Cabot Fit Team Weekend Part 2 + Giveaway

Disclosure: A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to go to Narragansett, Rhode Island with Cabot Cheese and their fit team. We did a lot of fun fun like run a 10k, visit a farm, and have a cheese tasting. This trip was sponsored by Cabot, however all thoughts are my own. 

*If you missed part one, be sure to check it out here.

We left off in my last post with our tour of EMMA Acres farm. After the tour, we drove over to a historical site, the Towers, and had lunch during a super fun trolley tour of Narragansett. There is so much history in the town so it was fun to hear all about it.

How adorable is our trolley bus?

This is one of my favorite homes we passed along the ocean:

After the tour we walked around inside the Towers and saw them setting up for a gorgeous wedding!

We briefly walked out onto the balcony before the storm hit. See the beach in this picture? That’s where the 10k would end the next day.

back to the Inn as it started to rain. This was the perfect opportunity to dig into my bag of snacks from Cabot and take a nap. Rainy days are perfect for that!

Soon it was time to walk to dinner (Have I mentioned how much I LOVED being able to walk everywhere?!?) at Trio. It was delicious, and a great pre-race meal at that.

After dinner we called it an early night since we were running the Ocean Road 10k in the morning! (You can read that recap here.)

After the race, we walked back to the Inn, grabbed showers then walked down to this cute little outdoor restaurant. It happened to be it’s last day of operation until spring. It was so wild to me that so many places “close up” for the winter, when it’s currently still in the 90’s in Florida.

The weather was absolutely perfect and we all enjoyed a light lunch and some girl talk before walking out onto some rocks for an impromptu photo shoot.

Then you guessed it, time to WALK (I love it!) again to a bed and breakfast where Cabot was hosting a cheese tasting for us. Yall. This place was gorgeous, and also for sale!

It was the perfect day to enjoy the tasting in the beautifully manicured backyard.

Although I have to say my favorite part of the house was the screened in porch. I could sit out there for hours!

We learned a little about the different cheeses and the aging process before trying everything ourselves. I learned a lot, I had no idea some of the processes were so long, and also how many different varieties there were–not to mention all the different pairings!

That evening we walked to dinner at the Coast Guard House for our farewell meal. It was right on the water and had gorgeous views.

It was a great way to recap the weekend and enjoy each other’s company before we would say farewell the next day.

Clockwise from bottom left: Sara and Caisil from Cabot, Christy, Brittany and Diahnn, Nellie, Sandra, me, Aggie, and Amee.

It’s amazing to me how quickly I got to know these sweet girls, and how hard it was to say goodbye after only knowing them for a couple of days. I hope to see them again soon. I learned a lot about Cabot, and have a new respect for the farmers, families, and workers that make my dairy eating experience so effortless and amazing! I also fell in love with Narragansett, although this southern girl wouldn’t want to be there in the winter!

A huge thanks to Cabot for their generosity, knowledge, and love. It won’t be forgotten. Now for the giveaway! One reader will win:

$25 Cabot Gift Box
1 Dopper Water Bottle
1 Guac-Lock
1 Cabot Beewax Wrap
Badger Products

$100 value give-a-way

Please follow the directions in the Rafflecoptor widget to enter. Winner will be announced next Friday. Giveaway open until Thursday night at midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cabot Fit Team Weekend Part 1

Disclosure: A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to go to Narragansett, Rhode Island with Cabot Cheese and their fit team. We did a lot of fun fun like run a 10k, visit a farm, and have a cheese tasting. This trip was sponsored by Cabot, however all thoughts are my own. 

I arrived in Rhode Island on Friday afternoon after a long morning of flying with a layover in D.C. I was so happy to finally be there! Another fit team member, Aggie, and I shared a cab to the Ocean Rose Inn where we were staying, and were pleasantly surprised to see it was right on the water!

We checked in, and got settled into our rooms. Mine was in the building behind the Inn and had been refurbished. I loved the simple clean vibe, and had a great view of the ocean.

Check out the retro refrigerator and phone!

The bathroom sink area was adorable as well.

I had a couple of hours until dinner….so I took a nap. It was glorious. Nowhere to be, perfect weather outside, the ocean, it was bliss for this tired mama. Soon enough we met up with everyone in the lobby and had drinks and dinner at Turtle soup, which is the restaurant at the inn. It. was. delicious.

We called it an early night because we had a big day on Saturday, we were going to visit EMMA Acres farm! Unfortunately we woke up to cold, wind and rain, but that didn’t stop us. We grabbed our rain jackets, and headed out.

