Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs

Disclosure: I was offered a free weekend stay at this property for a review. However, all opinions are my own.

Fall is one of my favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World, and my husband and I were in need of a quick weekend getaway. So, when the opportunity came up to stay at the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs, which is an official hotel of Walt Disney World® on Walt Disney World Resort® property, I jumped at the chance!

I had read that this resort was very close to Disney Springs, and I LOVE Disney Springs so I was really excited about that…however what I was NOT expecting was for it to be literally across the street. I could see it from the parking lot of the hotel, it was that close. Now that Disney Springs has added on so many new shops and restaurants (more than 150 total!), it makes this hotel a prime location for people who love visiting there.

Before arrival, we had requested a king room, and our request was granted. We were on the third floor with a lovely view of the gardens/courtyard with the pool int he distance. The third floor was also the floor the lobby was on, so it was super convenient to go to the gym, grab a cup of coffee, or walk over to guest services with questions. Our room was spacious and I loved how homey it felt with the coffee table and sofa.

We had a flat screen television, and there was plenty of lighting but natural and with lamps.

There was a door you could slide shut to close off the sink area of the bathroom, and the the shower area had a door to close as well. This is great if you are an early riser and don’t want to wake up the rest of the family while getting ready in the morning. Speaking of not waking anyone up, the bed and pillows were super comfortable. I’m not sure if it was the bed or the fact I wasn’t listening for a baby monitor, but I slept SO WELL but nights we were there!

Our room was to the left of the below photo behind the tree, so we looked out over this beautiful garden, which had concrete flooring in the shape of a Mickey head!

After checking in we walked down to the huge pool area. They have a cute little restaurant called the Oasis Bar and Grill (left in the below photo) as well as a really cool looking kids play area, rock formation/waterfall and a hot tub. There was plenty of room for everyone and it looked so refreshing.

We then headed over to the lobby to check it out, and we found this little marketplace and coffee shop. They had a lot of food food offerings, and my only qualm was the price. They had one of those larger bottles of water for $5.50 which I thought was pretty steep, and the sandwiches were pricey as well, but in a pinch, you have to do what you have to do! The Joffrey’s coffee did look delicious though.

The lobby was really big and welcoming, with tons of seating, and hallways leading to different meetings and conference rooms.

Of course, there was a Disney gift store to pick up those last minute gifts to bring back home.

One of my favorite features was this kids play area near guest check in. It had a TV as well as lots of books and pint-sized furniture to entertain the little ones while you check in or grab some coffee.

Bobby spotted the fitness center first, and we used our key card to get in. They had towels and water, as well as some machines, free weights, and cardio equipment.

I was very surprised to see that on certain days you can even attend a character breakfast at the hotel. Good to know in case you can’t get into any character meals in the Disney parks. Be sure to call for availability and pricing.

Wyndham Garden

Want more fun details about this property? They offer shuttle service to all four Walt Disney World theme parks. YES! Huge plus! They also have lighted tennis courts, a sand volleyball court, and a basketball court. They have self and valet parking, as well as a car rental desk on site, bellman services, and guest services.

They also over over 25,00 square feet of meeting spaces accommodating groups from 12 to 1,200. They do everything from weddings to family reunions to corporate conferences. How convenient to stay and play right in the middle of the action, so that you have easy access to the fun as soon as the conference is over. I would definitely attend a conference there.

My overall experience was very positive and I would stay at the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs again. The prices are great to be so close to Walt Disney World, and the amenities are worthwhile for you next family vacation.

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!

 

 

 

Ocean Road 10K 2017 Race Recap

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to fly to Rhode Island and have a weekend of fun, fitness, and learning with Cabot and the Cabot Fit Team. We traveled to Narragansett (and it took me all weekend to remember how to pronounce it!) visited a local farm, ate tons of great food, stayed in an adorable inn, and ran a gorgeous 10k. It was action packed but still restful which I loved. I will be sharing more on the rest of the weekend in another post, but this one is strictly about the Ocean Road 10k race.

I haven’t raced since February due to a nagging quad injury, so I was really excited to have this opportunity. I really love the 10k distance and thought it would be a good chance to test out my leg while racing on a beautiful course. The race was held on Sunday morning, and it was so fun to be able to watch the sun rise over the ocean. The sun comes up way earlier in Rhode Island than it does in Florida, so when I woke up at 6:15 it was just about to peek over the horizon.

I got dressed, ate breakfast in my room, and headed to the lobby to meet my teammates. This is when I realized it was 43 degrees outside and was thankful I had packed accordingly. We all hurried into the team van and off we went to the starting line. We made it to the runner drop off area, which just so happened to be by the water, so of COURSE we had to take a group photo.

We were cutting it pretty close, the race started at 8:00 and it was nearing 7:45, but we were just having too much fun.

We finally got our act together and walked to the start line, only to discover there were VERY few port-o-potties and a line well over 100 people long. I decided I was just going to have to hold it, as they were lining people up and then singing the national anthem before I could really decide what I wanted to do. I hurried and turned on my Garmin and got Pandora working, and then we were racing! I was cold, but I have run enough races to know that I personally warm up very fast even when it’s cold outside and hate being miserably hot at a race because I overdressed, so I opted to wear a skirt, compression socks, and a throw away jacket over my team shirt, as well as something to keep my ears warm.

