Miami Half Marathon 2015

I completed my sixth half marathon on Sunday, and to not mess with tradition, I did not train in the traditional sense. I did, however, get a few runs in before the Half took place (which is more than I can say about other Halfs I’ve run):

3.01 miles on December 14th
2.07 miles on December 31st
4.44 miles on January 2nd (with Rachel while in Orlando)
4.56 miles on January 4th (with Rachel while in Orlando)
5.75 miles on January 7th
2.05 miles on January 9th
1.96 miles on January 14th

I also went to the gym about seven times during the last three weeks. While it’s not the perfect training scenario, I was definitely active enough to know that I could get through the Half Marathon. Ideally, I would have liked to PR, but by the time the race started I knew I’d be happy finishing within my usual range. I was running nice and steady, using 1 minute walk/1 minute run intervals, but started feeling sore around mile 8. I really thought I’d end up walking the rest of the way, but my friend Lorena kept me in check, reminding me that I could do it. And I thought to myself, “of course I can, this isn’t my first Half! I know what to expect, I’ve run this course in particular twice before. Come on, you’ve got this! Once we finish this bridge it’s an easy 5K and we’re done!”

Thanks to Lorena’s encouragement, and my internal pep talks, I finished at 3:12:13, just a few minutes off from my PR of 3:08:08, and about 30 seconds quicker than the last time I ran this race in 2013.

I was significantly sore after the race, waddling all the way to the Metrorail station to head back to my car, but the discomfort was short lived. Less than two days later and I’m feeling pretty good today, and intend on heading back to the gym tomorrow. So what did I do this morning? Register for the Miami Half 2016! Yes, we crazy runners are crazy, and what runner in their (in)sane mind can say no to a registration blitz?!

Posted in Health & Wellness, Run Manders Run | 1 Comment

Twelve

I don’t know how a dozen years have already passed since you were born. I was looking through hundreds of pictures to make this collage, and yes, there are definitely 12 years’ worth of memories, but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like just yesterday we were welcoming you into our lives. You were an itty bitty thing, and now you are just a few inches shorter than me.

Like I said last year, we wish you as much joy as you bring to us, and we hope all your birthday wishes come true. We are so very proud of you, and love you more than you can even imagine.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”

― Robert Munsch, Love You Forever

Happy 12th birthday, my sweet boy!

Posted in Family & Friends, Life Happens, Life with Boys | 2 Comments

Holiday Magic with Disney Infinity 2.0

Disclosure: As an attendee of the Disney Infinity 2.0 Marvel Super Heroes demo event, our family was given a Starter Pack as a gift. All opinions are my own.

Last month, we were invited by our friend Rory from Mama Contemporanea to attend a special demo event of the Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes. To say the boys were thrilled is an understatement: their entire Christmas Wish List consisted of the Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack and figures! I knew they’d love the opportunity to attend a game demo and meet one of the creative forces behind the game, José Villeta, Director of Technology for Disney Interactive.

En la presentación de #DisneyInfinity 2. Muchos personajes #Disney disponibles. #games #Marvel #MujerVersatil

Una foto publicada por Claudia Gomez (@mujerversatil) el


(Photo courtesy of Claudia Gomez, @mujerversatil on Instagram)

The boys had a blast playing with the Disney Infinity 2.0 and the Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack on the demo station set up at the event. They tried a bunch of different figures, exploring the characters’ unique powers and features. It was a great opportunity for them to be sure of the figures they wanted for Christmas.

The organizers not only provided the demo station, arts and crafts, and face painting for the kids, but they had a few non-video games for them to play as well. Matty was thrilled when he won one of the games and earned his first Infinity 2.0 figure, Stitch!
And as a huge surprise to everyone, all families would be shipped a Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack for the gaming system of their choice! What a great holiday gift!

The boys were counting the days until the Starter Pack arrived, and in the meantime they received all the figures on their wishlist on Christmas. Can you tell they love their new game?

