She can fly!

When I signed up for the Disney Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend months and months ago, I had big plans.  The Tinkerbell Half was my first Disney race with Meri and Vic so it holds a special place in my heart.  I had been promising my daughter a Disney race for awhile so back when I was feeling super motivated, I signed myself up for all three of the Tink races and signed up my girl for the 5k.  I had high hopes of training and PR’s and what not, but you know how it goes.  Sometimes you accidentally get pregnant.

Luckily, I was able to get a refund for the half and 10k, which, by the way, I thought was super understanding of the peeps at RunDisney.  We decided to go ahead and run the 5k together.  I thought a Disney race would be perfect for Sophie.  Disney races are super family friendly.  There’s always runners of all athletic abilities and all ages.  Sophie’s a very active 11 year old, she plays soccer and runs a lot at practice so I had no doubt she could do this race.  I was more worried about being able to keep up with her!

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She was so excited to have a bib with her name on it. 

We stayed the night close to the park before the race so we could make the 5 am start time and so we could pick up our bibs and hit the expo the night before.  We didn’t plan costumes, mostly because I couldn’t think of anything pregnant friendly that wouldn’t be suffocating. Also, the more pregnant I get the less motivation I have to do stuff.  So when we got to the expo, Sophie found a Tink tee from Raw Threads that she just loved.  Obviously, a girl can’t run her first Disney race without some kind of sparkle, so Sophie got a sparkle skirt and some fairy wings to go with her shirt.  Because that’s how we roll!

The race started right on Main Street, which I haven’t ever experienced in a Disney race before.  There aren’t Corral placements for the 5k, it’s first come, first Corral, and we ended up in Corral C.  Sophie couldn’t contain her excitement.  She whooped and hollered when the MC’s roused the crowd.  She danced and cheered for her favorite songs.  And she was mesmerized when Tinkerbell flew around Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

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Not bad for a last minute costume!

As our Corral moved toward the start line, Sophie was ready to run.  We planned to meet at the finish if we got separated.  I told her about pictures with characters and so she decided she would stop and get pictures and maybe I’d be able to catch up to her.  However, when we finally started, she took off!  I didn’t even get one picture of her running.  There weren’t many characters out for the 5k, so that plan blew.  The whole race I expected to see her walking or at a bathroom or something, but nope, that girl left me in her pixie dust and never looked back.

 

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Our only picture together!

 

I walked my way to the finish and looked for Sophie.  She was no where to be found.  I began to slightly freak out, trying to ignore every worse case scenario that popped into my head.  I decided to check the post-race area before I panicked, and that’s exactly where I found her.  Shoe-less and fresh out of snacks, she flagged me down with a wild wave.  She finished in 38 minutes. It took me at least an hour, so she just hung out for twenty some minutes.  I had no idea she was so responsible and independent!  We headed back to the hotel with our medals proudly displayed.  She wore that medal later that day when we visited the park until she left it in the seat pocket on Big Thunder Railroad.  Luckily, a cast member found it for her and she promptly stowed it in my bag for the rest of the day.

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Best medal ever! 

 

To be honest, I would have skipped the race if it weren’t for Sophie, but I’m so glad we did this.  She made it magical and I love that I get to share this part of my life with her now.  So many changes are happening in her life this year.  She’s getting a new sibling, she’s going to middle school, we’re moving (again!!!), but I hope these races are something we can share for as long as we’re able.  She even wants to do a Ragnar!  Like she said, this can be the start of a family tradition.  She already has costume plans for next year.  That’s my girl!

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Yes You Can (plan a last minute Disney trip!)

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a planner. Some might say that I’m a bit obsessive or extreme but I don’t look at it that way. I know what I like, I know what works for my family, and when there’s a game plan the chances of things going wrong is dramatically reduced.

However that’s NOT how I operate in Disney World! And surprisingly, it works for my family. Want to learn more? Read on!

