Best Day EVER!!

So one week ago today was my 31st birthday aka the BEST DAY EVER.

Now you are probably wondering why I was so excited about turning 31. Well I wasn’t so much excited about that as I was about meeting my favorite singer Andrew McMahon!

Cheryl had found tickets for the Jack’s Mannequin reunion show on our birthday, so obviously we had to go. Then 2 weeks before on Instagram they announced a meet and greet. WHAT!!

Jack's Mannequin

We got there earlier than we needed to, but I was ok with that. Luckily it was warmer out.

The meet and greet started later than we thought, but it was worth it. We got to go watch sound check first.

Jack's Mannequin

I have never had a seat so close!

Jack's Mannequin

Then after sound check we got to meet Andrew and get pictures.

Jack's Mannequin

While waiting in line I realized I have been listening to Andrew (and all this bands) for 15 years!!

Jack's Mannequin

BEST DAY EVER!!

After the meet and greet we got food and then waited for the show. We had gotten VIP tickets for the show which means we had a separate section upstairs.

Jack's Mannequin

I am so glad we did. The pit was PACKED!

Jack's Mannequin

They played the whole Everything in Transit album. I was rocking out to every single song :) It was an awesome show.

Andrew even crowd surfed!

Jack's Mannequin

I am so glad we shelled out the additional money. It was definitely worth it on my birthday. I also still cannot believe I got to meet Andrew!

What Day Is It?

Is it really the end of January already? Have I really not posted since January 5th!?!

I have just been busy..same old story. No excuses anymore!

Anyway I am back! I know, get excited!

Excited

I figured for my first post back I should get you up to date on what has been going on with me! Ready? Ok!

My friends and I did another exit strategy room. It was called The Duke’s Palace. A few of our other friends have tried and failed, but we WON! We almost broke the time record, but got hung up right at the end.

Exit Strategy

I know last time I posted, I was all pumped and ready to get back into working out.

Workout

Well I have failed miserably. The food part I was ok with, but the exercising….not so much. I have slowly been making myself wake up earlier every day. Now to get out of bed and exercise….

The fact that I have been making recipe videos at work hasn’t helped either.

Lemon Dutch Baby

Lemon Dutch Baby = Carnival Food. It was delicious!

This past weekend was Snowpocalypse. They called it The Blizzard of 2016 on the news, but who’s to say this is the ONLY blizzard we are going to get…I just jinxed it didn’t I?

Anyway I stocked up at the store.

Beer

Then I stayed inside all weekend. It was actually productive. I did freelance work, FINALLY finished designing my 2015 Project Life pages, and did some stuff for work.

Freelance

And I drank my beer…obviously.

Well after the snow stopped and everyone stopped freaking out, I finally made my way outside.

My apartment building has a parking lot. The plow had been going through all morning so I was nervous what I would find.

Blizzard 2016

My car is on the left. It wasn’t terrible. Not as bad as the people parked on the street!

It took me about 45 minutes to dig out. I needed to go to CVS to get some pictures I ordered, but I decided to walk so I wouldn’t loose my spot.

Blizzard 2016

The city had the main roads blocked so they could clear the snow away in dump trucks…good job Manayunk!

Blizzard 2016

The sidewalks were another story. They were hit or miss depending on where I was. I think I might have climbed over a tree at one point…but I made it.

I got up early on Monday to make sure I had time to get to work. The roads weren’t terrible, until I got to King of Prussia.

Blizzard 2016

Road plowing FAIL!

Plow Fail

So now we wait for the snow to melt. I CANNOT WAIT for winter to be over!

Instagram Updates – December 2015

My last grid of 2015! I am going to have to think of something new for 2016.

Sadly I didn’t take many pictures in December…remember, CRAZY haha.

Instagramming December

So at work we made Key Lime pie, I had my first work Christmas party with my new company (very fun), I drank a lot, a little movie called Star Wars came out, I celebrated Christmas, got crazy with the new Boomerang app (I also got the new iPhone!), made some lamb ribs at work and twinned it out with Cheryl.

