The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend Recap

Last weekend I had the exciting opportunity of attending the weekend long events at the Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend as an Ambassador.  And to make things even more fun, my BFF (and BRF) Sarah from Sarah ‘n Spice was also chosen to be an Ambassador, so we got to make it a super fun girls weekend!

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We headed out of Vegas on Friday morning and got into San Diego just in time for the Light Up The Night VIP Cocktail Party.  This was held at Florent Restaurant and Lounge in the Gaslamp District in San Diego.  At this party, we got to rub shoulders with celebrity trainers, instructors, and chefs and also got to sample some really yummy food and cocktails.

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After that it was back to our room to lay out our racing outfits for the morning and hit the hay early.

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On Saturday morning, we were up bright and early with a beautiful view on the San Diego harbor.

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We got dressed and headed over to the Hilton Bayfront for the 5K race.

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The course was awesome.  Right along the water and flat.  Perfect conditions for a PR!

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We walked around the Finisher’s Village a bit and then headed over to the stage for a hilariously fun warm up with The Run MC.  This guy is awesome.  I immediately recognized him from the Temecula Half Marathon (he also did the warm up and post race ceremonies for that race).  He is funny and energetic and has got some great dance moves!

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After that was a quick stretch with Kristin McGee and then it was time to head over to the start line.

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This was Sarah’s first race ever, so I was really hoping she would do great.  This was my last race of the year, so I was also hoping to perform well, although I really didn’t have high hopes for a PR.  While I’ve been staying on track with running, I haven’t done speed work in a few months, so I wasn’t sure if a PR was going to happen for me.  But as usual, I just decided to give it my best and have fun.  There were about 1,400 runners, so we were in the second start wave.  The first wave was off and about 5 minutes later it was our turn.

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The course area was pretty small, looping around different areas and then heading back to the start line.  There were a lot of people, so it was a lot of maneuvering around and there was one really bad choke spot where it was single file and I got stuck behind a couple of people, but other than that, the course was really nice.  I’m not a huge fan of 5Ks because I push myself so hard that my whole body hurts for pretty much the entire race.  I really enjoy the long distances better where I can get in the zone and pace myself.  But, at least with a 5K it’s over pretty quickly.  I forgot to start my Garmin, so I had no idea where I was at pace wise.  I just kept pushing and pushing until I got to the final stretch and then I pushed even more to the finish line.  I felt like I was going to die when I got done.  I grabbed some water and got out my video camera so I could capture Sarah coming across the finish line to complete her race.  When she came, I was so excited for her.  She did it!!!  She has been working really hard for this and I was so excited to see her accomplish her goals.  After a congratulatory hug, and some waters, we went over to the results board to see how we did.  She ran faster than she ever had and finished in the top 30% of all runners.  I couldn’t be more proud of her.  And I scored a PR!  Previous to this, my fastest 5K was 22:31 (7.15/mile) and that was back in May.  I hadn’t been able to beat that ever since.  So I was in complete disbelief when I saw my time for this race.  21:34 (6.57/mile).  Holy moly!  I broke under 7:00/mile!!!  Woo hoo! I got 4th in my age group, 8th overall female and 26 overall.  Not to shabby at all if I say so myself!

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Once we were recovered a bit from the race, we headed over to the Finisher’s Village.  There were tons and tons of booths set up with juices, bars, coffees, massages, running attire and a beer garden.

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We also did some post race workouts with Patrick Goudeau and some more yoga with Kristin McGee.  There were also several cooking demonstrations with Chef Robin Bashinsky and samples of the food he was cooking, as well as prizes given out all day by The Run MC.  All in all, is was a great was to spend the rest of the morning and we had a really good time.

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After some R & R in the room, we headed back over to the Gaslamp District for some dinner and drinks.  We had dinner at Berkley Pizza, a total dive, but with great food and an even better beer selection.

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Then we hit up Barleymash for our favorite Framboise.

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And one last stop at The Tipsy Crow for a drink before catching a ride on a pedicab for a little tour around the area with our hysterical driver Yadi from Lebanon (he was seriously the best!).

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On Sunday, we got up and headed back over to the Hilton for a 60 minute celebrity yoga session with Kristin McGee.

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She is so awesome.  She is super sweet and nice and a really great instructor.  She led us through a pretty tough workout (especially being post race), but it hurt so good!  We got to chat with her for a few minutes and she gave Sarah and I a couple of her DVDs to try at home. I’m really excited to try them out because I haven’t done yoga in a while and it really shows!