Walt Disney World is a place where planners and non-planners alike strive to grab the best, the latest, and the greatest. Luckily everything is the greatest when it comes to Disney!

It was our youngest son’s birthday trip and we planned it in a month’s time, which is practically no time when it comes to Disney planning. I mean, Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) open 180 days prior to a Disney trip!

But say you stumble across a last minute trip option, like my family did. Is there still hope? Yes, but you’ve got to be flexible!

The ‘Ohana breakfast in the Polynesian Resort is a favorite of ours. Originally I found a reservation on a Thursday and 11:10am, which I booked. The timing wasn’t perfect but we were willing to make it happen. While checking back, I found an open spot on Tuesday at 9:20! Score! I quickly booked that and canceled the reservation for later in the week, opening it to someone else.

Moral of the story: Check back often! If at first you don’t succeed (or you do but would another time would work better), try, try again!

Speaking of food (because when are we not?) we also got a reservation at Le Cellier Steakhouse in EPCOT. It was the first time ever we were able to nab a reservation… at 3:40pm. We had what we in the Daniel family like to refer to as LINNER, which is lunch and dinner combined. And blew our whole month’s food budget in the process. #soworthit

O Canada!

Who loves steak? This guy, that’s who. (And oh, the rest of us do too!)

We didn’t get to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in the Magic Kingdom. Or Frozen Ever After. There was no Pandora preview for this family. And guess what – we were all a-okay with that. (Although my eldest son was a little disappointed we didn’t get on Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.)

With FastPasses long gone before our trip was even a twinkle in our eye, it was a forgone conclusion that we wouldn’t be waiting 110 minutes in the standby line. Instead, we visited with rides that were tried and true and my kids got to ride “new to them” rides like the Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster (Lucas) and Test Track (surprisingly, Lucas and Gabe!).

We had a few FassPasses ahead of time but mostly, we added FassPasses we were interested in throughout the day. Thank goodness for the My Disney Experience app and WiFi in the park! We made choices that were good for our family as a whole, maximizing the fun time we got to spend together.

The Jungle Cruise

It’s a Small World – Gabe and Grandma

People Mover – Grandpa and Lucas

Toy Story Mania – Grandparents working on their photobombing skills!

Test Track!

Finally and most importantly, when you focus on spending time with your family and being in tune with everyone’s needs, every day is a good day in Disney. Disney is absolutely incredible and has so many things to do, it’s easy to hit the sensory overload point. Crankiness at the Happiest Place on Earth isn’t very much fun so we did our absolute best to keep those cranky moments to a minimum.

We embraced water breaks, ice cream breaks, sitting in the shade breaks, watching the fountains dance breaks, etc. And let’s not forget, in EPCOT my husband and I embraced the drinking around the World Showcase philosophy.

So planners, if you find yourself in a last minute Disney trip situation, don’t stress! There is plenty of fun to be had, food to be eaten, and drinks to be… drank! 😉

Have you ever planned a last minute Disney trip? Have any tips to share? Any “must dos” or “never ever agains”?

Blogaversary Giveaway Winner

We have a winner, Folks! Congratulations to @teachermommy1! We hope you love all your goodies, Megan! May they help you reach your goals in style and comfort.

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Thanks to all of you who participated. We had a record number of entries, which was quite exciting for us! We love you for tweeting, visiting us on Facebook, and commenting on our Blogaversary post. Your comments touched us. <3

We’re really quite grateful for you. Thank you for choosing to spend some of your time with us. We’re gonna keep working hard to make sure that time is well spent.

 

Have a topic suggestion? Want to see a sewing tutorial on costume making? Have a silly question for us? WE ARE ALL EARS. Tell us about it in the comments!

 

Blogaversary Giveaway – We’re 3!

We love this time of year because we get to celebrate when it all started. And by all, I mean the silliness and fun and food and all the running. It started with the ladies below: Mer, Vic, Brooke, Cam, Jess, and Bec.

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We’ve been here for three years now, and some things have changed. For instance, we’ve run a lot of races and earned a lot of medals.

