Birthday Recap 2017

I can’t believe it’s already been a week since my birthday! I had a great one for my first year in Florida, and felt so much love from my family and friends, including online friends! Here is a quick recap of all the festivities from the week:

On Tuesday my parents took me to Disney for the day. I mean, why not? Yes it was SUPER HOT but we only stayed until after lunch then headed out when it got unbearable. I am so thankful to get to live close to the magic that we can do things like this!

We rode a few rides, had lunch at the Plaza restaurant, and then went over to the Polynesian to get Dole Whip floats, my favorite! Very refreshing on such a sunny Florida day.

dole whip float

On Wednesday, Megan took me out for a special birthday meal at Ulele. I had never been and really loved the outside atmosphere. I will have to bring Bobby this fall when it cools down some.

Ulele

Then on my actual birthday, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to a new class at a new to me gym. I was so nervous but of course everything was fine.

After class, I was a sweaty mess so I took a shower then headed to Starbucks for my free birthday drink.

I went to the outlet mall to shop for a little while before I was to meet Megan at the pool. I came out of one of the shops and it was POURING rain! So much for the pool. I went to the PDQ drive thru and headed home to eat and get a little work done. Then my mom and dad came over and hung out before it was time to go get Emma Kate. There were babysitting for us so Bobby and I could go to dinner at Grillsmith. We decided we would probably be back late so we sang happy birthday and did cake and ice cream before Bobby and I went to dinner. The two of us just didn’t eat any yet.

Around 6:00 Bobby and I left for dinner, and then went to the AT&T store to get my birthday gift, a new iPhone! I’m super excited to be able to take better photos and also have portrait mode. I had the original iPhone 6 which will be three years old in September so it was time. I no longer could hear people on the phone and had to constantly use speakerphone which wasn’t ideal in public places, heh. Also can I just say i’m super thankful they have an affordable monthly payment plan? Anyway, it was a great birthday, and I’m thankful to be here for another year, and to be healthy. However, there is still one more celebration to be had. A few of my local blog friends and I are headed to dinner and a movie to celebrate my birthday on Saturday. We are seeing Girl’s Trip and I can’t wait to laugh and have a good time.

Again, thank you all for the birthday wishes, it meant a lot to me. I am thankful for each of you.

 

 

 

 

Painting With a Twist (of fun!)


Last weekend, my mom and I had the unique opportunity to attend a class at my local Painting with a Twist. I have done a similar class before, but it has been many many years. My mom had never done anything like this before, so I knew it was going to be fun for a mother daughter night away.

We easily signed up online after finding the nearest location (ten minutes from my house!) and were sent a conformation and some instructions. I was excited to see we were allowed to bring wine/beer and snacks, and was hopeful it would make my painting skills better? Ok so maybe not!

We arrived a few minutes early to get our aprons on and get set up at our table. The instructor had already placed our names in front of our canvas and poured our paint. Meanwhile, I poured us some wine and we chatted with our classmates before we got started.

The instructor was so nice and had a very relaxing voice. She went over the rules and calmed everyone’s fears. She wanted to make sure we had FUN no matter what, and really took the pressure off. She explained that she would be painting along with us and helping us as we went. She had on a microphone so it was easy to hear her, and she was up on a stage. I like that they also had a completed painting next to her so we knew what the finished product would look (or should, ha) look like.

She was sure to explain the steps several times, telling us what colors to use, how to do our brush strokes, etc. Slowly but surely, my painting came to life. After about an hour we took a 15 minute break to stretch, walk around, and let the first part dry (and of course take a few sips of wine).

Then, it was back to it and we finished everything up in two hours. I was skeptical, but can’t believe I did the whole thing so quickly! Now, I’m no artist, but I had a really good time and I think my painting turned out pretty good.

Painting with a twist

I would definitely do this again. I think it would be super fun for a girls night, date night birthday party, or family event. You can even do private parties! I’m so glad I got to have a stress free, phone free, couple of hours and experience this with my mom. Now I have a painting at home so I will always remember it.

Be sure to check out their website to find a location near you. What I love is that you can check their calendar and see what paintings they will be doing on each day, so you can pick your favorite and sign up on that day!

Lion King Memories on Disney Junior

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Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Disney Junior, however all opinions are my own.

