Update On The #OneMileChallenge

#onemilechallenge for Syria

It’s been 15 days since my friends and I started the #onemilechallege campaign. In 15 days we have created a Facebook group with 800 members, shared various videos and photos of challenges and raised over $1100 for World Vision and the Syrian Refugees. We are thrilled! It isn’t an exorbitant amount of money, but it’s far more than we could have done alone. We have also managed to spread awareness and knowledge to many people about just what is happening in Syria.

Over the last two weeks, I’ve had many questions sent to me, which I’d like to answer on here, just in case anyone else has the same questions.

imagine life as a  syrian refugee

What exactly is happening in Syria and why are people fleeing their own country?

The violence in Syria began in March 2011 and the middle eastern country has been crippled by a brutal civil war ever since. Since then, the United Nations estimates more than 200,000 people have died in the clashes between President Bashar al-Assad’s government and rebel forces who want him out. Bombings are destroying crowded cities and horrific human rights violations are widespread. Basic necessities like food and medical care are sparse. The UN’s Refugee Agency says more than four million people have fled Syria to neighboring countries, and over half of those are children— the worst exodus since the Rwandan genocide 20 years ago. (This information comes from BBC, the White House and MercyCorps.)

Do I have to take and share a video of myself to take part in the #onemilechallenge?

Absolutely not! There are so many ways to join us and show and share the love! You can do the #onemilechallenge and take a photo (instead of a video) to share. You can share the blog posts, photos and articles we share with your friends, challenge others, join our Facebook group (the #onemilechallenge) and/or make a donation to mycause.worldvision.org/team/onemilechallenge (or a charity of your choice…we just want to send help!)

How do you know the money being donated is going to the Syrian Refugees and how are you keeping track?

We have contacted World Vision to ask them these same questions! We created a fundraising page (mycause.worldvision.org/team/onemilechallenge) with World Vision in order to assure that the funds we raise all go towards the Syrian families and children affected by this crisis. This page also keeps a running tally of how much we have raised.

How are the funds raised being used?

This is taken directly from World Vision’s website:

You’ll help refugees and internally displaced people with life-saving essentials like:

  • Food
  • Safe, clean water
  • Critical emergency supplies
  • Access to basic healthcare and education
  • Child Friendly Spaces to give traumatized kids a safe space to play

Shouldn’t we be helping people in our own country first?

To be quite frank, I hate this question. It’s a touchy subject for many, which often leads to a political conversation that I do not enjoy having. However, I will do my best to answer this question in the most honest and appropriate way.

We should help everyone who needs help in whatever ways we can. It is impossible to choose the number-one-most-in-need group of people to support. All around the world people just like you and me are in desperate need of help. Some of these people are your family, friends, neighbors… some are family, friends and neighbors to others. The truth is that we all belong to each other. The sooner we remember that, the sooner we find peace. It is understandable that this cause may not be your top choice of causes to support and that is okay. What I ask of you is simply to help others. Volunteer, donate, read, learn, be aware, spread awareness, lift others up and be the change in the world you want to see. I do not believe that any one group of people is more important than another group of people. We all deserve love, safety and happiness. I hope this challenge brings just that to some of the many Syrians living in need.

If you have anymore questions for me, the group or World Vision, ask away! We would love to answer and share your questions! Thanks so much for following us and showing so much love and support. We are truly making a difference!

fundraising for Syrian refugees

Oh and BTW, yesterday we started an Intagram account for the #onemilechallenge. Follow us @one_mile_challenge!




