Archives for July 2018

ESPN WWOS Media FAM Day 1

Disclosure: In case you missed my post about youth sports and ESPN Wide World of Sports, you can check it out here. I was provided with a free trip to WDW for this FAM, however all opinions are my own.

Recently my family and I attended a media FAM at Walt Disney World, and we arrived on Saturday although the FAM trip didn’t start until Sunday. We checked into our hotel, Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, mid morning, and were pumped that our room was ready! We went ahead and unloaded the car and then headed to Magic Kingdom.

The refurbished (I think last year?) rooms are so nice and clean looking. Two thumbs up.

Thanks to our fastpasses from the event, we were able to do attractions like Peter Pan, Enchanted Tales with Bell, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Aladdin’s Magic Carpets. We also may have done the People Mover–twice. We also ate lunch at Peco’s Bills and watched the show in front of the castle (which EK lloovveesss).

Emma Kate got to be in the show as Belle’s horse and had a great time.

We even managed to get a family picture at the purple wall! Check out that hand on her hip. She truly is a blogger’s child.

We stayed all day and even watched the parade. In the late afternoon (it was so hot yall) we hopped on a boat and headed to Ft. Wilderness. My birthday was the day before, and I wanted to have a Disney birthday dinner at Trail’s End, our favorite Disney buffet. Dinner was delicious, and our server sang a special happy birthday to me (yee haw!) in true southern style.

After dinner we let Emma Kate play on the playground where she managed to walk behind a swing and get smashed into the ground and covered with dirt. After a long walk in hysterics to the bathroom getting her cleaned up, we decided it was time to call it a night, and got on the boat back to the Magic Kingdom…so we could take the monorail back to the TTC, then the tram to our car and our car to the resort. WHEW. When we got back we decided to walk around the Boardwalk for a few minutes. I LOVE the Boardwalk at night, and we people watched, got ice cream samples, and watched a magic show.

It was so nice to just be able to walk right back up to our room and get ready for bed. We had a big day the next day and needed to get some sleep. Stay tuned for day two and the media FAM!

Youth Sports Events to Remember at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Disclosure: For this media trip I was hosted by Disney and visited the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, however all opinions are my own.

When I was growing up, I played on several different youth sports teams. I played recreational soccer in my town, and I played basketball, volleyball, and ran track at my school. I still remember how excited I became when it was time to “travel” to tournaments. I’m fairly certain the farthest we ever traveled was a couple of hours away, but to me it was a very special experience.

That being said, after learning about all of the amazing youth sports opportunities at the “Florida Picturesque” designed Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, I know that grade school Heather would have been jumping  out of her skin with excitement. Let me help you understand what I’m talking about.

Let’s say your youth baseball team is coming to play in a tournament at the complex. Just a few of the options available to you and your team/family include:

-Team meals: You can place orders in advance for fast and healthy meals, snacks, and beverages. The meals are delivered right to your competition venue so parents and coaches don’t have to stress.

-Equipment drop: For certain events, teams are able to drop their equipment off at a special drop zone to be transported to their field instead of lugging it all around the large complex. So fancy!

-Gameday photography: I love this one. For teams and parents who would like professional photos of their child playing in their game, you can schedule a photographer to take hi-resolution pictures for you so that you can sit back and enjoy watching. There are many packages available, as well as posed photos in front of a green screen. Then you can have your child’s picture put on a blanket, ball, or many other fun options. (Great Christmas gifts for grandparents!)

 

-Print-on-Demand Custom Tees: You can have a shirt printed on the spot to commemorate your game, tournament, first place win, and more. Customize with your name, team name, number, and sport. We had the privilege of having shirts made and they are so fun!

-Welcome Center: Here you can find cast members to help you find your way around the complex, help with theme park information, reservations assistance, and more.

Also, while I was visiting the complex, two huge soccer tournaments were just starting for the week, and we had the privilege of attending the opening ceremonies. These young athletes were treated like olympians with their own “parade of nations” of sorts.

As each country was announced, the teams marched onto the field singing, waving flags, and grinning from ear to ear as their fans and parents cheered from the stands. There was also a closing ceremony at the conclusion of the tournament to honor and acknowledge the players one last time. Talk about the royal treatment! Of course, Minnie and Mickey were on hand to celebrate.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Some of the events that happen at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex include:

-International Championships Cup Futures Tournament

-Jr. NBA World Championship

-runDisney race weekend expos

-Disney Cup international

-AAU National Basketball Championships

-NFL Pro Bowl Week

-National High School Cheerleading Championship

-Atlanta Braves Spring Training

-AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships

-Pop Warner Super Bowl

 

Now for a little information about the complex itself, because y’all, it’s massive.