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We ran a lot of those races in costume. We really, REALLY like costumes. We might need an intervention.

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Most importantly, we’ve made some amazing friends and have been lucky enough to be a part of the best community in the world, the running community. You inspire us in so many ways, every day. You set your goal, you get out there, and you get it done. You push htrough pain, obstacles, and downward spirals in motivation, and yet you achieve and succeed. We are so proud of you because you. Are. Epic. Thank you for sharing your journeys with us.

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Because you’re so awesome, you deserve a present! We’ve put together a special prize package this year, including a medal rack handmade by yours truly, and some other fabulous stuff from brands we love to support.

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This year’s giveaway includes a custom made medal rack with bib holder and chalkboard, a pair of size S/M PROCompression Socks, a KatieK Active headband and $25 gift certificate, a pair of YakTrax PRO size Medium, a SkirtSports Workout tank size large, a  collectible Disney Vinylmation Mickey Figurine, and a Blistex lip care pack.

To enter, click the Rafflecopter Link below. Good luck!!

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Click here to enter!

The giveaway runs from 2/29/16 – 3/7/16 and is open to United States residents who live in the contiguous 48 states only. Winner will be notified by email on 3/7/16 and has 24 hours to claim their prize. If not claimed in 24 hours, another winner will be chosen. 

Coffee Talk (hold the coffee)

Yeah, I gave coffee up a few months ago. But you go ahead and grab a cup! I’ll wait.

*

Okay! So a few weeks ago I was talking to my ten year old kiddo and he said, “I’m so excited!”  When I asked him “About what?” He responded, “LIFE!”

What a refreshing and honest answer from him! I mean, isn’t life pretty gosh darn exciting sometimes? I’ve been feeling that way, too, and with good reason.

Why? Well, we’ve got a lot of good going on in our lives. Some meh too, but the good far outweighs the bad. And I feel like I haven’t had a chance to chat with you all in so long, you don’t know a couple of the mundane things (like the fact that I gave up coffee) and the not so mundane things. I’ve blogged about races and products, but not about life.

So here’s a LIFE update!

1. Health

In the past few months I’ve turned up the running because I had four races in May.

What you might not know is that during my last eight mile training run for the Broad Street 10 Miler, I felt the very annoying twingle (that’s a twinge and a tingle, all mixed up together) of my plantar fascia.

Again.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dealt with this stupid pain in the foot so I know all the things that can help heal the heel.

Rest, ice, massage, stretching.

You might notice that running isn’t on the list. But I did the Broad Street Run, a Mother’s Day 5k, and Bolder Boulder.

Smile, though your heal is aching.

Smile, though your heel is aching.

I had a 5k scheduled for this past weekend but wisely I decided to skip it. See, I did something smart! Yay me!

My poor foot just needs a break from the constant beating it takes when I run. It’s pissed off and I am well aware of that. So I am going to cool it with the running for the month of June (which does not excite me, I’ll have you know, but I’m aware it’s necessary) and focus on cross training and… food.

2. Food

Food, you are my life now. (Yes, I just Twilight quoted you. I hope you still respect me.)

Let’s talk about this. You might have noticed I’ve been sharing some yummy looking pics on our Instagram lately.

Eggs and fruit, anyone?

Eggs and fruit, anyone?

Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Salsa - I would push people out of the way for this.

Chipotle Lime Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Salsa – I would push people out of the way for this.

Fish taco bowl (mine's without the cilantro because ew).

Fish taco bowl (mine’s without the cilantro because ew).

Y’all, this is stuff we are making at home. We haven’t done take out in over a week. This is a big deal!

So what the heck is going on here? Well, I was fairly certain that I would never, ever, ever do a product challenge. I mean, just call me Taylor Swift because that’s how adamant I was about not doing a product challenge.

And yet… here I am, doing a product challenge.