I started off too fast (shocker) and realized my thighs were completely numb. I just kept moving and was hitting them making sure my legs were still there, it was the oddest feeling. I got in the zone and just listened to my music and soaked in the gorgeous surroundings. They don’t call it the Ocean Road 10k for nothing. You literally run right along the ocean for much of the course. We passed gorgeous homes, beautiful tree lines streets, and rolling hills. I ended up throwing off my top layer at mile 2 and was so glad I didn’t overdress. My face was hot but my ears were cold, so I was again glad for the head wear.

I didn’t take many photos because I was just soaking it all in. I did take a few Instagram stories but didn’t save them to my phone. I kept a pretty good clip the first three miles considering I didn’t really train. I run 3 miles twice a week on the treadmill at Orange Theory, and I ran one four miler and one five miler prior to the race and called it a training cycle. (Hey, life is crazy right now ok?)

Anyway, I wasn’t expecting any kind of PR, I was just curious to see how my quad would do. Mile one was a sub 9:00 mile, and two and three were low nines. That’s where the wheels came off. At about mile 3.5ish, my leg started to get tight. I have not been training on up or downhills (I live in flat Florida!) and I foolishly thought it would still be OK. I had a goal to not walk, so I just kept on trucking even though my pace slowed down.

I made it to mile 5, and we were soon heading down a hill right out onto Ocean Road and past the inn where we were staying. This was my favorite part of the course.

I saw mile six, and knew I was close, but unfortunately didn’t really have any “kick” to give, so I just kept on at the same pace, taking in the beautiful sites. I finished it just over 59 minutes, not a PR, but I was super proud of my pace all things considered.

I found a couple of my teammates who had already finished, and we cheered on the rest of the girls as they came in, then we all walked down to the beach to take pictures of course.

ocean road

we took off our shoes, dipped our tired feet in the freezing water, then walked back to the inn. It was an amazing morning and I was so happy to have had the chance to run in such an amazing place. I quickly fell in love with Narragansett, and hope to return someday.

The race is in it’s fifth year, and if you live nearby (or not!) I highly recommend running it. We got lucky with perfect weather and it really was the cherry on top of a great race.

Disclosure: I attended this weekend free of charge thanks to Cabot, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and I was not asked to write this post. 

 

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.

 

September 2017 Goals

August really got away from me y’all. Honestly, I’m not complaining that it’s gone because it was SO HOT. It’s too hot to even go to the pool because the water isn’t even cool. September is still stifling, but brings the hope of some temperatures in the 80’s at least (I hope!) Before we look at my goals for this month, let’s see how I did in August:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: A+ Yes! I spent some time doing research and have a plan for each day. HOWEVER, with hurricane Irma, I’m not sure what is going to happen to our cruise or ports. Sad times.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: C- Yall. This ecourse is sucking the life out of me. I’m SO excited to share it with you, but it is so draining and taking up so much time. I worked out 3-4 days a week this month but not five. I’m working on it.

3.) Set a date for my course launch: C- I’m close guys. I’m about 85% done. I WILL go out on a limb and say by the end of September, but I don’t have an exact date yet. I wwiisshhh I did. I just want it to be perfect.


September Goals:

1.) Launch my course: Self explanatory, no?

2.) Organize and de-clutter: I realized after living here close to a year (woah) that I have WAY too much stuff and really need to get rid of things. If I haven’t used it since we moved in, I probably don’t need it.

3.) Workout 5 times a week: Giving this one another go. I can tell a difference in the way I look and feel that I need to workout more.

As always, I feel you have a better shot at reaching goals when you can print them out and see them all month. Be sure to snag your free goal and fitness tracking printables here.

Happy September everyone!

QOTD: What are your September goals? 

A Fun Filled Fall

Hey guys! I feel like it’s been awhile since I’m done a post just kind of updating things going on in my world, and what i have coming up. I know I share bits and pieces on social media and especially on Instagram Stories, but I haven’t written out what’s going on in awhile so here goes!

We have quite the busy fall planned, and I realized the other day we aren’t going to be home on the weekend from Labor Day through Columbus Day! So what will we be up to?

Labor Day weekend: Disney invited me and my family to attend Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on Friday night. We decided to make a weekend out of it and are staying two night at Saratoga Springs with my parents for a fun little getaway. Emma Kate and my dad have never been to the party, so I can’t wait to show them everything.

fall

The two weekends after that: Bobby and I leave for our cruise with Carnival on September 9th. I am stoked to have this opportunity and can’t wait to visit some new to me ports and explore the beautiful Carnival Vista.

The weekend of the 23/24th of September is Emma Kate’s third birthday (CRAZY TALK!) and we are spending one night in Disney to celebrate as a family. We are staying at Port Orleans Riverside and have a character dinner. I’m not ashamed to say we are taking advantage of her being free one last time!

