Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How Is It Spring?

It is officially Spring but from the cold weather we've still been having in Atlanta, you would never know it. The weather has been insane these last few month. When I ran the 20th Anniversary WDW Marathon on January 13th, I ended up with a minor sunburn. Now it's the end of March, I'm still sporting my UGG boots and heaviest jacket daily.

Normally I dread Spring. I'm allergic to 90% of trees which results in a few very miserable weeks for me. Since I was diagnosed in 1987 (when I was in Kindergarten), I have tried just about every medication on the market and none of them work as prescribed for me. But right now, I completely welcome these few miserable weeks if it means I can say "Adios" to the cold temperatures!

I'm ready for our yard to bloom into beautiful colors! I never cared for Azaleas but there a huge bush in our backyard that get covers perfectly white. Last year, the Azaleas bloomed before the last cold snap and all the white turned brown and they sat like that through summer and fall. I'm hoping for a different view this season. I'm hoping this last cold snap won't affect all the buds that have started to appear! (I'm also hoping this is the LAST cold snap!!!)

I'm also ready for our four blueberry bushes to not look like sticks . There are tiny little buds on the edges of all the little limbs. Abigail and I really enjoyed picking blueberries last year. I covered the bushes with a bird net and I couldn't believe how many berries came off our small bushes. I'm anxious to see what grows this year.

Last year I started a bunch of seedlings indoors, then when I moved them outdoors they were all eaten by rolypoly bugs. I ended up purchasing some habanero pepper plants and a small fig tree. The habanero plants did great & we got a few peppers but I never moved them indoors for fall/winter so they died. I did move the fig indoor and it's doing great. It has already come out of winter hibernation, has new stem growth and has sprouted lots of leaves.

Also last year, my aunt & uncle in Florida inspired me to try to grow my own pineapple plants after purchasing from the grocery store. They said to slice the "crown" off the pineapple then plant it directly in soil. It sounded too easy to be true. Then I decided to try it out for myself after finding a new dinner recipe that called for pineapple. I now have two pineapple plants growing in pots, they are also indoor as they would not survive the cold temps.

Hopefully April will be the turning point for this weather, I'm a FLgrl born and raise and cannot handle much more of this cold. Abigail is ready to play more outdoors too!

-What are you most looking forward to about Spring?
-Have you had luck growing your own fruits or vegetables?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Run Hood to Coast with NUUN

A week ago I saw NUUN tweet they are accepting applications from "Lady Running Bloggers" to fill two relay teams to run The 32nd Annual Hood to Coast Relay. I immediately looked up the link to read more about all the details. The gears started turning in my head...
I have heard of The Ragnar Relay Series. Some runDisney enthusiasts I follow on Twitter have formed a team to run in the northeast. While each person runs alone, you are part of a team so there's individual and team success. I really enjoy running with others, you get encouragement and get to encourage. I know this is something I would like to do at some point, but probably in the Florida Keys where it's the most flat location of all the Ragnar events. I'm not sure when a Ragnar Relay might happen for me so when I read the NUUN tweet I was intrigued. 

Immediately I recommended my friend Lena apply, she lives on the west coast. I "met" Lena on Twitter and started following her blog, The Beginners Runner, and so much of her running journey reminded me of my own. She had been training (properly, unlike myself) for her first half marathon. Lena was training for The Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World and I was going to be running that race too. And it turns out, we ended up running the race together too!
According to the Nuun blog post, in order to apply, one must meet these five criteria...

  1. Have not run Hood to Coast with Nuun in the past
  2. Are female
  3. Have an active blog
  4. Love Nuun
  5. Are really fun!
I have only run in Georgia and Florida, so nope I have not run Hood to Coast, let alone with Nuun in the past. I am female, check. I have a blog, it's almost 5yrs old...I'm not sure about that "active" part as I would like to blog so much more than I do. Other priorities arise but I have been slowly trying to go back and blog about things and details I know I will forget over time. Yes, I love Nuun, check. I actually felt like some sort of Nuun pusher when trying to introduce it to my Auburn friends who came down to run The Princess Half Marathon. And lastly, I think I'm really fun...I hope others think I'm fun too. :)

A few days passed after I recommended Lena apply and I was still thinking about the possibility of NUUN Hood to Coast. I decided to throw caution out the window and apply. I wasn't really sure what to say or how to make myself stand out. Instead, I decided to make a slideshow of sorts reviewing my running journey over the last 9mo and why I'd like to participate. I am very happy with the end result of my application. 

Applications will be accepted through midnight of April 5th and teams will be announced on April 17th. I have no idea how many women actually apply or what might chances might be to actually get selected. Either way, I'm proud of myself for even applying and I am happy others are getting see how my running experience started when they view my video. 