I grew up as a Disney kid. I loved Mickey and Minnie, and owned all the motion pictures on VHS (I’m really aging myself here!). There are certain Disney movies that bring me right back to my childhood, and all the happy memories I had engrossing myself in the worlds of the characters, playing make believe with my friends, and singing along to cassette tape sound tracks. A year or so ago when the new show The Lion Guard came out on Disney Junior, I was super excited to watch it with Emma Kate. The Lion King was in fact one of my favorite movies (and I may or may not have had a crush on Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the voice of young Simba, too!)

It was so nostalgic for me watching the Lion Guard as grown up Simba now has his own son who is running around Pride Rock—causing trouble of course! I love that I can share in that world with my daughter, and I love that Disney is generational, and truly never goes out of style!

In fact, a few days ago my mom was cleaning out a drawer and found a bunch of cards that were mine from many years ago. I had not thought about them in a very long time, but as soon as I saw them I was brought back to my childhood, and remember playing with them (and collecting them) often. I decided to give them to my daughter to play with, and she has had a BLAST showing me each card and telling me what character is on it. It makes my nerdy Disney loving heart so happy to hear her, at two years old, identifying the characters that I grew up with.

We have played games with the cards, made choo choo trains, guess the card, and all kinds of other fun simple things that have kept us both entertained for hours, just from some little old cards found stuffed in a drawer and forgotten about for twenty years.

This is one of the reasons we are super excited about the new episodes of some of our favorite Disney Junior shows, including the Lion Guard, coming on TV Fridays this summer. All-new episodes of Disney Junior’s hit series’ are coming to Disney Channel FRiYAY mornings throughout the summer! A new episode will be out on Friday the 14th, and I can’t wait to see what kind of a predicament the Lion Guard gets into this time!

Want to know how you can watch these new episodes with your family? There are two places to look! First of all, The Disney Channel:  During the morning block (usually 6-10am), Disney Junior shows will air first on Disney Channel.  Usually new episodes will air here FIRST so tune in to catch the premiere! Check out the schedule for the rest of the summer below:

FRiYAY, 7/14– All-new Lion Guard starting @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey & The Roadster Racers and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY,  7/21 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Sofia The First and Elena of Avalor

FRiYAY, 7/28- All-new Mickey & The Roadster Racers @8:30am followed by an all-new Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY,  8/4 – All-new Sofia the First @ 9am
FRiYAY, 8/11 – All-new Lion Guard @ 8am followed by all-new Mickey and the Roadster Racers  and Puppy Dog Pals
FRiYAY, 8/18 – All-new  Sofia The First @ 9am followed by an all-new Elena of Avalor

I hope you can catch some of the episodes with your little ones and reminisce about the times you were a child watching your favorite shows. Thanks Disney Junior for reminding me of so much fun!

QOTD: What was your favorite Disney show or movie growing up?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Disney Junior.

Tampa Tuesdays: Carnival Goes to Cuba

Last week, Megan and I were invited to a special celebration aboard the Carnival Paradise at the port of Tampa. This celebration was marking the first of twelve special voyages to Havana, Cuba over the next year.

La Nacional Hotel, Havana, Cuba

The celebration on board the ship was as colorful as Cuba itself, with the largest Cuban Sandwich at sea,

delicious drinks,

 

Cuban food,

and a big check donated to the Ybor city museum!

We danced with Senior Cruise Director John Heald, and got super excited for everyone onboard sailing off to Cuba that afternoon.

Sadly, we had to disembark the ship, but I saw some wonderful photos already from the first voyage! (Search #CCL2Cuba or #CarnivaltoCuba for great shots on Instagram!)

Each cruise is four or five days in length, and includes an overnight stay in port, giving travelers a rare glimpse into Havana at night. Also, some of the itineraries include a stop in either Key West or Cozumel. What is there to do in Havana you ask? So much! Carnival can help connect you with local guides familiar with the food, music, and history of Cuba. With 16 shore excursions, I’m sure you will find something to do for the whole family.

On top of visiting Havana, you will be on board the Carnival Paradise. A Fantasy class ship holding 2,052 passengers (the largest to ever sail to Cuba) with fun on board activities like a water slide, Seuss at Sea kids activities, Spa Carnival, and the Serenity adults only area.

