7 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

When my mom was about to turn 60, her one wish was to have a fun girls trip in Walt Disney World. Since her birthday falls on Christmas day, she has NEVER gotten a lot of ”hoopla” for her birthday. Sure we know better than to wrap her birthday gifts in Christmas paper, and not get her a red and green cake, but let’s face it, everyone is so busy with the holidays it’s hard to focus on a birthday other than that of baby Jesus!

Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World

When she told me she really wanted a quick girls trip to Disney to celebrate her birthday, I sprang into action to plan for the most FUN birthday bash ever. After all, she totally deserves it as the most selfless giving person ever. When I started making our October plans and doing some research, I got frustrated trying to think of things and having to hop all over the internet to find different things, so I thought I would come up with a list of fun birthday things to do in Walt Disney World for adults (kids at heart, right?) Hopefully this list will be helpful to some people looking for fun ways to celebrate!

 

7 Ways to Celebrate Your Birthday in Walt Disney World:

1.) Mark your reservations: Be sure when you book your vacation that you mention there is a celebration going on. That way, it can be marked on your resort reservation and your dining reservations. There is no guarantee, but resorts and restaurants have been known to sprinkle a little pixie dust for birthday guests. When I check in I also make sure it was noted properly on the reservation. We have gotten balloons and cards in our room, chocolate, cupcakes at lunch, free dessert at dinner, and more. (Please please remember this is NOT something Disney has to do, it’s just “extra” so try not to expect it so you won’t be disappointed if it doesn’t happen.)

grand floridian birthday

2.) Birthday button (and hat, shirt, etc): Grab a birthday button at your resort or at the theme parks. Wear it with pride and watch the magic happen! Cast members and guests alike will tell you happy birthday and make you feel extra special. The button is a freebie, but if you want to pay for a little something extra, you can purchase a birthday ear hat or have a shirt made at Downtown Disney letting everyone know it is your birthday.

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3.) Cake: Let me tell you, Disney makes some AMAZING cakes. You can call the cake hotline and have a customized cake made and delivered to your resort or at certain restaurants around the property. I have been lucky enough to be the recipient of several cakes throughout the years. Thanks to my fellow cake fiend Jen, and they are so worth it, and such a fun surprise!

 

4.) Spa treatment: There is a spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian resort, and also at Saratoga Springs resort. Jen and I actually had pedicures done on my birthday one year, and it was so fun! They have a full spa menu if you are looking for some extra pampering with friends or family.

senses spa3

5.) Fireworks dessert party: Disney knows how to light up the night sky, and they have been wise enough to pair their amazing fireworks with dessert parties, fireworks cruises, and the most recent addition, the Ferrytale Fireworks dessert cruise during the nightly fireworks. So many fun things to choose from (book well in advance for these events!)

6.) Guided Tour: There are a plethora of tours around Disney property, ranging from a behind the scenes Magic Kingdom tour, to a wild Africa Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I think most people would be plenty excited to get to take part in a special tour on their special day.

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7.) Recreation: A lot of people don’t realize there is so much more to do at Walt Disney World than go to the parks. A birthday is a perfect occasion to do something special. Some examples are: play a round of golf, rent a boat at one of the many marinas, parasail, rent a surrey bike, or take a horse-drawn carriage ride.

Thanks for reading my tips on how to celebrate your birthday in Walt Disney World

QOTD: Have you ever celebrated your birthday in Walt Disney World? What did you do?

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

Update: This post on 5 Tips for Running When you Travel first appeared in 2015, and I have now updated it, in October of 2018. 

If you are anything like me, you might make excuses when you are traveling for why you can’t go for a run. I have used every logic possible to talk myself out of a run, but in the end, I always regret not running when I travel. When I’m traveling, no matter if it’s by car or air, I always tend to eat more unhealthy than I do at home, and I’m sitting more than I do at home, so if there was ever a time I needed to run, traveling is when it is! So below I have compiled 5 Tips for running when you travel. Enjoy!

5 Tips for Running When you Travel

1.) Research the area: It’s not wise to just take off running from your hotel without knowing a bit about the area. Maybe you could even try to connect with local runners on social media and ask them their favorite routes. Traveling is a great time for exploring a new place! Maybe find a route that has a convenience store you can stop at along the way for a bottle of water, or a park with a scenic trail. Remember, knowledge is power!