Also I got a grid of my most popular Instagrams from 2015.

Best Instagrams of 2015

Follow me @jessicarlin

What Year Is It!?!

I am back! ANDDD it’s 2016! When did that happen!?!

New Year

So the end of 2015 got real crazy…as in I was always busy crazy. Not the best excuse, but it’s all I’ve got.

Here are some things to catch you up on my life:

1. Christmas felt like Spring..or Fall

Warm Christmas

We sat outside most of the day, and usually in a t-shirt. What kind of craziness is Mother Nature throwing at us?

Update: It is now cold…very very cold.

Cold

Thanks Mother Nature

2. I had a very geeky Christmas

Christmas

There were multiple dinosaurs and a lot of Doctor Who things under the tree for me. I’m no complaining :)

3. Cheryl and I are still twins

Twinning

We don’t even live in the same state anymore, but she came to visit and we were wearing the exact same outfit. #twinning

4. The 70s were weird

Chug-A-Lug

We had a quieter New Year’s at our friend Joe’s house. He found this old game and it was…interesting.

5. Binge watching shows is tiring

Dot

On New Year’s Day we decided to stay in at Kier’s at binge watch Making a Murderer. If you haven’t seen it yet, you must! It’s a great show. I really would love to know if everything was true or if there was a lot of stuff left out for “dramatic effect” as people are putting it.

6. I ate wayyy too much over Christmas

Fat

The sad part is that it started before Christmas and just got progressively worse. No worries, I have a game plan.

7. For the next month I am doing the SELF X Tone It Up Challenge

Self X Tone It Up Challenge

The food is good, but it’s a lot of cooking and NO side-snacking. The workouts are HARD. Like I want to lay on the floor and not get up hard. It was not easy to walk today.

I am determined to stick with it for the whole month of January. I also have to start training for the DC Half in April! Time to get back into it.

Self X Tone It Up Challenge

If you want to learn more about the challenge, check out Self.com. It’s free to do!

Welcome to 2016!

Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

I have to admit, I have not been cooking a lot lately. I have just been too tired after work.

Before Thanksgiving my work had a potluck and I decided I had to make something! My mom mentioned how a friend from work always makes bacon wrapped cheese stuffed figs that are delicious. I decided to try something  little different.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

I wasn’t really sure how the combination would work, but they were delicious!! I mean bacon wrapped anything is probably good.

I gathered all my ingredients.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

First you have to cut the dates down the center, but not all the way through. The middles are hollow, but they are sticky so it wasn’t the easiest.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Next I stuffed them with the goat cheese. I might have overstuffed them, but I like cheese so it was fine.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Now it was time for bacon! I cut the strips of bacon in half so I would have enough. Then I wrapped each stuffed date with the bacon.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Some people said to secure them with toothpicks, but I just made sure the end of the bacon wrapped to the bottom.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

I loaded them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and popped them in the oven.

Bacon Wrapped Dates

There was a lot of grease when they were done, but I transferred each one to a plate lined with a paper towel to soak up as much of the grease as I could. What’s bacon without a little grease at least.

I topped them off with some maple syrup.

They were a big hit at work and pretty simple to make. Definitely something I can whip together for an appetizer.

Bacon Wrapped Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

Ingredients
1 lb pitted dates
4 oz goat cheese
1 lb of center cut bacon, sliced in half lengthwise
2 tbsp. maple syrup

Instructions
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Slice dates down one side, and open them up. Stuff with goat cheese. Close the halves of the dates, and wrap a half-slice of bacon around the outside. Secure each one with a toothpick. Bake for 20-25 minutes (until bacon is crispy). Arrange dates on a platter and drizzle a little maple syrup on top.

Exit Strategy

So there is a new trend right now with all these escape the room places opening up. A few of my friends got really into it and were going to different places all over NJ….and loosing.

Frustrated

The premise is you are locked in a room with clues, usually hard ones. One clue leads to another which leads to another which eventually helps you escape the room.