Sailing dates are July 13, Aug. 14, 24 and 28, Sept. 7, 21 and 25, Oct. 5, 9 and 19, 2017, as well as May 3, 2018. Be sure to find a sailing that fits into your schedule before they are gone. What a great opportunity!

Cuba

QOTD: Would you be interested in sailing to Cuba? 

Disclosure: I was invited to this special day by Carnival, however all opinions are my own. 

Social Media Day Recap 2017

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to experience my first ever social media day! it takes place nation wide on June 30th every year, and Tampa celebrates in style! I got to be part of the 6 car blogger caravan thanks to Reeves VW, and travel around to different locations in the city before coming back for the party that night at Fergs Live. Our social media handles were even put on the cars. So cool!

Or first stop was Viking Fitness. None of us were dressed to workout, but that didn’t stop me!

After that we headed to Hazel and Dot. They have the CUTEST stuff. I could seriously buy anything from there and be happy!

Next was a delicious stop at the Mini Doughnut Factory. I had heard of this place before but never had I experienced it…and it was quite the delicious experience! So many choices! I could have tried many more flavors!

Also, have you ever had a doughnut shake? Yeah, well you need to try one.

Our last stop was Chef Inspired Popcorn in the Hyde Park area. I love me some good popcorn so I was excited about this one. They have so many amazing flavors and we got to sample several. They do all kinds of catering and events so be sure to check them out.

Finally it was time for us to heard back to Fergs Live for the VIP hour and party following. We ate, we drank, there were so many people there! I of course love a good photo booth.

It was so exciting to see so many locals that enjoy social media, too. I met some new people, hung out with friends, and generally had a blast. I can’t wait for next year!

QOTD: Did you celebrate social media day, or even know it existed? 

 

July 2017 Goals

Happy July! This is the bets month of the year, because it just so happens to be my birthday month! I can’t believe we are halfway through 2017, and on the downside to 2018. Makes me want to work quickly to achieve my goals! Speaking of which, let’s look at my June list and see how I did.

1.) Get my pre-sale for my new course up and running: C My course isn’t finished yet, but I made some great strides this month and am confident it will be ready by the end of the summer. I need to do better about setting aside blocks of time to work on it. I had a lot going on in June and it got pushed to the side.

2.) Read a book: D I did not read a book…however I did start one, and I read a magazine, so that counts for something, right?

3.) Make at least two new brand connections at BlogHer17: A+ Woo hoo! I crushed this one. I made about 5 brand connections at BlogHer and I can’t wait to see what comes of them!

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Moving on to my July goals…..

1.) Work on my e-course at least 4 hours a week: I know just saying “work on my course” is not a measurable and actionable step, so I am going out on a limb and saying 4 hours a week. So one hour a day 4 days a week, and I will be keeping track. At that pace, I should be on track to finish by the end of the summer!

2.) Workout 4-5 times a week: It’s been SO hot, I have been slacking. I go to Orange Theory twice a week, but other than that I have only been working out maybe one other time because the heat is unbearable. I need to either suck it up and just go even though my runs will be slow, or find another form of exercise. I’m working on it.

3.) Clean up extra room: My parents brought over some furniture that will eventually be Emma Kate’s “big girl” bedroom set, and I need to make room for it in one of the extra rooms upstairs so we can get it out of my garage!

Looking for a great way to keep track of your goals? Sign up for my free goal and fitness tracking printables at this link. Have a great July!

QOTD: What are your goals for July? 

BlogHer 2017 Recap

Last weekend, I attended the mother of all blogging conferences: BlogHer 2017. Lucky for me, it was being held in Orlando, just a little over an hour away from me. I have always wanted to attend this conference, but plane tickets plus conference pass plus hotel was just not in the cards, so I was pumped when some of those things ended up being taken care of!

blogher17

I arrived on Thursday to the beautiful Hilton Bonnet Creek. I LOVE this hotel yall. It was my 3rd time staying here, and it was just as beautiful as ever.

lazy river

I had the opportunity to have snacks and drinks with some blogger friends and some of the marketing team at Bonnet Creek, and it was a great way to kick off the weekend!

Thursday afternoon was registration, and my roommates arrived just in time. We heard Chelsea Clinton speak, then got checked in. 

With 2500+ bloggers trying to check in, the line was super long so we waited awhile before doing so. I went to the expo by myself after this, and compare it to the first day of a runDisney expo–a little crazy!