So for those that don’t know, Cabot is a co-op owned by farm families in New York and New England (more on Co-ops here). I loved getting to talk with the family that owns EMMA Acres and learn the process of milking the cows and all that goes along with it. These people work SO HARD every day, rain or shine. We even learned about birthing cows and got to see some adorable babies!

We even got to see the milk tank and where they do the milking, which happens twice a day. Very early in the morning and at night. The cows know exactly where to go and are such creatures of habit!

Did you know a cow gets stressed in heat over 70 degrees? They had fans in the room where they are milked for the summertime! (I don’t think they would do well at my house in Tampa!)

This farm is a smaller farm, but equally important to Cabot (and as consumers, should be to us, too!) A huge thank you to them for spending part of their busy day educating us and letting us love on their cows!

 

 

 

Weekend with Cabot

Hey guys! I can’t believe it snuck up on me so quickly, but I will be flying out to Rhode Island tomorrow morning to hang out with Cabot! I have a layover in D.C before heading to Providence, where I will meet up with the rest of the team at the Ocean Rose Inn, which is where we will be staying for the weekend. It looks like such a fun and interesting place, and apparently the town is pretty walkable. I can’t wait!

We have dinner at the Inn tomorrow night, then Saturday we are going to visit a farm and learn all about how Cabot works with the farmers. Don’t worry, I will be doing lots of Instagram stories.

Then we have an early dinner followed by an early bedtime, because Sunday morning we are running the Ocean Road 10k.

The fun doesn’t stop there, we have a cheese tasting (duh), and another fun dinner before departing on Monday morning. I hope you will follow along with the fun! I will be using #CabotFit on all my posts, so you can always find me that way. Have a great weekend everyone.

 

Protein on the Go

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

I workout a lot, but for some reason I am constantly struggling to get enough protein in my diet. I don’t eat fish, so am limited to chicken and beef mainly, and well lets face it, that can get old after awhile and hard to eat at every meal. I am also the mom to a busy little girl, and our household is always on the move. A lot of days I just need something quick to eat or drink that requires little effort but is still healthy. Since it’s so hot in Florida for the better part of the year, I had taken to making smoothies a good bit for breakfast or lunch. While this is an easy on the go meal, it can still take a lot of time to prepare.

I was super stoked to see the Premier Protein shakes at Costco, and was shocked to see that the contained 30 grams of protein! That’s a LOT for a small container guys. They are only 160 calories, and have one gram of sugar. The three flavors are Chocolate, vanilla, and bananas and cream (my current fave.)

Even more exciting is that for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of shakes at Costco. Good nutrition and a good deal, now we are speaking my language.

I have been drinking 4-5 of these guys a week now and I can honestly say not only do they taste good, but they keep me full. Since I work from home, I am prone to snack a lot (confession, I know.) But after drinking one of these shakes I don’t even want to go neat the pantry because they fill me up.
Also, after a hard workout I often have a hard time stomaching most food for an hour or so, but KNOW it’s important that I refuel within the first 30 minutes to recover. The liquid nature of the drink is so much easier on my stomach and something I can drink right after a workout without problems.

For those days when I do have time to make a smoothie, I am always looking for new recipes. Check this fruity one out:

TROPICAL SUNRISE SMOOTHIE
INGREDIENTS OF MANGO SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 frozen bananas
• 1 cup frozen mango
• 1 sliced orange
INGREDIENTS OF BERRY SMOOTHIE:
• 1/2 cup Premier Protein Bananas & Cream shake
• 2 cups frozen mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cherries)
• 1 frozen banana
DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all mango smoothie ingredients into blender.
2. Blend until smooth and pour into glass.
3. Rinse blender container.
4. Place berry ingredients into blender and blend until smooth.
5. Pour berry layer on top of mango smoothie. Enjoy!

Don’t forget, for a limited time you can get $5 off an 18 pack of Premier Protein shakes at Costco.

QOTD: What is your favorite type of protein smoothie? Recipe? 

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Premier Protein . The opinions and text are all mine.

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!

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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. 

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? 

5 Things Friday XXVI

Hola! Happy Friday my friends. It’s literally been raining here for a week, so I think I may need an ark before long to get outside of my neighborhood! I hope you are having better weather than us, and I hope you had a good week! The past couple of weeks here have been super busy with events and such, so I thought I would do a 5 Things Friday event recap of all the fun I have been having.

1.) Biggest Cheeseburger at sea with Carnival: Recently I had the opportunity to board the Carnival Liberty for a fun press event where we witnessed the largest cheeseburger at sea, and even got to flip our own burgers at Guy’s Burger Joint. It was a blast!

