Harry Potter Photobooth Tutorial

Instead of talking about all the food I ate and the shopping I did, Im going to share a tutorial today!!!

Just when you thought I was done with Harry Potter party stuff…I remembered I still need to share how to do your own photobooth!!!  I have to say the photobooth was a great addition to the party and I think everyone had a great time doing it.


First things first, you need to set up the space.  Make sure you have a blank wall that has enough space in front of it to set up a camera.  I used my office room and the wall where the piano is.  I had a few things to remove (like the piano!) from in front of the wall but all things considered this was the best place for the photobooth.  A couple of things to consider when choosing your wall.

  1. Will the wall be big enough for a group of people to stand in front of
  2. Is there adequate lighting for decent pictures that wont need to rely on the flash
  3. Do you have enough space in front of said wall for your camera set up.
  4. Is this space somewhere you don’t mind people being
  5. Can the things on / in front of your wall be removed to make a clear space

DSC_0003Caitlin makes a great wall model 🙂  Testing the space to see if its wide enough.

If all those items are a go you have found your wall!  Now its time to jazz it up.  You can do all kinds of things to make the wall fancy like hanging string lights, fabric, streamers, etc.  I decided I wanted to keep it relatively simple and use streamers that matched the Hogwarts house colors.  At the time I needed to get the streamers up I had my wisdom teeth removed the day before.  To say I was at 50% strength would be an overstatement.  I enlisted Caitlin’s help because we crafty like that 🙂  Here is the process to putting up the streamers:

  1. Measure out one strand of streamer to desired length.  We measured ours a bit longer to account for the twist and “just in case” length
  2. Use that strand as a measure for all other strands.  We estimated 10 strands per color and you guys…we were dead on!  How often does that happen!  The reason for pre-cutting all the strands is quicker install.  Since one of us would be on a ladder things would move faster if everything was ready to go
  3. If needed—separate streamers into colors.  I had 4 separate piles one for each color.  If you are repeating a pattern its best to lay the colors out in your pattern so you don’t forget it half way through…trust me.
  4. Now you can start putting up the streamers!  Caitlin was on the ladder because someone was on pain meds and we didnt need any accidents.  She taped each strand to the ceiling right next to each other.  We used packing tape instead of regular masking tape just to make sure it held up.
  5. Once all the strands were taped at the top we contemplated whether we were going to do the twist or just leave it.  Caitlin twisted the first couple strands to see how it would look and we decided, yes the twist was the way to go.  To do the twist, since the wall was so high, Caitlin did it in 2 sections.  She made the twist on the top half, taped the back of the streamer to the wall then twisted the second half and taped to the bottom.
  6. Once all the streamers were taped in place we cut off the excess and viola!  A beautiful photobooth backdrop.
  7. DISCLAIMER—this did take about 2 hours.  Maybe because we were talking and not rushing through it or maybe its just a time consuming endeavor, but you have been warned.  I think it was worth the time spent but you  may not.


Streamers up, now its time to set up the camera.  Before I go into the fancy settings on the camera first you need to set it up.  I have a tripod with a revolving top, which means I can swivel it to take portrait pictures as well as landscape.  My camera screws into the top of the tripod and from there the tripod adjusts so you can swivel the top then locks into place.  Caitlin and I tested it out to see which version was better.  With the size of the wall and the doors where they were we decided portrait was better.  As far as height goes, I just raised the tripod as high as it would go.  Below is us testing it out…dont judge the half swollen face on me or workout attire, we were doing serious work here people!!!


After a few tests pictures (Im holding something in my hand…remember that for later) it was time to set up the camera. I also zoomed the lens in a little to cut out the doors on either side of the wall.  Im glad I did all this before the party, one less thing to worry about day of!  Ok, now that the camera is on the tripod, the wall is prepped its time to figure out how to actually take the pictures without someone manning the camera.  The following is for a Nikon D5300 but there are probably similar steps on your camera.  Note this is for a semi serious camera, not a point and shoot.

