Running with the Dark Side

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I've learned that one of the greatest feeling you can experience in life, is accomplishing something you never thought you could do.  Accomplishing it twice, is even better. Growing up, because of my scoliosis & it's affect on my lung capacity, I've always felt that I just wasn't made for running.

Inspired by Chris Guillibeau's book, The Happiness of Pursuit (best read of my life), last year I decided to wield my own happiness through traveling & physically challenging myself. Through consistent & gradual training, I was able to run my first half marathon

Last month, I flew back to Florida, for the purpose of running my second ever Disney half marathon. Below is some of my pre-run swag I picked up from the ESPN Wide World of Sports. I generally don't like printed t-shirts, but I love these! They're something to be proud about.

With this being my second experience with Run Disney, I felt a lot more confident in what I was doing & how I approached the half marathon. I decided to stay at a Disney World resort for the first time, as suggested by my friend Colleen, to streamline my morning transportation to the run (5am start). It also allowed me to have access to an extremely convenient wristband that was the key to my room, my park tickets, fast pass, photo pass & credit card in the parks, all-in-one. I would highly recommend this to any Disney World goer. Everything in the world should run this way!

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As for the run, while I didn't train as much as did for my first half marathon (whoops), somehow it was easier. 

With any challenge you face in life, I would like to emphasize that how you approach it mentally, will be the biggest factor in your success. Your mentality can become your greatest obstacle, or your best catalyst. 

It was knowing that I once thought I couldn't, but I did. It wasn't thinking about how I had 13 miles to run, but thinking about just doing one mile at the time. The only person I was competing with, was myself. When there was music, I ran to the music. When there were characters I ran a little faster. When I needed to slow down, I did. It's not how fast, but did you finish? 

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Thanks again so much for reading! May the force be with you! - JEN

How will you challenge yourself?

Animal Kingdom

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Hey everyone. If you couldn't tell from my last post about manatees, I love animals.  So when I went to Disney World this past week, you can understand why I was most excited to go Animal Kingdom first, and rightfully so! With the exception of Magic Kingdom 2 years ago, I haven't been to any of the Disney World parks since I was 3 years old. Consider this my first go. 

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Walking into the Oasis, just after the park entrance, I quickly spotted a wide variety of colorful birds. (This one is for you Nicole!) Then in "Asia," I found myself making eye contact with a few black & white Gibbons. At first I though, "What adorable monkeys!" It turns out, Gibbons are a small type of ape. The difference is that monkeys have tails, while apes do not. If you look closely, the white Gibbon below has a baby with her.

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For the day, I decided to re-wear my Pocahontas Disney bounding look, but add a Katharine Hepburn vibe to it, with this Columbia hat I found at REI. Funny thing is, I actually ran into Pocahontas & Meeko, who quite accordingly stole my hat.

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I think out of all of the countries, I enjoyed Asia the most. Not because of my ethnic background, but because I found some of the most interesting animals in these parts of the park. I enjoyed the great detail that Disney put into the decor & their ability to invoke a holiness to some areas.

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In Africa, I found myself getting my first Henna!

Lastly, I ended my day with the Kilimanjaro Safari, where I got to see giraffes, elephants, rhinos, alligators, lions, and so much more!

I think if I were to ever go back to Florida, I would most definitely visit Animal Kingdom again. I don't think I could ever get enough of the animals here. I hope you guys enjoyed this post as much as I enjoyed photographing it. Until next time. Love, JEN

Exploring Florida

Happy Manatuesday! (I'm kidding lol.) I'm finally back in Florida guys! After a hectic work week, Emerald City Comic-Con, out-of-town friends visiting & a red eye flight, the "go-go-go," doesn't stop there. I landed at 5:30am & went straight to Crystal River, FL, to swim with some manatees!

Manatee Tour

I've always had a deep, profound, love for aquatic animals, sea turtles in particular, but I'll love me some "sea cow" too. I definitely enjoyed my experience on the River Ventures Manatee Tour, thanks to our tour guide Scott (above) & captain Laura. Within 20 minutes, we spotted our first manatee, and soon after I was snorkeling 5ft from a mother manatee & her baby. 

