Archives for February 2016

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

When I was in Florida for the Princess Half Marathon weekend, I had the opportunity to stay at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. I stayed here for one night in January, but we were so busy I did not have the chance to really look around, so I was excited to have another stay and see what it was all about.

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This hotel is tucked away on Disney property, and you have probably passed it 100 times and not even noticed. It is conveniently located to Disney Springs as well as the theme parks. Hilton Orlando bonnet creek

The rooms are spacious at 414 sq. feet, and the beds were very comfortable. There was a desk in the room as well as a television, coffee maker, safe, and refrigerator. We had a huge window with a great view of the pool! Off in the distance we could see the Swan and Dolphin as well as the Tower of Terror!

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The lobby is super inviting and fun, check out the ceiling!

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One of my favorite things was this little spot which was open 24 hours a day. They had snacks, coffee, pastries, candy, donuts, chips, among other things. It was great to go down at 3:00 in the morning and grab some coffee the morning of the 10k.

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The views out the windows in the lobby area were amazing, and there was even a screen porch and fire pit so you could enjoy the sunset.

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There is also a convention center at Hilton Bonnet Creek, and they do weddings as well!

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There are several restaurants, and Jen and I ate at two of them. The first night we ate at Harvest, and they even had a special menu for the runners.

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Downstairs by the pool and next to Harvest they had a table of different waters for the guests. The watermelon was so good.

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Even though we didn’t use it because we were doing enough running as it was, there was a really nice gym on the ground floor next to the pool area.

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Speaking of the pool area…WOW. I am saving some of my photos for another post, but yall, this was an oasis. A lazy river, zero entry, waterslide, hot tub, plenty of lounge chairs, and an amazing outdoor restaurant.

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We ate at Beech the night before the half marathon, and it had such a relaxing vibe, and the weather was perfect to eat outside poolside.

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Also, this hotel is right next to the Waldorf Astoria, where there is an amazing spa. There is also a golf course, shopping, and a kids club next door at Waldorf Astoria.

Jen and I kept talking about how much we loved this hotel, the food, the pool, and the options it provided us during our stay. Being on Disney property is just so magical, and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek allows you to be in the middle of it all without breaking the bank. I hope to stay here again soon. The pool is already calling my name!

QOTD: Do you like a good pool/lazy river? Have you stayed at Bonnet Creek?

runDisney Princess Expo 2016

After some last minute finagling, I was so excited to be attending the runDisney Princess half marathon weekend to run the Glass Slipper Challenge! I love the Princess expo and was ready to get excited for the race weekend ahead.

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I arrived on Friday at lunch, and my buddy Jen picked me up at the airport. She drove down from South Carolina, and it was SO NICE having a car the whole trip! We took zero busses!

Anyway, after grabbing lunch at Chick-fil-A in Celebration (priorities) we headed to the expo. The first thing I said (several times) was that I could NOT get over the amazing weather! It was sunny and in the low 70’s, and was supposed to be gorgeous all weekend. (Spoiler: it was!)

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The first thing we did was head over to pick up our bibs and shirts before going into the expo. I had heard horror stories of the insanity from the day before, so I was a little nervous. There were a couple of items I would have liked to have, but nothing I NEEDED (it’s just stuff, people) so we were just planning to go with the flow.

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So far so good, it was not busy at all. We even walked right up to where you take the adorable instagram photos with no line. I will say, I was a bit bummed by the Instagram pics this year. I LVOED the one where the prince is in it from last year..or maybe it was two years ago. Anyway, I was looking forward to seeing what tricks runDisney had up their sleeve and sadly the background was boring and our photographer was not great so the pic did not come out well at all. Oh well! Not that I’m complaining about a free pic, but they raised the bar with awesome ones in the past and this one was just “eh”. Anyone else agree?

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Moving on, it was down the red carpet into the expo!

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Princess fun!

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we decided to head to the official merchandise first then come back and look at the other booths/chat with friends etc.

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Get excited people, race weekend!

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I was a little bummed that the Glass Slipper wine glasses and tervis tumblers were sold out (if anyone sees them at an outlet let me know!) and that there were no cute baby clothes like in years past, but again it’s just stuff, so I got my “I did it shirt” and a regular runDisney wine glass and called it a day.

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I got to see several friends! Michelle from Running Skirts, and Bobbi and Megan at Raw Threads among others.

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We wandered around but I didn’t buy anything else, and after awhile we decided to go check into our hotel and grab an early dinner. We had the 10k the next day, and it was time to get off of our feet. Overall it was a good expo experience for me, and was great to see some friends again and get excited about the race.

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QOTD: Favorite thing about race expos? Do you ever buy anything?