Still Running, Still Training

I announced that I am training for a half marathon about a month ago, and I think it’s time for an update. I want to share the highs and lows of this training experience with you not only to keep myself motivated, but hopefully to motivate some of you to get out there and do something you didn’t think you were capable of doing. My announcement was just to let you know what I’m going to do and to ask for your encouragement, but now it’s time to share what this experience has been like thus far and what I’ve learned.

running quote

It is not easy to run. I ran track and cross country for a short time in high school, and kind of thought it wouldn’t be hard to get back into that mind frame and athletic shape. Honestly, I am in better shape now than I have ever been. I am strong, flexible and have lots of cardio endurance. However, I am also older. My body has had a lot of wear and tear over the years, and of course, I’m on medication for my blood pressure since birthing Luna. These two obstacles have really thrown me and my body for a loop when beginning the training process.

My meds keep my heart rate lower, which makes cardio-work really weird. I have to plan around when I take my meds to when I run, and it still never feels quite normal. I don’t mind the challenge. In a way, it makes me feel stronger. I am always reminding myself on long runs that I am tough and strong, and that I want Luna to see me over-coming the obstacles in my life that are trying to hold me back. I won’t let them.

running is..

My body is a whole different obstacle in itself. I have scoliosis which effects my hips and causes me to run with a form that isn’t acceptable by any trainer. This often causes shin splints. I also made a HUGE mistake and ordered new running shoes online without ever stepping foot in any sort of sports or fitness shoe store. These shoes were totally wrong for me and over a couple of months made my shin splints a thousand times worse and gave me plantar fasciitis. Ouch.

After taking about 6 weeks off, seeing a physical therapist and getting professional advice at Fleet Feet , I am finally healing and running in proper shoes and socks. Oh, does it make a world of difference to have the correct running gear and attire!

Before taking the time off to heal, we (Bella and I – my running partner) were running up to 8 miles. After the break, I had to start my training from the very beginning. This past weekend I ran a 10k and that 6.4 miles is the longest I’ve run in a couple of months. I wasn’t as fast as I’d hoped to be (8:42/mile pace), but I wasn’t terrible either. The good news is I still have 5 months until the Disney Princess Half-Marathon and I am not giving up.

our running group running a 10k
Our running group!

I am now rolling out my feet and legs, icing my shins, using kinesiology tape and listening to my body very carefully. My biggest fear is getting injured and not being able to compete in the Glass Slipper Challenge. I’ve got to be smart and safe.

workout partners

I love the quote, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you”. I want to be changed . I want to be stronger. I want to be wiser. I want to understand what it means to be a runner and I want to grow as a person. It’s hard and sometimes scary, but I know I’ll come out stronger and smarter when it’s all said and done.

Are any of you signing up for new challenges? I’d love to hear about them!


A Sunset Safari in Nashville

Sunset Safari at the Nashville Zoo

Last week, Husband and I went on a date. But, not just any date…a safari. A sunset safari to be exact. A sunset safari in the rain with unlimited drinks and food to be even more exact. It was the best. Remember my review of the Music City Food and Wine Festival last year? Yeah, it was about a billion times better than that.

date night at the zoo
Look at us being all cute and coupley.

The Sunset Safari is an annual fundraiser for the Nashville Zoo. It’s a glamorous night of the city’s best food, and drinks, live music and even special animal guests. Everyone dresses semi-fancy (“safari chic”), which I was a little unprepared for, but it didn’t really matter. This year’s event was to celebrate the opening of the spider monkey exhibit coming next year.

night out at the zoo
I’m free! Kid free! Woohoo!!!

It rained from the moment we pulled into the parking lot, till the moment we left, but it honestly didn’t bother us a bit. Sure, washing and blow drying my hair for the first time in a month was all in vain, but after a few drinks, I didn’t seem to care. Plus, I got to put my boots and umbrella to use. We started our night in the Patrons Party and VIP Lounge where I was immediately handed a glass of champagne and some sort of amazing sweet potato and brussel sprout dish. There were so many servers walking around handing out drinks and hors d’oeuvres that I couldn’t eat and drink fast enough. I’m pretty sure it was like glimpsing into heaven.

