Monthly Archives: April 2016

STAR WARS DARK SIDE HALF 2016 – RACE RECAP

Hello there my brunchers – I just got back from a short trip to Walt Disney World to run the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon. So naturally another race another recap! This will be a long one since it was an inaugural year, so bear with me…

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I got into Orlando at 5am on Thursday morning after a red-eye flight on Wednesday night. We should go ahead and rename this trip the early morning trip. On Thursday we started our day at Universal Studios (which I will write more about in another post), then went to the Expo on Thursday afternoon.

After checking into All Star Sports we made our way over the World Wide of Sports via the race weekend transportation to check out the expo and for bib pick up. Picking up our bibs was very simple and quick and so was the expo transportation. Juli and Chris forgot they pre-ordered a commemorative jacket so we had to go pick those up. In the pre-order area there was a second official merchandise booth, so we looked around for a bit but decided to head to the Josten center for the main expo. We ended up purchasing the official jackets and Sweaty Bands for the Dark Side Half. I find the longer you run these races the less official merchandise you need. We also picked up some Good Sense (which we always get) and KT Tape, before heading to Epcot to check out Flower and Garden festival.

On Saturday we had a very early (2:50pm) “dinner” reservation at Mama Melrose in Disney Studio’s to carb load. We decided to eat so early since we had to go to bed even earlier than we normally do. This race was starting at 5am for the earliest runDisney start time ever. We also knew that the walk to the corrals would be a long walk so we had to add more time that what we would normally do (similar to Princess). Just before 6pm we were back at our hotel. I picked up a runners box from the dining hall which had a bagel, peanut butter, banana, granola bar and water. This was a great box to have for the morning!

RUNNER BOX

Then we were back to the room to prep for race day. I had decided to not wear a costume and rep the 501st again with our Imperial Ground Pounder shirt, red Sparkle Athletic skirt, and red Pro-Compression socks. I also wore my Sparkle Skirt Mudbuster Shorts under my sparkle skirt and the new C9 at Target sports bra line that I got to try thanks to Influenster. We rolled, taped up, and hydrated more while watching Dear John – perks of an all girl room. Sometime before 9pm we fell asleep…

Photo Apr 16, 6 26 07 PM

We woke up at a miserable 2:45am and got ready for the race. We always lay everything out and pack our gear bags the night before. I was sure to have my Garmin Vivoactive and Gym Boss Timer, and totally forgot my sunglasses. By 3:15am we were out the door and headed to the busses. We saw our line was non-existence that we were planning for so we popped into the dinning hall and toasted our bagels and got some Powerade to take with us. I have to say the All Star Sports dinning hall was much more runner friendly than when I stay at the Grand Floridian (but I will take Grand Flo any day).

We got to the race start pretty quickly and went to meet up with the costume group Juli was running with, the Princess Slave Leia mash ups. After a a few pics we made our way to the corrals and with a quick prayer Juli and I separated to our corrals. Juli was in C and I was in H. Naturally, H was were the corrals split for entry – so I had to walk all the way down to the L corral entry to walk back up to H (which is were Juli came in).

The race started at 5am and crossed the start line a little over 30 minutes later. We ran a small bit through the back lot before we entered Epcot’s World Showcase. The bathroom lines were a bit crazy here but I ran onto American Pavillon (where they have 2 restrooms) and waited for only about 3 mins to use the restroom. We kept running through World Showcase with no character stops. We exited out to the Boardwalk where the bottle neck everyone will talk about happened. It didn’t bother me too much – I have come to accept a few bottle necks in a runDisney race. I took a deep breathe and made it through. I did pass the character opps with R2D2 and Chewy because the lines were so long and well I have a lot of photos with them, but wish they were in the actual park… I like to soak up the magic.

DARK SIDE HALF RUNNING

The next park we were running through was Studios. Kylo Ren was on a stage with a few first order troopers for a quick photo opp. I snapped a selfie and moved on. This was my first time running through Studios and I felt like we were there for such a short time. The 501st were positioned at various places and once again were the highlight of the race for so many runners. They brought out the most characters and had accessible photo stops for everyone. Way to go guys. Oh and I had run into some friends from the 501st boards that live in Florida and got a hug from a First Order Stormtrooper I know – which made me look super cool (at least in my mind).

501st FIRST ORDER

After leaving Studios we headed out for a long run down Osceola Parkway. This was long, hot and frankly boring. I stopped for the Vader’s Chair picture just to break it up. They had one screen playing a scene from Star Wars but that was it for entertainment. The Princess Half had a lot more road running entertainment. After that long stretch we entered Animal Kingdom, which was another running first for me. I stopped to take a picture with the Tree of Life to commemorate. We kept running on and I stopped for my kind of entertainment watching the monkeys. I could have stayed but after about a minute and a half I decided I needed to move on. Those monkeys are seriously my kryptonite at Animal Kingdom.
TREE OF LIFE

After we left Animal Kingdom we were back on Osceola Parkway to start heading into the finish. They had a few photo opps that we had in California at Light Side (the Wampa Cave and the Trash Compactor) but no characters for another long stretch. We turned onto the the trail (#TRAILRUNNER) to make it back to World of Sports. The speeder bikes I took at picture with at Light Side were on the trail but I was over it. Once we were in World of Sports I knew we were pretty much done. I ran onto the finish. We did have a lot of crowd support at the finish which was nice. I finished with a smile on my face and decent runDisney time – 3:16:24.