Then it was time for the Princess Cruise event. They are rolling out new technology similar to a Disney Magic Band but way prettier and more advanced. You can tap a screen and it will tell you how to get to the pool with the fastest route considering traffic flow on the ship.

princess cruise

I was pretty wiped out after that since I still had my cold, so I went to bed. The next morning we were up bright and early for the 7:30 newbie breakfast we had registered for. Imagine our surprise when we got downstairs and the line was well over 100 people long. We waited a few minutes then were told the breakfast was full to capacity and we would have to go to regular breakfast. Huh? We REGISTERED for this…why were they not checking names?! I was really irritated by this and it sadly wouldn’t be the last time this happened to people over the weekend. We got breakfast and headed in to the breakfast keynote, which was WAY more political than I was anticipating at a blog conference.

We then had our first breakout session, then lunch, then another breakout session. But let me backup. I was eating lunch with a Disney friend of mine, and he asked me if I wanted to meet Serena…Well, duh! So I ran off after him to the backstage area where we hung out for a few minutes before she took the stage. It was amazing! I was slightly starstruck and on a high the rest of the afternoon.

serena blogher

I ran over to another special event with HP, and then back for the afternoon session. The session rooms were super crowded as they did not have enough chairs so I had to sit on the floor. Not a huge deal, but just thought planning would have been better for the amount of people there.

After this, we were on our own for dinner. There was an event that night my roommates and I decided to skip, and instead we ubered to Disney Springs for dinner and drinks and had a blast.

My food was very good and I will definitely be back again.

We had a happy hour I was invited to that we attended next, so we ubered to a different hotel for it and met some more great people, and had yummy drinks and snacks.

We were all tired after that so we got in our PJ’s, made some drinks and watched TV in bed. Adulting is hard.

The next morning we had to pack up all of our stuff since we were checking out of the hotel, so we brought it all to our cars before breakfast. We ate, had another keynote (Gabby Reece and Laurie Hernandez!) and then I had another special event called “speed dating”. I had 90 seconds to talk with 6 brands and see if they wanted to work with me. It was super nerve wracking but also fun.

I went back into the expo after that was over because I had some time before lunch. I grabbed a mashtini from Bob Evans (yum!) and met with a couple more brands.

After lunch I had a meeting with another brand, so I missed part of the keynote but came back to see Carla Hall and Cat Cora speak.

Then we went to our last session which was by far my favorite. I am implementing things I learned as we speak, and can’t wait to do more! I decided to not stay for the closing party so I could get back to Tampa and help my husband with Emma Kate, but I was also too worn out to stay up late then drive home.

I had a blast getting to know my roommates more and also meeting other bloggers and brands. That in itself was worth it to me.

So to recap BlogHer:

Things I loved: Meeting new bloggers, hanging out with my roommates, meeting with brands, a couple of the sessions and special events. The host hotel was amazing.

Things that were just OK: variety of food. At breakfast there was no protein which made me sad. Some of the sessions didn’t have space/seating and were more surface level teaching than I would have liked.

Things I didn’t like: Being turned away for an event I registered for. This happened again later in the weekend for a special movie screening some people attended as well. Way way way too much political talk. And it was very obviously one sided. Was not a fan. Teach me about blogging! teach me about networking!

Would I attend again. It depends. If it was in an easy to get to location and my friends were going as well as great brands/sponsors, I would go again. I would just skip some of the keynotes and things I know that I’m not going to be a fan of hearing.

If you have any questions let me know, I would be happy to try and answer.

 

Tampa Tuesdays: Social Media Day

Happy Tampa Tuesday! This Tuesday is especially great because I am going to be talking about something I love: social media.

Every year Tampa celebrates social media day with a big party on June 30th. Since I am new to Tampa, this is my first year to participate but I can’t wait to join in the festivities. I will be caravaning with other bloggers in a group sponsored by Reeves VW during the day stopping at different locations, and then meeting up with everyone for the party that night. If you live in Tampa and are involved in social media, come join in the fun! Here are some of the details:

Hashtag: #SMDayTampa

Order your tickets: HERE

The party kicks off at Ferg’s Live at 6:00 with donations going to the Gasparilla Music Festival.

There will be food, drinks, and a raffle! We will also be hanging out with some of the amazing sponsors. I am already loving my blogger swag! (I have already eaten the popcorn!)