  1. Under the settings menu select shooting menu
  2. Under shooting menu select release mode
  3. from there select quick response remote (remember the thing in my hand, that was a remote, found here)
  4. you are ready to shoot!!!
  5. DISCLAIMER!!!  this setting only saves for a few minutes so if you arent quick enough taking the picture you will have to re-do the setting.  This was the only frustrating part of the whole setup.  I did have instructions for people to fix the setting on their own, but once the drinks were flowing you forget how to work things 🙂

Ok camera is ready, backdrop is ready, whats missing……PROPS!!!!  I have quite a few props for this and they were all a big hit.  Unless otherwise noted I made all the props myself.  Caitlin was a big help with the Have You Seen This Wizard poster because I cant draw/cut/anything in a straight line to save my life.  She totally rocked the poster too.

caitlin crazy wizard

  • Ravenclaw house robs (found here)
  • Sorting hat (found here)
  • Hogwarts scarf (from Diagon Alley at Universal Orlando)
  • Ravenclaw scarf (from Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando)
  • Gryffindor scarf (from Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando)
  • Hedwig (from Michael’s a few years ago, so technically its not actually Hedwig, but I bought it because it reminded me of Hedwig.  That counts right)
  • Have you seen this wizard poster sign
  • Snitches
  • Word bubbles
  • House color ties
  • Harry’s glasses
  • Harry’s Scar
  • The Dark Mark

_DSC1789Shot of the camera setup and all the props.  I thought I took a close up of everything but apparently not.  I was going to share the templates for my homemade photobooth props but apparently my google drive is full…sooooo I have to clear out some space then Ill update with the printables (UPDATEprintable are here!!!).  For the snitches I got foam balls from Hobby and spray painted them gold with gold glitter and attached white feathers spray painted with gold glitter.  They were beautiful and amazing and left a glitter trail everywhere.  My sister-in-law Geri also crocheted some snitches for the party but those we used mostly for a game.

So that friends is how to do an AWESOME photobooth!  There are a bunch of tutorials out there but I had to piece-meal everything together to get what I was looking for.  Maybe this will help you with your photobooth too 🙂


Side bar—I thought about having the photos printed out as a photo-strip (which there are programs and printers that do that) but I figured that was way more work then was necessary.  If a photobooth is something you would do more than once you may want to look into something like that.  Its a nice touch.  I know I love putting photobooth strips up on my fridge 🙂

CHIME IN!!!  Do you like photobooth’s?  Have you ever done a DIY photobooth before?  Did you do shopping black friday?


Sausage, Apple, and Brie Stuffing (Foodie Friday #14) Thanksgiving Edition

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving…or normal day at the office depending on where you live.  I ate like a Queen and am doing some Black Friday shopping today.

In the spirit of the holiday Im sharing my stuffing recipe.  I used to use Stovetop which, lets be honest, for a boxed stuffing is pretty good.  I decided to switch to homemade stuffing and havent looked back since.  This recipe is always a hit and tastes excellent leftover (which, come on, there are always leftovers).  I usually have 8-10 people over and this is plenty for all of us.

Sausage Apple Brie Stuffing

Sausage, Apple, and Brie Stuffing

Servings: ~12     Prep Time: 15min      Cook Time: 50min       Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 pound ground country pork sausage (in the breakfast section)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon fennel
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 peeled, cored and chopped granny smith apples
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cups cubed old bread ciabatta bread (go to the day old section at the grocery store, you save money and it still taste great)
  • 1-2 cups chicken broth
  • 8 ounces brie cheese rind removed, diced


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Brown sausage in a large pan over medium heat. Once sausage has cooked through drain excess grease and set aside.
  3. In the same pan that you browned the sausage in, melt the butter. Once melted stir in fennel, nutmeg, salt, apples and onions. Cook until apples and onions have softened. About 5 minutes.
  4. Stir in bread and sausage. Toss to coat bread completely in the butter. Pour in 1 cup of broth. Mix well. Pour in more broth if a softer stuffing is desired. Stir in diced brie.
  5. Transfer stuffing into preheated baking dish.  If making the day before stop here.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to bake.
  6. Bake in oven for 35 – 40 minutes. Or until bread is browned and cheese is melted. Serve hot.  If you refrigerated this you may need to cook longer or let it come to room temp before cooking.  I set my stuffing out about an hour before I need to cook it and that works fine for me.

CHIME IN!!!  Do you like stuffing?  What was your favorite thing to eat yesterday?  Are you black friday shopping?

Thinking Out Loud #11 Thanksgiving Edition

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Americans!!  Everyone abroad…sorry you have to work today and dont get to stuff your faces with delicious food.  #sorrynotsorry.  I figured today is the perfect opportunity to think out loud AND be thankful!

Thanks for Amanda hosting on the holiday.  Link here.


