Saturday, December 31, 2016

Some Highlights from 2016

Well Hello!!!!!

I know it has been quite some time since I have posted anything. With work, life has been super crazy and FINALLY, finally I am able to sit down with some time for myself and relax and unwind. This holiday time frame has been truly cooko!! But we made it through and it was a good one actually, probably my best holiday with Things Remembered. So the long hours and craziness of the store made it worth it in the end.

Today is New Years Eve and I thought a perfect time frame to look back on some of the highlights I had from this year. Its funny, this year was a weird year for me. It was up and down and a little bit of everything in between, but for me it wasn't a horrible year, but it also wasn't the greatest of years. I was trying to think of some highlights from this year and I thought at first nothing really great happened to me BUT  A lot actually did.

It is those little moments that really make the impact. So here are a few of my favorite moments of the year...

My family came to Florida!!! Poppy, Uncle Kevin, Uncle Keith, and my cousin Savanna all came and spent a week with me Florida with James. We had the best time too. We did tons of touristy things and I got to spend lots of one on one time with my Poppy. It was great to show them where I lve and everything I do and spend time with them in a new environment then our typical format. Plus they got lots of one on one time with James too which was great.

I went to the St. Pete Pride parade with my Uncle Keith. My Uncle Keith is gay and while they were down on vacation the Pride parade was being held. This also was a week or so after the shooting in Orlando of the gay club, we were of course nervous to attend because being are crazy. But my Uncle Keith, my Uncle Kevin and cousin Abby all went. And it turned out to be the best night. The parade was super long but so much fun. We got so much free stuff and just had a blast. It was one of those moments I would never get back again BUT so happy I got to experience it.

I bought my car in January. After and unexpected turn of events with my old car, it literally just died one morning, I had to go and buy a new car. The moment was not that I was buying a car, it was I was doing it on my own and I had budgeted and saved enough to put down a good down payment and feel comfortable with it. This moment was also tough because I was giving up my old car and that car was my everything. My dad bought me that car. I had my white Ford Focus for almost 10 years and I ran it until it just had enough. I loved that car because my dad specifically went to the dealership and bought it for me. But times were moving on and I needed a new one and I got my white Chevy Cruze.
And I know my dad would have been proud.

I really became apart of the Tampa Bay Bloggers. Nanci had recommended I join this community of awesomeness to grow my blog and my followers and honestly to meet new, exciting and super driven people. And it has been the best thing for me. While my blog this year hasn't always been exciting, sorry about that, that will change in 2017, being a part of this group and community has helped me in so many ways. I am trying new things, learning so much and having tons of fun along the way. The opportunities have been incredible and I can not wait to continue and grow in the new year.

James coming home to NY with me. James and I have been together for close to 8 years and neither of us have been to each others hometowns for a lengthy part of time. I have been to his for just a day or two and he had never been to where I am from. Well that changed in October when we went home for a wedding together and he came along, FINALLY. I was sooo excited to show James where I grew up, the memories I had and show him where this little girl started. It was so neat showing someone the beauty of where you lived, even if you never saw that beauty in the beginning. He loved where I was from and we had an absolute blast, it really was a special weekend and moment.

Bobby Bones and the Raging Idiots concert. Boy was this a night to remember, even though I don't remember most of it. Nanci and I went to the concert and had an absolute blast, so much fun, mixed with a lot of drinks, but a great time none the less. I love Bobby Bones and the Bobby Bones show and the concert was the icing on the cake for me. The drinks we had before and during were a lot but it made for a girls night out like no other!!

My 100 day running Streak. Yup I forgot this year I did a lot of running. I really, really got back into my groove with running for just fun and I made it interesting starting on May 1. My friend Jen, was doing a run streak of her own, she started to do a year long one from Nov. until the following Nov. which by the way she ran 365 days, every single day for a full year and is still currently going, she is my running Goddess!!! I started May 1 to run at least 2 miles every day just to see if I could do it. Just to get out there a little bit out of my comfort zone and well I finished in May and figured, okay I'll go to my birthday and do at least One mile a day. Well then that came and I figured lets just go to 100 days of running. It was tough and it was hot and some days it was more of crawl then a run a but I completed it. I ran my final mile in PA when I was visiting Lea. It was bittersweet But one of the best things I did. I will do a run streak again, the discipline and determination lit a fire in me like no other.