sweet potato and brussel sprout appetizer

After tasting every single dish we made it outside to the “main event”. This is where the party actually began. We were able to walk the trails of the zoo at night, in the rain while enjoying food and drinks from some of Nashville’s top restaurants. Does it get any better? Oh yes, it does. We also got to get up close and personal with owls, a kangaroo, a tortoise, a bird, wild dog (related to a dingo) and look at the flamingos. It was such a romantic atmosphere.

giant owl

Some of my favorite vendors were Acme Feed and Seed, City Winery, Frothy Monkey, El Jimador Tequila, The Local Taco, The Melting Pot, Nordstrom Sixth and Pine, Padrino’s Pops, Pickers Vodka, Watermark, Sambuca and Whiskey Kitchen, just to name a few. Every vendor had a beautiful setup to display their gourmet treats and cocktails. It was easy to eat our fill and then some.

cake balls moonshine

The Safari Sunset has got to be the best fundraiser in town. It’s pricey, yes, but you get your moneys worth in food and drink. Beyond the unlimited treats, you also get to enjoy a very unique night out at the zoo. It’s unlike any other food and wine festival I’ve attended, and while it’s much smaller, I think it’s comparable to Disney’s food and wine festival, as far as atmosphere and food quality goes.

spinach queso pickers vodka

If you missed this year’s Sunset Safari, have no fear, it’a an annual event! Hope to see you there next year!


A Quick Escape

We have recently returned from a very quick and very relaxing trip to the Gulf of Mexico… Panama City, to be exact. We took a “friend getaway” to give summer a proper send off, and that kind of send off is really only appropriate at the beach. It’s been a while since I’ve been to a Florida beach and holy moly, I had completely forgotten how gorgeous Florida beaches are!


White sand, turquoise water that’s clear to the bottom…doesn’t get any better. The weather was perfect. It was breezy and a little cool in the morning and evening. The kind of weather that requires a comfy sweatshirt, a cup of coffee and long walks on the beach. Basically, my idea of a perfect morning/evening.

Luna on the dock

During the day it was sunny and warm. It was just warm enough to swim, but not so hot you want to die. We jammed to some classic 90’s hits while Luna threw sand all over us. We went swimming in the clear water and spotted fish (or “shoes” as Luna calls them), crabs, stingrays and jelly fish.



fall starbucks cup

I’d never used a selfie stick until this trip and I’m kind of ashamed to say that I loved it. It was so much fun to play with and take pictures that captured all of us and the background. I know I’m like a year behind, but what can I say? I’m a 30-year old Mom, it happens.

where my beaches at
Because we love our Victoria Secret tanks.

I was really dreading our drive to and from Florida, and kind of doubted it would be worth the short trip, but I am so thankful we went. It was just the kind of relaxing getaway we all needed.

luna on the beach

We played games, watched movies and trash TV, we talked, rented scooters, cooked dinner and just spent quality time together. Husband and Derek even did the #OneMileChallenge on one of our walks, and I did a second one.

uncle derek and luna
Luna and Uncle Derek, or Uncle “Dick” as Luna says.

We hangout with our friends all the time, but it’s a completely different experience when you travel and stay with friends. Serious bonding happens. We are really lucky to have friends that want to spend that kind of time not only with us, but with Luna.

friends are family

I just love seeing them love our baby. They are our family too.

mom and luna on the beach

If you have an opportunity for a quick getaway with friends, take it! I felt completely recharged for the upcoming week. (Thank God, because it’s already been a heck of a week.)


Saltwater, good conversation and sunsets like this will make anyone feel at peace with the world..

Happy Humpy Day!


Celebrating the Beginning of Fall

*Written on September 23rd, just have not been able to post!