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After yoga, we had a yummy brunch consisting of egg white frittatas, chicken sausage, greek yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, fruit and delicious Stella Cidre.  It was held on an upstairs patio at the hotel overlooking the bay.  It was a beautiful view and a beautiful ending to our fun weekend.

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On top of all the fun we had, we also raised over $1,100 for City of Hope.  Our initial goal was $500 and we more than doubled that.  Thank you so much to everyone who donated.  It really means so much to us and to our dear friend Tom.

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All in all, it was really a fun filled weekend that I would definitely do again.  I really want to thank all of the wonderful people at the Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend for giving me the opportunity to attend as an Ambassador.  I would definitely recommend this event to anyone looking to have some fun fitness and food wrapped up into one weekend!

Temecula Half Marathon Race Recap

Last year, around this time, if you would have told me that I would run 5 half marathons in 2014, I would have laughed in your face. At the time, the longest I had ever run at one time was about 7 miles. My goal for this year was to run 1 (yup, just 1) half marathon. And here I am, with number 5 in the books. It is an amazing feeling.

But what is even more amazing than that, is that my husband just completed his very first half marathon. And let me tell you, this was not a beginner’s half marathon. Quite the opposite. And he rocked it. I am so proud of him.

We got into Temecula Saturday afternoon.

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We made it there in time to hit up one winery (Doffo), which I would highly recommend (and coincidently led to us purchasing the most expensive bottle of wine we have ever bought to date).

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We then went to Garage Brewing Company for a casual dinner. Great restaurant. Sort of like the Subway of pizza. You go to the counter, pick your sauce and cheese, and then they build your pizza for you out of the expansive array of toppings they’ve got right there for you to choose from. They had a really yummy Mango Hefeweizen that I got to go with the delicious pizza. Great little place! After that we hit the hay so we could be up bright and early for the race in the morning.

We got up at 5am the next morning and I was really indecisive on what to wear for the race. It was in the 50’s and the weather predicted it warming up to the high 60’s by the end of the race. I wasn’t sure whether to wear pants or shorts, or a long sleeve shirt or tank top. I consoled Runner’s World’s nifty little website where you put in the conditions and it tells you what to wear. It told me shorts and a tank, sop that’s what I went with. We drove over to the parking area where we would catch the bus to take us to Wilson Creek Winery (the start/finish area) and I immediately was so worried about my attire choice. I was FREEZING. My body was shivering. But, as the minutes ticked by, it gradually started to warm up.

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We picked up our race packets, got our bibs on and our bags checked and headed over to the stage area for a fun little warm up to Thriller (you know, it being Halloween season and all). After that it was time to go!

We lined up at the start line, gave each other a kiss and we were off!

If I had one word to describe this race it would be H-I-L-L-Y. Holy crap was it hilly. I don’t think there was a single flat section of the entire course. The first 5 miles was an out and back and were gradual hills. Then we ran past the start line for the back 8 miles. Those were the most intense 8 miles ever. The only thing that I could compare it to is the Xterra Trail Half Marathon I did. Every single hill was really, really steep and once you got to the bottom of a hill, there was another steeper, higher and longer hill in front of you.

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A lot of people walked the hills. Some people started out charging up them, and then started walking halfway up. I ran up each hill, but ran very, very slowly. In fact, I think someone walking up a hill passed me at one point.

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Honestly, as tough as the hills were to get up, they were ten times more difficult to get down. I really dislike running down hill. So much so, that I’d rather run an entire race uphill than have to deal with that kind of steep down hill ever again. It just makes my entire body hurt. Around mile 8, I was hurting pretty bad from all the up and down and I was really hoping that Vince was doing okay. We hit the turn around and a few minutes later I passed him on his way to the turn around. He was running with the 2:00 pacer! We high fived each other and instantly I got a second wind. That last 5 miles I felt much better. It was still hard work getting through the hills, but I started really concentrating on my form and was able to maneuver the down hills with considerably less pain that in the previous miles.

I finally reached the mile 12 marker and couldn’t have been happier. There were some people out on the course for the last mile with signs and cheering us on. I rounded the last bend, saw the finish line and ran like hell. When I crossed the finish line, I threw up my arms and smiled a big smile. It was over. I survived. I ran the entire thing without stopping. I got my medal and some water and waiting for Vince to finish.

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About 5 minutes later he came around that bend, crossed the finish line and threw his arms around me. He had also run the entire race without stopping (and he didn’t even drink any water the whole time!). I’m so proud of him. This was a really tough course, especially for a first half marathon and he crushed it.