FINISH LINE

I got my Half medal and my Kessel Runner Medal for running both the Light Side Half in California and the Dark Side. I waited at the finish area to see more of my Ground Pounder friends and 2 that got engaged at the finish! Seriously the cutest thing ever!

Overall, this was not my favorite runDisney race and I much prefer the energy of light side. Most runners were not in costume which was very unique to a runDisney race. The roads had a lot of slanting which was hard on my twitchy right ankle and a lot of it just felt like a quiet road race. It was definitely lacking the energy you are accustomed to with runDisney races. On a positive note using the Disney photo pass system worked really well!! I mean I look super cute! But lets be real how could I pass up the chance at the Inagural Kessel Runner Medal!

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Did you run the Dark Side Half? What were your thoughts?

What Does It Mean to Be an O.G. Harry Potter Fan?

Hey Brunchers! So I had the most amazing weekend where Jules and I went to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood this weekend! Woah – that name is a mouthful, so lets just call it Harry Potter Land West – k? K!

HARRY POTTER LAND WEST

This had me thinking… In this world of book-tubers just now reading Harry Potter – what does it mean to be an OG Harry Potter reader? Some people call us the Harry Potter Generation and I know that many of my readers are around my age so I am hoping I have some company with this one. (BTW OG = Original Gangster -> basically we are old now)

A little back story – I am currently 27 years old and started reading Harry Potter back in 1999 when Chamber of Secrets came out. I read Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber back to back then had to wait for Prisoner of Azkaban and wait and wait and wait for everything after that. This was all in the days before Facebook, Twitter or YouTube – definitely no #shelfies back then.

So What Does Being an OG Harry Potter Means to Me?:

At 27 years old I own a wand, a Slytherin robe and sweater. I sometimes get weird looks at the Parks but those people have no idea the journey I went on with these books. When I see my fellow OGHP’s decked out and there is an unspoken bond that we all battled and fought together at Hogwarts and we are proud of it.

Knockturn alley

I learned basic HTML coding making fan-sites in the early 2000’s. Like I said – no social media back then. The one online source we did have were basic HTML fan pages started by 12 year old kids which ended up becoming sites like Muggle Net and the Leaky Caldron. Yes we were the creators back then (oh and still are today!) These were the glory days of geocities and anglefire. But who would have thought building your own common rooms would teach us coding! Do you remember geocities?

We had no clue how to say Hermione for like ever! We read the books before the movies were even a thought, and we had no clue how to pronounce any of the names. A bunch of 12 year old American kids trying to figure out how to say Hermione was something to behold. I think the trailer came out and we all said – oh thats what it was…

We waited and waited and waited. The biggest marking of the OG Harry Potter fan is that we had to wait. There was no binge book reading and no next book to start right after finsihing. We had to wait and deliberate on what we thought was going to happen next. Who was good – who was bad? We had to wait. I shared some of my older crazier theories here. The new generation of readers has some idea of what was going to happen or they can just head strait to the next book. I think the unique thing for us was the global pause – no one knew more than you did and it was kind of awesome. You do not want to know how many times I tried to dissect that prophecy – good lawd. I think I drove my mom nuts wanting to talk about the books but that was the entire generation.

Inside your head

Now, people get touchy when we talk about the “Harry Potter Generation” or being an OGHP Fan as I like to say but I want to make it clear that being a Harry Potter Fan has nothing to do with the above. A large and passionate group of us were truly fortunate to literally age up with Harry Potter. Are we better than any other fan? Who know… Probably some of us are and some of us definitely aren’t. But what I will say is that we were lucky. The last Harry Potter book came out the summer I graduated from High School and the last film right after I graduated from college – this was my entire childhood and led me into adulthood. I was one of the lucky ones! That’s probably what being an OG Harry Potter fan really means is that we were lucky!

HOGWARTS LETTER

 

5 Things I am Nerding Out About on a Friday

Ok brunch babes! Here are the 5 things I am currently nerding out about.

1 // ROGUE ONE Teaser Trailer!

RO2

You have to live under a rock to not see the epicness that was dropped on us yesterday morning with the Star Wars: Rogue One Trailer! Talk about WOAH! I am already obsessed with the costumes and am seriously considering the above Jyn Erso costume (rumored gunner) for SDCC!! Imperial to me core!

2 // Dark Side Half Marathon

Star Wars Half Running

I am stoked that on Wednesday I leave for Florida to run the inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon! I will be earning my Kessel Runner Medal for tackling both the Dark Side Half and the Light Side I completed in January (above). Basically stoked!

3 // HARRY POTTER LAND WEST OPENED!