Tornado Troubles 

Hey guys! Sorry I have been MIA but I had a blast in Disney and was supposed to go home yesterday, but due to some severe weather, I wasn’t able to make it home. 
Yesterday was quite the draining travel day and I will be happy to be home today. It started on Monday when I checked in for my Tuesday flight and I realized there was going to be severe weather when I was supposed to be flying into New Orleans. I then became nervous the rest of the evening and even tried to get an earlier flight but they wanted $170 extra dollars. 

Tuesday morning I took the shuttle to the airport and kept an eye on the weather the whole time. The plane was on time and we were to be landing right as the bad weather approached…and approach it did. 

It got bumpy as we went to land, and when we were less than 1,000 feet altitude, all of the sudden we heard people’s tornado alarms go off on their phones and the plane quickly pulled up into the air. I was freaking out a bit, and after 30 minutes of circling we finally landed only to find out the reason we pulled up is because there was a TORNADO a couple blocks from the airport when we were trying to land. 

Ok, so I escaped death once, got my bags and headed to my car. I proceeded to drive across the huge lake (24 Mile bridge) and heard reports of huge water spouts on the radio. When I made it to my parents, I saw on the news a video of the water spouts. So scary they were there right before I came through! 

    
I escaped danger yet again, and decided to spend the night at my parents house because the bad weather was straight up and down the interstate I would have to drive to get home.

About an hour after getting to my parents house, my phone beeps and we are under another tornado warning and there was a tornado on the ground headed straight for my parents area of town. We had pillows, blankets and other items ready to hide out in the hall bathroom. It was not fun. 

  
Thankfully the threat passed and there was just a ton of rain filling the ditches and my parents backyard.    

 I was pretty exhausted after this crazy day but am also happy to get home to my family! I can’t wait to share all the details of my fun trip over the next week so stay tuned! 
QOTD: anyone have a crazy weather story? 

Princess Here I Come

It’s here! It’s here! I leave for Louisiana TODAY, and fly out to Orlando from New Orleans first thing Friday morning. My loose plans involve the expo Friday afternoon, 10K Saturday morning, EPCOT Saturday afternoon, the half marathon Sunday morning, relaxing at the pool Sunday afternoon, and the Magic Kingdom on Monday before leaving Tuesday morning. I’m so excited but know that it is going to go by so fast, it always does!

Last year, Bobby came with me on this trip and we stayed for a week at Port Orleans Riverside. This year, it is a girls only trip, and shorter. Also this year I am participating in the Glass Slipper Challenge for the second time!

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Jen and I will be staying at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek for part of our stay before we move to a Disney hotel. I can’t wait to share more about Bonnet Creek itself when I get home from the trip! It’s a gorgeous resort, right in the middle of Disney.

Yesterday, I posted a printable packing list the for race, so check it out if you missed it. Also, I TENTATIVELY plan to be hanging out in front of the merchandise area at 4:30/4:45 before the half marathon on Sunday if anyone wants to say hello. Stay in touch via Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, because I will post updates there if something changes. Note the big red dot below:

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You can read some of my old race recaps here. You can also read LAST year’s half marathon recap here.

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A couple of fun story lines…

More than 37,000 runners from 26 countries are participating this weekend, including more than 16,500 in the half marathon. Also, Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell will be on hand to sing the National Anthem on Sunday morning before the race!

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Safe travels to everyone going to Disney, hopefully I will see some of you very soon!

QOTD: What is your favorite costume you have seen at a race?

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Packing List

It’s almost time! The runDisney Princess Half Marathon is upon us! Since I planned this trip so last minute, it feels like it was snuck up on me so, so quickly. After only running the half marathon last year, I am so excited to be doing the Glass Slipper Challenge again.

runDisney Princess packing list printable

I started thinking yesterday that there are a lot of things to remember to pack for the race itself, so I started making a list, and realized I wanted to share it with all of you, too. I started typing it out, but then decided it would be fun to make it a printable so you can print it off, and check off the boxes as you go. I also left a section for notes where you can add things I did not put on the list that may be specific to you, so have fun and good luck! I hope to see some of you in Walt Disney World over the weekend! I arrive Friday and will be at the expo that afternoon, and am staying in WDW until Tuesday morning. The weather is looking promising, it’s sure to be a great time!

Click on the words or photo below to go straight to the printable.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Packing List Printable:

runDisney Princess half marathon packing list

I hope my Princess half marathon packing list has helped you!

QOTD: What would you add to this packing list? Will you be at Princess?

Run True Love

Hey guys! Happy late Valentine’s Day! Honestly, Bobby and I never go out on Valentine’s Day, and he knows I would kill him if he bought overpriced flowers, so we just normally exchange cards and call it a day.