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This burger had fifty pounds of toppings and 50 pounds of flour to make the bun. So crazy! 2017-05-25_10-54-12_513

2.) Food and Wine Conference Fun: At the end of May I spoke on a panel at the Food and Wine Conference in Orlando. I love having so many conferences “close to home!” Anyway, it was great getting to meet some more local bloggers and make new friends, as well as learn new things. I also love speaking so that was fun, too! I did lots of stories and social media posts so hopefully you followed along.

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3.) Tampa Margarita Festival: I was invited to the Tampa Margarita Festival, and Bobby and I (who both love margaritas) used it as a fun date night. It was hot outside but everyone seemed to be having a great time. We didn’t stick around for the concert (Barenaked Ladies) because we had to go pick up Emma Kate, but we really love having fun local things to do on the weekends!

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4.) Tijuana Flats new summer menu: I had never even heard of this place until we moved here, but it is becoming one of my favorites. They have a great menu, and Bobby and I were invited to try out some of their new summer offerings last week, and everything was delicious! My favorites were the Bangin chicken tostadas and the the lime steak street tacos. Be sure to stop by your local restaurant and check out the new items!

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5.) BlogHer is quickly approaching: I have always wanted to go to BlogHer, and thanks to it being close by and to their generosity, I was able to make it happen this year. I am rooming with two friends from Tampa, and it just so happens to be at one of my favorite resorts, Hilton Bonnet Creek! The conference is June 22-24, so be sure to follow along then because of course I will be updating you all as I go!

QOTD: How is the weather where you are? Have you tried any new restaurants lately?

Blog to Business at Food and Wine Conference

Good morning! I have some fun news to share today. I will be speaking on a panel at the amazing Food and Wine conference next month in Orlando, Florida!

food and wine

I am super excited, as it has been awhile since I have attended and spoken at a blog conference. I love that I live in a place now where I don’t have to travel far to attend fun things like this!

My session will be on Sunday, and you can check out my speaker bio here. The panel I am speaking on will be discussing turning your blog into a business, and how to handle/balance it all with everything else going on in life. I will be speaking with three other great influencers, and I can’t wait to share my journey!

If you are looking to attend the conference, you can still sign up.

Why would you want to sign up? Well, first of all, because it is being hosted at the gorgeous Rosen Shingle Creek resort in sunny Orlando, Florida.

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I mean how gorgeous is this place?

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There are going to be some GREAT sessions with awesome speakers, I am already planning out who and what I want to see. Also of course, don’t forget about the amazing FOOD that will be there! I can’t wait to share my experience with you through social media, but I do hope some of you will sign up and join me at the conference!

QOTD: Have you ever attended a conference like this?

Tampa Tuesdays: Valspar Championship 2017

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend the Valspar championship and a media event at Innisbrook here in Florida. Being new to the area, I had not yet had a chance to visit here, and was excited to go. A few bloggers were selected to attend a foodie event during the tournament, and I wanted to share my experience with you from that, as well as the Toby Keith concert we attended the next night on the driving range!

When the bloggers all arrived at the event, we were lead through the tournament towards the Grape and Grain. I had not been to a PGA tournament in many years, so it was fun to see everything as we walked through.

golf

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At Grape and Grain, celebrity chef Ming Tsai was doing a cooking demonstration. After the demonstration, he chatted with us bloggers, answered questions, and we got to taste some of his food. He was super personable and easy to talk with, and took photos with all the bloggers. What a special treat to have him at the tournament!

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Afterwards, we got to walk around a little bit. Valspar had some really cool decorations scattered about. I especially loved the chandelier and flower centerpieces!

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We were then treated to a special lunch outside. Did you know that you do NOT have to be a member at Innisbrook to eat at the restaurant? I HIGHLY recommend you check it out. All of the food was SO amazing. We even got to chat with the chef!

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We had flatbread, lamb, chicken wings, shrimp, as well as many other things to sample.

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Everything tasted so fresh. I can’t wait to bring my husband back here I know he will love it!

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After lunch, we relaxed for a few minutes out on the gorgeous deck overlooking the course while sipping on watermelon drinks. So light and refreshing on a warm day!

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The next afternoon, my husband and I headed back to Innisbrook to see the end of the day’s play of the tournament and attend the Toby Keith concert. We really enjoyed the concert but were bummed it started much alter than anticipated. We didn’t get to stay for the whole thing because we had to go back to pick up our toddler.

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toby

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All in all a great weekend with great weather. They really know how to do a golf tournament! Everything was very well done from the food to the course to the entertainment and volunteers. I’m sure we will be back!

QOTD: Have you ever attended a PGA golf tournament?

Disclosure: I was provided tickets to the tournament as well as a day as media in exchange for my honest thoughts. However, all opinions are my own.

