd. It was Cynthia, the winner of my See Jane Run race entry giveaway and her husband! It was so fun to meet her in person after “meeting” on social media before we each did the Rock n Roll Portland Half and qualified for Half Fanatics :)


The nice people at See Jane Run issued a 10% race discount and coupon code just for my blog readers SJRAMB258 for both the SJR races and their online store See Jane Run. They offer free shipping on most items and carry the top running brands so remember to check them out next time you’re in the market for some running or fitness gear. See Jane Run has two more races coming up this year – the Wichita, KS Half Marathon, 5K, & Kids Run on 9/13/14 and the Women’s Triathlon and Duathlon in Pleasanton, CA on 9/21/14.

The See Jane Run Women’s Half Marathon series is awesome! I would do this race again in a heartbeat – heat and all – because it was so well organized, the course was beautiful, and it’s just a really fun race to participate in. 

- Denise

Disclosure: My See Jane Run Seattle, WA Half Marathon race entry was free through my role as a race ambassador and they requested I post a blog entry about the race. All other costs associated with my race travel and meals were at my own personal expense. I received the Lucy capris free for product review and liked them so much, I chose to wear them during this race. As always, the opinions shared are mine and based on own true experience.

We have winners!

We have a winner in the ENERGYbits giveaway – Congrats Cecil V.!!! 

Save 30% on ENERGYbits at with coupon code HDF30

Save 30% on ENERGYbits at with coupon code HDF30

If you’re curious to try ENERGYbits for yourself or need to restock, you can save 30% with coupon code HDF30. The 30% discount is good for your entire order on both of my favorites ENERGYbits and RECOVERYbits, as well as the other fantastic bits varieties.


A few things:

* I haven’t heard back from the winner in the Nielsen-Massey vanillas giveaway yet and it’s been a while. Janet P, please e-mail me ASAP with your address so Nielsen-Massey can send your prize. 

* Also, I’m guest posting on Tara’s awesome blog A Daily Dose of Fit today about tips for planning, registering, and training to walk or run a runDisney race. You can check it out here! 

* I also have a nice stack in my office of products to review and GIVEAWAY on the blog! Look for more giveaways to happen very soon :)

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! We spent the weekend unpacking more boxes (will it ever end?!) and finally getting some pictures up on the walls. We’re starting to settle in to our house and it feels great!

I’ll be back soon with a recap of the See Jane Run Half in Seattle, WA.

- Denise

Disney Social Media Moms recap

Disney Social Media Moms Phoenix #DisneySMMoms #DisneyOTR  -

One of the highlights of my summer so far has been attending my first blog conference – the Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration in Phoenix on June 25, 2014. The conference was held at the AAA Five-Diamond rated Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona. It is a lovely, picturesque resort designed for a luxurious and restful stay.

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale stay #DisneySMMoms -


Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms -

The resort features a huge conference center, PGA golf course, beautiful outdoor pools, a kids club, and multiple award winning dining options. I had an amazing light and tasty Seared Ahi Tuna salad at Ironwood American Kitchen. They offered several lighter and healthier options on the menu. For me it’s fun to splurge sometimes but I love having those delicious lighter meals on the road whenever I can.

It was 110 degrees outside and I needed to get in a short training run for the upcoming See Jane Run Half in Seattle, WA on 7/13. I ran a little outside but it was too hot for me. I really their full service gym so I could run on the treadmill and beat the heat.

I’d really love to return to the Fairmont Princess and make it a family trip. I know Chase would love the kids activities and hanging out at the pool. My husband would definitely love the golf course. Here are some pics of my room, the resort and the grounds for an idea of what it’s like to stay there and maybe plan your own trip to visit the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale too!

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms -

The Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was held in the huge conference center. I wore a black and white polka dot dress with a lightweight white cardigan and showed my DisneySide by wearing my ears from the D23 Unlocks Disney’s Maleficent event. As soon as I walked in I was happy (and relieved!) to see some familiar faces of new friends I’d met through social media since starting my blog earlier this year – Jennifer from Real Mom of SFV, Dawn from I am a Mommy Nerd, Carol from Fans of Mickey Mouse’s House, and our keynote speaker Nadine Bubeck of and All Things Mama. They are such inspiring, hard working moms! I look forward to learning more from their experience and expertise as I grow my blog and build my career.