  

Be sure to follow along on Instagram with me @HeathersLG during the day/caravan and that evening. I will be posting pics and videos via Instagram stories the whole time. I hope you will consider joining us at Ferg’s Live on the 30th!

 

5 Things Friday XXVIII

Happy Friday! It’s very happy for me indeed because I am in Orlando at Hilton Bonnet Creek at BlogHer! (well I guess that is actually #1 on my 5 things Friday list!) I am having a blast here with SO MANY BLOGGERS. It’s a little overwhelming but also fun. Be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HeathersLG for updates and Instagram stories.

2.) This Thursday I will be at the Port of Tampa for a press event with Carnival Cruise Lines as they have a special bon voyage celebration to mark a special occasion: the Carnival Paradise will be sailing to Havana, Cuba! They will also be creating the largest Cuban sandwich at sea. Here is a flashback to when I was on the Carnival Liberty with the largest cheeseburger at sea!

3.) The following day, the 30th, I will be a part of the blogger caravan for social media day Tampa! I’m so excited! We will be driving around town in VW beetles before the main event that night. More on this in a post next week so stay tuned!

4.) My mom and dad finally moved down here and are in their rental house while their new home is being built. It’s so weird having them “local” (well, 45 minutes away), but it’s great having their help so I am able to do some of these events/more often. We have never had my parents local (I haven’t lived near them since high school!) so this has been nice so far!

5.) We are in the middle of potty training with Emma Kate, and she is doing great! We aren’t “there” yet as we have to remind her a lot, but it’s nice to make progress. We want to be able to take her on a Disney cruise but you can’t go in the pool with swim diapers so it has spurred me on to get things moving. If you have any great tips (especially for getting her to do #2) let me hear em!

That’s it for this week! be sure to tune in to all the BlogHer17 fun buy following along with the #BlogHer17 hashtag.

QOTD: Have you sailed with Carnival before? What is your favorite ship? Any potty training tips? 

Tampa Tuesdays: New Menu Items at Hard Rock’s Council Oak

We were provided with a free meal to sample Council Oak’s new menu items as well as gift bags. However, all opinions are my own. 

On Bobby’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, we were invited to taste test some of the new menu items at Hard Rock Tampa’s Council Oak restaurant.

I had never had food from Council Oak, but heard so many good things that I couldn’t wait to try it out!

They had a huge buffet of items to sample set out for us, as well as five new cocktails that were being added to their menu. I don’t have photos of every menu item, but wanted to share some of our favorites from the night with you. Bobby loves seafood, so he was all over the calamari and lobster.

 

He also said the jumbo soft shell crab was excellent.

My favorite? By far, the ribeye. It was so tender and super juicy. I may or may not have had around six pieces of it! Normally I like my meat a little more cooked than this, but it tasted just right and had wonderful flavor. Highly recommended!

I think Bobby’s favorite dish of the night was the yellowtail snapper. He went back for more several times, and said it was one of the best he has ever had.

For appetizers, I really enjoyed the cobb salad, which is saying a lot considering I don’t eat a lot of salad. It had the perfect amount of crunch and great flavor without being too overwhelming.

The highlight of the night were the cocktails. We tried four out of the five. They are listed on the menu board in the second picture below, in order from left to right. The rose mojito on the left was very cool because it had a big “ball” ice cube in it with a small rose frozen in the middle. So unique! It had a light refreshing flavor I really enjoyed. My favorite drink was the pillow talk (third from the left). If you like sweeter drinks, this one is for you. Bobby liked the margarita best. It isn’t like your typical margarita, as it had a little bit of a spicy flavor to it instead of sweet. The raspberry drink was also good, but not as good to me as the pillow talk.

council oak new items

We finished off the night with a delicious baked Alaska dessert which was phenomenal. You can check out all the offerings and more photos on the Hard Rock blog.

Overall we had a great night listening to music, eating, and hanging out with friends, and it just happened to be on Bobby’s birthday, so huge plus there. The Hard Rock did an excellent job coming up with this menu for Council Oak, and I think anyone who tries it out will be very pleased. Be sure to make your dinner reservations soon so you don’t miss out on these menu items!

council oak

QOTD: What is your favorite summer alcoholic drink? Have you been to Council Oak?