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Our official times:
Me 1:55:17.5 (14th age group, 39th overall female, 99th overall)
Vince 2:00:27.1 (20th age group, 78th overall male, 135th overall)

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And, boy, I tell ya. The competition was stiff on this one. Those Californians…they are amazing. The overall winner’s time was 1:18:04.1. That’s a 5:58 pace. On those hills. He is a 35 year old gentleman from Encinitas. Blew us away with that time.

In the end, I was really happy I went with shorts and a tank top, because it really started to warm up. The course was beautiful. Most of the race was on dirt roads through wine country. Beautiful hillsides of vineyards and you could see the hot air balloons in the distance. Very lovely.

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After the race was over, we picked up our wine glasses and headed over to the tasting area. I really couldn’t stomach the thought of drinking wine at that moment, so I opted first for a glass of almond champagne to celebrate our finish, and then switched to beer. Great recovery drinks haha!

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When we were done with our tastings, we took the bus back to our car, and went back to our hotel room to shower. After that we hit up some more wineries. Bel Vino for one of the most informative wine tastings I’ve ever had from Dennis, along with a beautiful lunch outside listening to their live house band and enjoying the view of the hillside vineyards.

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Then off to Hart for some great reds and fun conversation with the wine pourers. And finally, Wiens for some yummy wine, but a not so informed pourer (can’t win them all).

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After that we hit up Crush and Brew for some dinner and beer flights (we were a little wined out at that point) and then we went back to the hotel room where we were asleep in bed by 7:30pm.

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It was a great little weekend getaway. I loved running with my husband. I am so proud of him and I love that we can have little race-cations. Good times, good times!

 

Did you race over the weekend? Tell me about it!

The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend

I am so excited and happy to announce that I will be attending The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend on November 14-16 in San Diego as a Fit Foodie Ambassador!  This event is the ultimate celebration of food, family, and fun.  I am so excited to be a part of the event as a Fit Foodie Ambassador, if you are in the area, I hope you will join me!

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The Fit Foodie 5K Race Weekend is jam-packed with delicious food, cooking and fitness demonstrations, a yoga session, and a Power Systems Obstacle Course Bootcamp, led by celebrity trainer Patrick Goudeau.  Also expect to rub elbows with editors and contributors from Cooking Light and Health magazines who will be on hand to share tips and tricks for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Additionally, 10 percent of the sale of each ticket for the 2014 series will benefit City of Hope, a leading treatment and research center for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

Tickets range from $55-$60 per event, or $155 for the whole weekend (seriously a steal!).  But if you use the discount code MOTHERRUNNER you can get a 10% off advance online ticket sales!  To purchase tickets, go to: www.fitfoodierun.com.

Be sure to follow The Fit Foodie Race Weekend on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fit-Foodie-Race-Series/177814812394419 or on Twitter at @FitFoodieRun for the latest news, contests, and promotions!

I appreciate your help and hope that you will join me on this journey to health, happiness, and giving back.  See you there!

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Grapes and Hops Festival

On Saturday evening, my husband and I attended the Grapes and Hops Festival at the Springs Preserve.  We love wine and beer tasting events, and had been wanting to go to this one for a couple of years now, but always had some prior engagement.  We were really excited to be free to attend this year as we had heard such good things about it and always love events at the Springs Preserve.  Well, we were not disappointed at all.  This was hands down, in my opinion, the best wine, beer and food tasting Las Vegas has to offer.

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First of all, the venue couldn’t have been any better.  It was all outdoors, and anyone who knows anything about Las Vegas weather knows that October is the best time of year here.  The weather is just perfect right now, sunny and warm during the day and cooler, but not cold, at night.  Top that off with the beautiful surroundings of the Springs Preserve and you’ve got yourself the perfect spot for a social event.  My favorite part of the Springs Preserve is the gardens.  Lots of walking paths surrounded by greenery.  Little seating areas everywhere, fountains, art work, etc.  It is so peaceful and beautiful.  I just love walking around there.

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And because the Springs Preserve spans such a huge area, even though the event was sold out, it didn’t seem crowded at all.  Some wine tasting events we’ve gone to, you end up spending half your time in line waiting to get a sample.  But not at this one.  There were more than enough sampling stations set up that we practically walked up to each one without waiting.

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And speaking of samples…the wine and beer was top notch.  Great wines, even some reserves and a really good selection of beers and hard ciders.  Not only that, but the people pouring the samples were all really knowledgeable about what they were serving.  When I go to these types of events, I like to learn a little about what I’m trying and nothing is more disappointing than asking some questions about the wine or beer and having the person tell you that they were just hired for the night and they don’t really know anything.  Just about everyone we talked to at this event knew about the history of the beverage they were pouring, extensive background on it, where to buy it, what food it goes well with, etc.  I really enjoyed talking to each person and finding the story behind the drink.