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms - HealthyDisneyFamily.comAfter some time to talk one on one with our fellow attendees and the speakers, it was time to take our seats. Leanne O’Regan (@leannej), Disney Parks Director of Social Media started things off by talking about Disney Social Media Moms and the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Next, Michelle Himmelberg (@mhimmelberg), Disneyland Public Relations Director talked to us about the importance of play and that “play really matters”. I couldn’t agree more. As a mom I have watched my son learn and grow so much through play. 

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms -

We also learned that there are some exciting things planned for Disneyland’s 60th anniversary in 2015. There will be a big announcement on the Disney Parks Blog on July 17, 2014 at 10 am Pacific time, so mark your calendars! You know there will be a lot of fun ways to celebrate those 60 years of Disneyland magic :)

A fun fact about the song It’s a Small World - it has been played more times than any song in history! It has played millions and millions of times in the Disney Parks alone.

#DisneySMMoms Phoenix at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale, AZ -

Loved hearing Erin Glover (@GoPluto) speak about Disney Parks Social Media

Erin Glover, Social Media Director for Disneyland and Aulani was up next to talk about behind the scenes with Disneyland’s Social Media. She told us the Disney Parks Blog is the first stop for all Disney Parks news. She also said to create content that encourages not only engagement, but sharing. 

She encouraged us to think about our own unique point of view. We all have a story to tell and you must “find that voice that makes you special”. It’s so true, many of us write about similar topics and what makes us stand out is being ourselves, sharing our experiences in our own unique way.

#DisneySMMoms Phoenix at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale, AZ -

Grumpy Cat and Grumpy – hilarious!

Erin also talked with us about the brainstorming and planning process with their Social Media. At Disneyland when they plan for the next calendar year, they are organized like a newsroom. When the jobs are given out, finding passion in the topic is key. I wrote down one of her quotes that really resonated with me.

“What is your passion about this subject and how can we bring that out?” – Erin Glover

As a new blogger that’s something I’m working on, sharing my passion about things that matter most to me and opening up more. I’d like to let people know more about why I became so passionate about losing the 100+ pounds of weight I gained and how I kept going, even when the progress was slow and sometimes stalled completely. I know a lot of people struggle with that – I struggled with that – and hopefully by sharing my experience I could help people. 

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms -

Maria Bailey – mom, entrepreneur, mentor, and social media trailblazer

“It’s all about finding solutions.” – Maria Bailey

Maria Bailey (@MomTalkRadio) is a wonderful example of someone who has worked hard to find the balance between her trailblazing entrepreneurial work and raising a family. She took the stage to talk to us about the challenges she faced as a mom with three children under 20 months old at the same time. She said it was like she had a buzzer on her butt the minute she sat down. I know a lot of us moms can relate to that feeling! Maria introduced us to Lori Lorenz (@LoriLorenzCA) from @HPPrint who shared more about the solution side of motherhood.

“There’s always a back story and that photo triggers the remembrance.” – Lori Lorenz

Lori shared one of her personal stories with us. She and her daughter both graduated college within 6 hours of each other. These are the photos of their incredible accomplishment, spending that life changing time together. The photos captured their joy and will always remind them of the way they felt.

#DisneySMMoms Phoenix at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale, AZ -

Lori from HP shared her heartwarming personal photos with us

Lori also talked about how as moms we bring out our Disney Side when we are challenged to solve a difficult problem in a very creative way. We learned about a wonderful gift idea from Two Smiles – a gift card you can print at home with any personal photo to make the gift truly unique and special. The gift cards are available for many of the most popular retailers like and Starbucks so you can have a truly thoughtful personalized gift to give, even when you’re in a time crunch. We were given a special gift of photo cards and envelopes to make our own at home. You can also make personalized mugs, photo panels, and more with HP Photo Creations.

We were all asked to send in a #DisneySide photo before the meeting. HP surprised us all with our Disney Side picture printed on a photo card with a Mickey stamped envelope. We addressed them to the grandparents who support us. We then put them in a special #DisneySMMoms mailbox, such a lovely and thoughtful idea!

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms -

Our #DisneySide gifts

After the break, our next speaker was Tracey Clark (@TraceyClark), author of Elevate the Everyday and one of the awesome Disney Sisters (@DisneySisters). Tracey spoke to us about capturing magical memories by using just the camera on our phone. She showed a series of awesome, fun pictures that she’d taken purely with her iPhone and used only Instagram edits and filters.