  1. Before I get to the list of being thankful…general thought.  Were people as sensitive 15 years ago as they are today or is it just more magnified because of social media.  I feel like its because of social media, but 15 years ago I wasnt really paying attention to the world but more my teenage angst.  What do you think?

people are crazy2.   I had a few other thoughts earlier in the week that I wanted to share but dang it if I forgot to write them all down, but that just means more room to be thankful.  Lets do it!  First, Im thankful for a great family.  Yes they annoy me at times but in the grand scheme of things I have a pretty great family and wouldnt trade them.

3.  Im thankful I have a super talented/artistic husband who can make my ideas come to life.  We make a great team.

gingerbread familyoffice         This one he did the floor (with my dad’s help), painted the piano and made the Aurora silhouette.oreo paintingwand stand

4.  Im thankful for a great group of friends who endure my Disney-mania, running craziness and love of all things Harry Potter.  You guys rock.

5. Im thankful for having a job that allows me to travel.  This year, with my job alone, I have been to Chicago, Phoenix, San Antonio, Orlando, Amsterdam, and Dallas.  Last year I went to New York, San Francisco, Seattle, West Texas, and Amsterdam!!  I love to travel and am so happy I have a job that makes it so easy.

6. Im thankful that Im healthy enough to enjoy things like running, walking around theme parks, exercising.  I know not everyone can do some of these seemingly simple things and I have to remind myself to be thankful for that.

7.  Im thankful for my beautiful puppies that bring me happiness each and every day.  They dont judge, they just give unconditional love.  I would be a much meaner person without them in my life.  Oreo is my puppy soul mate and Whisp is Joes.

8.  Last but not least Im thankful for YOU!!!  Thanks for going on this blogging journey with me, commenting, and being a positive force.  You guys ROCK thanks for sticking with me.

you rock gif

9.  What are you thankful for?

WIWW #18

Happy day before Thanksgiving!  I am working today (boo) but there are only 4 people in the office today other than me.  That means its going to be a quite day which makes it a great day to catch up on silly office compliance videos (boo).

In other new…I may have found my first grey hair today and that is NOT OK!  I will have to ask Joe tonight to confirm, but I may have a meltdown later.

The weather is back up in the high 70’s today so I decided to wear my new Harry Potter skirt before it gets too cold (thanks Caitlin!).  Im trying to figure out what I want to wear for my Harry Potter tour in London, so trying out outfits before then is necessary 🙂  I took this photo at work because for some reason I am having issues with the camera focus at home.  Although the shadow totally makes me look buck toothed…….


Sweater: Express (right now everything is 50% off!!!!!)

Shirt:  Etsy but its was a gift so Im not sure which shop

Shoes: Amazon

Necklace: Etsy (this one is similar but mine has a tiny acceptance letter in it)

CHIME IN!!!  Have you found any grey hairs yet?  Do you try outfits out before a trip?  Did you have to work today?  What are you doing for thanksigiving?

Avengers Super Hero Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Since this past week was pretty much a rest week Im going to instead post about the Half Marathon.  We left off with getting 7 solid hours of sleep the night before.  Disclaimer here, for pretty much all of my Disney races I have gotten less than 5 hours of sleep pre race.  There is always so much I want to do in the parks I typically put my sleep on the back burner.  After talking with my doctor and new coach the goal for this race was to not get injured and sleep is a big part of that.  I decided to not see fireworks the night before the half marathon and make sure I was at least in bed if not sleeping for 8 hours.  When the alarm went off at 4am I was actually ready.  A little sleepy because hey its still pitch black outside!  When I synced my fitbit it said I had slept for a little over 8 hours with a few times restless.  Wow!  I get ready and headed down to the bus again.  The temps were in the 40’s and I was happy about it.  Ate my protein bar on the way to the start line and drank a bottle of water.  Took some pre-race photos, of course!


By this time the announcers were calling all runners to the corrals.  Perfect time to hit the porta-potties.  The lines were a little long but I would rather go now than later…or so I thought 😉  Went to the restroom and headed to corral B.  The race started about 10 minutes late waiting for road clearance and then we were off!  First half mile was looping back into the parks then only 2 short miles in the park.  Ok so after 5 minutes of running I realized I had to pee…again!  What!  I thought it might just be nerves but once we got into the parks and into Carsland I decided to make a quick pit stop in the real restrooms located there.  I figured better get it over with now when there is a real restroom facility and probably no line (which there wasnt) then risk it on the public roads we would be on for most of the course.  I have no idea why I had to go again so soon.   That has never happened before, but once I made the second pit stop I was good to go for the rest of the race.  I also needed the stop because my lower calves were SO STIFF from yesterdays small hills.  I gave each leg a good 2 minute stretch per leg and they felt better for the rest of the race.  Luckily all the stretching/foam rolling I had been doing paid off for the rest of my body.