There’s Champion Stadium, The Arena, HP Field House, Visa Athletic Center, Track and field Complex, Production center, as well as baseball, softball, and tennis areas and more. The parking lot has over 5,000 spaces, and there is even a grill so you can sit down and eat after a long and fun day out on the fields or courts. (They were using 30 fields for the soccer tournaments!) Also the fields are totally versatile and can be flipped to a different sport in as little as 24 hours if need be.

The production center is pretty spectacular. It’s a 3,200 square foot facility with two control rooms including three jumbo screens. They are now using 8k camera systems and have 24 channels of replay. They save and store so much footage, over 1,100 hours so far in 2018 to be exact.

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex

Of course while heading to Walt Disney World for your child’s sporting event, if only makes sense to stay for a few extra days and hang out at the parks right? There is so much to explore including the all new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as well as Avatar, the World of Pandora at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park. Make it a trip for the whole extended family and I’m sure your little athlete will never forget any of it.

Did you know all of this existed right on Disney property? Have your kids participated in an event at ESPN WWOS? Stay tuned for more of a play by play post of what I did during the Disney sports FAM.

20 Questions 2018 Edition

Hey guys! I am super slammed this week so thought I would keep it a little lighthearted and fun with a survey blog post. (Who remembers back in the day getting these via email and forwarding them to all your friends? Ah, memories!) So here is a little way to get to know more about me. Copy and do your own on your blog or social media for fun!

1. Do you have any nicknames? Not really anymore. Growing up I was bird legs, and little Bridges (my last name).

2. Are you named after anyone? My parents just really liked the name Heather, and I share a middle name (Lynn) with my cousin.

3. Do you have any siblings? Yes I have one older sister, and she lives in Texas.

4. Where did you grow up? I was born in Metairie (right outside of NOLA) and when I was about 2 we moved to Georgia where we lived till I was 8. Then we moved back to Louisiana where I finished my “growing up.”

5. What activities did you do in high school? What didn’t I do? haha. I played volleyball, basketball, and ran track. I was president of the National Honor Society, and I led a before school Bible study. I’m sure I’m forgetting things but those were my main activities.

6. Where did you go to college? Mississippi College (NOT to be confused with Mississippi State or Ole Miss)

7. What activities did you do in college? I played intramural flag football, basketball, and volleyball. I was also in a “tribe” which was our version of a sorority. (Baptist college, yall).

8. What did you study in college? My degree is in psychology with a minor in business administration.

9. What was your first job out of college? I was a secretary for an engineering company while I coached volleyball and took graduate classes at night to become a teacher.

10. What kind of music do you like? Country and Christian (Carrie Underwood is my spirit animal).

11. What’s one hobby that you’d like to take up? That’s a tough one. The thought of taking up another hobby is exhausting. Can napping be a hobby?

12. What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? Everything from a teach to a ballet dancer. (HAHAHA).

13. What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now? I cannot share but it’s big. Pray for me.

14. Do you have any irrational fears? Oh yes. Sharks, snakes, heights, water I can’t see the bottom of, and clowns.

15. Have you ever traveled outside the country? If so, where? Just on cruises. I have been to Mexico a bunch and the caribbean and Bermuda.

16. When’s your next vacation and where are you going? I don’t have one planned but guessing Disney. Heh.

17. Do you speak any other languages? So after taking 2 years of Spanish in high school, I’m proud to say I can say two words in said language.

18. What’s one talent that you wish you had? Singing. For sure. (Carrie Underwood, remember?) I can “blend” ok but do not have a soloist voice.

19. What’s something that you wish you could do one more time? Play high school sports. I miss it so much.

20. If you weren’t in your current job, what would you want to be doing? Oh Lawd with the tough questions. Traveling more. Spending more time with my family. Relaxing more. What job allows me to do that? 🙂

The Walls of Toy Story Land

This past week my family had the opportunity to check out the all new Toy Story Land thanks to a media event with Disney. It was our first time getting to explore the area and ride the rides. (It’s amazing by the way! So adorable and detailed!) However, in true Instagrammer and blogger style, I was really excited about something that had nothing to do with the rides or characters or food…I wanted to see the walls of Toy Story Land. (heh).