Being there for Lea in her most time of need. My best friend, Lea, lost her husband this past August to cancer. Tony fought for so long and so hard and passed away too quick. While this is not a highlight or moment of happiness this year, it was a message to me that life is too short. I love my best friend with everything I have, seriously no one understands and gets my like Lea...and when she hurts I hurt, literally. So I changed my work schedule, with out even giving it a second thought and I flew to PA to be with her. There was nothing that was going to change or hold me back from that. I needed to be with her no matter what, even if I was just in the same room, it didn't matter. It hurt me to see my best friend, hurt so much, BUT God that girl is Strong. I couldn't imagine what she was feeling, but I held her hand and cried with her and I was there. And I will continue to be for the rest of my life.

And then there is Sherman. Sherman is the most loving, sweetest and happiest thing that has come into my life this year. Sherman is my best little buddy, our friends dog. James works with a guy who lives alone and has a dog. Well I feel in love with the dog when he brought him over one day. I have been begging and begging James to get us a dog. He isn't a fan of animals and constantly says NO, or tells me when we get a house some day. I am coming to believe that day is never coming. Well insert Sherman and it has been the best replacement. I dog sit Sherman, while Greg, his dad, is at work and I am off of work. The schedule works perfectly and it is a serious winning combination. I love  his dog like no other. He makes me insanely happy. We go for walks, snuggles, car rides and sleep and play all day long. He never wants to go home and I spoil him like crazy when he is here. This dog seriously has opened my heart even more and it could be the best highlight of my year. The best part is by  having Sherman over so much, James has broken down and loves on Sherman too and has agreed to get me a dog!!!! More to come on that one.

So all in all 2016 wasn't horrible. It had some great moments with friends. James and I did more. We went to a Dierks Bentley concert for my Birthday which was amazing. We made some new friend and kept the old. We actually went out for some nights too. My family and I had a lot of exciting things going on, as 3 of my cousins had babies this year. My Poppy's health was better this year than in the past. My running was great this year. I was able to go to a work trip and event and learned a ton. I did 2 half marathons, I ran a bunch of virtual races and got back to loving the pavement again. Even though I am suffering through some hip pain, it will be all okay.

I have some good goals set up for the New Year...but we will have to see that for tomorrow!!!

What was a highlight from 2016 for you???

Friday, December 16, 2016

McDonald's Newest MacFamily & A Giveaway!!!

Disclaimer: As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was given a gift card for my participation with McDonald's but all opinions are my own.

If there is one sandwich that defines McDonald's for most people it is the Big Mac. As to my boyfriend James, it is the best hamburger you can order thru a drive thru. And here is a little secret of my own, I have never had a Big Mac.

Yup! I have never ordered one. Mainly because of oh you know the whole weight loss issue thing I have. Ughhh, why can't good things be less.

Well, my prayers were answered because McDonald's introduced for a limited time, in Florida, the Mac Jr. Yes, a littler version of the Big Mac with all the same taste, minus one burger.


The Mac Jr. has a single layer beef patty with out the middle bun. It gives all the same great taste of the Big Mac, it just a smaller size. I sampled this one and I was loving it!! I 100% get why the Big Mac is such a huge hit and I prefer this smaller size. The pickles and the special sauce, the right amount of lettuce. It was so good. James who prefers something bigger, even enjoyed it. 

Now for James his appetite is a little bit bigger than mine and McDonald's also introduced the Mac Daddy of all Big Mac, we are talking a BIGGER BIG MAC. And they call it the GRAND MAC.. This burger is just that, it is HUGE. 