2.) Pack well: I know there are a million thoughts going in and out of your head when trying to pack for a trip, and thinking about running gear may be the last thing on your mind. However, if you have everything you need all together in one bag you may be more likely to actually go for a run when you reach your destination. I bring a drawstring bag with my GPS watch, headbands, GU, body glide, sunglasses*, etc. whenever I travel so there is no excuse and no rummaging around in my suitcase. Then it’s just a matter of throwing in a couple running outfits and my shoes!

3.) Be safe: Always tell someone where you plan to run and what time you will be back, even if it’s a text to a friend or a front desk worker at the hotel. Be mindful of your surroundings! If you listen to music, make sure you can still hear your surroundings. You need to be on the lookout, especially in a bigger city where you may be crossing streets or around a lot more cars.

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Stopped at a crosswalk on a group run in Boston at the Healthy Living Summit.

4.) Make time: This is a big one for me! Travel wears me out y’all. The last thing I want to do after a long day of driving or flying is lace up my running shoes! It is important to look at your schedule and pencil in a time to hit the hotel gym or run the roads, or it may not actually happen. Sometimes the only available time is late at night, but it’s a good excuse to get out of your boring hotel room.

5.) Call the hotel: Hotel workers are your friend! Usually, they are super knowledgeable of the area, and can hopefully tell you areas you should probably avoid, or a place where runners go on the weekend to log some longer miles. They may even be able to give you the number of a local running store you can call for help as well. It never hurts to ask!

Thanks for checking out my 5 Tips for Running When you Travel.

QOTD: What is your best tip for running in a new place? To you venture outside or stick to the hotel gym?

*This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you purchase through my link I receive a small commission.

The Magic of Mary Poppins Returns

The magic of Disney is hard to explain. I have loved Disney movies, parks, stories and more for as long as I can remember, and the magic has always been my favorite part. There is just something you feel, something special about imagination, and believing that anything is possible. If I had to pick one movie that truly embodies that sentiment, it would be Mary Poppins. As a kid, watching the original movie, I dreamed of dancing with penguins and riding carousel horses with a super cool nanny who made everything a game.

That’s why I cannot wait for Mary Poppins Returns to hit theaters, and I can’t wait to share the magic and the music (girlfriend will dance to any music) with Emma Kate and hopefully she will continue to love the magic just like her mama. Check out this adorable special look below and let me know your thoughts!

MARY POPPINS RETURNS arrives in theatres everywhere on December 19th!

Like MARY POPPINS RETURNS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marypoppinsreturns/

Follow MARY POPPINS RETURNS on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marypoppinsreturns/

7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid’s Room

Emma Kate just had a birthday, and she obtained a lot more, well…stuff. We also got rid of some things, but it just seems to keep growing, yall! I was on the hunt for some great ways to organize her things, and I thought since I was having this issue, some other people may be having it as well, so I thought I would turn it into a post and share.

7 amazon finds to organize your kids room

Here are 7 Amazon finds to organize your kid’s room:

1.) Delta Children Deluxe Multi-Bin Toy Organizer with Storage Bins

Little things. Little people. Little Pieces. Little parts. They are everywhere and drive me bonkers. The idea of having bins we can take out and put back in is super appealing, and we can organize them in each bin. Plus it’s pretty compact and Emma Kate can help clean up with this one.
7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid's Room


2.) ClosetMaid 1499 KidSpace Open Storage Locker, 49-Inch Height

I wish I had known about this in our first house that didn’t have a mud room! This would be perfect for a hallway, or even inside the closet for your kids to hang up their coats and bookbags when they come home. Plus, it’s super cute!


3.) Goldenvalueable Hanging Mesh Space Saver Bags Organizer 3 Compartments Toy Storage Basket for Kids Room organization mesh hanging bag 2 Pcs
Set , Pink and Purple

How fun are these? I like that you can see through them so you don’t have to try and remember what you put in each one! Would be fun for stuffed animals or dolls.

4.) Naomi Home Kids Toy Sling Book Rack, Primary Colors/Natural
I don’t know about you, but we are drowning in books. Emma Kate has a ton, and then I saved a bunch of mine from my childhood and we add them into the mix. I feel like when they are in stacks we end up reading the same ones over and over, but this would help us to see more of them at once.