The Walls of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios and where to find them. #disney #toystoryland #disneywalls

Recently, the walls of Disney have become very popular photo spots for Instagrammers. There are walls like the Purple Wall in the Magic Kingdom and the Bubble Gum Wall in Epcot as well as others. Disney has capitalized on this (finally!) and locations like the Purple Wall now have photopass photographers at them. There are four “main walls” at Toy Story Land, however there are tons of other adorable spots to capture photos as well. This post contains just the main ones you will most likely see discussed or see photos of on social media. Below I will explain each and tell you where you can find them.

Checkerboard Wall: This wall is sneaky and was hard to find at first. There are two ways to get to it. First, you can ride Toy Story Mania, and you will see if on your right when you walk outside in the exit que. If you aren’t riding, just go in the exit of the ride and keep walking until you see it on your left. Where is the exit? Find the Giant Pixar Ball in Toy Story Land, the exit is right in front of it. (By the way the Pixar ball is another cute photo op!)

Popsicle Stick Wall: Once you find the Checkerboard Wall, the Popsicle Stick wall is easy to spot…because its directly across from it! (I mean, Lawd help you if you can’t find it from here.) The only tough part about this one is shadows. Depending on how sunny it is and the time of day, it can be harder to get a good shot. There is a small piece that faces another direction, but it can be hard to get a good angle on it. This wall brings me back to summers of my childhood and all the popsicles I consumed. Or maybe that was yesterday…

walls of toy story land

Block Wall: You will find this wall as soon as you hit up the restrooms. Which if you have a three year old like me, will be many, many times. It is literally the wall where you go in to them! The problem with this one was it was very crowded with people waiting for others outside the building, so I had to squeeze in to get a quick selfie. There are a couple of different parts to this wall so you can get different “blocks” depending on where you stand.

Andy’s Wall: Andy’s Wall is in the back near the restrooms and the entrance to the Alien Swirling Saucers. If you are looking at the restrooms, look directly to your right and you will see it. This was another spot that was crowded and I had to wait for folks to move away before we could get a good shot. I love his cute handwriting and cloud drawing on this one. It’s pretty much better drawing skills than I have as an adult.

As I mentioned before, there are so many fun details and spaces to take photos while in Toy Story Land, these are just my favorite walls so far. Which once do you like the best? Have you joined in the Disney wall craze or the walls of Toy Story Land fun?

What is SummerBlast at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Disclosure: I was provided with a stay at HBC plus some meals and the Mermaid Academy. However, all opinions are my own.

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably noticed the amazing weekend my family had at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. It went by so fast but we had the best time enjoying the resort and just hanging out together. Thankfully there is so. much. to. do. during SummerBlast, we literally only left for a couple of hours the whole weekend!

SummerBlast is going on now through September 2nd, so I wanted to share with you the different elements of SummerBlast, and the top 5 reasons why you should stay here this summer. There are many more reasons to stay at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek not listed like Disney transportation, deluxe accommodations, golf and the spa at neighboring Waldorf Astoria, awesome restaurants and a caring staff, but that would be a REALLY long blog post, so I stuck to my favorite five, which you can check out below.

1.) Free ice cream: In the lobby on Friday afternoons upon check in (around 4:30) you can get free ice cream with tons of toppings! Think of it as a warm welcome to your weekend. Emma Kate loved picking out her toppings (sprinkles and oreos) and it was the perfect snack for satisfying our sweet tooth after the drive over from Tampa.

2.) Pool party fun: Every day at the pool, the resort team is ready and waiting for you, and hosts fun activities like hula hoop contests, pool relay games, line dancing, and marco polo. The activities start around lunch time so don’t miss it! There may even be some prizes involved. Did I mention Emma Kate is obsessed with the pool at HBC? There is a zero entry, a great waterslide (must be 40 inches, and between 40″ and 48″ must wear a life jacket) and a HUGE lazy river that we must have gone around 100 times. The kid was in heaven.

SummerBlast

3.) Mermaid Academy: The Mermaid Academy is an extra charge for boys and girls of all ages. It is hosted on Wednesdays and Saturdays weather permitting, and there are different packages available for purchase. (Boys can also wear a shark fin instead of a mermaid tail!) Kids learn “tricks” like swimming through hula hoops and landing properly in the water like a true mermaid. You can also buy a package that includes underwater photos of your little fish. (Note: While any age can participate, it’s more “immersive” if your child can swim. EK can (barely) swim so while she had a blast, I would probably wait one more summer if we were paying for it ourselves.)

