Woofing It – Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

This past Saturday Southeastern Guide Dogs had their annual Walkathon at Vinoy Park in downtown St. Pete. I had formed a team for the walkathon and was so happy that the day was finally here!

Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

It was a gorgeous day for the Walkathon. Not too cold. Not too hot. Nice breeze and plenty of sunshine.

Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

Team Woofing It (left to right): Nicole, Kyle (with Barkley), Jesse, Caroline’s boys with Chewie, Caroline, Me, Jon, Maddie, Heather. Minus my friend Karen, who ended up having to work ๐Ÿ™

Once our team gathered together we walked towards the starting line. Boy, were there a LOT of dogs! Dogs of all breeds no less!

Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

We didn’t walk around to a lot of the booths they had, but we did stop by the Dunkin Donuts tent, where they had FREE donuts, hot chocolate and coffee. Jon took a sigh of relief when he saw the coffee. I grabbed a blueberry cake donut (my fav) and some hot chocolate. Hello sugar rush!

Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

After some remarks we all got lined up and the walk started.

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We did a 3k walk through Vinoy Park and looped back on Beach Drive. It was a nice walk and went by pretty fast. We had fun pointing out all the cute dogs and talking to one another.

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Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

We couldn’t help but laugh at all the water stations. For a 3k walk, they had more water stations than any other race I’ve done! The pups were kept well hydrated.

Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon

Once the walk ended we all parted ways…we all had other things on our agendas! I’m so thankful for everyone coming out and helping support Southeastern Guide Dogs!

SGD also has a Walkathon in Bradenton and Sarasota. Between the three Walkathons they raised $500,000! $668 was from our team. Not much compared to that big number, but we’re proud of it.

If you have never heard of Southeastern Guide Dogs I encourage you to check out their website: www.guidedogs.org They are such a unique non-profit and they rely 100% on donations to be able to provide the visually impaired with awesome guide dogs. Jon and I have visited their campus in Palmetto before and took a tour. It is an amazing place and prepares dogs to be the best guide dogs possible. They raise the dogs from puppies so they always have puppies around. On Saturday mornings they have Puppy Hugging, where you can come play with the puppies to help socialize them. Who doesn’t love some puppy kisses?

What is your favorite cause that you love to support?

 

Walkathon Preparation and “Take Out” Meals

It has been a crazy busy week so far!

Monday felt like it would never end. After work I rushed home to change and grabbed Maddie to accompany me on errands. She had been alone all day and I felt bad leaving her again.

First stop was Big Fish Co. to pick up my team t-shirts for this weekend’s Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon. Love how they came out! I’ve ordered shirts from Big Fish before and they always do a great job. There are probably cheaper places, but their service is great and they didn’t charge that much extra to create a graphic for me.

I felt bad that we wouldn’t make it to the dog park (we try to take Maddie every day), but then I remembered we were near Crescent Lake Park and they have a dog park. So we stopped by there and Maddie got her play time in. The dog park was much smaller than our usual one, but there were lots of great dogs that Maddie enjoyed playing with and the people were really nice too. Win!

Yesterday I rushed out of the house again to get to Beak’s Old Florida to pre register for the Walkathon. I did not want to deal with any long lines or chaos the morning of the event. The staff from Southeastern Guide Dogs were super nice and registering was easy peasy. I got my Walkathon t-shirt and even a bandana for Maddie!

There was also a furry staff member there as well!

This is Petey, one of their guide dogs in training…how cute is he? When I bent down to pet him he immediately put his paws on my shoulders and licked my face all over. I die.

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When I got home I got to work on putting the finishing touches on my Walkathon team goodie bags.

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Homemade dog treats! I used Marta Stewart’s Apple Cheddar Dog Biscuit recipe. They are Maddie approved and I sold some at a little fundraiser we had in the beginning of the month and they went like hot cakes.

protein bites

I also made a healthy treat for the people as well. I followed the base of Fitnessista’s Amazeball recipe, but doubled it and added dried dates and shredded coconut.

I just love these little bags I found. The designs are so cute and I’m a sucker for anything bright and colorful. Found these for $2 each at Micheal’s.

southeastern guide dogs walkathon

Inside each bag are our team t-shirts, bandanas I had made for each team member bringing their dog, homemade dog treats, homemade protein bites, the recipes for both and instructions for Saturday. Can’t wait to hand these off to my team!