5.) Bath Toy Organizer -The Original Tub Cubby – Large 14×20” Quick Dry Bathtub Mesh Net

EK is at this stage where she wants to put all her toys in the bathtub and have a “pool party” with them. Which is fine until it’s time to get out and then they are just all over the tub, some with sitting water in them, and that’s just not super sanitary. I love the idea of this net so they toys can drain, and also it’s a place to store soap and shampoo bottles.



6.) Weekly Dry Erase Board Calendar Stain Resistant Technology Magnetic Whiteboard Planner for Refrigerator

My child thrives on a schedule, so knowing what is going on the next day is important to her. She can’t read yet, but I think creating picture magnets and putting them on the days of the week would be a great way for us to all stay organized.


7.) Bean Bag Stuffed Animal Storage

Yall. I wish these were around when I was a kid. I had a million stuffed animals and it would have been great! Instead, we had real bean bag chairs, and they would get a hole in them and little white balls would spill all over the room, and then we had to patch them up repeatedly with duct tape. Ah, the good ole days. This is a great way to have a cute place to sit and keep all the furry friends out of sight. Love!

7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid's Room

As a part of the Amazon affiliate program, if you purchase a product through one of my links, I receive a small commission. Thanks for checking out these 7 Amazon Finds to Organize Your Kid’s Room!

Related: How to tame your kid clutter while teaching them valuable lessons.

 

Just a Bunch of Hocus Pocus (In Theaters!)

Hey guys, happy weekend! I just wanted to give a quick heads up on some exciting news I was given last night. Check it out below:

This Halloween weekend, Friday, October 26th – Wednesday, October 31st, you can celebrate the Halloween holiday with Jack Skellington, Sally, Oogie Boogie and more as Disney’s beloved classic THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS returns for a limited engagement exclusively in over 300 Regal cinemas locations nationwide! (Check local listing for participating Regal theaters.)

For “The Nightmare Before Christmas” tickets and information visit https://regmovi.es/2MhfWu0 

Now for the news I am most excited about, this Halloween weekend, Friday, October 26th – Wednesday, October 31st, you can bewitch your Halloween holiday with Disney’s beloved classic HOCUS POCUS which returns for a limited engagement exclusively in over 300 AMC cinemas locations nationwide!

AAHHH! We have been watching this movie over and over the past week and I just love it so much. I have also been drinking out of my 25th anniversary Hocus Pocus mug I got at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party when I have coffee in the mornings. 🙂

But that’s not all! Next weekend, Friday, October 26th – Thursday, November 1st, The Academy Award® winning film (Best Animated Film, Best Original Song) COCO is back in theatres for a limited engagement exclusively at Cinemark theatres!

For Cinemark tickets and information visit https://www.cinemark.com/coco

So much movie fun coming up this Halloween, be sure not to miss out! It’s really NOT just a bunch of Hocus Pocus!

Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018 Part 2

You may have seen part one of my Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018.

Well, I am back with part two of our trip! Check out the video below for all the Disney fun, and be sure to hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss any videos on my channel. I would venture to say that Emma Kate had the time of her life.

 

 

We love Disney in the fall, the Halloween Party, Food and Wine Festival, and decorations are all amazing. Now we can’t wait for the Christmas decorations! (Ok, maybe we can wait until after Halloween!) What is your favorite time of year to visit Walt Disney World?

How To Start a Blog: FREE E-Course

UPDATE: This post was originally published in 2016 and I updated it in October of 2018.

Blogging has changed my life. Literally. Before blogging, I was working a “regular” job, not feeling like I had a creative outlet, and I just felt lost. After I started my blog, not only did I start making money, but I met so many people who are now my best friends. I have had opportunities to travel, run awesome races, try new products, and really spread my wings. I think anyone can blog, and love helping people realize that they too can “do it.”

How to start a blog

However, I have found that one really long blog posts with instructions on how to do something can just be too big and overwhelming.

I have truly enjoyed the few e-courses I have participated in, and thought to myself “hey, I can do that!” Basically, if you choose to sign up for my free e-course, you will be getting a series of five days worth of emails on a topic near and dear to my heart, which is how to start a blog.