Cheekwood Harvest

It’s fall! Today is the first day of fall and for the first time ever I am SO excited! Typically, I want summer to last until the week of Christmas and start again after the New Year, but this year I have been so antsy waiting for Fall to start. Maybe it’s because I’ve had to run in the heat this year, or maybe I’m just super excited about Fall festivities with Luna? Whatever it is, I’m pumped! I kicked off the Fall fun a day early by taking Luna to the Cheekwood Harvest.

white pumpkins at cheekwood

Cheekwood is gorgeous year round, but oh my, there is something so special about the Harvest. There are pumpkins galore! Luna really liked touching the different bumpy ones, looking at the different colors and most of all, counting the baby ones…

counting pumpkins
“one, two, one, two, one, two…”

The scarecrow walk is always fun. Last year there was an abundance of Olaf scarecrows. This year’s trend seemed to be minions.

minion scarecrow

My fav this year
My fav this year

One reason I wanted to go on a Tuesday was to take advantage of Cheekwood’s “Tuesday for Tots” program. Every Tuesday from 10am-12pm they offer a free art lesson for toddlers and preschoolers. I will say it is more geared towards preschool aged children, but I’ve taken Luna a few times and we always enjoy it. The art projects are always really creative and turn out adorable. They offer smocks for the kids to wear, all the supplies, help, plenty of space and a place to hang your artwork to dry while you walk around the gardens.

Tuesday for Tots Tuesday for Tots at Cheekwood

Every time we go to Cheekwood we spend some time watching the trains. I was thrilled to find that the train exhibit has been completely redone since my last visit. The trains were incredible before the makeover, now they are just amazing. There are multiple levels, tons of tunnels, bridges, mountains and towns. It is very cool and impressing for children and adults.

cheekwood trains

While Luna was looking through the window of the gazebo with an adorable little boy we just met, I just had to snap a photo. About 2 seconds after that photo was taken Luna leaned too far forward and very quickly flipped forwards, feet flying over her head and landed in the train exhibit. (She’s fine.) I got her fast as lightning, and the second I realized she was fine, I was SO embarrassed. There were dozens of other Moms watching who all managed to keep their children from falling into the exhibit. I’d like to think no one was judging, but I still high-tailed it out of there for a picnic as fast as possible.

and just 2 seconds later...
and just 2 seconds later…

We really enjoyed our morning and early afternoon at the Cheekwood Harvest. Not that I’m surprised… we always enjoy Cheekwood. BTW the Harvest is from September 19 – November 1. Not a bad way to start Fall if I do say so myself!

picnic at cheekwood

How are the rest of you celebrating the first day of fall?


The One Mile Challenge

Remember, when I wrote about my anxiety over the Syrian Refugees and how I promised that I would find a way to help? Well, this is it. I have a plan. It is BIG and my expectations are probably unrealistic, but I’ve always been a dreamer, so why not dream big? Dare to dream with me…

It turns out I wasn’t the only one desperately wanting to help. After I shared that post, a couple of friends contacted me and we immediately began brainstorming. We (me, a few close friends and my Aunt Amy, the brains behind it all) have decided to create a #OneMileChallenge. The idea behind this challenge is the famous and highly successful Ice Bucket Challenge.


To do the challenge, one must walk one mile with an added challenge. For example, I encourage all Mom’s of babies and toddlers to walk a mile carrying their little one, just as many Syrian Mommies have to do to get their family to safe ground. If you don’t have a small child to carry, try carrying a 20 lb bag of potatoes, a heavy backpack, your dog, whatever! Do the one mile barefoot, in the dark, up a long steep hill or with an elderly relative. For some people, just walking the one mile might be a challenge in itself, and that’s okay! The point is to be challenged, imagine what life would be like had you been born in Syria and were forced to do anything to keep your family safe.

Once, the challenge is completed, take a short video. State what you did (the #onemilechallenge), describe how it felt and most importantly – challenge 3 friends to do the same! If they choose not to do the challenge, then they can donate to http://mycause.worldvision.org/team/onemilechallenge here (you can just paste the link on your status) OR you can share a video and donate! It’s the best of both worlds! The donations will go to World Vision’s Syria Crisis funds. World Vision is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with communities worldwide and tackling the issues of poverty and injustice.