Terrible selfie time!  It was dark and not many cast members around to take photos so selfie it is.  This was at the 1 mile marker.  I didnt stop again for Black Widow or Hawkeye and skipped Captain America (his line was super long) but I had to stop for Thor.  Oh, by the way can you tell which superhero I am?  I’m Brunhilde/Valkyrie today.  Thor thought I was She-Thor…ummm hello I have a sword and a blue cape, get it right Thor 😉  A few people knew who I was and that was awesome.


Really blurry of me and Thor but I love him he is fantastic and the accent was spot on.  Side note—yesterday and today it was so awesome and a strange rush of energy when people would yell “Go Thor!!” or “Yes, Valkyrie!”.  I think it was just as fun for the supporters as it was for the runners to see the costumes.  Both days there was great energy from the spectators and it really helped give me some energy as well.

Running through the parks I stopped for a few selfies and got a terribly blurry shot with the castle.  I was ok with all these stops though because I knew how boring the rest of the course was going to be and didnt plan on stopping much if at all once on the surface streets.  Out of Disneyland we headed down Anaheim and made our way to Angel Stadium.  This was a pretty desolate stretch of Anaheim but thank goodness for Disney there were marching bands and cheerleaders as often as they could station them.  Around mile 6 we started running through this kinda sketchy causeway area where there were a few homeless camps.  I admit I did feel a little uncomfortable and was happy for the crowds around me.  This was probably the most boring stretch of the run and had the most ups and downs with ramps.  Then all of the sudden there were about a hundred cos-players!  You guys, these cos-players were FANTASTIC!  They were all lined up on this stretch of sidewalk that was just dirt and they were just cheering, calling out character names (mine included) and just looking spectacular.  It was a much needed energy boost at a point in the race I usually hit a wall.  You cant see all the amazing detail in the below photo, but everyone did a great job and really got the energy up.12219498_1682412835362388_5171312780269861383_n

Once we passed them Angel Stadium was in my sights…literally.  But first was the Cliff Gel Shot stop.  Other than the selfie stops in the park this was the first time I stopped to walk.  I need water with the gel shot and didnt want to splash it all over myself.  Ate the vanilla gel shot, drank a cup of water and walked just a little to catch my breath and take a picture of the sign before heading into the stadium.

Angel Stadium

I wasnt super pumped about running through the stadium as some other people were but it was cool and when the announcer said my name I got a little excited and ran just a smidge faster through the ball park.  After exiting the ballpark we were in a parking lot.  My legs were feeling a little tired at this point by my mind was doing well so I powered on.  At the end of the parking lot was a large group of vintage 20’s era soldiers and current vets.  It was so cool!  I was confused at first, then off to the side I saw swing dancers and almost jumped in.  I should have, this girl did and had a blast!  After running past them I only had a little over a 5k left.  I was surprised actually how fast the race went by considering how little was in Disneyland.  It was also around this point I started thinking about a PR.  I KNEW I was going to get a runDisney PR but also thought it might be possible to get an overall PR.  Thats when I made the decision to not walk again unless I absolutely needed to.  I walked a little before mile 12 to get my head in the game and hunker down for that last mile.  Luckily the last mile there were plenty of cast members and hotel guests our cheering all the runners on.  I honestly didnt have much left in the tank and was only able to kick it up a smidge for the finish line.  I looked up at the clock crossing that finish mat and wasnt sure if I had made it.  According to my watch though…PR you guys!!!!!!!

half time

I stopped my watch to meet Thor and run into the restroom so my official time was 2:49:22.  Still a runDisney PR and dang proud of the time.  My pace hovered around 11:50 for every mile.  I can truthfully say this is the first long run in a long time where I didnt feel like I was going to die and knew this was going to be my fall race again next year.  After getting all my medals (3!!!) I took a few photos with the professional photographers and sat and stretched for a bit.  It ended up being a cloudy day so the sun wasnt beating down on me which made me happy.

After stretching and taking a breather for a few minutes I went to Earl of Sandwich for a breakfast sandwich and to rest the legs a little before walking back to the hotel.  I got back to the hotel around 9:45am, took a much needed shower, detox soak and a nap.  I only meant to take a 30 minute nap…60 minutes later I was getting park ready and walked over to Disneyland.  My friend had a tour at 2pm so we met up did a few rides at Disneyland, got some lunch at Bengal’s Barbecue (skip it, totally not worth the money and I know Disney food prices) then she went on her tour and I took some castle pictures with my medal…because obviously.