That will teach me. Folks at my gym are participating in the 24 day AdvoCare challenge and that includes my husband and yours truly. I’m drinking the proverbial Kool-Aid, or should I say Spark, and (prepare yourselves)… I’m actually loving it.

You see, I wasn’t too sure what we were getting into when we originally signed up. It’s a 10 day “cleanse” and then 14 day “max” phase. When I heard “cleanse” I envisioned rabbit food and not a whole lot else. But as you can see from the pics, we are eating. Eating like kings and queens, even!

It’s a lot of prep work and planning but I’ve got to tell you, I’m on day 6 as I’m writing this 5/31, and I’m down 5.2 pounds. But more importantly, I’ve got a ton of energy and a renewed sense of accomplishment. Doing the healthy living/eating thing can get sort of rut-like after awhile and this has helped snapped me out of that! I’m hopping up and down (on one foot, to give my left one a rest).

I’ll keep you posted with the final results. We finish the 24 days on the 18th of June.

3. June

First day of June, holla at me! June is really exciting, right? I mean, end of school (for us Jersey folks), long days, sunshine. I love it!

Me with my dear friend Bernadette, 20 years ago.

Me with my dear friend Bernadette, 20 years ago.

My 20th high school reunion is this month. If you’d have told me in high school that not only I would be going but I’d be paying over $100 to attend, I probably would not have believed you.

Actually, I would have laughed in your face.

Yet, I’m going. And not only that, but I’m actually looking forward to it. Life is weird. And exciting.

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Just as exciting, I’ve been invited to the Disney Social Media Moms event in New York City!

I was very appreciative to be invited to last year’s Philly event and although timing didn’t work out for me to make it to this year’s Florida conference, I’m thrilled that I’ll be at the NYC On the Road celebration.

Disney is very good at bringing the magic along with them and paired with awesome speakers and great attendees, it makes for a party-like atmosphere that cannot be compared.

The new business cards are on their way and I’m hard at work figuring out what I’m going to wear. I’m thinking Disneybounding might just be in order. Zip a dee doo dah! 

And don’t even get me started about July! 

But enough about me. Now it’s your turn! Tell me about your life. What exciting things do you have on the horizon for June? Will I be seeing you at the Disney Social Media Moms NYC? Or perhaps at my house for dinner (open invite!)?

2015 #PrincessHalf Picture Pages

A week ago today, I was headed south to run through Walt Disney World with 24,000 other runners. I ditched my car in a snowbank in the airport’s economy lot and ran from the -6 degree weather all the way to sunny Florida.

For the third time in four years, I was running Disney’s Princess Half Marathon. This race is special for many reasons – I ran it with Meri (and Brooke) in 2012 as Meri completed her first-ever 13.1, I get to spend time with so many friends, and (duh) Disney.

But most importantly, I love that the entire weekend is a celebration of women, for women.

Princess flyfishing Feb 2015 153Cinderella in rags before the big race

I packed much into my weekend with an impromptu solo trip to Magic Kingdom on Friday, (BRR!) a day at the expo working the Sparkle Athletic booth and the race, followed by an evening romping through EPCOT and quite possibly the most perfect ride on the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – seriously, there was a 20-minute line and we rode to fireworks! A new display lit up the sky as we rounded nearly every turn.

But more than anything I loved seeing my wonderful women. You all know who you are!

Without further delay, here are a few of my favorite photos from the weekend:

Princess flyfishing Feb 2015 041Obligatory 2015 Princess Half expo photo

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Visiting with Kelly at the Sparkle Athletic booth. Thanks to all who popped by to visit me on Saturday!

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 DUMBO!

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You know I did. Sadly, all Disney-themed Starbucks mugs were sold out.

Princess flyfishing Feb 2015 100Night view of Cinderella’s Castle on my solo tour of  MK

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Carb-loading on naan with the lovely Jillian

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Bookish Belle (Carrie) and Servant Cinderella at the race start! Moments after this was taken we learned news of the newest runDisney event – half marathon weekend at Disneyland Paris in Sept. 2016.