A few weeks ago I finally decided to try it out. There are a lot of different companies, but we went with Exit Strategy.

Exit Strategy NJ

The room we did was The Speakeasy. Here is the synopsis….
Chicago, 1930: A crime boss controls the underworld of the city with an iron grip. Despite Prohibition in full effect, his network of speakeasies and casinos continues to run unobstructed on every downtown corner. Beating charge after charge in the local courts, the only hope to save this city from this merciless gang of thugs is in your hands as a group of Treasury Agents that have been tasked with taking this man and his organization down.

The best part!

Exit Strategy

We won!

I am not going to say anything about the actual room or how we won. Each room can only be done by someone once and I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.

All I can say was it was fun! You have to have a group of people who are problem solvers and can also work independently. A lot of tasks I worked on by myself and brought it to the group while they were doing the same thing. Definitely something I will try again!

Disneyland!

So now that I have done my run recaps, it’s time to tell you about my first trip to Disneyland!In caseDisneyland

In case you didn’t know…Disneyland is just two parks right across from each other. The main one is Disneyland and the other is Disney California Adventure.

On Friday we decided to go to California Adventure first thing in the morning.

Disneyland

I was so excited to finally wear my Tigger ears!

Even though we were at Disney in November, it was already decorated for Christmas.

Disneyland

They were also celebrating their Diamond Celebration for their 60th year.

They let us into the park early, but only in the main square. Hotel guests got to go into the park early so we had to wait until it opened to get to the rides.

Disneyland

The line got crazy!!

Cheryl went to get us fast passes (they still have paper there) for Radiator Springs and we all went to get in line for Toy Story Midway Mania. It’s exactly like Disney World, BTW.

After we headed over to Cars Land.

Disneyland

It was so cute all decked out for Christmas!

Then we went on Radiator Springs, the Cars ride.

Disneyland

It was fun! I will be doing some ride reviews soon.

Disneyland

After we headed over to Tower of Terror! I know it’s not the same as Disney World, but it’s my favorite ride so I had to see what it was like.

Disneyland

I loved it! The inside was fun and even though the ride wasn’t as long, it was still a blast.

Next we got lunch and rested a little. Then we went on Grizzly River Run. It was a water ride and it was going to be the hottest day there.

Disneyland

On our way out we saw Chip and Dale!

Disneyland

Then we crossed the road to Disneyland. We saw Belle just hanging out so I had to get a picture.

Disneyland

Walt and Mickey statues are my favorite. It all started with a mouse!

Disneyland

It was crazy how much smaller the castle was compared to Disney World!

Disneyland is set up the same as Disney World. There is a Main Street and at the end is the Castle. On the right is Tomorrowland, behind the castle is Fantasyland and ToonTown, on the left is Adventureland and Frontierland. They also have a New Orleans Square and Critter Country instead of Liberty Square. It was kind of freaky going through the park. It was a lot of the same, but different at the same time.

Disneyland

Characters are different too. They just kind of wander around. Some don’t even have handlers and they rarely had photographers.

Our first stop in Disneyland was Indiana Jones. Such a fun ride (same format as Dinosaur). Then we waited in line for Pirates of the Caribbean. The ride was mostly the same. It was hard to enjoy with the MOST ANNOYING family behind us.

Then we decided to rest our feet and take a ride on the Disneyland Railroad. The whole ride is one side of the train looking into the park. They had a diorama of dinosaurs!

Disneyland

After that we jumped on line for Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I thought I had remembered it from when it was in Disney World, but it was so weird!

Then we went on Haunted Mansion. They changed the ride to Nightmare Before Christmas themed. It was awesome, but I love regular Haunted Mansion still.

Disneyland

Disneyland

While we were in line for Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Kristen saw that they were doing a soft opening of Hyperspace Mountain. They are building a Star Wars land eventually, but for now they changed Space Mountain into Hyperspace Mountain. SO MUCH FUN!

Disneyland

I really wanted to see the Paint the Night parade so we stayed in the park late to watch it. The light show on It’s A Small World made waiting in the cold so much better.