The Disney Infinity 2.0 combines the pixie dust magic of Disney with children’s endless imagination. There are two ways to play, with the featured Play Set mode and in Toy Box mode. My boys prefer Toy Box because they can combine characters in a world that meshes all kind of Disney landscapes and scenery, and even ones they create. Brandon says that one of his favorite features is that you can choose your own terrain for your Toy Box world, like mountains or the desert. Matty’s favorite feature is that he can “ride” Space Mountain with the figures.

The Marvel Super Heroes Starter Pack includes the 2.0 Edition Software, the Disney Infinity Base, Iron Man, Thor, and Black Widow figures, 2 Toy Box game discs, 1 web code card, 1 Marvel’s The Avengers Play Set piece, and 1 poster. The Starter Pack is available for the following gaming systems: XBox 360 & One, Nintendo WiiU, and Playstation 3 & 4. I love that the Disney Infinity 2.0 is forward compatible, meaning that all figures and power discs from the 1.0 version can be used with the 2.0 version. That means more characters and more power discs with endless possibilities and hours of Disney fun.

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Fun Stuff, Here's What I Think, Life with Boys | 1 Comment

Good Luck Charms Miami #Winter #Giveaway!

Stunning, isn’t it? This is Gypsy’s Winter, one of the newest creations from our friends at Good Luck Charms Miami. With the official start of winter just a couple of days away, and Christmas right around the corner, we’ve teamed up with them once again to host a seasonal giveaway. This would make a wonderful gift for a loved one, or even a lovely little treat for yourself. Check out their Instagram feed for other amazing creations! (Profile is private, but please feel free to request)

GIVEAWAY: One lucky Brandon’s Puppy reader will win the gorgeous three piece set pictured above from Good Luck Charms Miami. Just fill out the required entries on the rafflecopter form below. (For first time visitors, one of the entries is a comment on this post. Please scroll to the end of the post and “leave a reply”.) Winner will be announced on Christmas Eve! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Giveaways | 5 Comments

Sandy tries Purina ONE Smartblend, and starts the 28 Day Challenge

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.


#OneSmartDifference #CollectiveBias

It’s been just over six years since we were adopted by Sandy. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, I look at her and she still looks like a puppy, but the fact is, she’s a mature doggy. Just like humans, her body is changing, so her needs are too. We’ve always fed her dry dog food, but we’ve always just purchased the store brand at our grocery store. We have never given her people food since that can mess up her digestive system. Plus there’s so many things dogs shouldn’t eat, it’s just safer to stick to the food that’s meant for her (except for bacon, she’s all about bacon!). It really is so important to give her food that will keep her healthy and strong for the years she has left. So when the opportunity arose to try Purina ONE SmartBlend Dry Dog Food, I was thrilled! Because Purina ONE SmartBlend dry dog foods are meant for adult dogs, this gave us the rare opportunity to try something new that’s just right for her. The Chicken and Rice Adult formula is ideal for dogs between 2 and 6, and the Vibrant Maturity formula is perfect for dogs 7 years and older. Since my baby girl just turned 7, we purchased the Chicken and Rice formula, which includes:

  • Real chicken as the first ingredient blended with other high-quality protein sources helps support strong muscles and a healthy heart.
  • Omega-6 helps give your dog a radiant coat and healthy skin.
  • Natural sources of glucosamine help support healthy joints.
  • Highly digestible so more nutrition goes to work inside your dog.

I know I can order just about anything online, but it never occurred to me that dog food was one of those things. I ordered Sandy the bag of Purina ONE, and five days later it was here. With Amazon Prime, it would have been here even quicker, in two days’ time. I didn’t have to worry about going to the store and lugging the bag of dog food from the store shelf to the shopping cart, from the shopping cart to my car, from my car into the house. Thanks to the power of the internet, it magically appeared at our doorstep.