However, when ASICS reached out to me about giving a surprise to our support system or “run true love”, I was super excited and decided to make it a scavenger hunt live on Periscope.

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It was fun and I am glad I did it, and Bobby is happy he has some new shoes. He has never run in the Nimbus before, so I will have to get him to write a review post after he has run in them awhile. If you want to see how fellow ASICS ambassadors surprised their friends or family, follow #runtruelove.

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We ate pizza for dinner, and then it was time for the main event. THE WALKING DEAD! Yall, if you aren’t watching this show then you are missing out on the amazingness that is Daryl Dixon and the rest of the gang.

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Love it. The episode did not disappoint (wow it was intense!) and I can’t wait to see the direction they take the rest of the season. Also, Carrie Underwood was the special guest on the Talking Dead, and I am a HUGE fan of hers, so that was a fun bonus.

So, that’s our incredibly exciting Valentine’s Day, which was fine by me. I hope your day was a good one, too! (and congrats to all the LA marathon finishers. You can check out my recap from last year here.)

QOTD: Do you watch The Walking Dead? What did you do for Valentine’s Day?

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Day 4

We left off the vacation recap talking about our day in Cozumel at Mr. Sanchos. After we took a cab back to the port area, we went on the hunt for some tequila. Our cab driver told us about a shop a few blocks down, but they wanted $35 a bottle (insanity) and then said he would give it to me for $30 (still insanity). We ended up just saying oh well, and headed to the ship.

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That’s when we went through the outdoor mall area, and I saw a drugstore that had a big sign that said “tequila”, so we ran in to take a peek, and found big bottle for $7 and $9 a piece. Now that’s what I’m talking about!

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We took a couple of photos then headed back to the beautiful Disney Fantasy.

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It was pirate night, and we were eating in the Enchanted garden. Our table mates had Palo that night, so we dined by ourselves.

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We had a great table right by the window. This is my favorite of the three main dining rooms, it’s so pretty!

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We hurried through dinner and back to our room to change, because…

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IT WAS FOOTBALL TIME! The national championship was on that night, and having been onboard a Disney ship during the NFL playoffs before, I knew it may get crowded. We headed to ‘O Gill’s Pub, and grabbed two chairs right in front of the big screen, and settled in to read out books…..because the game didn’t start for over an hour. (#Hardcore). Anyway, time went by and no one else came! Finally a few minutes before kickoff more people made their way in, but we were shocked at how empty it was…until I remembered this was a Star Wars cruise and we joked that was the reason there were so people in the bar for the game. Heh.

I ordered a drink and we had a great time watching.

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Something I think I failed to mention in my other recaps is that I HAD NO VOICE. Right after the half marathon as we were sitting outside cheering in the other runners, I realized my voice was getting kind of raspy. I felt ok, and chalked it up to the crazy weather (very humid but cold). However, my voice got worse until it was completely gone. The first two days of the cruise I couldn’t talk except in a whisper, and even by the last day it still wasn’t completely back. My throat hurt and I felt tired and coughed, but I had no other sickness symptoms and it took a month for me to feel like my voice was completely back. SO random! I say all this to say, imagine me screaming at the TV in the pub with not voice. It was pretty funny.

The next day we were in Grand Cayman. We had to tender, but I don’t mind because the water is so beautiful and I like the ride to and from the ship.

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I was just happy to finally see some sunshine! We usually hit up seven mile beach, but since we knew we still had a beach day at Castaway Cay (insert ominous music here) we decided to walk down to Margaritaville for some drinks and free Wi-Fi.

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Hello, Georgetown!

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It was crazy how warm it was! It was in the 80’s and pretty humid. I couldn’t get over it since it was January of course.

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We had no wait (this place is HUGE) and even had a table where we could see the ocean. We ordered some Margaritas, chips and salsa, and just enjoyed hanging out listening to the music while we did some work on our phones/iPad and checked in back home.

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Round two was a Pina Colada, it was delicious.

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Pool upstairs? So cool!

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After a couple of hours we decided to walk around a little more then head back to the ship. There were some clouds rolling in and we didn’t want to get trapped in a storm trying to get on a tender boat.

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I was decked out in my ASICS gear this day, too. Nice and light for a hot day.

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One thing I love about Disney Cruises is the special attention to detail. For instance, they were handing out freezing cold washcloths as we headed to the tender boats, and they had different types of water for us as well.

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Such a nice touch!

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The towels felt great on this hot afternoon, and we were soon headed back to the Fantasy.

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This post is getting a little long so I will stop there for now.

