Running: WDW Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon

Welcome our new guest blogger, Cristina’s sister, Cara!  You can read about Cristina’s inaugural WDW Star Wars 10K race here.

For a long time, I had a dream of doing a half marathon in Disney World.  When they announced the first Star Wars half marathon in Disneyland, I really wanted to do it.  But then I got pregnant and only wanted to lay on the couch eating McDonald’s.

I had my beautiful baby girl in June 2015.  I did not have an easy pregnancy and was barely active.  I was even on bed rest the last month of pregnancy.  I also ate A LOT of McDonald’s because it strangely was the only thing that didn’t make me nauseous.  I had a lot of work to do afterwards to get back on to a healthy lifestyle.  When the Star Wars half marathon was announced in September, it was just the motivation I needed.  My husband said he would do it too, and on September 29th we officially registered.

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Running: WDW Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side 10K

One of the top things I nerd out about is Star Wars. If you’ve read this blog for long, I think that becomes apparent very quickly. So when Walt Disney World said that they were starting a Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, I was stoked. Star Wars and Disney and running, three things I love! When tickets went on sale in September 2015, I immediately purchased a half marathon bib. I figured that I had all the way until April 2016 to train and that there was no way I was missing the inaugural run. My sister and her husband decided to buy half marathon bibs as well and my other sister and her boyfriend bought 10Ks. My mom, stepdad, and grandparents decided that since all of us kids were going, that they were going to come as well. Now we had a full on family reunion coming up in April!

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Reviewing: 2014 Year in Review – May through September

Part 2 of my 2014 Year in Review.

May

The second weekend of Jazz Fest we saw Bruce Springsteen on the main stage. It was jam packed and hard to hear him and it made us realize that we should never main stage Jazz Fest again. Not worth it.

Bruce Springsteen at Jazz Fest

Bruce Springsteen at Jazz Fest…way too crowded.

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Reviewing: 2014 Year In Review – January through April

2014 was a great year, one filled with fun memories and many great opportunities. Now that grad school is over, I can finally start blogging again, so to start, let’s wrap up last year.

January

We started the year going to Space City Con in Galveston, Texas. We’ve never been there, but we loved it. It was freezing, so we didn’t get to experience the beach/water too much, but it was just so quaint and there were so many cool little places to check out, that we enjoyed just wandering. The con was awesome too, with the highlight being meeting so many Game of Thrones characters (Renly, Loras, Hodor, Syrio, Khal Drogo, and Ros). I’d love to go back and explore, especially the Moody Gardens Hotel, where the con was located.

Games of Thrones actors Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell) and Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon) at Space City Con.

Games of Thrones actors Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell) and Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon) at Space City Con.

February

At the NOLA Comic Con, we were able to meet Matt Smith (11th Doctor), John Ratzenburger, Linda Hamilton, and a few other cool people. Matt Smith was a giant disappointment (which will be in another blog, but the quick story is that I spent all that money for a Matt Smith autograph to have him fly through the line at lightning speed, which wasn’t long at all, and not even look at me. When I said thank you he ignored me), but besides that, we had a blast.

Simpsons illustrator Phil Ortiz Simpsonized me at New Orleans Comic Con.

Simpsons illustrator Phil Ortiz Simpsonized me at New Orleans Comic Con.

I finally got to see one of Kurt’s music obsessions, Neutral Milk Hotel. The first time I heard them, I thought it was The Decemberists, so I was very quickly put in my place that NMH came first and that the Decemberists sound like them, not the other way around. They played on every instrument imaginable, including things like milk jugs, so it was definitely an experience. They only have two full albums, so I would check them out. You can listen to their whole catalogue fairly quickly (In the Aeroplane Over the Sea is my favorite of the two).

Setup for Neutral Milk Hotel.

Setup for Neutral Milk Hotel.

I also went to Pensacon and met a few cool people, like Deep Roy, Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca), and some others. Pensacon suffered from experiencing an incredible turnout their first year as a con. The talent they had was very good, but it was cramped and hard to walk from the exhibitors to the media guests. I couldn’t even stop to see any of the booths, because the aisles were so small that if you stopped, you literally blocked everyone behind you. I hope they fix the logistical issues this year, because it has the potential to be really great.

March

On Mardi Gras day, Kurt and I worked “security” for my friend’s dance group, the Nola Nyxettes. We walked in Zulu! It was so awesome walking in a NOLA parade on Mardi Gras day, especially one as iconic as Zulu. I would march every year if I could, because interacting with all the parade goers was fun and downright interesting. You meet a lot of cool people along the route, way more than I thought!

NBC Learn honored me by giving me the K-12 Subscriber Spotlight. All I do is use their videos in my class to enhance my lessons, and they interviewed me about my experience. Such a nice honor and such a useful tool for my classroom!

My friend Beth and I went to the 311 Day concert on 3/11. We finagled some backstage passes thanks to Beth’s husband and were able to see the boys up close and personal. They are still one of my favorite bands and they never disappoint. I highly recommend seeing them, especially on 311 Day! Five great hours of playing.