Princess flyfishing Feb 2015 164I’ve wanted to stop for this shot for years but never wanted to wait in line. This year, I did it! Love the pic too

Princess flyfishing Feb 2015 168Me and the villians! I can never resist posing with these ladies

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Love this view! Main Street USA

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Castle selfie!

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Just after mile 12, I fought back tears as I saw these signs. This was the first runDisney race I ran without seeing Peggy Sue and her iconic sign. She passed away last month. I spotted what appeared to be her sign held by who I believed to be her family. It was so moving – and took me longer than I expected to control my emotions – and breathing – for the next minutes. We love you Peggy Sue.

I started the race with a slightly tweaked back and didn’t know when it would give out on me. I was hoping it wouldn’t be an issue, but alas, mile 11.5 it reared its ugly head. I probably should have walked then and there, but I wanted to be done. So off I went – through EPCOT and high-fiving Mickey at the finish. Final time 2:02 and 1000th place. (I just looked it up and smiled when I saw my number. I’m a number geek.)

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I repeatedly ran into the lovely Faith over the weekend. At the expo, the finish line and again getting margaritas in Mexico. #nationalmargaritaday

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For the second straight year, I stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. I love this place and it’s incredible views of the animals and hospitality. Til next time!

What was your favorite part of Princess half weekend? Do you ever hit the parks alone? What was your race strategy?

Goofy Giveback: I’ll take one of those, please!

Earlier this month, runDisney announced that they were going to take a certain amount of Goofy Race and a Half Challenge registrations (that’s a half and a full marathon for those who don’t speak the runDisney lingo) and split them, giving runners the option to sign up for the previously sold out half marathon and full marathon.

Since participating in the Dumbo Double Dare I’ve been sort of bummed that I didn’t have another Disney race on my dance card. The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge still had room; however, I already decided that I’m not quite ready for a full marathon… let alone a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.

BUT THEN, the Goofy Giveback came along and the wheels in my head started turning! I’m sure this surprises exactly no one.

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What’s a girl to do? I wanted to sign up. But should I? How would we swing it? Could we make it happen?

From what I hear, winter is going to be capital W-I-N-T-E-R this year in my area. It was pretty rough last year and I slowly but surely lost my mind. I know that I’ll need something to keep the blues away in January. Plus there’s running in costume! And race selfies! And my favorite characters!

Well, needless to say, Christmas came a little bit early for me this year and I’m now registered for the half marathon. Isn’t that the MOST? To say the least!

What’s more is that I’ll be running with Brooke, which is always beyond words in terms of fun. She is the best cheerleader and since she’s coming off of her injury and I’m fairly consistent with my training at this point, we might even be able to pull a PR for me.

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To say that I’m super excited for January would be an understatement! I’m actually looking forward to winter, which is a rarity for me.

Have you taken advantage of the Goofy Giveback? The half has sold out (as of earlier today). The full is at 91% so if you’re interested, act now. Or, if you want to do the Goofy race and a half challenge, don’t delay because it’s 98% full!

Or, were you a planner and signed up when registration opened? In other words, who should I look for in January?

I’m Going to a Conference and I’m Going to Bring…

Throughout the years I’ve attended my fair share of conferences. Residence Life, sorority (Phi Sigma Sigma – LITP!), Stroller Strides… all awesome and inspiring in their own rights, though quite a few years ago at this point.

Disney Social Media Moms Philly Celebration was my first blogger conference; I chatted about the overall experience here.  Leading up to the big day, there was a lot of discussion about what you should bring along and expect on the event’s Facebook page.

While this list isn’t the end-all-be-all, here are few things that worked for me and might help you out for upcoming conferences!

1. A BIG OL’ SMILE

Val-Jamie-Mer-BethHey there, hi there, ho there! You’re as welcome as can be!Valerie, Jamie, myself and Beth

many thanks to Beth of http://columbus.macaronikid.com/ for this pic!