Tampa Tuesdays: Busch Gardens Tampa

On Saturday, Bobby and I took Emma Kate to Busch Gardens Tampa. It was our first experience in the park aside from seeing a small portion when we went for a media event a few weeks ago. I did a little bit of research to at least know what we did and didn’t want to do, and we arrived at the park when it opened at 10:00 (which I thought was late!)

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Getting on the tram at the parking lot was a little hectic as there was no one there to keep people in order, and there were no true “lines”. We had a family try and push us out of the way to get on the tram (I was holding EK in my arms!) and I had to yell at a guy to let Bobby get on the tram with us b/c he had the stroller and people were pushing in front of him. However, I tried to shake it off and not let it ruin the day. The park can’t control what other people do, and it wasn’t their fault. We made it to the front, and bag check was smooth and quick.

I wanted Bobby to get to ride at least one roller coaster, so he jumped in line for Cheetah Hunt because it said there was only a ten minute wait. I took Emma Kate to go visit some animals while we waited.

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After about 30 minutes I texted Bobby and he was still in line. I was not thrilled because Emma Kate was getting bored and wanted to go ride the train. We visited the giraffes which there was SO many of, very cool, and then waited some more.

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All in all he was gone a total of 45 minutes for a ten minute wait, so I’m not sure what happened there. Maybe it temporarily broke down and we didn’t realize. Either way, nothing we could do to change it so we moved along and got in line for the train.

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It was fun seeing the animals along the route. A very nice touch. We decided to get off at the next stop and go see the monkeys and the tigers. This guy was just sitting up at the glass staring at all the kids. Emma Kate kept saying she wanted to hold him, of course.

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We also saw a couple of sleepy tigers. I loved all the lush landscaping in their habitats with multiple vantage points to view them from.

By this time it was after noon, and we were getting  hungry. We tried to get Emma Kate to nap in her stroller as we walked down towards the Food and Wine festival area.

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I love how the booths are mainly contained to two areas so you don’t have to walk all that far to get from one to another. Also, there were no long lines to wait in which was a plus.

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We each had an 8 pack sampler card courtesy of Busch Gardens, and were ready to enjoy the festival. (These can be purchased at the booths, and also you can find festival guides at each booth with a map and list of all the food and drink offerings.)

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First up, Bobby got the lamb chops and a mango margarita, which got two thumbs up.

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We then headed over towards the two Coke booths, which are next door to an inside air conditioned area with tables. We were happy to find this spot, as it was getting HOT outside. Bobby got a couple more things to eat and I got a pulled pork slider. After a brief rest, we headed over towards the concert area where there were a lot of other booths.

Bobby tried some ribs, and I got my favorite: the bacon mac and cheese, which was just as delicious as I remembered it. Emma Kate loved it, too and kept stealing my bacon.

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We both also had watermelon margaritas, which would become our favorite drink of the festival. (I may have had three.) I may have also had a regular margarita on the rocks at the margarita bar while we were in this area.

Emma Kate had been dying to “see Elmo” in the kids area, so we went there next. This area was great. TONS to do for kids all confined to one very large space. She was so overwhelmed we weren’t sure what to do first. She rode several rides, and even did a small “water ride” by herself!

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We put her in the bounce house because she LOVES those things, but there were a lot of big kids in there and she got upset and wanted to get out. We also did the carousel, and she climbed up in a large tree house area with Bobby.

Seriously we could have stayed in this area all day and Emma Kate would have been jjuussttt fine. There was also a huge really cool looking splash pad area, but we decided to skip that one for the day because it was already getting late in the day and we were all tired. We did however have one more stop to make, the show with Elmo and the gang! EK clapped and waved, and even got to touch Grover which I think made her whole day. This area was covered and had fans which was a very nice touch on such a sunny afternoon. There were also plenty of benches and other seating around the whole kids area for moms and dads to take a rest as the kids played.

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We still had a couple of punches left on our food and wine cards, so Bobby got some steak and said it was his favorite dish of the day.

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We met up with Megan and Gabe for a few minutes and chatted at a table and people watched before calling it a day. Check out the cool topiary in the background!

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The park is really big, and there was no way we could have done everything in a day, which just means we will have to go back!

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Not five minutes after leaving the park, this one fell asleep in the car. I think that’s a sign of a good day!

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A huge thanks to Busch Gardens for inviting us back to experience the park and the food and wine festival. Don’t forget, you can experience it for yourself every weekend through the end of this month, and there is a free concert every night of the festival with your park admission! Check out BuschGardens.com for the lineup and information.

Disclosure: I was provided free park admission for two as well as lanyards to try out the food at the festival. However, I was not asked to write a blog post about it, but we had a great time and I wanted too! Also, all opinions are my own.

**I would love it if you would take a quick second to fill out a 6 question survey about how you plan Disney vacations. Thanks in advance!**