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And then there was the food.  Oh my, oh my!  When I saw there was going to be food samples, I pictures little bites of this and that, not really a full meal, but enough to get us by for the evening.  Wow was I wrong.  They had food stations set up for at least 5 restaurants (Stripburger, El Segundo Sol, Mon Ami Gabi, M Street Kitchen and Stella Barra Pizza) and were serving full on meals.  Like you walked up and they gave you an actual dinner sized plate full of food!  They were cooking it all right there so it was fresh and hot and you could go through the line as many times as you wanted.

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Not only that but the desserts too.  One station they had set up was baking chocolate chip cookies the size of my head and serving them right out of the oven still warm.  Another station had all these amazing Halloween goodies to sample.  Let’s just say it was a good thing I ran 11 miles that morning because I definitely indulged!

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Top this all off with a really great live band that was piped throughout the entire event, pretty lights strung everywhere and some great company and it was just the perfect night.  Oh and did I mention that it only cost us $33 each for the tickets?  I’ve been to wine tastings that were triple the price and not half as great.  This one is definitely on our must do event list every year.

 

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Hard Rock Hotel Staycation

Living in Las Vegas, we don’t frequent the strip very much.  It’s super expensive and there’s so many great places off the strip that typically we would just rather stay near home.  But, once in a while it’s fun to play tourist and do what we call a staycation, where you go on vacation without leaving your home town.  The Hard Rock Hotel was having a great deal on rooms this summer, so we decided to do a little staycation for my birthday.  We booked a room for two nights and made some arrangements at the pool for one of the days we were there.  Although the Hard Rock Hotel is definitely a touristy place, it’s actually not on the strip.  It’s about a mile east on Paradise Road.  But, what I loved about doing a staycation there is that there are tons of dining options literally right across the street, so you’re not forced to pay tourist prices at the hotel for every single meal.

We checked in with the kids in tow on Sunday and immediately hit the pool.

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They have two pools, the Nirvana (all ages) and the Paradise (21+ only).  Sundays are really popular at the Paradise pool because the Hard Rock hosts a pool party called Rehab that attracts a ton of people every weekend.  There was definitely some good people watching to be had as we made our way to the all ages pool!

The Nirvana pool was perfect for families with kids.  One side was a beach entry with sand and the other was a typical hard surface pool and there were lots of little areas to play and most of the pool was really shallow.  Despite how obnoxiously loud we could hear the music playing at Rehab on our way to the Nirvana pool, once you got to the Nirvana Pool you couldn’t hear it at all, which was pretty amazing.  We were able to get a few chaise lounge chairs and had a really nice afternoon swimming.

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We even convinced Annalie to swim without her puddle jumper for the first time and she was really swimming!  Once she realized that she wasn’t going to drown without her floatie, there was no stopping her!  I was getting a little worried that I had made the mistake of putting her in a floatie too much and she had become too dependent on it, but she was a rock star that day, so I think we might just make it “disappear” so she can really work on her swimming.

After we got done at the pool, we walked across the street to Johnny Rockets for some yummy burgers and fries (and a milkshake of course!).  There are tons of dining options within walking distance that are reasonably priced (burgers, sushi, pizza, Mediterranean, German, Indian, etc.).  After dinner, it was back to the room for baths and pajamas.  My girls and I treated ourselves to a little mani/pedi session in our room (I’m probably going to get some raised eyebrows that my 2 and 4 year old daughters are rocking black nailpolish, but when in Rome!).  Our room was pretty decent.  We had a really awesome view of the High Roller Observation Wheel at the Linq.

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The décor was cool, black, smoky, kind of edgy looking.  Beds were comfortable and although they charged a $22/night resort fee, it did include wifi, the pools, and the hotel gym.

On Monday, we ate breakfast at Mr. Lucky’s (their coffee shop).  The food and service were good, but it was really overpriced.  A cup of coffee was $4, which is just kind of ridiculous.  But, whatever.  At least my girls and I were able to share one meal.

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After breakfast, Vince took the girls to his mom’s and I went for a run.  It was really hot and humid, so I was debating on running on the treadmill in the hotel gym or go outside, but I had never run on the strip before and it was right there, so I opted for outside.  It was so cool running on the strip.  It wasn’t too crowded because it was still early and I have always said that the absolute best way to sight see is to run somewhere!  I had forgotten that in order to cross most of the streets along the strip that you have to go up and over onto a bridge and there were escalators at each one, but I opted for the stairs.  I must have gone up and down at least 10 flights of stairs so that was a great addition to my workout!  I did a 5 mile loop and the whole thing took me about an hour with all the stops at traffic lights.  It got really warm at the end, but it was really fun!