4.) Dive-in Movie nights: Pull up a lounge chair or an inner tube for floating in the water and enjoy a family movie at the pool on Friday and Saturday nights. What a great way to end a perfect summer day. Moana was playing while we were staying at the hotel.

5.) Special FL resident rates: Obviously this only applies to my FL readers, but HBC has some great summer rates and deals going on through Sept. 2nd. This hotel is perfect for a staycation with it’s awesome amenities and proximity to Disney springs…and it’s a great chance to go check out the all new Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

  • Up to 12% off Best Available Rate for Honors members and 10% off Best Available Rate for non-
    Honors members.
  • Complimentary luxury motor coach transportation to Disney them
    e parks
  • Deluxe accommodations
  • Kids Meal Deals* – Kids eat dinner free; 50% discount on breakfast buffet (as part of daily resort charge)

If you have any additional questions about SummerBlast or Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek itself, feel free to leave a comment or send me an email.

 

Summer Humming with Humm Kombucha

Disclosure: I’ve teamed up with Humm Kombucha for this sponsored post, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

It was about a year ago that I tried Kombucha for the first time. I had read great things about it, but y’all I’m picky. I’m all about overall health and wellness here on the blog, but I just wasn’t so sure. I am happy to report after a year I am still humming along drinking Humm Kombucha (my favorite flavor is coconut lime!) from Publix here in Tampa!

humm kombucha

I actually get a good amount of questions about this, so let’s back up a bit. First, what is Kombucha?

Kombucha is a fermented tea with probiotics and antioxidants that help contribute to your overall digestive condition. Probiotics found in kombucha balance the good and bad bacteria in the body and the antioxidants positively impact multiple systems in our body. It’s also vegan, dairy and GMO free. Humm Kombucha, is live and raw kombucha, with 2 Billion Probiotic Cultures at bottling, and comes in 8 flavors, including Pomegranate Lemonade, Hopped Grapefruit, Lemon Ginger, and Coconut Lime. Not to mention, it tastes really good! Especially on a hot summer day.

Keep reading, I love a good story like this one:

Humm Kombucha was started by two women in Bend, Oregon, brewing a mother-in-law’s kombucha recipe in their kitchen during the recession. They then created a door-to-door delivery service (hello! sign me up please!) with folks leaving money under their mat for kombucha with the goal to help the local community feel better and do better. It hits all the feels right? Nine years later, they are now sold at major stores nationwide as well as in Canada and Sweden!

So now I have a question for you. Humm is asking me, and you, how you #HummAlong this summer. And no, you don’t have to know how to sing. Trust me it’s not one of my gifts. You don’t even have to know the song, just grab a kombucha, open it up, and Humm Along. You can Humm along as you go to work, go for a run, pick up your kids from camp, or enjoy a day at one of the beautiful local beaches around your area.

Humm’s #HummAlong campaign is inspiring people like you and me to join a collective humm, bringing more people together to feel better and do better in the world. Always a good goal, right?  While we are all on our own paths and journeys, it’s the attitude we take, in good times and bad, and the company we keep that shapes us. Remember, you are the only one that can change your attitude! So how about on one of these hot, sticky days you mosey on over to Publix, grab some Humm kombucha, and #HummAlong with us. (Search the hashtag on social! Use it yourself!)

Me? How do I #HummAlong? I have been enjoying the pool life here in Florida this summer. We were able to get away for a “staycation” this weekend and make some awesome family memories. Kids grow up so fast, so getting to spend time with the ones I love is my favorite way to #HummAlong. What about you? Share on social media!

humm

Be on the lookout on my Instagram for a giveaway later today!

5 Things Friday XXXIII

Another Friday, and we are officially a week out from my birthday, which happens to be Friday the 13th. Thank goodness I’m not superstitious right? I would be hiding in my house and that’s not a fun thing to do on your birthday. I have a lot of fun things coming up to share with you, so let’s kick off another 5 Things Friday:

1.) Another cruise post: This time, I’m recapping my favorite 5 food and drink spots on the Carnival Horizon. Trust me, it was hard to narrow down! There are so many delicious spots on the ship, but click here to see which made my personal final cut.

2.) Poshmark: Did you know I am on Poshmark? I have several things for sale, kids and adult clothing, so check it out if you are looking for some new duds. I am currently obsessed with how easy it is to buy and sell on there, and I don’t even have to go to the post office!

3.) Best pre workout: I have been experimenting with pre workout, so tell me your favorite that doesn’t cost eleventy billion dollars and doesn’t make you so amped up you can see sounds, mmmkk? I’m looking for some suggestions!

(This is an old photo I am not injured!)