Fairmont Princess Scottsdale #DisneySMMoms - HealthyDisneyFamily.comThe key is snapping out of snapshot mode to take pictures that capture the feeling in the moment. If you’re taking a picture of your kids, ask they to jump in the air right before you snap the picture.

Some other great takeaways: Lay on your stomach to get a good shot. Shoot it differently to make it stand out. Crop your pictures in a funky way. Leave some negative space to let your subject have breathing room around it. For social media, shoot pictures where your kids look like “any kid USA”. Shoot those certain shots you know that other people want to live. By sharing those moments in a relatable way – you make magic!

“Mobile photography has really leveled the playing field. We are all photographers.” – Tracey Clark

Disney Social Media Moms recap -

Huggies MomInspired panel

Maria Bailey moderated the Huggies MomInspired panel. We heard from Lisa Cash Hanson (@Mompreneurmogul) of Snuggwugg, Allyson Phillips (@tiltycupmom) of Tilty Cup, Romy Taormina (@psibands) of Psi Bands.

Maria developed the Huggies MomInspired Grant program 4 years ago and gave us some great advice. Don’t wait until your idea is perfect. Just go for it and get started following your dream. You can sell your own product while you’re sleeping when your product is out there for sale in the online marketplace. The Huggies MomInspired grant awards $15,000 to moms with ideas for products that innovate and improve the lives of other moms. If you have an idea, you can apply through September 30, 2014 at

I would have loved to have had both a Snuggwugg and a Tilty Cup for for my son when he was younger. The Snugg Wugg interactive baby pillow secures a wiggly baby while entertaining them on the changing table, car seat, stroller, shopping cart, wherever. It holds a smart phone or flash cards and toys. Super smart idea! You can check them out on Lisa’s website here. She said listening to criticism from the industry really helped her develop her product so it would have a wider appeal.

The Tilty Cup allows toddlers to drink from a cup easier. The design allows a child to drink like how you or I would drink from a cup, without tilting their heads back super far like most sippy cups require. They are currently not in production but look for them out at retail again soon. She recommends involving your children as much as possible in your work – they often like to help and be in the pictures.

Romy developed PSI Bands to use acupressure to relieve nausea. They are helpful for motion sickness, morning sickness, and more. They are available in many patterns and colors making them stylish as well. Romy and PSI Bands were featured on one of my favorite tv shows, ABC’s Shark Tank. You can learn more about PSI bands here. One of the great tips she shared was in finding balance is that we need to be forgiving of ourselves and communicate well with our spouses.

“Don’t be so afraid of someone stealing your idea. Get the help you need to succeed.” – Allyson Phillips

“A good mentor is so important in this journey” – Lisa Cash Hanson

Nadine Bubeck - keynote speaker - Disney Social Media Moms -

Nadine Bubeck talked to us about re-inventing your brand

Nadine Bubeck (@NadineBubeck) talked to us about re-inventing your brand. She wanted to work in the TV News business and worked hard to learn all she could from people around her. One mentor Cheryl Jennings gave her this advice for success – 1. Dress the part and 2. Walk like you’re going somewhere. Love that advice! She still had people who doubted her but she never let them stop her. Some of the great advice she’s learned along her journey is always negotiate, learn to love the camera, never burn your bridges, take risks, be proud, work hard, and have tough skin.

Throughout her life, Nadine kept a journal and wrote down her dreams and goals for the future. When she became pregnant with her son, she journaled all about the experience very candidly, holding nothing back. She ended up having a complicated pregnancy and a long hospital stay leading up to her son’s preterm birth. She turned her pregnancy journal into a book – Expecting Perfect which started this exciting new chapter in her life.

Here’s Nadine at Disney Social Media Moms giving an inside scoop on the Disney Social Media Moms On the Road Celebration :)

We all waited anxiously to find out who our secret special guest would be. Lots of people figured it would be our friend Mickey Mouse but surprise! It was Grumpy Cat (@realgrumpycat)! She was so tiny in person and oh, that cute little grumpy face! She’s just adorable :)

DisneySMMoms Phoenix at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale, AZ -

Yay! I met the real Grumpy Cat herself. She was so tiny and cute, definitely not grumpy :)

#DisneySMMoms Phoenix at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale, AZ -

Our swag bag! There was also a Mega Puzzles Minnie Mouse jigsaw puzzle that’s not pictured. Can’t wait to frame those prints for my new home office.


The Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Celebration in Phoenix was absolutely AMAZING!

I learned so much and met some really fantastic women. If you ever get the chance to attend one of these invitation only conferences, do it! I sincerely appreciate the opportunity to attend this conference and would absolutely LOVE to attend more in the future.

Thank you so much to Maria Bailey and BSM Media, the Disney Parks Social Media team, our sponsors and everyone else who worked so hard to put together this magical event!

- Denise

For more details and information about Disney Social Media Moms, make sure to check out the Disney Social Media Moms website and follow on Twitter at @DisneySMMoms.

ENERGYbits review and giveaway

Fitness Favorites Blog Hop -

It’s time for another fun Giveaway Blog Hop with Kristy at Runaway Bridal Planner!

My giveaway is for samples of my favorite running fuel, ENERGYbits. If you haven’t tried ENERGYbits yet, they are all a super effective, all natural way to fuel your fitness!

ENERGYbits are 100% pure, organically grown, certified NON GMO algae that contains no sugar, caffeine, gluten, additives, animal products, chemicals, or fillers of any kind.

I first learned about ENERGYbits through Twitter. I saw the hashtag #poweredbybits and noticed that a lot of serious runners and athletes were using them. I reached out to find out about discounts (you know me, I LOVE the discounts!) on a full bag because I wanted to try them for myself during my half training. They responded right away – as did some other runners who told me just how amazing they were. I couldn’t wait to find out for myself and ordered a bag on the spot.

My order came within just a few days via USPS Priority Mail and it was packaged beautifully in a black drawstring mesh bag. There was a lot of information about the incredible nutritional value, how to best store your bits (in the fridge!), and how to take them (swallow them whole).

They have 40 nutrients, contain 64% protein, and the Omega 3 GLA for only ONE calorie per tab. Depending on your preference, you can take 30 or more pre workout and supplement during your workout.

For me, I take 30 with water 1/2 hour before a run or workout. I take 15 more every 45 minutes of activity. 

The result – a consistent level of clean, pure energy. I no longer have the energy spikes and crashes I used to feel from other sugary fueling options I used in the past. I also feel like I recover more quickly from those hard workouts and long runs. I also don’t feel the endorphin crash and post half blues that I used to get. I also have zero negative effects like stomach upset. Post race, I used to feel nauseous and unable to eat. Now I can refuel right away without feeling sick.

I ran my last 2 half marathons powered by bits and continue to use them in my training. I have another half marathon next weekend, the See Jane Run Half Marathon in Seattle, WA and just started my Dopey Challenge training last week. They have truly changed the way I train and race for the better!

I decided to become an Ambassador for ENERGYbits after my husband and I finished the first bag I ordered. He too felt the same energy benefits and we’re now on our third bag! Cost wise, the price is pretty comparable with gels and other energy sources when you break it down per serving. It’s totally worth it to fuel with a natural, organic product that is free from the chemicals and extra stuff our bodies really don’t need.

Save 30% on ENERGYbits at with coupon code HDF30

Save 30% on ENERGYbits at with coupon code HDF30

I also recently started supplementing with RECOVERYbits. During our conference call, Jonathan from ENERGYbits recommended that I try taking my ENERGYbits and RECOVERYbits together 1/2 hour before a long run or race. They work together beautifully and do not cause stomach upset or any unpleasant side effects.

As an ENERGYbits Ambassador, I offer a 30% discount to people who buy using my code HDF30 on This discount is good for your entire purchase. I usually buy 2 bags at a time with the discount code to save on shipping charges. They keep fresh indefinitely in your refrigerator. 

My friends at ENERGYbits are sponsoring this giveaway for a free sample pack so you can try them for yourself! ENERGYbits will mail them to the lucky winner. Enter below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to stop by the other blogs in the Linky below for a chance to win other fun fitness prizes!

- Denise

Disclosure: I’m a Brand Ambassador for ENERGYbits and they are providing the ENERGYbits sample pack for the giveaway.

The Disney Driven Life

Have you checked out

It’s a community of huge Disney fans and their families who love everything Disney from the parks to movies to runDisney and everything in between. Fans of the site (NDP’s) find ways to incorporate that love into various aspects in their life. In other words, it’s a home for those of us who are totally Disney obsessed :)

When you join the site, you can request your official NDP #. It’s a fun way to be involved and be counted in the group.