On top of it all, the tour guides take underwater pictures for every tour group, which you can purchase at the end. These last 2 were taken by Scott. If you're ever in Florida, I would definitely recommend River Ventures for their manatee tours. 

Honeymoon Island State Park

After the tour, I headed south, to enjoy more of what Florida's coast & wild life could offer me.  Inside Honeymoon Island State Park, I started with a nature walk through the 2.2 mile Osprey Trail. It was refreshing to look at something besides Evergreen trees. *cough cough*

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The trail definitely delivered. Within half a mile I saw a bald eagle, a few ospreys, and several other colorful birds. As I went on, I saw a few geckos with orange throat flaps & even an armadillo rummaging in the foliage for food.  Then it was off to the island beach to relax.

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I've said this time and time again, but there's just something about the ocean that gives it a special, permanent, spot in my soul. I would never live in a state that wasn't surrounded by water in some way & I have absolutely no desire to go to any state that isn't. I just feel this sense of serenity & love for the sounds of the waves, the comfort every grain of sand under my feet &beautiful colors of life under the sea. Just makes me smile.

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Thanks as always for joining me on my adventures. Hope you're out there living yours. The next feel days are going to be epic.  Love, JEN 

Get the Look

Wonderful World of Disney

Hey loves! Another year has gone by and I'm back at Disney! I haven't been to Disney World since I was 3, but you didn't expect me to be so close and not go, right? This time though, I have my friend Annie to join on all the fun! :)

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I think over the years, I've really started to enjoy the parades more and more, especially the daytime ones. Their floats are always so much colorful and detailed, and have so many references from the movies.  It's something that would be hard not to smile at. 

It's Olaf! My excitement as this float came by was unreal!

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How cool is this fire breathing dragon? It's even more awesome because I just saw Malificent! Plus, I didn't get a good picture of this, but inside the belly of this dragon, you can see a spinning spindle and needle! :)

Overall, Annie and I only had 11 hours in the Magic Kingdom, due to my busy schedule, but we enjoyed every minute of it! Honestly, I still love Disneyland more, but I can't wait to come back and try all of the other parks Disney World has to offer! 

Thanks for reading! I hope you're all having a great Summer as well! :) - JEN

Cocoa Beach

Hi loves! Yesterday my best friend Annie and I made a mini road trip over to Cocoa Beach, FL!  What would a trip to Florida be, without a visit to the beach, am I right? :) Before getting some sun though, we headed to Coconuts on the beach for a "little" snack. 

After a refreshing strawberry smoothie and a few appetizers, we were off to enjoy the hot sand and warm waters! 

Garage Bralette tank (similar here) | American Eagle shorts (similar here)
Michael Kors bag | Sam Edelman sandals | Victoria's Secret swimsuit (similar here)

I have to admit, coming from Seattle, WA, it was way to hot for comfort, but it was nice to lay out under sun, without a cloud in the sky. If I ever come back to Florida, I will definitely be coming back to Cocoa! I highly recommend it! Next time though, I'll be sure to bring food, an umbrella, and maybe take surfing lessons. - JEN

Red Eye

Express tank and leggings | Forever 21 cardigan (similar here)
 Michael Kors bag | Sam Edelman gladiator sandals

Hey loves! I'm off on another trip! This time I'm headed to Orlando, FL, on a school related trip! I'll elaborate more on that later, but i just wanted to pop in to share my airport look with you guys.

After a redeye flight with layover, I'm currently functioning on 4 hours of sleep. I woke up early Monday morning to head to the mall to pick up a few pieces for my trip, which is when found this bright yellow cardigan. It's super lightweight, comfy, and it's bright color allows me to dress up my plain airport look, yet still keeps me warm on the plane. I also picked a new pair of gladiator sandals as well. Unfortunately with the rush between layovers, I wasn't able to get a good picture for you guys, but I will soon! - JEN