Purina ONE is asking dog lovers all over the country to switch to Purina ONE dry dog food and accept the 28 Day Challenge. They believe people will see:
Day 1+: Taste: When your dog loves the taste of his food, it can make all the difference.
Day 7+: Energy: An optimal blend of ingredients provides the energy your dog needs.
Day 14+: Digestibility: Highly digestible food helps more nutrients go to work inside your dog.
Day 21+: Skin & Coat: Balanced nutrition supports a beautiful coat and healthy skin.
Day 21+: Bright Eyes: Your dog’s eyes are a window to his health.
Day 28+: Dental Healthy: Great nutrition and crunchy kibble support strong teeth and healthy gums.

Sandy has been eating the Purina ONE Chicken and Rice formula for a little bit over a week now. So far we have seen that she really likes the food, she finishes her bowl within minutes, and looks at us as if asking for more. We have also started to notice she’s a bit more energetic than usual. If we’re on the couch watching TV and winding down for the night, she jumps on our laps and wants to play. I encourage you to try Purina ONE SmartBlend. What difference will you see in your pet?

Posted in Doggy Dearest, Health & Wellness | 1 Comment

I have a running partner!

I’m happy to announce that I have a new running partner. Matty wanted to start running with me, so I registered him for the two 5K’s I completed last month. The first one was the Tommy Hilfiger Zoo Run 5K on November 16th. This was a great starter race for him because not only do they award medals, but most of the course is through part of the zoo. We got to see the animals early on in the day, which is always a fun experience.

He did great during the race! He kept up with my 2 minute run/2 minute walk pace, stopping a few times to tie his shoes because he insisted he didn’t want to double-knot them. I think we had a great finish time considering the shoe tying and animal gazing slowed us down.

Amanda – Clock Time: 50:04, Chip Time: 44:06, 14:12 Pace
Matthew – Clock Time: 50:00, Chip Time: 43:59, 14:10 Pace

He also participated in the ZooKids Dash, but that did not go as well. There were so many kids and it was so disorganized that he ended up getting trampled early on during the 400 meter race. We were all waiting for him at the finish line and when he never came, I freaked out. I started running around the parking lot and noticed a few people hunched over something. Almost instantly I spotted his little legs and sprinted to the scene. He was holding his right arm and was saying he couldn’t move. A few moments later the EMTs arrived and check him out. He was more in shock than anything else, thankfully. I am so grateful for the lady who witnessed him get pushed, stayed with him until I arrived, and even put her husband’s shirt under his head so he could be as comfortable as possible. It could have been so much worse, and I thought the experience would leave a sour taste in his mouth and he wouldn’t want to run again.

Fortunately, that was not the case. This past Thursday we ran the Miami Turkey Day 5K, a holiday tradition for our family. Matty insisted that he wanted to run alongside his cousins, who participate in Track and Field in their school and are excellent runners. I was worried that they would get split up and he’d end up alone, but I’m glad I let him, check out his finish time.

Matthew – Clock Time: 45:11, Chip Time: 36:16, 11:41 Pace

Amazing, right? And the cousins all finished within seconds of each other, which I think is so cool.

I didn’t do too shabby either…

Amanda – Clock Time: 50:42, Chip Time: 41:45, 13:27 Pace

I don’t think he’s ready to join me for any half marathons any time soon, but I’m excited about all the 5Ks we can run together this season!

Posted in Family & Friends, Health & Wellness, Life with Boys, Run Manders Run | 2 Comments

Establishing and Sticking to a Reasonable and Responsible Budget with Capital One 360

It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Establishing a budget and sticking to it. In our family we tend to overspend and justify it more often than I want to admit to: “but it’s such a great deal”, “our old one isn’t working as well as it should”, “if we don’t do [whatever], we’ll make up for it”. These words are far too common in our household. We filed bankruptcy a few years ago and the road to financial peace of mind has not been easy. We try not to live beyond our means, but I’ll admit, we’ve only been somewhat successful at it. We recently had unexpected bills with major repairs to my car, and we were not prepared for such a big expense. With the holidays coming up, we have to be extra vigilant of our spending this season.

Services like those offered by Capital One 360 can help families like mine achieve financial peace of mind. With products designed to save consumers time and money, Capital One 360 helps its customers establish and stick to a reasonable and responsible budget.