Disneyland

The parade was great! I love the night Disney parades.

Then we finally left since we had to wake up early for the 10K the next day.

After the 10K we went back to Disneyland.

Disneyland

We wandered around Main Street and then walked through Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

After we went on Pinnochio, Snow White and It’s A Small World.

Disneyland

They updated It’s A Small World for Christmas too. It was fun, they sang holidays songs along with the normal song.

Disneyland

We went on Finding Nemo, the submarine ride and then Winnie the Pooh.

I looked for Tigger the WHOLE TIME I was there. Sadly he isn’t out when Santa is there :(

Disneyland

We left the park earlyish to go get dinner before the half.

Disneyland

Look what technology is doing to us!!

On Sunday, after the half, we went back to Disneyland.

Disneyland

We got lunch at the Holly Jolly Bakery and watched the Christmas parade. Then we went to see Mickey!

Disneyland

We waited in a VERY long line inside Mickey’s house. The house part was cool, but I was disappointed. There was no photographer there and the lighting was TERRIBLE. Oh well. We got our running pic at least.

Then we went on Splash Mountain which is 10,000 times scarier than Disney World. No lap bars!

After we headed over to California Adventure. We went on the Monsters Inc. ride which was fun.

Next we got some drinks and then went to see the Aladdin stage show.

Disneyland

After we had dinner reservations before the World of Color show.

Disneyland

Dinner was good, but overpriced. The reserved seating area for the show was awesome.

Going to see a water show in November, even in California, is COLD. It was really cool though.

Disneyland

 

Since it was our last night there I wanted to stay as long as I could.

After the show we headed back to Disneyland (since it was open late) and went on the Teacups and Alice in Wonderland. Lastly we went on the Matterhorn Bobsleds. It was there when the park opened and man did it feel like it. All it needs is cushions on those seats! So painful, but glad I went on.

Disneyland

Then on Monday it was back home!

Even though we were only in the parks for 3 days, and some not even full days, I still think I did everything there. Disneyland is a lot different than Disney World. I understand why California residents go there so often. You can do a lot in a day!

It was a great experience, but in the future if I had to choose…it would be Disney World without a doubt!

Disney Avengers 10K Costume: Ironman

Ironman Running Costume

So for the 10K I decided to run as Ironman. Sadly the character is not licensed to Disney, but he’s still my favorite.

Ironman Running Costume

I got a red running shirt and pants from Amazon. They didn’t match completely, but I got it the best I could to match.

First I cut out a circle from silver metallic fabric.

Ironman Running Costume

I found a t-shirt design online and printed it out as large as I could. Then I used black puff paint and drew the design on. It was a little lopsided, but I think it worked.

Ironman Running Costume

Then I took yellow puff paint and put in some highlights.

I got yellow fabric and cut out accents for the pants. Then I got kids gloves and sunglasses from the party store to complete the outfit.

Ironman Running Costume

It was comfortable running like a superhero!

Disney Avengers Half Marathon Costume: Baby Groot

Baby Groot Running Costume

So for the half marathon we all decided to dress up as Guardians of the Galaxy. I decided to be Groot, but not normal Groot….Baby Groot!

Baby Groot Running Costume

It took me a while to figure out how to make the “pot” that Baby Groot was potted in. Finally I thought of this old fabric/plastic laundry basket I had.

Baby Groot Running Costume

I cut the bottom out first. Then I cut it short enough to run in.

Baby Groot Running Costume

I got brown fabric from the craft store. I figured if I made it look like dirt at the top around my waist I could add elastic to hold it up.

Baby Groot Running Costume

I got the brown to match the top I got on Amazon.

Baby Groot Running Costume

I also got a leather looking brown fabric to make it look like roots on my top. Then I threaded through green yarn and some leaves.

For the hat I took paper towel rolls and brown paper and hot glued it all to an elastic band. Then I added leaves.

Baby Groot Running Costume

This is probably my favorite disney costume to date. I LOVED the way it came out and it was so unique!