Kurt and I saw Elton John, a bucket list artist for me. He played for three hours and sounded phenomenal. I loved that once he came back for his encore, for almost five minutes, he signed autographs for all the people that were in the first rows in front of the stage. A class act!

The Bitch is Back!

The Bitch is Back!

Hogs for the Cause is one of our favorite charities/festivals. It’s a huge contest where you cook a pig every which way you can imagine, and different contestants enter under fun names such as “Piggy Stardust” and “Sweet Swine O Mine.” The different types of foods from pigs is astounding – chocolate covered bacon, ribs, pork tongue tacos, pulled pork nachos, cracklins’…you name it, them make it. And it all supports pediatric brain cancer, so how could you not be behind something like that? Plus, they have great bands. Hooray for Riff Raff and The Hold Steady were the two that we specifically wanted to see, and they did not disappoint.

Hogs for the Cause

Hogs for the Cause

April

WrestleMania XXX was such a blast. Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock opened up the show. We got to see Brock Lesnar defeat The Undertaker. I mean, who saw that coming?! Daniel Bryan beat Randy Orton and Batista, much to Triple H’s chagrin. It was so much fun being there and the best part was seeing the little kids get so into it. WrestleMania is just one of those big things people should experience, and I’m glad I did.

Daniel Bryan winning the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXX

Daniel Bryan winning the World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXX.

For Spring Break, we went down to Disney World. We spent Easter at a great Cuban restaurant in Celebration, FL called Columbia with my sister and her boyfriend. Celebration is the cutest little town, right on a lake. It’s like Stars Hollow from Gilmore Girls or the town on The Truman Show. Plenty of cute shops, bands, a lake, good restaurants. Definitely make the trip one day if you’re looking for something to do outside of Disney. Disney itself was, of course, a blast. I’ll always be a Disney kid at heart. The new Beauty and the Beast restaurant was well worth it. We went for breakfast and dinner. It’s gorgeous and the food is wonderful.

Kurt enjoying the gargoyles in front of the Beauty and the Beast restaurant.

Kurt enjoying the gargoyles in front of the Beauty and the Beast restaurant.

The first weekend of Jazz Fest we saw Vampire Weekend on not the main stage. They were on point and it wasn’t too crowded.

Vampire Weekend at Jazz Fest

Vampire Weekend at Jazz Fest

Crafting: Cara Mia Crafting

Wow, it’s been awhile! I have missed you, cooktraveleat. Alas, my grad school work and my full time teaching job leaves me negative amount of time to blog. It’s enough I remember to breathe and eat. But I am on my winter break, so I’ll try to squeeze a few blogs in before school starts up again on January 21st. I am proud to say that I currently maintain a 4.0 GPA in my Master of History program! Additionally, my husband is in grad school as well and he also maintains a 4.0 GPA! Now on to the blog…

If you don’t know, I love to scrapbook. I really like to do all sort of crafts, but scrapbooking is my number one favorite hobby. Unfortunately, just as this blog is on hold while my husband and I are in graduate school, my scrapbooking is also on a hiatus. That doesn’t stop me from buying things to use for later!

One thing I love is surprises. One time my family threw me a surprise party for college or something, I don’t even remember, and it was one of the best parties ever. So, when my sister’s website Cara Mia Crafting started having monthly craft boxes, I immediately decided to get a subscription. What kind of crafty person doesn’t like a fun-filled box of scrapbook material sent to their door each month?!

Now, you can request certain themes, or just get a fun surprise themed box. My December box, the first month of service, was a Walt Disney World craft box. Can you say right up my alley?! I took some pictures to illustrate what exactly the box entailed.

Cara Mia Crafting

Sweet handwritten note welcoming me to my craft box.

Cara Mia Crafting

Cricut cut Disney supplies and stickers, inserted in the cute purple bag.

Cara Mia Crafting

Adorable pre-made goofy page.

Cara Mia Crafting

Adorable pre-made Mickey page.

Cara Mia Crafting

Tangled!!!! Perfect!

Cara Mia Crafting

I love this pattern, perfect for Minnie!

Cara Mia Crafting

Haunted Mansion is my favorite ride, and this totally looks like the wallpaper in it!

Cara Mia Crafting

Perfect page for fireworks.

Cara Mia Crafting

Perfect colors for inspiring my creativity for other Disney moments!

So that’s it! Lots of awesome stuff inside and I go to Disney World so much that I’m sure I’ll be using it soon. In fact, I have a trip coming up in April, so I think that I know which scrapbook stuff I’ll be using to commemorate the occasion!

So, if you’d like your very own craft box from Cara Mia Crafting, feel free to drop her a line. She also sells a wide array of craft things, so browse the site and see if there’s anything you like. Hopefully, I’ll have another blog out within the week! Ciao!

Cara Mia Crafting

Cara Mia Crafting info.