I really loved the clouds here, around dusk they turned pink/blue.  How appropriate with Sleeping Beauty’s castle.  I took quite a few photos but am limiting myself here because Im sure you dont need THAT many pictures of me 🙂

gauntler challenge


Why take a serious selfie when you can take a fun selfie.  My mickey ears are custom Thor ears (etsy shop here) and the necklace (which you cant see very well) is also a Thor necklace.  While my friend was on her tour, this is when I went over to Trader Sam’s (review here).  I took the monorail back and met Ariel who is telling me that while I could beat her in a land race, she would beat me at swimming, to which I 100 % agreed 🙂


After my friend was done with her tour we headed over to California Adventure for dinner at Carthy Circle (almost exact replica of the Carthy Theater where Snow White premiered) and to watch World of Color-Holiday.  Carthy Circle was pretty good, I think the Chef got a little TOO creative with some of the flavor combinations but the atmosphere was amazing and the company was great!  I didnt take any pictures of the Holiday World of Color but I did enjoy it.  Olaf was the host and it was much cuter an expected.  Granted there were 2 sections of Frozen songs…you cant escape it people!!!  After World of Color we decided to head back to the hotel.  It was cold, very windy and surprisingly crowded…like Christmas Day crowded.  Everything has over a 50 minute wait and my body was in no mood for that.  Went back to the hotel for some more stretching/foam rolling and super sad face…packing 😦

Summary for the race, what went well:

  • Sleep!!  I was not tired at all which also played a big part in why I felt so good today
  • Weather again, because today was slightly overcast and cold with a slight breeze.  Perfect conditions for me, and even a few times to myself actually thought “this is why I love running”.
  • Mostly flat course which made keeping the pace consistent pretty easy
  • Positive attitude!  This is major because most of my long runs recently have been plagued with doubt, frustration and irritation
  • On course entertainment.  I had low expectations which probably helped but honestly it has been a while since 13.1 miles have flown by
  • Hydration-at every water stop I got 1 cup of powerade and 1 cup of water.  I have to remind myself LA is in the desert and drink more water than I normally would to prevent dehydration like what happened during Tinkerbell.

What could have gone better:

  • My right arm was being chaffed by either the arm hole of my shirt or the arm band.  I ignored it best I could but party foul on my part for not trying this out sooner.
  • Stiffness, I didnt stretch the calves enough from yesterday and had to deal with that issue today.
  • Getting the photographers to take non-blurry pictures!  Ok so this one isnt running related but still, come on get the camera to focus people!!!

With both races done back to back and both done at almost race pace Im very happy with my times and how I felt after.  I wont make a habit of doing challenges like this but I do see myself doing the gauntlet challenge next year.  I really enjoyed both races, they had smaller crowds (about half the number of people than what is at WDW), much more laid back and the weather is ideal.  I dont have any regrets (other than the blurry pictures dang it) and am so glad to have been reminded of why I enjoy running and races in general.

partner statue

Something I havent mentioned for either race so far is what I ate.  Im not going to go into detail because I think thats not important but what I did do was make sure I was eating enough protein/carbs and limiting my sugar as much as possible.  Being in Disney that last part is VERY hard but I didnt want any gastric issues and I think it really paid off.  Like Ive said a few times I havent had a better race in a long time and its because of all these factors.  Food though plays a huge part in that and I know I would have done much worse if I ate all the dessert like I wanted to.  It was tough but definitely worth in.


CHIME IN!!!  Are you a runDisney fan?  Do like running when its cold?  What is your favorite superhero?


Avengers 2015 Expo and 10k Recap

Lets talk Disneyland shall we!  I left late Thursday night so I could be at the expo bright and early Friday morning.  Little did I know the expo wasnt going to open Friday until noon.  This was really odd to me but whatever.  My friend and I first went to get our park tickets and spent a little time in California Adventure.  We had enough time to grab starbucks, get some pins and ride Soarin’ before heading off to the expo.