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Ok so technically it is called Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal’s Hollywood Studios – but what a mouthful that is… The grand opening was this week and I will be rolling up to Hogwarts on Sunday – beyond excited to have Hogwarts in my back yard!!

4 // LITTLE MERMAID at the Hollywood Bowl

We are covering all the fanbases here Star Wars, Harry Potter and now Disney! Little Mermaid is having an amazing concert at the Hollywood Bowl with Rebel Wilson, Sarah Barellies, Darren Cris, and Titus (yes Kimmy Schmidt’s Titus) Burgess. I will so be there!

5 // The Minnie Mouse Collection at Sephora

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This is selling out but is sooooo cute! View it / take my money here!

 

What are you nerding out about?

FOOD & WINE – California Style

Hello my brunch lovers! This weekend I was able to check out the amazingness that is the Food & Wine Festival at Disney’s California Adventure.

FOODandWINE Header As many of you know the Food and Wine Festival happens each year at Epcot and started in 1995. The California version ran from 2006-2010 until the major renovations happened in the park. So after 6 years the Food & Wine Festival returned to California!

FOOD & WINE COLLAGE

There are 8 booths are set up in California Adventure that offer a culinary tour of California – each named appropriately like “The Vineyard”, “LA Style” and  “By the Bay”.

We ended up getting something from every booth and split a lot of items. Overall, I would say that the California edition is more expensive than it’s Florida counter part.

My favorites were the White Cheddar Ale and Bacon Soup, the Golden Thai Curry Vegetables and the Wagyu Beef with Polenta (all featured above). Of course, the wine was excellent but this is California we are talking about.

FOOD & WINE Barel

If you are an annual passholder you should be sure to go to the special area at Blue Sky Cellar for your special button, recipe card and phone charging stations!

I would advise against the AP tasting card offered for $45 as you actually will probably spend less on the food. The wine will have you spending more… They seemed to be running out of many items while I was there but be sure and ask even if they announce they are out. We got a few items they said were sold out just by asking.

Overall I would recommend checking this out if you live in the area or will be at Disneyland for vacation! It is fun, delicious and is looking to be very successful!

What would you want to try at Food & Wine?

Life Lately

getting personal

Hey Brunchers! Thought I would share a little life update as I have a few exciting things to share…

You may have seen on my 30 by 30 27th Birthday Recap post that getting a new car was at the top of my priority list. Well over Easter weekend I said goodbye to my first love, my Jeep that I got when I was 16… and got myself a brand new car. I got a 2016 Buick Verano after a lot of shopping and budget work!

Secondly – as many of you know I am a full time nerd girl and part time runner! I am happy to announce that I will be a Momentum Jewelry Ambassador! I have loved their inspirational, fitness friendly jewelry for a long time and I am very excited to help share their positive vibes!

Team Sparkle Virtual 5K Watch

I totally rocked “be the best version of you” on my Team Sparkle Virtual 5k / training run over the weekend!!

501st approved

Oh and I got my second 501st costume approved! My Juno Eclipse – Rogue Shadow costume with a jacket I completely sewed from scratch!! I was pretty proud of this moment since this was a huge sewing project for me! I promise to do a post on my costume build soon!

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Other than that I am totally gearing up for Dark Side and my training has been on point!

Whats been going on with you lately?

WONDERCON 2016 Recap

WONDERCON HEADERHello brunchers! Another Wondercon has come and gone. This year Wondercon was held in Los Angeles over its usual home of Anaheim while the Anaheim Convention Center is under renovation.

I think all the veteran attendees have different feeling for what the change in location meant and how it effected our Con going experience.  Personally this year Wondercon was right in my backyard – well a backyard with traffic. Traditionally, I attend two full days of WonderCon when it was located in Anaheim, but this year I only made it down to the con on Saturday. I did think the panel schedule was a little lack luster compared to previous years, so this year I spent most of my time on the exhibit hall.

One thing I am learning currently is how to balance my 501st activity with my usual favorite things to do while attending a con. I have absolutely loved my experiences with the 501st and constantly want to be helping out and involved but I think I learned that for SDCC I really need to schedule myself to experience everything I want to see. But I mean how badass do we look…

501st Shoot - Con Woman Photography

So onto Wondercon… I had to get there early for our official 501st photo & legion parade. My mom did not have a badge this year so she came to see the shoot and all the activity going on in the lobby. After this her and I went to brunch at LA Live then I went back to the con on my own.

I hung out at the 501st booth for a while then when nerdy girl shopping with my fellow female 501st girls. Michelle came by and said hi – you should check out her amazing Nerd Out app for all your nerdy events!!

After my long day at the con we had a wonderful Geek Girl Brunch at Rosas Mexicano. This was our one year anniversary of the LA Chapter of Geek Girl Brunch and we had an amazing turn out. I got to meet some amazing new people and hang out with old friends as well – oh and margaritas were involved.

GEEK GIRL BRUNCH

Needless to say I am ready for SDCC – big panels on my favorite shows and movies, more amazing times with friends, and the build up to all of it. What are you looking forward too?