The last weekend in September I will be traveling to Rhode Island to run the Ocean Road 10k as part of the Cabot Fit Team. I’m so honored and pumped to be in some cooler weather for the weekend and run a 10k. It’s been awhile on both accounts!

Then Columbus Day weekend Bobby and I will be guests of both Medieval Times and the Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista Disney Springs. We can’t wait to dive into Disney’s Food and Wine Festival which Bobby hasn’t been to in four years. (We may or may not have a three year old tag along, we aren’t sure yet.)

WHEW!

Not to mention, my e-course, Social Side Hustle, will launch right after we get back from the cruise.

It will be hectic, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I absolutely love to travel, and now that Emma Kate is getting a little older I am hoping to do it even more. I love that I live in an area where we can take weekend trips to fun places and not go far (although I love the far away places, too!) I am so grateful for the opportunities I have gotten and can’t wait to bring you along for the ride. be sure you are following me on Instagram, because that is where I will post the most and also on Instagram Stories. Here we go!

QOTD: Are you traveling anywhere this fall? Any races or vacations? 

August 2017 Goals

And just like that, my birthday month is over. So sad! To keep myself occupied, it’s time to start getting excited about fall! (Even though around here “fall” means temps in the upper 80’s as opposed to the upper 90’s!) I’m so ready for football, a crisp fall breeze, and pumpkin spice lattes (YES I said it. Don’t hate.) Anyway, let’s take a look back at my July goals and see how I made out before looking ahead at this month’s goals:

1.) Work on my e-course at least 4 hours a week: A+ YES! I worked on my social media manager e-course 5-10 hours a week, and got a lot accomplished! I am by no means done, but I am chipping away at it. I can’t wait to release it!

2.) Workout 4-5 times a week: B+ There was one week I only worked out three times because I hurt my back, but otherwise, yes I have been doing much better with this, and planning ahead is what has really helped me so there are no surprises.

3.) Clean up extra room: F Big fat fail. Not only did I not clean it, but my parents brought even more furniture that we stored in there so now I can’t even get in the door. Oy. Another day, another day.


August is going to be a great month, I can already tell. I have a good attitude about my workouts and the possibility of cooler temps coming in the next two months, as well as my course, and then our cruise in September! Here are my goals:

1.) Research and get ready for the cruise: We are cruising to all new ports, and on a cruise line I haven’t sailed in almost ten years. I hate not knowing things, so I want to make sure I have a plan for the sea days and port days. I know if I’m not prepared and feel in the dark I won’t relax, and I DEFINITELY need to relax on this vacation, so this is a priority.

2.) Workout 5+ days a week: That’s right. I’m bumping it up. last month it was 4-5 days, and this month I want 5+ days. I expect a lot from myself and know I can deliver if I really want it, so here goes nothing!

3.) Set a date for my course launch: Setting a date for a course or book launch is very scary, because you are promising people it will be ready by a certain day. I’m not to the point where I am ready to nail down a day, but want to be by the end of the month at the latest. So scary but also exciting!

Looking for a way to help you reach your goals? I have always found that having them printed out and taped to my mirror or refrigerator help me. Click here to access my FREE fitness and goal tracker printables.

QOTD: Do you have any goals for August? Name one!

I’m Cruising With Carnival!

Disclosure: Our cruise fare is being covered by Carnival, however all thoughts, posts, and opinions are my own.

The other day in my Instagram story, I eluded to a surprise I was sharing today. Well, today has come and I’m excited to tell you Bobby and I are going on a cruise! We will be going on an eight night Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Vista this September.

The Carnival Vista departs Crete, Greece. The largest and most innovative cruise vessel in Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet, Carnival Vista measures 133,500 tons, 1,055 feet long and has a guest capacity of almost 4,000 passengers. Photo by Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line

Bobby and I haven’t been alone on vacation together since January of 2016 (another cruise) so we are excited to have some time away just the two of us. Emma Kate isn’t quite potty trained yet (almost!) and we would hate for her to get upset that she couldn’t use the pool, so she is going to have to sit this one out.

WaterWorks aboard the Carnival Vista features a number of slides and other water attractions. 

Anyway, I have so many exciting things to share with you, and I can’t wait to invite you on our trip with us via the blog and social media. The Vista is Carnival’s newest ship, and it looks so amazing. First of all it’s huge, it has tons of dining options, entertainment galore, and we will be stopping at some new to us ports, check it out:

We leave from Miami, have 3 sea days, and 4 port days in San Juan, Grand Turk, St. Kitts, and St. Marteen. Has anyone been to these ports? I would love suggestions. There are so many great things about the Vista I can’t wait to share with you, like SkyRide (pictured below), specialty dinners, the Serenity adults only area, and the fitness center.

Guests onboard Carnival Vista participate in SkyRide, an opportunity to pedal hanging recumbent-like bikes around an 800-foot-long suspended track some 150 feet above the sea. 

I can’t wait to share with you how you can have an amazing cruise on an awesome ship for a lot less money than you think. I will post more as we get closer, but I just wanted to let you in on my surprise.

QOTD: Any tips for what to do in our four ports? 

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.