If you have never been to a Disneyland RunDisney Expo, Im warning you now…its about 1/2 the size as a Walt Disney World Expo.  My main goal was to get the medal pin (a replica of the medal you receive in pin form), the RunDisney ornament, and the New Balance Tinkerbell shoe.  First stop was the RunDisney store where everything was pretty much picked over.  I was able to score some RunDisney capris, I Did It! shirt, Avengers Half medal pin, and 2 sweaty bands.  The ornament was sold out and apparently they didnt make medal pins for the other races…bummer.  After that we went over to the New Balance booth.  Previous expos New Balance has set up a virtual queue so you dont have to wait over an hour in line.  I checked and there was not virtual queue for this expo.  I was concerned…but for no reason.  We were able to walk right up and get every size I asked for.  Ended up I was able to wear a kids size shoe and save about $75!!!  Same exact shoe, less money.  Makes me a happy camper.  The wings I had bought earlier in the year and the poof was $5 extra.  Duh I got the poof.  They also were selling silver wings, but since I already had the greens ones I stuck with those.  Super cute right!!!!


After New Balance I decided to try KT Tape.  For those of you who dont know about KT tape check out the product info here.  Basically its synthetic tape designed to give support and pain relief for different area of the body.  My knee had been bothering me on the last few long runs so I decided to try it out.  Normally the line to get tapped is super long but at this expo I think I waited 20 minutes.  The below is the day after i got tapped but you couldnt see it under my skirt from when I got it done.  Here you can definitely see it!  Ill give my thoughts on the KT tape with the half marathon review.  After that we stopped by the Raw Threads booth (really disappointing this year 😦 ), picked up my race packet/shirt/pre order pins and jacket then went to our lunch reservation at Big Thunder Ranch!  All in all we were at the expo for about an hour and a half.

KT Tape

Big Thunder Ranch is closing soon to make way for Star Wars so I wanted to try it out before its gone for good.  I really enjoyed the chicken and the ribs (its all you can eat) the cornbread was ok and I could live without the coleslaw.  I was full the rest of the day…granted we ate at 2pm but I literally was not hungry again until 9:30pm!  I didnt even eat a ton.


After lunch we walked Disneyland, rode a few rides, saw Its A Small World and Haunted Mansion Holiday editions then watched the Holiday fireworks (spoiler, they are the exact same as the diamond fireworks).  I ended up being back at the hotel around 10pm in bed at 11pm.  A little late for a 4:20am wake up call but I HAD to see the fireworks.

Saturday is 10k time!  My alarm went off at 4:20am and I was actually not extremely tired.  Got my costume on (Jane Foster version of Thor), grabbed a protein bar and a bottle of water and was out the door to catch the bus to the .5mile walk to the start line.  Disneyland races are much more low key to me.  Get up later, can walk to the start line, less corrals.  I was in B!!!!  I got to my corral and squeezed as close to the front as I could.  Promptly started at 5:30am with the wheelchairs, then Corral A, then me!  My plan for this race was to stop as often as I wanted for pictures but push the limits a little.  The weather was in the 40’s so I knew it was going to be a great race weather wise.  Turned out almost 4 miles of the 6.2 were in the parks!!  That was so fun spending most of the time in Disneyland and California Adventure.  I stopped and took quite a few pictures but picked up the pace when I started running again.


Honestly, the whole race I felt great!  I remember thinking “ok, this is why I love running!”.  The weather was great, the course was so flat and it was just fun!  I do wish there were more character stops but this was an Avengers race so there was probably some concerns about continuity (Disney takes that stuff seriously).  Since I was in Corral B the lines to meet Cap and Thor werent too long.  I didnt stop for Black Widow or Hawkeye but did stop at the Castle, Color Wheel, and a few other selfies along the way.  My official race time was 1:15:07 my watch time was 1:05:15 (I paused the watch when I was waiting in line).  Im really happy with how I raced this since I couldnt go all out seeing as I have the half Sunday.


What Went Well:

  • Could not have asked for better weather!  The cape I had helped keep me warm but anything more and I would have been too hot.  No humidity either so breathing for once was much easier
  • The course was almost totally flat making it pretty easy for me since thats what I train on
  • I was able to pick up the pace after stopping to meet characters
  • I actually stopped as often as I wanted to take pictures and enjoyed the race

What Could have gone Better:

  • There were a few inclines and the back of my calves got super sore.  I should have stretched that out more
  • I didnt have a cast member take my photo at the castle, I thought a photographer got it when I passed by but they didnt 😦

Look at that, more “went well” than “could have been better”.  Running this race I decided its going to be my castle to chateau challenge for next year.  It was so laid back and not stressful and honestly cheaper than Disney World.