  • Capital One 360 provides its customers service 24 hours a day, seven days a week with both their online services and their mobile app.
  • Capital One 360 Checking and 360 Savings are fee-free and earn interest.
  • Capital One 360’s CheckMate tool offers remote deposit capture, and their Automatic Savings Plan makes savings a snap.

This holiday, to encourage consumers to stay on track with their finances, Capital One 360 is decking the halls with deals you can bank on, including new account bonuses, referral bonuses and closing cost credits.

Capital One 360’s Black Friday Sale:

360 Checking – new account holders receive a $100 bonus when they make a minimum initial deposit of $500 and complete five transactions.

360 Savings – New account holders receive a $100 bonus after making a minimum deposit of $1000.

Home Loans – Receive $1250 off closing costs when you buy a new home or refinance your mortgage.

ShareBuilder – Customers can receive between $150 and $1250 when they open a new investment account.

Refer a Friend – Current accountholders can receive a $40 referral bonus as long as the friend with the new account meets the initial deposit requirements.

Once the Thanksgiving celebrations are done, be sure to add Capital One 360’s Black Friday Sale to your shopping list. Visit http://clvr.li/cap1bfs to give yourself the lasting gift of financial peace of mind by taking advantage of Capital One 360’s deals on banking, brokerage and mortgage products.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Posted in Deals and Discounts, Holidays, Life Happens | 2 Comments

Exclusive Cyber Monday Deal: Cirque Du Soleil AMALUNA, Plus Giveaway!

Following last year’s smashing success of TOTEM, Cirque du Soleil returns to Miami with Amaluna, one of its newest touring shows. Amaluna will premiere on December 11 under the iconic blue and yellow Big Top at Sun Life Stadium. Cirque du Soleil’s 33rd production, Amaluna is written and directed by Tony Award winning director Diane Paulus, and is a celebration of love and a tribute to the work and voice of women. I have an exclusive deal for Brandon’s Puppy readers. This Cyber Monday special starts a week early: starting NOW you can save $25 on seats for this hot new show!

ABOUT AMALUNA

In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men washes ashore the island, triggering an epic and emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test and the couple must face numerous demanding trials before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony.

Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon”; a symbol of femininity that evokes both the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector of the planet. Amaluna is also the name of the mysterious island where this magical story unfolds.

 

A TRIBUTE TO THE WORK AND VOICE OF WOMEN

For the first time in Cirque du Soleil’s history, Amaluna features a cast that comprises 70% women, with a 100% all-female band. “Amaluna is a tribute to the work and voice of women”, explains Director of Creation Fernand Rainville. “The show is a reflection on balance from a women’s perspective”, he adds. Writer and Director Diane Paulus, winner of a 2013 Tony Award (Pippin) and recently named as one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2014, says; “I didn’t want to build a ‘women’s agenda’ show. I wanted to create a show with women at the center of it, something that had a hidden story that featured women as the heroines.” Paulus drew from a series of classical influences when creating the concept of the show, including tales from Greek and Norse mythology, Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Shakespeare’sThe Tempest.


The New York Times urges; “The display of female strength is a lovely thing”. New York Post boasts; “gorgeous visuals and dazzling circus acts”, and San Francisco Chronicle described Amaluna as; “sumptuously designed and invigoratingly female-powered”.

Hubby and I saw last year’s TOTEM, and were completely fascinated! Prior to that we had seen La Nouba in Orlando years ago, but it was so long ago we forgot how stunning Cirque Du Soleil shows really are. We are definitely not missing Amaluna! Click here to purchase your tickets to Amaluna now and take advantage of this great Cyber Week deal!

GIVEAWAY: As if the sweet Cyber Week discount weren’t enough, we are giving away 4 tickets (Yes, you read that right: 4 Tickets!) to Amaluna. Just fill out the rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Winner will be announced on Friday, December 5th. What an amazing holiday treat, right? Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Around Town, Deals and Discounts, Entertain Me, Giveaways | 10 Comments

Mouse King returns to South Miami, December 12th-14th, 2014

Disclosure: My family and I were provided tickets to Mouse King by Mut Communications for hosting this giveaway.