 

I wrote a blog post about three years ago with tips on starting your own blog, and to this day it is one of my number one most read posts of all time. The post was decent, but I feel like I barely scratched the surface and left a lot of readers hanging on exactly how to go about doing the things I talked about in my blog post. Enter my e-course!

how to start a blog free e-course

I am SO excited to be offering this to you, my awesome readers. I know there are a bunch of you out there who would love to start a blog (and would be great at it!) but have no idea where to begin. It can be scary and overwhelming, but it is totally doable. Back when I began blogging, I had no help and just learned as I went.  I want to help you to not make the same mistakes I did, and I want to simplify the process for you. Also, if you already have a blog, you may still enjoy the course because, in the last couple of days of it, I give some tips and tricks that could be helpful to you.

Take a step out of your comfort zone and give it a try. Everyone has a unique perspective on the world to share, something that makes you special. Your words matter, so don’t keep it to yourself!

Please don’t waste months trying to figure things out on your own when I have already done the hard work for you. Sign up for my five day free e-course and get to blogging. I can’t wait to see what you come up with! You can sign up by clicking the photo above or by clicking this link.

Related: 5 Reasons to get over your fear of starting a blog

PS: You can still sign up to get the free fitness and goal tracking printables.

7 Weight Loss Tips for Faster Results

When you decide you want to lose weight, you don’t want to wait until next year or next month to do it. It’s hard to even think about having to wait a couple of weeks to start seeing results. While there is no magic pill to get to where you want to be, there ARE ways to make sure you are on the fastest path safely possible to reach your goals. Here are 7 weight loss tips for faster results:

7 weight loss tips for faster results

1.) Eat All the Veggies: Not only will veggies fill you up so you won’t want to eat junk food, but they are rich in vitamins and nutrients your body loves to stay healthy and happy. You will feel better, look better, and be on your way to weight loss in no time. Don’t like veggies? Search Pinterest for recipes that “hide” that veggie taste. People are so creative and have come up with amazing recipes!

2.) Drink at Least 8 Glasses of Water: Water is great for your skin, fills you up, and keeps your systems running smoothly. It’s such a simple thing but just doing this ONE action can jumpstart your weight loss.

3.) Move 10,000 steps each day, with 4 days involving getting your heart rate UP HIGH (even if only for 15 minutes): Get a step counter or Fitbit* and get to walking! You should be moving a MINIMUM of 10k steps a day, plus several days of higher intensity workouts. Keep in mind doing hours of cardio isn’t the answer. Short bursts are super effective too!

4.) Track Calorie Intake…For Awhile: I use My Fitness Pal when I feel like I need to get back on track after a vacation of several days of not eating properly. It’s free, and a great way to give you a visual of exactly how many calories you are consuming in a day. That in itself is eye-opening enough to help you lose weight.

5.) Don’t Drink Your Calories: I will always remember this phrase from back when I used to watch The Biggest Loser. Jillian Michaels used to tell the contestants to never drink your calories! They are empty, you will still be hungry after, and they add up quick. Just look at a Starbucks menu and you will see what I mean. So many drinks have MORE calories than an ENTIRE MEAL and people drink those drinks PLUS eat a meal and then wonder why they aren’t losing weight. Stick to water except for an OCCASIONAL treat and it will quickly make a difference!

6.) Find A Workout You Love: Not all workouts are for everyone. Some love running, some love stand up paddleboarding, and some love tennis. Experiment and find what you love because then you are way more likely to stick with it. I would much rather play a game of volleyball then run for an hour, and that’s ok!

7 weight loss tips for faster results

7.) Get More Sleep: Cramming too many things into your schedule makes you less likely to want to work out or eat properly, so right there you are sabotaging your efforts. On top of that, your body will be stressed and you are more likely to get sick, so then you won’t be able to work out either! Studies show that getting enough sleep can help aid in weight loss because only getting a little bit of sleep can mess with your metabolism.

I hope you enjoyed these 7 weight loss tips for faster results!

RELATED: 7 Fitness hacks for the unmotivated

*If you purchase through this link, I will get a small percentage in commission.