-Have you ever run a relay race before? Does this type of event even seem appealing to you?
-Have you ever thrown caution out the window to apply for something? What was the result?

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Mini Cooper Clubman

Back in February, I accidentally killed Matt's Montero towards the end of February. Matt got the Montero after graduating from Auburn, he's had it for 10.5yrs and it had over 200,000mi. The Montero served us well and while it's been a great vehicle, the fix was going to be way too expensive. 

Matt started researching vehicles and on March 9th we went to Carmax to see a variety of vehicles in the least amount of time. He was mostly looking at smaller SUVs, thinking he would get the Jetta and I would get the "new to us" vehicle. I wasn't completely sold, we don't really have a need for an SUV. The Jetta is big enough for our little family and there is plenty of trunk space. I also wasn't ready to sacrifice a few MPGs just to have a SUV. An SUV would only make sense if we upgraded to something with a third row, which isn't a current *need* for us right now.

I am not a car person, that is all Matt. I would much rather do lots of other unpleasant things (like clean toilets or get cavities filled) before choosing to look at cars. Abigail and I started to walk aimlessly through the car lot when we stumbled upon a couple Fiats and Minis. I was really surprised to see the low price (compared to the SUVs) and the high MPGs. Abigail kept wanting to climb into every car so we decided to look at The Mini Clubman, the longer/extended Mini. While the backseat isn't super roomy compared to an SUV, it seemed big enough for Abigail's carseat. We decided to take it for a test drive WITH Abigail's Britax. I sat in the back with Abigail and didn't feel cramped next to the Britax. We left Carmax with a completely different mindset than when we arrived. 

What I could not see at Carmax was "internal Matt", he must have been jumping up and down like a little kid on his birthday. As my mother commented on Facebook, "...and the sleeping giant awoke with [my] suggestion." Over the next two weeks, Matt started researching this vehicle in depth. He learned all about the different types of Mini, there's a "justa" and a sport version (maybe more but that's all I remember). Matt "liked" a few Atlanta Mini Clubs on Facebook and was searching for this car through the Carmax website. 

Matt found a 2011 Mini Clubman at a Carmax in Kentucky, it only had 4300mi and it was priced around $19000. If you find a vehicle within a 250mi radius, Carmax would ship it to your location free of charge. Outside of the 250mi, it was $200 which still keeps this car priced right. Matt made the call and the waiting game began. He was very anxious for for the car to arrive.

The next two weeks seemed to drag on forever to me as Matt researched and learned more about the little world of Mini owners. Turns out owners wave at each other and name their Mini's. The local Atlanta club has an annual Easter Scavenger Hunt. Matt found another event near Pigeon Forge, TN called MINIs on the Dragon where people go to drive curvy roads together. Then Matt stumbled up an event he knew I would really approve, Mickey & Mini! I have no idea what this event really is, but anything at Disney is a win in my book!

On Friday night, Matt got the call that his car had arrived. We basically dropped everything to go see the much anticipated vehicle. Carmax was going to be closing soon so we knew there wasn't time for all the paperwork. Matt inspected the vehicle and took it for a test drive; he approved. He snapped this picture and posted it to Facebook saying "Hello there, Mini! Yes, I had you sent down from Kentucky. And yes you're coming home with me tomorrow." 

We returned in the morning and Carmax processed the Montero as a trade in. Like I mentioned before, the Montero had a good run...and had all the dings, dents and scratches to prove it. We didn't get much for the vehicle but we were able to transfer the Auburn tag to the MINI. Two long hours later (again, I'm not a car person), we were driving off the lot in the MINI and my husband could not have been happier.

Matt's post to Facebook, "Brought the new Mini home today. Hugs the road tightly, and that 6-speed is a blast." I'm not sure if he posted this before or after I started to get carsick while riding. My tummy is not used to manual transmission driving, but less time looking at my iPhone helped a lot.
It wasn't until the following morning, when it was finally Abigail's turn to take her first ride. She was thrilled! Next to the full size passenger door, there's a cute Abigail door for easier access to the backseat. She really loves Matt's new car and even suggested a few times that mommy should drive it and daddy take Nano's car (which was on temporary loan from my dad after the Montero died).

So now the only thing left is to give Matt's new MINI a name (yes, I eyeroll every time). Matt originally suggested "CamBo" which was also name thrown out for Brewer, I declined with both. Matt's nickname has been CRASH since college and his new business is CB CREATIVE. He loves Auburn (hence the CamBo creation from Cam Newton & Bo Jackson). The MINI still needs a name!

-Do you name your vehicles? If so, what type of car do you have and what's it's name?
-Can you give us a suggestion or two to throw in to the naming pot for our new nameless Mini?