2 months ago I changed my eating.

6 weeks ago I started running
update: I still hate it 75% of the time, but I can run 25 min or about 2.5 miles now

4 weeks ago I started going to a boot camp 3 times a week (using a Groupon I purchased back in February)

Today I weigh 32 lbs less.

Today my hips and waist are both 3 inches smaller than they were a month ago. And each thigh is and 2 inches smaller.

Today my pants are all way too big.

Today my endurance is much higher. I am stronger. I actually crave my workouts.

There’s a lot more to do, but it’s not a bad start.

Review: Lodi Station Outlets

A few weeks ago I was invited to a blogger day at a local outlet mall. I had never been to Lodi Station Outlets before but we pass it on every trip to my parents’ house. Every time we pass we talk about stopping but the kids are never cooperative. So this invite was a great way to finally check it out.

As a parent I was thrilled to see all the kids’ stores on the list of shops: Gap Kids, Carter’s, OshKosh, etc. My husband wanted to check out adidas & Levi’s. I couldn’t wait to be let loose in Kitchen Collection. (Why yes, we are quite the stereotypical cast of characters aren’t we?).

I went to Lodi Outlets on a mission to replace our 10-year-old hand-me-down blender. I was prepared to spend up to $75 on a new one. I had done my homework and knew what I was after. I’ll cut to the chase – the deals at Lodi were great. Here’s what $100 bought: 

Matilda got a pair of Reebok running shoes and a pair of Buster Brown sandals at Famous Footwear Outlet. I got tongs, pure Madagascar vanilla extract, a leave-in meat thermometer to replace one that just died and my pièce de résistance – a Cuisinart SmartPower 7-Speed Electronic Blender – all from Kitchen Collection. When I found this Cuisinart for $39 I grabbed it so fast that Mark’s head spun. It was 30% off regular retail. Plus I had picked up some coupons in the food court so I only spent $34 on it – nearly half off regular price.

Just so you know that I wasn’t the only one burning through cash, Mark also scored some great deals from the Father’s Day sale at adidas that aren’t pictured above. A runner can never have too many socks or tech shirts.

The best part about Lodi Station, and a big reason why we will go back, is the things for kids to do there. This is a great spot to shop with the family because mom & dad can take turns – one shops while the other explores with the kids. There is a very nice playground and grassy area near the parking lot. They also have 2 custom-made classic trains that ramble around the property all day and Matilda could not wait to get on one.

Another thing I found was that the staff was extremely kid-friendly. From the Lodi Station Outlet staff working in the food court area to the staff at the shops we visited, everyone was super-nice. Our last stop of the day was in Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for some ice cream. Matilda had $2 burning a hole in her purse and she decided that she wanted to spend it on chocolate. The RMCF staff was so sweet – helping her find what she could afford and what would be the best value for her money. She decided on 4 chocolate coins for $1, went to the counter to pay for it herself and they made such a fuss over her. She was so proud of her first transaction and held on to that receipt like her life depended on it.

  The Madman wants you to know that parents & kids can relax at Lodi Station

Matilda has already asked to go back to “the train mall” a few times. And I’m pretty sure the next trip to my parents’ house will include a stop at Lodi Station; Mark can take the kids on the train while I shop!

Disclosure: I was invited to have lunch, ride the train and shop at the Lodi Station stores. I was given a gift card to do so along with a swag bag of items from some of the shops. All opinions are, of course, my own.