First and foremost, a smile and an attitude of gratitude. With those two things, you cannot fail. Everything else in this post is secondary. I was fortunate enough to meet Valerie, Jamie and Beth at the start of the day, along with some other lovely attendees. They immediately put me at ease and gave me… confidence.

2. CONFIDENCE

For the Disney Social Media Moms event, you applied and then you were invited based on your application. Other conferences are done via registration. Whether it’s by invitation or registration, chances are you want to be in attendance, and conversely the conference coordinators want you to be there!

Nerves are natural and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t somewhat nervous at the start of the day. In fact, I’m always a bit nervous meeting new people. It must be a remnant from my shy teen years.

I’ve come to find that when I look good, I feel good. This is a common theme for most people, yes? I hemmed and hawed over what I was going to wear because I wanted to be comfortable, but adorable.

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I landed on the dress (Modcloth) immediately but shoes are always a bit tricky for me because I live in running shoes. I took an Instagram poll on which shoes I should wear with my Ready, Wheeling and Able bicycle dress and the overwhelming response was the nude shoes.

Except the first time I wore them, I got a huge gash on the back of my heel. No bueno!

So I wore the red shoes to the conference and my tootsies were thanking me for it. Plus, people were thinking that I was going for the Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz look. Bicycles. Blue dress. Ruby red shoes. I TOTALLY DID NOT SEE THAT. (Pat pat, Meridith. Way to be observant.)

My point is that I totally love my bicycle dress. I adore my little red shoes with the kitten heels. I felt comfortable and confident and ready to take on the world. And the conference!

3. BUSINESS CARDS

Just as your smile and confidence present who you are in person, business cards are a big factor in representing you and your brand, especially after the conference is over.

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Using the header from our blog on one side and the Scoot a Doot logo on the other side with our information, we tied our blog/twitter/Facebook and business cards together for consistency. We ordered a bazillion (or five hundred) from Vistaprint.

Trading business cards is nearly as much as fun as pin trading!

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Some of the cards I collected along the way.

As you go around and chat with people, you share cards. That way you can stay connected post event and you’re not wasting time scribbling down contact info on scraps of paper. Additionally, many conferences have door prizes. How do you enter? Business cards, of course.

4. MAKING THE ROUNDS

The doors to the conference room opened at 8am and everyone rushed in to grab seats and explore. Being Disney, there was something to do or look at every which way.

Not going to lie, I was all over the place. I wanted to take pictures and I wanted to talk to people. There was so much to do, so much to see! AND I WANTED TO DO IT ALL.

This is very clever on Disney’s part because the picture opportunities are a built-in ice breaker.

taniakristenRocking My Disney Side with Disbroads Tania and Kristen

Give Disney fans props and proceed to party! This photo booth style set up was perfect for people who wanted to take pictures. Plus, you get to make friends with the people around you to ask if they’ll take your picture. Or heck, take a picture with you. Win win!

The bummer is that you won’t get to talk to everyone. I saw people I recognized from Facebook, Twitter, and past runDisney events who I would have loved to chat with in person but unfortunately there just wasn’t enough time to make all the rounds. There’s always next time! (Or later – hint, hint – check out number 6.)

5. YOUR THINKING CAP

The clacking of keys from laptops, the quick and nimble fingers flying over Smartphone screens, the scratching of pens and pencils on paper… there was no doubt that it was a social media conference. For me, one of the big questions was: How do you par down what you choose to share and where?

For me, I tried to tweet information on Twitter that I thought were interesting and different. Fun little tidbits which would interest people who weren’t at the conference. I also didn’t want to be so absorbed with being on social media, that I missed what was going on around me (it’s been known to happen). Therefore, I stuck to pen and paper for most of my notes – occasionally hopping on to Twitter/Facebook/Instagram to share things during down time. Find what works best for you and roll with it!

And remember, bring all your electronics juiced up and ready to go. Electrical outlets are a hot commodity!