GUYS, I am so excited about this, I think this has potential to do great things! The Ice Bucket Challenge raised over 100 million dollars! Even if we manage to only raise a fraction of that, we will make a huge impact!

mother theresa quote

Why is it important to help? The Syria Refugee Crisis is one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of this century and not enough people are talking about it. Of the 12 million Syrians affected, half are children. HALF. Many are now facing an uncertain future in crowded refugee camps where hope is hard to come by. Worldwide, nearly 60 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes. These people need our help. They need us and the money you donate will go towards providing food, clean water, emergency supplies, access to basic healthcare and education, child-friendly spaces and safe places to play.

Doing the One Mile Challenge not only gives you a bit of understanding and insight to what the refugees experience, but sharing the video and challenging friends spreads awareness and will help raise funds to support the Syrian refugees. Our goal is to inspire you to help those who are suffering and struggling so much further than just one challenging mile. We hope you make a donation, yes, but helping is helping, whether that is by sharing a video, signing a petition, making a donation, volunteering or writing a letter to your state representative. Even if you don’t make a donation toWorld Vision, we hope you help in your own way.

The truth is we can’t even comprehend what these families or their host countries are dealing with on a daily basis.  Innocent families are being bombed, starving and in desperate need of medical attention. HALF of the Syrian refugees are children. CHILDREN. These children are not in school, separated from friends and family, in dire situations and they belong to us. It has been said that, “there is no such thing as other people’s children.” These children are OUR children, and they need our help.

We would love for you to spread the #onemilechallenge like wildfire. Tell your friends, share this post, share the fundraising page; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are all great ways to share too! And, if you’re looking for other ways to help, follow this link and find petitions to sign, organizations to donate to and ways to volunteer.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post. Together, I know we can all make a big difference! Let’s get this thing started!


A Night Out With Peter Pan

Friday night I had the rare and lovely pleasure of getting out of the house and enjoying a cultural night on the town sans family. That’s right, Husband and Baby Girl stayed home while I went to the ballet with my Grandmother and Aunt in-laws (Can I just claim them as my own?). We saw Peter Pan at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and it is now my new favorite ballet.

The Nashville ballet peter pan

Over the last few years, I have been very fortunate and able to see many of the Nashville ballet’s performances. Each year the technique, choreography, costumes and set improve and impress. One of my all time favs is their annual Nutcracker performance, but I honestly liked Peter Pan even more. Clearly, the fact that it pulls on the heartstrings of my Disney-side makes me slightly biased, but it was so much more than just “disney”. It was magical, beautiful and adorable.

the lost boys, nashville ballet

The show is very kid-friendly. In fact, the audience was speckled with children dressed in their themed Peter Pan costumes (awwww). It’s an easy story to follow, the characters are funny, the dances are mesmerizing, the set and costumes are bright and colorful and what kid doesn’t love Peter Pan and Tinkerbell flying, literally flying, around the stage? It’s true. Many characters are attached to harnesses and wire, lifted off the floor and flown around on stage, with a bit of pixie dust to help, of course.

nashville ballet

The beginning of the ballet is set in the children’s nursery and it was my favorite part. It was nostalgic and heart-warming to watch one of my all time favorite stories be told through dance. I couldn’t stop smiling as the “children” mimicked their parent’s dancing, jumped from bed to bed and eventually learned to fly with Peter. When the children do learn to fly and are “off the Neverland” the set changes from their nursery to the night sky and the transformation is breath-taking.

Although, I enjoyed my night out, I couldn’t help but think of Luna and how I cannot wait until she’s old enough to take to a 2 hour ballet, or even better, take ballet lessons.

Sadly, the last performance of Peter Pan is today, but there’s several upcoming performances for the Nashville Ballet, check em’ out here!


P.S. The show might have inspired me to finally select our Halloween costumes for this year!

wendy, peter pan and tinkerbell
hint hint!