After the 10K I went back to the room, had some breakfast took a shower and had a quick nap.  Around 10:30 I walked back to the parks.  My friend had a tour that morning so I walked around California Adventure a little, got my mini curros and took some pictures.  We met up after lunch rode more rides, did some shopping and had lunch at Carnation Cafe (they serve Walt’s Meatloaf which was huge and amazing).  After dinner I went back to the room to get a solid sleep in before the half tomorrow.  I got back to the room around 6:30, did my stretches and was in bed by 7:30pm.  I got a solid 7 hours of sleep, which Ill tell you all about how that impacted my race…a little later!!!!

CHIME IN!!!  When was your last race?  Do you like Disneyland or Disney World?

Foodie Friday Trader Sam’s Review!!!

While I was at Disneyland I made sure to visit the original Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.  This bar is named for the head hunter at the end of the Jungle Cruise and is a Disneyland favorite.  Its a very cool bar with themed tiki drinks,  crazy decor, solid souvenir cups and great bartenders.  The picture below is from when we went to Trader Sam’s at Disney World but this drink is available at both locations, the Krakatoa Punch.

trader sams grog grotto

Before I went to Disneyland Disney Parks Blog posted the holiday drink menu!  I snapped a picture of the drinks and their ingredients to reference back to just in case.  Little did I know this was a great idea.  I decided to wait to go to Trader Sam’s until after the half marathon simply because I didnt want any alcohol anywhere near my system until all my racing was done.  No one needs gastric issues when they could be avoided.  Sunday afternoon while my friend was on a tour I decided to stop over (its not in the parks but at Disneyland Hotel) and have a drink and a snack.

Ambiance:  This location inside is actually smaller than the Walt Disney World location.  I didnt love the layout of the bar (its a U shape) because where I was sitting there was a very large pole infront of me.  The patrons of the bar didnt order many of the fun bartender interactive drinks so I only got to see the Krakatoa Punch skit (they sound an alarm, ring a bell and the picture of the volcano erupts).  It was very dark, but the chairs were comfortable.  Wish there were purse hooks though.


Service:  The bartender I had, Bernando was very friendly and brought me great drinks.  While it wasnt the quickest service ever the bar was full and service was on par with the number of guests he was serving.  I did give him a bigger than I should have tip because he went out of his way to make my drink…more on why below 🙂

Eats/Drinks:  Like I mentioned I wanted to order from the holiday menu.  Grabbing the menu on the bar I didnt see them listed.  Here is where the picture came in handy.  I picked the holiday drink I wanted to try and ordered with Bernando.  He told me the drink didnt come out until TOMORROW and he couldnt make it because he didnt know how yet!  WHAT!!!  Ok, I picked something else from the menu…the Dark and Stormy Shipwreck on the Rocks (comes in a cute barrel glass).  They were out of the glass.  WHAT!!!  Ok 0 for 2 here Bernando…but WAIT!  He said he went in the back and found the recipe and would make the seasonal drink for me if I still wanted it.  YES!!!  I ended up ordering the Tropical Snowstorm (Honey-flavored whiskey, coconut rum and flavors of coconut, cream, ginger, cloves and almond, topped with a cinnamon and nutmeg dusting) and loved it so much I ordered 2!  They werent so strong to knock me on my ass but strong enough I was enjoying myself well enough.  I was also hungry and decided to try the Kona Pulled Pork Flatbread.  The actual flatbread crust was a little soggy but all the flavors were delicious.  The pork and barbecue sauce were perfectly prepared, the red onion wasnt too overpowering and the flatbread and a nice taste to compliment all the flavors.


Overall:  I think Disney World takes the ambiance on this one since it is bigger and more to see.  My bartender was fantastic here so service wins out at Disneyland by a smidge.  I loved my drink and the food was delicious.  I will definitely be back the next time Im at Disneyland!  This bar is 21 and up after 8pm so its a great place to escape the ankle bitters, but when I was there I didnt see any kids anyway.


CHIME IN!!!  Have you been to either Trader Sam’s locations before?  Do you like tiki drinks?  What are you doing this weekend?

Thinking Out Loud #10

Did Thanksgiving sneak up on anyone else?  I just realized yesterday its next week!  What?!  When did that happen?  I guess I got wrapped up in my race I didnt realize how close we were to Thanksgiving.  Luckily Im a planner and have all my lists ready and know whats up, but still!  I thought I had more time!!!  Sorry, overly dramatic…lets think out loud shall we 🙂


Linking up with Amanda here

  1. I took this week off from running to let my body recover from the weekend and Im not sad about it at all.  Next week will be back at it since I have races in January and February.