6. TIME AKA HOOKING UP BEFORE OR AFTER THE ACTUAL CONFERENCE

If you have the opportunity to spend time before or after the event with attendees and feel comfortable and safe doing so, it’s a great opportunity to extend the experience. Attendees and hopefuls of the Philly event created a Facebook page to connect prior to the event. A few opportunities were set up prior and post the conference with nearby vendors, thanks to Aunesty.

Since I was local to the event, I didn’t have too much time to spend sans mom hat, so sadly I didn’t get to partake in those. However, Destiny, Jamie and I were able to make Cheesecake Factory happen!

dsmmlunch

Like I said earlier, I was a little nervous going into the day but by the time the conference was over and I was ready for lunch, joining up with these ladies seemed like the fantastic idea. We were able to prolong the magic, chat about the conference and life. I felt like I’d know them forever!

There you go! Just a couple of little tips and tricks that I found to be helpful during my first social media conference. Did I miss something? Have you found something helpful that you’d like to share with me and readers? Please comment!

The City of Motherly Love – Philly’s Disney Social Media Moms Celebration

Immediately following the Disney Social Media Moms conference in Philadelphia last Thursday the text messages, tweets, and phone calls started rolling in asking the details of the event. I might have been a little excited about it and may have talked about it non-stop for the weeks leading up to it. #yesitotallydid

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The short answer: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

The long answer: Um, how much time do you have?

Seriously though, it’s taken me a few days to coherently put together this post because there was so much I took away from the five hour morning session.

It wasn’t even just about what was said, it was the entire experience; in particular the camaraderie with people I was meeting for the first time or whom I’d only conversed with via social media. To not only put a face to the names (and in some cases put a real name to the screen name) isn’t something that happens nearly enough, in my opinion. Having face time (not the app), and being able to look someone in the eye while chatting about common interests and goals is what life is about!

Breathing the same air as Disbroads Tania and Kristen was pretty spectacular.

Breathing the same air as Disbroads Tania and Kristen was pretty spectacular.

What can I tell you about Disney’s Social Media Moms Philly event, without sounding too much like a toddler in my storytelling (and then, and then, and then) and also without leaving anything out? Summarizing is difficult, but here are a few kernels of wisdom I gleaned that are applicable to life in general.

memoriesfun

Disney are fun makers and as such, are memory makers. My one and only college spring break experience was Disney. My husband and I honeymooned there eleven years ago. Brooke and Vic joined me for my first 13.1 experience at the Princess half marathon in 2012. I’ve adored bringing my children there as the years have galloped past at astonishing speeds. The list goes on!

Disney has a wonderful recipe of mixing magic, Imagineering, and an enthusiasm for connections. Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager for Disney Parks blog, shared a favorite story of a very special lost teddy bear finding his way back home… but not before having a little fun in the parks. The blog post really touched readers because it encapsulated values that we love to see within people and within our favorite companies.

Applying this to my life is definitely not as magical as in the Disney Parks but I do try to incorporate the same type of thought process through my days. I choose positivity, gratitude and overall goodness and gravitate toward those who do the same.

This guy knows all about making memories!

This guy knows all about making memories!

Three of the speakers were Huggies brand MomInspired grant winners and while I don’t have a current business plan for which I’m seeking a grant, I definitely related to the moms on this panel. Lead by Maria Bailey of Mom Talk Radio much of the conversation was based on how to balance time as a mom and time working on their projects.

Well, let’s just say that this was my tweet earlier today…

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Yep, rookie mistake. Maria made the point of suggesting that you make sure to look at the white of your children’s eyes when they are speaking to be present within the conversation. As such, I shut down the computer and took them to the pool club where we all played in the pool together for two and a half hours. (Now one is napping and the other is reading. Sweet blissful quiet, you are welcomed with open arms!)

The ladies on the panel told us about their products, shared a bit about their thought processes and also how they went about getting to where they are today with their ideas. Dispensing one piece of advice has to be incredibly hard to do because Amy, Kristi and Jen all worked very hard in following their dreams but they each narrowed it down.