The Grand Mac is all the same of the Big Mac but with one-third pound of Beef!! It is a monster. It has all the same taste and love of the Big Mac, with just more. The Grand Mac comes in a cardboard container and the weight of it gives you the sense this is going to be huge. James took a look and was stunned, we both were with just how big this sandwich really is.


It is practically bigger than my head. It tasted great. And I can say James ate that whole thing lol. He came hungry for sure. While that Grand Mac is a bit much for me, I will happily stay with the Mac Jr.

Grand Mac!!!

McDonald's has been really listening to their customers lately with changes to their food and introduction of newer products and it is awesome to see and taste. The Mac Family is through early 2017 in Florida. It has not been introduced to the rest of the chain just yet, which will launch next year. McDonald's is really hitting a home run with this one by taking something that is so good already with the Big Mac and getting people to try new and bigger.

When I was sitting at the tasting, the GM mentioned how much he enjoyed this introduction especially for those growing up now. Some kids do not even know the Big Mac and now is a chance to take on a new generation of Mac lovers with new choices. It is a great thing. I am sure I will be eating a Mac Jr. in the future again for sure.

Another fun promotion that McDonald's is doing is a jingle contest around your own personal rendition of their famous Big Mac jingle. Follow here to enter...
  • Upload YOUR rendition of our Big Mac Jingle - http://bit.ly/2gnTJie - for a chance to WIN $100 & Big Mac sandwiches! #MyMacJingle #Sweeps

BUT that isn't all, I am ALSO giving away a 20.00 Gift Card for McDonald's that way you can try the new Mac Family for yourself!!! To enter is easy, peasy, just head over to my Instagram Account,
@Runchewsparkle and simply like the picture showing the McDonald's gift card !!

Yup it is that easy and I will choose a winner on Sunday!!! Good Luck and if you have the pleasure of trying the Grand Mac, the Mac Jr. or the Big Mac, let me know!!





Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Christmas Songs

 It's beginning to look a lot like....


It's Tuesday, it's December and it is Christmas time!!!

This week I am listing my favorite Christmas Songs. Let me start off with saying there is something so magical and special about Christmas songs am I right!! Christmas songs just give me a sense of peace but also can change my day in an instant. Thanks to my bestie  Nanci, she found me the Christmas station on the radio and now on my drive home from work, after a stressful day, I can unwind a little bit more with the sweet holiday sounds. 

Okay so here we go...

Image result for Christmas Songs

10. The 12 Days of Christmas the MUPPETS version!! Growing up my mom had the Muppets Christmas carols record and I listened to that over and over, I even tried to find it on CD later on and had some luck, but the version they sing of the 12 days of Christmas always makes me laugh.



9. The 12 Pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers. So funny and so true. Especially the parking at the mall lol.



8. White Christmas- Bing Crosby. My little cousin, who is not so little anymore, would only fall asleep to this song and you had to sing it to him. It was the sweetest thing ever and I remember laying on the couch with his little head on my heart singing this too him, while it snowed outside. One of my favorite moments and memories.



7. Where Are You Christmas? Faith Hill. This song is from The Grinch, the newer one with Jim Carrey and I absolutely love it!!



6. Must Be Santa- Mitch Miller. Another one I was brought up on. I was blessed to be raised by my grandparents and they only had a record player, but the best records around, especially at Christmas and we would sit and play this over and over. I can still hear it now...



5. Christmas Without You- Kenny and Dolly 



4. Happy Christmas (War is Over) - John Lennon. This was my Dad's favorite Christmas song and I absolutely love it. "So this is Christmas and what have you done, another year over and a new one just begun."



3. Jingle Bell Rock- I love the beat and the rhythm and it reminds me of just being excited for Christmas as a kid.


2. Santa Claus is Coming To Town-Bruce Springsteen. His voice and the laugh he does in the middle of the song, well you will understand.


1. All I Want for Christmas Is You- Mariah Carey. Her whole Christmas Album is the best of all time, but this song of course tops them all.



I have plenty, plenty more, but what is your favorite???