New Years Eve Double

2. I signed on with Finish Strong Coaching.  Im excited to have a certified running coach help me get faster and reduce my injuries.  I know quite a bit about running, but being around bloggers and hearing what the running coach had to say in our quick meeting made me realize there is so much I dont know!

3.  Im starting to make my list for Black Friday Shopping.  I like going out and getting great deals, but I do wait until Friday morning to do it.  Time with my family is more important on Thursday.  I do a lot of online shopping Thursday morning since a lot of the deals are online, but places like Home Depot dont usually do that so I still have to go to the actual store.  Do you shop on Black Friday?


4.  I stopped using my FitBit Surge for daily wear.  Honestly, its 2 reasons.  1 being I have the daily step goal but I dont care if it hit it or not, so having it on my wrist reminding me doesnt do anything.  Two, its bulky and I miss wearing my pretty ceramic watch that Joe got me a few years back.  I love watches and that was the biggest reason I didnt want to get the surge in the first place.  I still wear it to workout and run but as a daily use I think its going on the back burner.  I saw the Jawbone Up3 and think this might be a better option.

Jawbone UP3

5.  I got an idea from Bakingdom (she posts the cutest pictures on instagram) to get a Harry Potter book from each country I have visited.  I am hoping to get HP #1 from The Netherlands and #2 from Italy.  When I go to London Ill get #3 and Paris in September will be #4.  All will be in the native language of the country.  Its such a cool idea because each country has different art work on the book and will help to learn the language.  I mean…I know those books pretty well 🙂

Harry Potter Italian

6.  Do you ever just have so many things on your mind all of them suddenly leave your mind?  That happens to me more than I would like to admit.  Just now, I had a lot of thoughts running through my head then POOF!  All gone.

I got nothing

7.  Only 21 more days until girls trip to Disney World!!  I am so excited because I get to see the Osborne Lights one last time.  Apparently there is a TARDIS hidden somewhere (thanks Andy).  I cant wait to spend each night watching these lights.  If you have never seen the show before and can make a special trip to Walt Disney World before January 6th, do it!  You can thank me later.

osborne lights

8.  What is going on with you today?



WIWW #17

I was so cold in the office yesterday I decided to bust out my new sweater from Disneyland and some boots.  I hate being cold at work my fingers get all cramped, I get cranky, its just no fun.  According to stupid laws you cant have any type of space heater in an office with carpet.  Boo hiss on laws!

I mentioned a while back about this bow and I LOVE IT!!!  I have it in gold and light pink.  Originally I was just going to wear them to Disney but I love the sparkle too much to keep that to only Disney.  Plus it dresses up the sweater a little bit.  Sorry its so dark, couldnt get the lighting right today.

disneyland outfit 2

Top: Disneyland World of Disney

Jeans: Express

Boots: DSW

Watch: Fossil…Fossil doesnt make solid ceramic watches anymore this is the closest thing they have right now.

Bow: Etsy

CHIME IN!!!  Is your office totally freezing?  Do you like sparkly bows?  How is your week going?

Workout Recap 11/11-11/17

Hello and Welcome to the SECOND edition of Rachael’s workout recap!  This week is an exciting recap week because I had a runDisney half marathon/challenge this weekend!!!!

Wednesday:  30 minutes core class at lunch.  20 minutes foam rolling/ stretching / back yoga

Thursday: rest and 20 minutes foam rolling/ stretching / back yoga

Friday:  Walking around Disneyland.  According to my FitBit I walked 9 miles.  I know I know…but you have 2 races this weekend…whatever thats not going to stop me from seeing EVERYTHING.  Holiday Its a Small World was AMAZING!!!


Saturday:  Captain America 10k (I was Jane Foster Thor) plus walking around the parks again (equaled to 16.2 miles).  20 minutes foam rolling / stretching / back yoga.  Trying to stay loose for tomorrow.  Also supplemented with Alieve, muscle relaxer before bed and Biofreeze.


Sunday:  Avengers Superhero Half Marathon (I was Brunhilde/Valkyrie) plus last day walking around the parks (equaled to 23.36 miles…I know almost a marathon!).  30 minute detox soak after run and a little nap.


Monday:  rest, plus it was travel home day so most of this was on the plane.

Tuesday: per my running coach no running until this weekend.  I know I have a running coach!  More on that later 🙂

Wow!!!  Jam packed week of workouts!!!  No rest for the weary though I have to keep training for my back to back half’s December 31st and January 1st.

CHIME IN!!!  How have your workouts gone so far?  Do you dress up for races?  Ever been to Disneyland during the holidays?