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Prior to the On the Road event, the organizers requested each of the attendees to share their favorite Disney Side picture and for me, that was like asking me to pick my favorite child! Pretty much impossible! However, I finally went with the picture that I have on my Meet Meri page because I feel like it encapsulates my love affair with Disney pretty thoroughly.

We were surprised with by HP’s Noah Lomax with this bit of awesomeness…

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HP Photo Card Pack with one card that had ME showing my Disney Side. Sweet!

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE REAL LETTERS.The fact that we were provided with this adorable card (is it narcissistic to say this?) and a stamped envelope to send along to anyone we so desired. I’m only a little obsessed with postage, you will find me window shopping for custom envelopes on sites like http://www.agenvelopes.com.au/ instead of browsing facebook and social media. Mom and Dad, I hope you enjoyed getting real mail from your adorable daughter.

These days the written word is very often limited to those we read on the computer screen, however I do believe there is something very special about receiving correspondence via the letter carrier. This gesture from HP was appreciated!

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The day wrapped with health and fitness guru, the Mojo Coach, Debi Silber. I found myself nodding in agreement with many of the points she made during her presentation.

Debi explained that as moms, we are capable of doing so much. And because of that, we do so much… until we can’t. We get overloaded, bogged down, and take on too much until the wheels fall off (or the mom starts pulling her hair out of her head). That was something that really spoke to me.

Because yes. YES, YES, YES.

It’s why I carve out the time that I need to go to the gym, to get a run in, to go to a Disney Social Media Moms conference (even though it was the last day of school): to make time for me. My belief system, my internal monologue, used to be a lot of excuses… reasons why I couldn’t or shouldn’t do something. It has been updated in the past couple of years to I can and I will.

It’s all interconnected; a lot of what this conference encapsulated was finding and maintaining balance, embracing off-the-wall ideas (or 10pm typos that turn into something wonderful à la Gary Buchanan – ahem, the DIAPER DANS anyone?) and looking to tap into the childlike wonder that hides within us all.

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Have you ever been to a social media celebration? This was my first but I would love to participate in more – I had a blast! There’s so much more I’d love to share about this one that I just might have to do another post.

Let’s celebrate! Disney Social Media Moms On-the-Road

The past few weeks have been crazypants. I say that in the most loving way possible because it’s all for the greater good, in both my life and the lives of my loved ones. It’s just been a lot.

All the lots.

I’m heavily involved with the PTO at Pooks’ elementary school and the end of the year is barreling down on us. There’s still so much to tackle: field trips, fundraisers, Pride Day (t-shirt and shirt orders to sort along with it, natch), and so forth. But this week in particular is extra busy because we are celebrating the teachers and staff during Appreciation Week, along with our lovely school nurse on Nurses Day.

I’m trying to focus on the celebration aspect of things because hey, who doesn’t like a good party? Plus, these are the educators who have done an amazing job with my son for the past three years and will be welcoming my Little with open arms in 2016 and guiding him through first through third grades.

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Now I have yet another reason to celebrate! On Cinco de Mayo, in the midst of the Appreciation Week launch, I received the happy news that I’d been invited to participate in the Disney Social Media Moms (or DSSM) Celebration – On-the-Road in Philadelphia! The City of Brotherly… or should I say MOTHERLY Love, in this instance, and furthermore it’s the city I consider “mine”.

Philadelphia is one of three stops the latest On-the-Road tour hits, the other two being Chicago and Phoenix. It will be such a terrific opportunity to meet people and to LEARN from other strong and empowering women. I know I’ll be taking so much away from the experience and hopefully I’m able to make meaningful contributions as well! I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

This week we celebrate educators, those who shape and mould our children’s lives. This weekend we celebrate motherhood. And on June 19th, I’ll be celebrating with Disney Social Media Moms!

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Have you been to any of Disney’s On-the-Road events? I’d love to hear about it; tell me about it in the comments!