Because I’ve been so busy this week I have not had the time or energy to make myself dinner. Luckily, there are a few places in St. Pete, where you can grab healthy, freshly made prepared food.

Monday it was Rollin’ Oats. They always have a variety of meal items in their cafe and change up what they offer every week or so.

rollin' oats dinner

Salmon cakes, beet quinoa salad and kale salad.

Last night was Fresh Market. Since I’ve seen them squeeze mac and cheese out of a plastic bag I know that they don’t necessarily make all their food items on location. But their stuff still tastes pretty darn good. And they have an awesome selection of healthy soups, sandwiches, salads, pizzas, etc. Side note: Fresh Market is the Target of grocery stores. I actually made it out of there yesterday with just the items I came in for. I was tempted by a plethora of items, but held back!

the fresh market dinner

Mini meatloaf with mashed potatoes and corn.

And of course there is now Fitlife Foods.

I definitely want to get back to making myself healthy dinners when Jon is working. I like making something where there will be leftovers throughout the week (saves $). But I like knowing that if I need a healthy, tasty meal, there are excellent places to go.

What’s your go to plan if there’s no time to cook? Any go to “take out” places?

Back in The Saddle

A great big hello! Long time no write!

I’m happy to report that I am officially “back in the saddle” and feeling much much better. That pneumonia sure is a kicker. I started back at work last Monday and pretty much took it easy all week. It’s amazing how tired my body still was…every day I went home I passed out right away as soon as I laid down on the couch.

I am eager to get back to my normal hectic schedule and had a fantastic weekend to start it up.

Friday started with happy hour with Lora at Cassis, which I haven’t been to in forever. We sat in the bar area, which was packed! We shared the baked brie and warm lentil salad appetizers. Both were pretty good, although the brie was mostly apple and the salad wasn’t really warm :/

From there we went to the grand opening party for a new yoga studio in town, Body Electric Yoga.

Body Electric Yoga

The space was great…loved the brick walls and high ceiling.

Body Electric Yoga

The party was bustling with yogis. There had been a free class beforehand that we had skipped (they had 58 people!) There was a table set up with food catered by BellaBrava and cupcakes from Cupcake Spot. (I snagged a red velvet…mmm) Many already empty bottles of champagne and a keg. And free massages to boot.

We hung around for a little, then ventured back downtown to Courigans. I stayed around for a little while, but eventually by tiredness creeped in and I headed home.

My mom’s birthday was this past Thursday so we celebrated with manis and pedis on Saturday, as well as a yummy dinner at Moscatos. If you like Italian and are looking for a less crowded option than downtown I recommend Mosactos. The food is pretty good and the atmosphere is wonderful…very intimate. They tend to have live music on the weekends as well. We struck up a conversation with our adorable waitress, who was telling us she had recently taken a week off to audition at some schools for musical theatre. Oh, those were the days…

Sunday afternoon, Lora threw a Southern Cook Off party, which was a ton of fun. Best food I’ve ever had a party! People really went all out.

Fried Green Tomatoes

Crawfish Dip

Mac and Cheese

Shrimp and Grits Casserole

Wild Hog Sausage (actually caught by the maker)

Fried Gator (also caught by the maker)

Sweet Potato Fries

Fried Okra

Fried Pickles

Glazed Pecans

Strawberry Shortcake

Snickers Brownies

Yum Yum Yum!

My contribution was Bacon andย  Brussels Sprouts Salad.

brussels sprouts salad

(Image Credit)

I followed this recipe, but switched out almonds with pecans to make it more “southern”. This salad was a HIT. Multiple people came up to me asking for the recipe.

It was super simple to make. I’m a huge brussels sprouts fan and the bacon, pecans and asiago all paired together beautifully for this delicious side dish.

I’m looking forward to an exciting week! I’ll finally be redeeming my Groupon for Above the Barre, which will be the perfect low impact exercise to get me back in the fitness groove. I’ll be attending the Southeastern Guide Dogs Walkathon with my awesome team. We’re still in need of donations if you’re interested ๐Ÿ˜‰ Visit our team page here. And it’s Eckerd Reunion Weekend! Lots of fun to be had.

Are you a brussels sprouts fan? What are some creative dishes you’ve made with them?

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