Photos by rawpixelSara Dubler, Arek Adeoye, Jennifer Burk on Unsplash

8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

The Christmas season is rapidly approaching, which can leave many of us panicking about where that “extra” money is going to come from for buying decorations, gifts, attending dinners, and the like. October is the perfect time to plan because believe it or not, there are a lot of ways you can save money in the next 30 days that can help you breathe a little easier knowing the holidays are coming.

8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

Dave Ramsey, the king of getting out of debt and saving money, has LOADS of tips and tricks that are great ideas for life in general, but I decided to compile eight of them because not only do we want to save money, but we still want to be able to shop and have fun right? You can indeed have both! Here’s 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month

1.) Visit the library: Did you know that part of your tax money goes to fund your local library? When my mom recently found out that FOUR HUNDRED dollars a year of her taxes were going to the library, she decided it was high time to make some use of it. She rents books, DVD’s, CD’s, and more. Emma Kate loves going to the children’s story time and we get lots of books and DVD’s. Her interests change so quickly it’s way better than buying all of that stuff anyway!

2.) Consignment shops: Not only do I sell Emma Kate’s olf clothes and toys at the local consignment shop, but I buy from there, too! I also am a huge fan of thredUP* and have gotten some amazing deals on brand new clothing!

3.) Cut cable: This one took me a while to consider because I was worried about my beloved football games, but now there are SO MANY other options for watching TV! netflix! Amazon Prime! Sling TV! Hulu! Cable has gotten so outrageous and cutting the cord can save you a ton. If you go to the Hulu website through this link, you can get a free trial, so be sure to check it out!*

4.) Check the sale papers: I feel like this is something people don’t do a lot anymore, but a lot of stores and grocery stores have weekly or monthly sale papers with the hottest deals. We use this for BOGO’s and certain days of the week that more expensive items like chicken or meats are on sale. I also use Cartwheel for Target and digital coupons for other stores. You don’t even have to go extreme couponing to save money. It adds up fast!

5.) Be electricity mindful: I was raised that when you leave a room, you turn off a light. I feel like more and more kids are not being taught to conserve these days, and it does drive me a little batty. Simple things like turning off lights, closing curtains and blinds and raising the air conditioning when you leave the house can save you a few dollars every month, which can really add up over the course of a year.

6.) Search for free activities: I know not all towns have a lot of free activities, but do some digging and you may be surprised. In Tampa, I’m subscribed to a weekly email for fun things for kids to do over the weekend in my city. Some have small costs, but most are free and there is never a shortage of things to do especially if we are willing to drive a little bit. Your kids don’t have to have the most expensive toys to have fun and make memories!

7.) Pack your lunch: The amount that this one adds up to is truly shocking. I know people who eat out for lunch at work every. single. day. That’s on average $50 a week, or $200+ A MONTH! Add on those who go to Starbucks daily and we are talking a pretty penny my friends. Sure I love a special treat or lunch on occasionally just like everyone else, but I have learned that not only is it better for my wallet to pack a lunch, but it’s better for my waistline, too! This one can be a hard habit to break especially for those who do this socially. Maybe try to go to just once a week, or when there is a special celebration. You could even try to get your coworkers to help hold you accountable and you all pack a lunch and go eat at a park one day together.

8.) Ask for discounts: There are so many places that offer discounts that just don’t advertise them (think AAA, senior discounts, kids eat free, etc.) My rule of thumb is always to ask! The worst they can say is no. You can also do an internet search, there are a lot of websites that list out stores and restaurants that offer discounts, free birthday rewards, or nights of the week for kids to eat free.

I hope you enjoyed these 8 Dave Ramsey Approved Tips to Save Money This Month!

*If you sign up for Hulu or purchase form ThredUP with my link, I receive a small affiliate commission.

Related: Top 10 tips for saving money on your Disney World vacation

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Walt Disney World Recap Video September 2018

Hola friends! Some of you may have seen the video recap of our media event with Disney. After the event was over, we extended our trip by a few days. I had a friend in town that let us stay with her for a bit, then we got a room at Port Orleans Riverside for a couple of days to make it an almost week-long trip. We ate at some of our favorites and really enjoyed just being together and taking our time. Check out some of the fun in the video below.

Don’t forget to hit “subscribe” so you don’t miss any future videos!

Thanks for watching y’all!