4.) Disney Sports FAM: As I mentioned last week, I am headed to Disney next weekend for a sports FAM specifically dealing with the ESPN WWOS complex. I just found out we will be staying at the Boardwalk, so I’m super pumped about that! EK has never stayed on the Boardwalk and it’s my favorite place to run in the early mornings (or swim as we like to do in the humid summers). We leave next Saturday and I will of course be documenting everything in true blogger style.

5.) Early birthday bash: Tomorrow we leave with EK and my parents for a fun filled weekend at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek! I have never stayed in the summer, so I can’t wait to check out all of their summer blast activities. It may involve swimming with mermaids and ice cream and more, so don’t miss it! I will again (duh) be posting on IG stories and Twitter throughout the weekend.

Have a great one everyone! Stay cool!

Top 5 Carnival Horizon Food and Drink Options

Recently I had the opportunity to sail on the brand new and beautiful Carnival Horizon. I was able to feast on many of the different dining options while on board (I think my waistline is still recovering!) and I wanted to share my favorites. That’s one of the things I love…there are SO many options, even if one is not for you, that’s ok, there are tons of others! Even 24 hour pizza and ice cream my friends. While eating and drinking to your hearts content onboard, be sure you don’t miss these Carnival Horizon food and drink options:

Carnival Horizon Food and Drink

1.) Alchemy Bar: Those familiar with Carnival have (hopefully) already tasted in the sweet goodness of the Alchemy Bar. Hands down the best drinks I have had in my life (and I don’t say that lightly!) We loved the location too, it’s a great spot right in the middle of the ship for people watching. The bar is very popular so going at off times will help you to get a front row seat to the fun.

alchemy

alchemy

 

2.) Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse: This was the best meal we had on the ship. It’s elegant and classy but also modern and fun at the same time. They have a great menu and drink menu as well. Also, the chocolate dessert is delicious and rich. I had the fillet as well as salad and dessert and several pieces of amazing bread from their awesome selection. One of the things I loved that the Horizon changed up from the Vista is that the back wall of the steakhouse is open to the piano bar during the early hours of the evening so you can listen to the music. They then later close the wall off to keep the dining room more intimate and relaxing. If you want spectacular service, food and drinks and a quiet romantic evening, then this is the reservation you want to book. Your meal includes appetizer, salad, entree, side, and dessert.

 

3.) Bonsai (and Teppanyaki): Those familiar with Carnival probably have already visited Bonsai. It is situated across from the steakhouse and next to the Alchemy bar (another great people watching spot!) They have sushi, yes, but something that is new is the Teppanyaki element. They have two hibachi tables ready and waiting for you. So make sure to make a reservation, spots go quickly! Think of it as part meal and part show. They have options such as steak, shrimp, lobster, and tofu.

 

4.) Cucina Del Capitano: This cruise was my first time dining at Cucina, and it did not disappoint. Situated up high above the Lido deck buffet, you might miss the entrance if you aren’t looking for it. I loved the adorable Italian set up, and the fact that the servers did a cute little dance for everyone mid meal. I’m a carboholic, so all the bread and pasta was right up my alley. The chicken parmesan was very filling and cheesy, and Bobby and I both enjoyed the Arancini (sssoooo good!) They also had some tasty wines and the windows offer breathtaking views of the ocean.

 

5.) Guy’s Pig and Anchor BBQ Smokehouse/Brewhouse: This is “sort of” a new addition to the Carnival fleet. While you may recognize the name, it has slightly “morphed’ into even more BBQ goodness than ever before. There is still the counter service BBQ included with the price of your cruise that you can get out on the deck at lunch, but inside you can now dine at a themed (adorably by the way) smokehouse and brewhouse for a nominal fee for dinner. The dining room has plenty of space, and the drinks are incredibly popular (the trash can nachos are my favorite!) The exclusive line of Parched Pig craft brews are only served aboard Carnival Horizon, (a smoked porter, a farmhouse ale, a hoppy IPA and a toasted amber) and they are all brewed under the supervision of an in house pro brewmaster!

pig and anchor

The best part about all of this: It doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the options on board the ship. I could have made a list of ten, but decided to stop at five because…well, it’s making me hungry. Also, GREAT NEWS: You can now book dining reservations right from the Carnival Hub app! Be sure to download it (free) before you sail so that you don’t miss a thing while on vacation.

You can check out my cruise highlight post as well!

Disclosure: We sailed on the beautiful Horizon as a guest of Carnival, however all opinions are my own.