QOTD: Have you ever been to Grand Cayman or Cozumel?

5 Things Friday X

We made it! Friday again! Anyone have fun Valentine’s plans? We are boring and will just probably order pizza and watch the Walking Dead because….romantic, right? Anyway, it’s time for another 5 Things Friday! Have a good one!

1.) Aerolife running and cycling backpack rocks my world. I have actually NEVER used a hydration pack before because I either just carry water (annoying) or leave it in my car to go back to mid run (equally annoying), so when they reached out to me about trying out their backpack, I was excited, especially since I was training for two half marathons.

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This pack is waterproof, fully adjustable, and very lightweight. The weight was one of the things I was concerned about, but yall, I forgot I was wearing it. I also love the velcro and zipper pockets to hold my keys, gels, etc.

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It comes with a 1.5 liter bladder that is really flexible and easy to use. The price point on the backpack is another huge plus, as I have seen some really expensive bags out there. This one retails for under $29 on Amazon, and they also have a LIFETIME WARRANTY and customer service warranty. Works for me! Highly recommended from a girl who ahs never used one before.

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If you are interested in a 15% off coupon, email [email protected] and I will send you one!  Readers who will send their email to [email protected]will get also a very special gift for 2016, PLR best seller book: “How to boost your metobolism.”

2.) runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge is NEXT WEEKEND! Jen and I will arrive on Friday, and will be running the 10k and half. We plan to hang at EPCOT on Saturday and Magic Kingdom on Monday. Anyone for a pre race meet up? I want to see your faces!

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3.) Emma Kate is now a big girl. She is moving up to the next room at daycare and it makes me so sad! She was in the cruiser/young toddler room, and now she’s moving to the big toddler room, and the next stop is PRESCHOOL. Terrifying.

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4.) This weather is cra-cra.  It was 68 degrees yesterday and such a tease. I sat outside to do some reading, and the dog enjoyed the sun for a bit. It’s such a tease, because in a couple of days, it will be 31. COME ON SPRING! As long as it’s not freezing in Disney I will be ok…I think.

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5.) I have to run 12 miles tomorrow. I get really bored on long runs by myself, so it will be a miracle if I do this. I know we aren’t racing the Princess half fast, it’s just for fun, so theoretically I don’t need to do such a long run…but I’m shooting for it anyway.

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QOTD: Do you run with a hydration backpack? Are you running princess?

Live KIND

Kindness makes the world a better place, and I think we could all agree on that. I am currently partnering with KIND Snacks and want to encourage you all (and myself) to Live KIND. every day™. How can we do this? Doing things for your taste buds, your body, and your world is a great start!Live KIND

As an athlete, I am KIND to my body by exercising, eating nutritious (and delicious) foods, taking rest days for my body, and my mind. I have been working really hard better myself physically by going to boot camp four days a week and running twice a week since the beginning of January. I don’t always feel like I am being KIND to myself in the middle of a tough workout (haha) but I know in the end that it will be worth it!

One thing I am always careful to do though is to take a rest day each week. Too many people think they need to push hard seven days a week, and for me personally that is not being KIND to my body. I need to recover and rest to get even stronger. I typically do my longest workout (my long run) on Saturday, so Sunday makes for a great rest day for me. I think it is also important to take a mental health break, whether it be going for a walk with your dog or taking a quick nap, sometimes we just need to think about nothing!

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A part of being KIND to my body is also what I am fueling it with. I have to eat healthy foods or my workouts aren’t as effective, I feel sluggish, and get really tired. I eat KIND snacks after a tough workout to refuel me and tide me over until my next meal. They are really easy to just throw into my gym bag or purse to eat on the go, which fits in well with my busy life. They are a solution for every day! My favorites are Almond and Coconut, and anything with chocolate.

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I also think it’s important to be KIND to your taste buds. I love to eat delicious food, and sometimes for this southern girl that means home cooked comfort food! But, those are treats, and for the most part we try to eat healthy, especially to teach my toddler good healthy eating habits. Anyone with a toddler can tell you that sometimes trying to get them to eat healthy foods is like trying to bathe a cat. We continually give her lots of greens (she loves green beans), protein like turkey and chicken, and healthy fats like avocados but sometimes she turns them away. I know it’s just a phase, but it can be frustrating at times! Mixing veggies in with foods she already likes helps as well. Also, she LOVES my KIND snacks! Anytime she hears me rip open a package from the pantry she comes running and holds her little hand out for a bite. It’s so cute, but I usually end up having to open a second bar so I get enough to eat!