I’m NDM #493 and happy to announce I’m the new runDisney and Healthy Living contributor to The Disney Driven Life. I’ll write about running, training for runDisney races, and more. The first post I’m working on is a recap of the Disney Social Media Moms On The Road Conference I attended last week in Phoenix. I took so many notes and photos it’s taking a while to sort through everything and condense that much awesome information!

Be sure to check out the DDL blog for all the latest Disney news, updates, and tips to bring more Disney into your daily life :)

- Denise

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream recipe

Disclosure: I received a free 2 oz. bottle of Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Vanilla to make an ice cream recipe and share about it on my blog. I am a long time fan of their high quality, premium products and jumped at the chance to feature them on my blog. They are also providing a second bottle as a giveaway for one of you :)

July is National Ice Cream month! A fun way to celebrate is by making your own delicious homemade ice cream. Here is an easy to make, no cook recipe for Strawberry Ice cream that the kids can help with too.

Easy strawberry ice cream recipe

Adding the sugar is a fun job for little helpers


Measuring the Vanilla


Mashing the ingredients together


All ingredients stirred and ready to go into the ice cream maker


The mixer takes over the hard work of churning


This is what it looks like right after it’s finished in the ice cream maker. It’s delicious like this or frozen overnight like in the finished picture in the recipe below.

Easy Strawberry Ice Cream
A delicious and easy to make, no cook ice cream recipe. Great for making with the kids.
Write a review
  1. 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, hulled and quartered
  2. ¾ cup sugar
  3. 2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Pure Vanilla Extract
  4. ¼ teaspoon salt
  5. 1½ cups Half and Half
  6. 1 cup 2% milk
  1. In a 4 quart glass measuring cup, add berries, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Smash with a potato masher; stir in Half and Half and milk; set aside.
  2. Assemble ice cream maker. Turn ice cream maker on and pour ice cream mixture into frozen container. Let mix until ice cream thickens, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. You can eat it right away if you like a softer texture. For a firmer texture you can freeze it for a few hours or overnight in an airtight container. Yields 1.5 Quarts.
  1. I used the KitchenAid ice cream bowl stand mixer attachment with my KitchenAid stand mixer.
Adapted from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Adapted from Nielsen-Massey Vanillas
Healthy Disney Family

You can learn more about Nielsen-Massey on their Facebook page at and on Twitter Their website also features product information and additional recipes. 

And here’s a giveaway for you! Nielsen-Massey is sending one of you lucky readers a 2 oz. bottle of Pure Madagascar Vanilla. 

Enter below and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hope everyone has a Safe and Happy Fourth of July weekend! :)

- Denise

News and #DisneySMMoms

Hi friends! Hope you are all doing well and enjoying the start of summer :)

I hinted on my Facebook page about some exciting personal news last month. I can finally share it now – we bought a new house! The whole process went MUCH quicker than we expected. We found a house we wanted to buy before we listed our house so it was a more stressful process than we planned. It all worked out in the end, but wow it was intense. The past few months have been a blur of organizing, negotiating, packing, and now unpacking. Our massive piles of boxes are shrinking slowly but surely!


I’m also getting ready to go to my first social media conference – Disney Social Media Moms on the Road in Phoenix, AZ later this week. I’m really looking forward to meeting some really wonderful people in person that I’ve talked to online. We’ve all connected through our love of Disney and our families. The speakers they have lined up sound amazing too! So many like minded people in a room, I just can’t wait!!! :)

Follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for live updates from the #DisneySMMoms #DisneyOTR. I’ll also recap the fun here on the blog too!

- Denise

Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator review

Disclaimer: As a Fit Approach/Sweat Pink Ambassador I was sent free product from Vega Sport to try out in exchange for a written review. As always, the opinions shared are 100% my own and based purely on my honest and true experience.

Have you tried Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator yet?

Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator is a natural, alkaline-forming drink mix. It’s ZERO calories and sweetened with natural stevia so it’s free from artificial sweeteners and sugar. It’s made with all the essential electrolytes your body needs to stay hydrated. It’s available in Berry and Lemon Lime.


I tried the Berry flavor and liked the taste and sweetness. I use it anytime during the day that I get that tired, dehydrated feeling when I’ve forgotten to drink my water. It’s also great right before, during, or after workouts to stay hydrated or rehydrate.

The packets are easy to tear open and you can either pour it into a bottle of water or mix it in a Blender Bottle. Here’s a link to the bottle I bought on Amazon: BlenderBottle SportMixer, Pink/White, 28 Ounce. I like using my Blender Bottle with a bunch of ice because I think it mixes better and leaves less product undissolved in the bottom.