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After that, Vince and I got cleaned up, ate some sandwiches and beer in the room that he had picked up and headed down to the pool.  We had reserved a cabana and a day bed at the pool for the day and thank goodness because it was so hot and the sun was relentless!

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Some of our friends were able to come hang out with us for the day and we all had a really good time.

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The drink prices were ridiculous.  They actually had a bottle of Dom Perignon on the menu for $50,000.  But a bucket of beers or these individual wines were $30, so we just went with that.  There was definitely some interesting people watching at the pool and they had a DJ out there playing some cool music.  The service was really good, but that is to be expected when they’re charging 22% automatic gratuity on everything!  And of course, my husband, who is the biggest tipper on the planet, left them even more of a tip when we settled our bill.  When we had had enough at the pool we all headed over to Pink Taco for dinner.  The food was so yummy after being out at the pool all day and they even brought me a giant fried ice cream for my birthday!  It was the best ending to a really fun day.

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In the morning after sleeping in until a whopping 6:30am (seriously my body just refuses to sleep past 7am nowadays), I was missing my girls, so we checked out, grabbed some coffee to go and went to pick up our cutie pies.

All in all, we had a great time and I think the Hard Rock Hotel is definitely doable with or without kids.  If they run a similar special again, I would totally be up for it another time!

Do you ever go on staycations?

Also, don’t forget, my coconut water giveaway is still going on until Friday night!

Dinner and a Show in Las Vegas {a review}

Yesterday was my husbands birthday so to celebrate we decided to have a night out on the town.  We had heard really great things about the show The Book of Mormon when it was on Broadway so as soon as we heard it was coming to Las Vegas, we bought tickets the moment they went on sale.  We invited our good friends Len & Sarah, but this just wasn’t Len’s gig, so it was me, Vince and Sarah for the night.

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The show was being performed at The Smith Center which I love because not only is the theater beautiful, but it is so easy to get in and out of and you don’t have to deal with going on the strip.

For our pre-show dinner, we wanted to eat somewhere nearby, and at the recommendation of several people, we decided on Mingo Kitchen and Lounge.

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 (photo courtesy of eatmixmingo.com)

Mingo’s is located near downtown in the arts district just off of Charleston.  The whole restaurant is only about 1000 square feet, but it also opens up to an outdoor patio.  It is very swanky looking with black leather interior and funky chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  We started out with a round of drinks and Sarah and I were delighted that they had Lindemans Framboise raspberry beer that we were drinking in Phoenix (seriously if you have not tried this beer you must do so immediately), along with a surprise shot (that we never really found out what was in it) because you have to do shots on your birthday.  Then for food, Sarah and I both had their skirt steak salad (curry crusted skirt steak, baby spinach and arugula, maytag blue cheese, crispy onion rings, tomatoes, candied pecans, horseradish cream, balsamic reduction) and Vince had the Notorious P.I.G. (hot dog, pickled jalapenos, horseradish mac & cheese, crispy bacon).

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(The Notorious P.I.G.)

For dessert Vince wanted their deep fried oreos (so healthly, right?).  The food was outstanding.  My salad was so good.  The steak was cooked perfectly and had a nice little crust on the outside.  The horseradish cream was delish as well and I finished every last bite.  The deep friend oreos are not really my thing, but they were good (you can’t really go wrong with deep friend anything, right?).  Service was a little slow, but overall I would give it a thumbs up.

When we were finished with dinner, it was off to the show!

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Because we bought our tickets like 6 months ago, our seats were pretty good.  We were on the main floor, about 2/3 the way back.  The show was hilariously wrong on so many levels I can’t even describe it.  It was created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who are also the creators of South Park.  It was very explicit and you really have to have a good sense of humor to enjoy it, but OMG was it funny!  It’s definitely not for everybody, as was proven by the couple that got up and left after about the first 15 minutes, but if you want a good laugh and don’t get offended too easily, I would highly recommend it.  We have seen our fair share of shows on and off Broadway and Vince and I both agree that it is the best show we’ve ever seen.

All in all, it was a great birthday night for Vince and we all really had an enjoyable time.

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Also, today I am being featured on Yesenia Emeric’s blog (It’s a Messy Life) as part of her Inspiring Women Series. Thank you Yesenia for giving me the opportunity to chat with you!! Looking forward to future get togethers and running events!

And don’t forget, my Sweaty Bands giveaway is still going on!