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As much as I think it is important to be kind to yourself, it’s also important to be KIND to those around you. I grew up doing volunteer work though my church and was raised to always keep others and their needs in mind. We can always do more to help others, and I think doing first hand work with those less fortunate is something that is very eye opening. One such experience happened to me this time last year, and has still stuck with me. I had the opportunity to help out with a Feed the Children charity event in New Orleans in conjunction with the Run Rock n Roll Series. We spent the afternoon giving food and toiletries to needy families in the area, and it was such a blessing to me to get to chat with some of these people, hear their stories, and do a little something to brighten their day. I truly believe we need more KINDness in the world, and that if we can all do a little more, things could be amazing.

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QOTD: What are you doing to Live KIND. every day™ for your body, the world, and your taste buds?   Check out how we “Live KIND” on our blog, http://www.kindsnacks.com/blog/, and follow KIND snacks on  Twitter/Instagram/Facebook – @kindsnacks and chat with them using #LiveKIND.

This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of KIND.

Disney Fantasy Cruise 2016: Mr. Sanchos

We woke up the next day in Cozumel. We have been to Cozumel many times before on previous cruises, and we typically go to the same beach, but wanted to try somewhere different this time. I had heard great things about Mr. Sanchos through various message boards, so we decided to give it a try. Mr. Sanchos is an all inclusive beach club that has  pools, drinks, tons of food, the beach, free wi-fi, and many other amenities. It is kid friendly, and open every day except Sunday.

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We were so stoked to go bask in the sun and drink fruity drinks all day…until we woke up to a storm. When I say it was raining…it was raining, yall.

In true Disney fashion, we were handed awesome ponchos as we exited the ship. We trudged up the pier in the driving rain, getting soaked along the way. We made it to a taxi, and were headed to the beach. As soon as we got to our destination, it stopped raining! This was a miracle because it was supposed to rain all day.

Excited to get going, we headed to the entrance and were greeted by our server for the day. We were told what was included for us, and what was extra (the inflatable water toys are extra but because of the weather, they didn’t even have them out, also things like massages, hair braiding, wave runners, snorkeling, and horseback riding were extra.) If you don’t want to go the all inclusive route, there are al la carte options as well.

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You get a LOT of stuff for the price! I am married to a garbage disposal, so I knew he would eat over $55.00 in food alone, and well, I like my fruity drinks. We were shown around, and explained that there was a buffet but we could also order from the menu. Because of the weather, there were not many people there, which was fine with us! There were plenty of lounge chairs and tables with adorable straw umbrellas.

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We set up our little spot at a table, and ordered our first round of drinks as well as some chips and guacamole.

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The drinks are good, yall. I didn’t taste a ton of alcohol, but they were delicious. My favorite was the Blue Sea. The chips and guac were amazing as well. II t was so nice to know we didn’t have to look at food prices all day!

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I decided to take a walk around to get some photos while Bobby read a book. Also, the free wi-fi is up by the buffet under a giant pavilion, so I brought my ipad up there to check my email and text my mom to check on the wee one.

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I also checked out the bathroom which were very clean, for those wanting to know (this is always important to me!) In fact, everything was very clean on the whole property.

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The pool looked really awesome with the bar at it and there were tables and chairs IN the pool which I thought was neat.

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Anyone care to swing?

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Hammock for a nap maybe?

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Our server was very attentive and balanced that very hard line between coming to check on us too much and not enough, he really did a great job.

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After a little reading we ordered some more food. I got the quesadillas, Bobby got the shrimp tacos as well as coconut shrimp, and I got more of the delicious guacamole and a bottle of water.

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We also ended up ordering a couple other things but I can’t remember now, however everything was tasty!

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We left around 3:30 as all aboard for the boat was 4:45 and we still wanted to shop for some tequila. One thing to note is as you walk in and out you have to pass by a bunch of people trying to sell you things and some were kind of…persistent, and I just told them no thank you, but just a heads up for those who get anxious by those types of things. Some ladies came around a couple of times asking if we wanted a massage or hair braiding and we politely declined. They weren’t annoying or pushy though which was nice.

Would I go back here? Absolutely! Hopefully on a sunny day, and I would ask for double shots in my drinks. When I weighed out the price of the food and drinks alone, we would have spent more than $55 a person, not to mention the use of the facilities and what was super important to me, the free wi-fi. It’s great to be able to check in on work or family without paying the ridiculously high prices for data on board the ship!

All in all we had a great day at Mr. Sanchos despite the weather. If anyone has any questions about it I would be happy to answer! (Be sure to follow them on Facebook for updates and great beach pictures!)

QOTD: Have you ever been to a beach all inclusive? What do you do on a rainy port day on a cruise?

Disclosure: I was provided with two complimentary day passes from Mr. Sanchos, however all opinions are my own.