I used it to hydrate while I trained for 2 half marathons last month. You can #FuelYourBetter with #VegaSport too! Just click the pic below to find out how Vega Sport’s products can help you get #vegafueled too.

- Denise


Hi from Half Fanatic #8142!

Half Fanatics

I’m officially Half Fanatic #8142!

I finished both the Rock n Roll Portland Half on 5/18/14 and the inaugural Newport Half on 5/31/14 to qualify.

Becoming a Half Fanatic was one of my big running goals for the first half of 2014. I had never done 2 half marathons so close together and wanted to see how my body responded. With the ultimate goal of running the 2015 runDisney Dopey Challenge – I wanted to prove it to myself that I could accomplish it and stay healthy in the process.

This was the first time I have trained mostly “unplugged” – no Garmin, Nike+, or Fitbit. I had been a real numbers person with my training and honestly, it was starting to make me feel a little neurotic!

If I was supposed to do 5 miles on a training run and my Garmin said I did 4.75 – I would run up and down the street until I got that 5 miles – no matter how sore, achy, or in pain I felt. With my Fitbit if I needed to get 12,000 steps for the day, I would pace, do high knees, run the stairs, whatever to get those steps in.

It ended up being detrimental because I stopped listening to my body. I ended up in PT twice over the span of a year rehabbing overtraining injuries. During that time, I was in pain, sidelined and frustrated.

I made the decision for the Rock n Roll Half that I would train mostly outside on the road without technology. I did little pace checks just to see where I was at from time to time and shut my Garmin and Nike+ off right after. Sometimes I used Nike+ on those hard days when I really needed to hear those cheers of encouragement from my Facebook friends. But mostly I just felt what it felt like to run on the road completely free again – something I really hadn’t done in years. It felt pretty good! The downside was I felt a little lost without official training mileage numbers to look back on when I tapered – and questioned whether I had done enough. So I had to trust that I did.

Overall, what happened really surprised me – it really worked! I listened to my body and focused on getting the time on my feet during training runs rather than hitting a certain pace. Sometimes I ran fast because it felt right. Other times I took more walk breaks and extra rest days, trusting that it was the right thing.

On race day for both races, I had no race jitters. I felt calm during both of my races and listened to my music, really enjoying the run and taking walk breaks as needed. During the Rock n Roll Portland, I enjoyed running through streets of my city I had previously only driven on. In Newport, I saw the parts of the marathon course I’d run last year with new eyes and appreciated the scenic beauty even more.

Rock n Roll Portland Half Marathon - Healthy Disney Family

Rock n Roll Portland Half medal 5/18/14

Newport Half Marathon - Healthy Disney Family

Newport Half Marathon medal 5/31/14

It’s only 4 days after Newport and I already feel recovered. Achieving my goal of becoming a Half Fanatic was a good confidence builder. I feel ready to embark on training for the 2015 runDisney Dopey Challenge next month. I’m excited to read though all of the recaps people posted links to on my Dopey Challenge post. If you have a link about training for the Dopey Challenge and haven’t posted it there yet, please do!

Hope you have a happy National Running Day :)

- Denise


Disclaimer: I received a full sized product sample and coupons for free from Purex in exchange for a product review. As always, the opinions are my own and based on my personal experience with the product.

Have you tried Purex Crystals Dryer Sheets yet? The nice people at Purex sent me a box of their new Crystals Dryer Sheets to try in Lavender Blossom scent. I’ve been using mine for a few weeks and am impressed! They work beautifully in keeping our clothes and sheets smelling fresh and clean while reducing static cling. They also do a great job of repelling lint and pet hair.


The Lavender Blossom scent is a sweet and not perfumey. It’s definitely one I would have chosen for myself. There are 80 sheets in the package and you can even use them in your clothes hamper, drawers, and linen closets to experience the fresh scent anywhere.

If you’d like to try them for yourself for free, enter below! Two lucky winners will each receive a coupon for one free package in their choice of either the Lavender Blossom scent I tried or their other new scent, Fresh Spring Waters.

Note: the coupons expire quickly – winners, please make sure you redeem yours by 6/30/2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also enter to win a 4 pack of Purex Crystals in The Scents of the Season-Scentational Spring Giveaway here:

Hope you have a great weekend!

- Denise

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