After an extraordinary debut run in 2013, Mouse King is back this year with three shows at The Mandelstam Theater in South Miami, from December 12th through December 14th. Acclaimed puppeteer Noel MacNeal (The Muppets, Bear in the Big Blue House, Sesame Street) and South Florida composer Jim Camacho, along with children actors, professional actors, and puppeteers, will enchant you in this family-friendly retelling of The Nutcracker, from the mice’s point of view.

Last year’s sold out shows prompted a third matinee performance this season. Tickets are $20 online and can be purchased at Mouse King Tickets.

Showtimes are as follows:
Friday, December 12th, 7pm.
Saturday, December 13th at 2pm
Sunday, December 14th at 2pm

I have a special treat for Brandon’s Puppy readers. We are giving away two tickets to opening night! Simply fill out the Rafflecopter below and complete the required entries for your chance to win. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Around Town, Entertain Me, Giveaways | 1 Comment

Disney’s #BigHero6 is so nice we saw it twice!

Disclosure: My family and I were invited to attend a pre-screening of Disney’s Big Hero 6. All opinions are my own.

About two weeks ago, we were invited to a pre-screening for Big Hero 6 in preparation for the round table interview with Genesis Rodriguez we were invited to. All four of us thought the movie was awesome, and the boys begged and pleaded that we go see it again during opening weekend.

Today was that day: Big Hero 6 opened nationwide in theaters this past Friday, November 7th, and our own little team of 6 (my two boys, my three nephews and my niece), along with my two sisters and I, went to a screening this afternoon.

Not sure what the movie is about? Here are the details:

OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE
With all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Big Hero 6” is an action-packed comedy-adventure about robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who learns to harness his genius—thanks to his brilliant brother Tadashi and their like-minded friends: adrenaline junkie Go Go Tamago, neatnik Wasabi, chemistry whiz Honey Lemon and fanboy Fred. When a devastating turn of events catapults them into the midst of a dangerous plot unfolding in the streets of San Fransokyo, Hiro turns to his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—and transforms the group into a band of high-tech heroes determined to solve the mystery. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action, “Big Hero 6” is directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and Chris Williams (“Bolt”), and produced by Roy Conli (“Tangled”).

Overall, everyone loved it! Baymax is so squeezably lovable, who wouldn’t fall in love with him? The city of San Fransokyo is super cool, it’s a cross between Tokyo and San Francisco, with a little bit of Manhattan and Times Square thrown in. And the really great thing about Big Hero 6 is that it isn’t about your typical superheroes. The movie centers on Hiro being a child prodigy, a high school graduate at 14. Hiro, his brother Tadashi, and their friends Go Go Tomago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred are all students at the San Fransokyo Institute of Technology, excelling in robotics, engineering and technology.

Additionally, the girls are just as smart and brave as the boys. Go Go and Honey are just as eager to put on their superhero gear and chase down the bad guy as the boys are. Big Hero 6 proves that smart kids, and smart girls in particular, are cool. Intelligence is a superpower, and as a fellow “nerd”, I love this message!

Here’s what my boys had to say:
Brandon – I loved it, it was awesome! It’s the best movie Disney has ever made so far, even better than Frozen! There are a lot of comedic moments, mostly from Baymax.

Matthew – My favorite part is the fist-bump handshake between Hiro and Baymax, and how silly Baymax is when he has a low battery.

Other things you need to know:

  • Big Hero 6 is rated PG, mainly due to some cartoon violence and a villain who’s a little scary.
  • Don’t miss the new Disney short Feast, showing in front of Big Hero 6.
  • As with all Marvel movies, stick around until after the credits. You don’t want to miss the final scene.

Find out more about Big Hero 6:
Visit the Big Hero 6 website
Like Big Hero 6 on Facebook
Follow Disney Animation Studios on Twitter
Hashtags: #BigHero6, #BigHero6Event, #MeetBaymax

Posted in Disney, Entertain Me, Movies | Leave a comment