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Parents Magazine Reveals Top 10 Best Hotel Chains for Families

WHOA.  WANNA KNOW WHERE TO BOOK YOUR NEXT BEACH VACATION? Or even just the best place to take your family!

Totally check out this list by Parents Mag!

Parents Magazine Reveals Top 10 Best Hotel Chains for Families

NEW YORK, NY, (September 28, 2015)— Parents magazine today revealed the top 10 Best Hotel Chains For Families, perfect for family road trips, holiday travels or weekend getaways. Parents’ magazine editors and travel experts evaluated 60-plus hotel brands across the country to identify chains offering families great space and comfort, high satisfaction ratings, affordable rates, and entertaining kids’ programs. The full list is available in the November 2015 issue of the magazine and on Parents.com.

7 Things Loved By My Family at Moreys Piers

We took a lovely jaunt over Father's Day weekend to one of the very few shore towns that I have NOT stayed at yet!  I know. You have a hard time believing that, don't you? ha. But it's true. I'll be honest with you.  Real is why you come here and honestly, you've come to expect me to be REAL with you, right? 

Wildwood has never been one of my favorite places to visit.  We'd go there when we stayed in Cape May to have some fun on the boardwalk - but I would have NEVER in a million years have considered staying there.  I just didn't feel it was safe.  I thought there were some scary parts of town that I felt would not be smart to visit with small kids.  I thought the same about Atlantic City & I gave them a '2nd shot' with Boston 3 years ago.  I saw there that they were really trying to clean it up - but unfortunately, I haven't been back with kids yet.  So hopefully we'll have an awakening with AC like we did with Wildwood over Father's Day Weekend!

In case you didn't notice by the title....but we LOVED our visit there. 

And I'll tell you - it's one reason & ONE reason alone why - MOREY'S PIERS.

Yes. There are still parts of town that I felt uncomfortable in.  I won't lie.  But Morey's Piers is different. MUCH MUCH DIFFERENT. 

7 Things Loved By My Family At Morey's Piers

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1) THE MOREY FAMILY.  As you know in my love of travels and sharing here - I am a sucker for a real life story.  And the story behind the magic of Morey's Piers was so fun to see!  I missed a special cocktail event because well.... traveling with a toddler puts a vice grip on my plans. lol Truth be told.  But I did get a great break to really wander the hotel we were staying in and read the walls.  For. Like. HOURS. 

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2) THE PAN AMERICAN HOTEL.  What a CLASSY place!!  You know me - I'm a sucker for amenities so when I saw the Philosophy products in the gorgeous bathrooms?  I died and went to bath time heaven!!  I've stayed at thousands of places.  And if there is one consistent thing that tells me the character and class of the place - it's the toiletries!!  Everywhere you turn in this hotel you see a story.  You can get caught up in the walls of time beginning with the ride down the road with the big spinning Pan American sign in the back of an old pickup truck!  (And the chairs in the lobby are the coolest chairs I've ever seen!)

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3)  THE PIERS.  Notice I didn't say the Boardwalk.  Cause until they stop allowing people to smoke and flick their ashes on me and my kids - I'm not a fan of the boardwalk at all.  (And I'm not a smoke-snob.  Both of my parents smoke heavily their entire lives.  I just don't believe that it should be allowed in a public place like that.  It really bothers me when I walk up to a store and their workers are standing in their doorways trying to get me to come in there and their stink cigs behind their ears and in their hands.  GROSS!  There are way too many little kids running around on that boardwalk - there shouldn't be any smoking.  But if you are like me in that? GET ON THE PIERS!!  Cause the Morey family does it right.  NO SMOKING ALLOWED.

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3) THE FUN on THE PIERS.  Yeah.  You can find so much to do on those three piers that you never need to hit the boardwalk or the streets of Wildwood if you're a fuddy-dutty-like me.  And honestly, there are many out of towners that need that 'comfortable place'.  Morey's Piers have so many really fun things to do! I died after finding out there was THREE piers to PLAY!  The Ghost Ship & Kong were our favorite rides.  LOVED them.  

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4) THE FOOD.  When I think about beach & boardwalk food - I think cotton candy, pizza, 'snack bar' type food.  But not at MOREYS PIERS!!  When we arrived they gave us a ton of generous coupons to experience all the food at the piers & I am so glad they did!!  The last day, I ended up sharing some of them with a sweet woman we met at the waterparks who was there from Illinois (where I'm from). Cause honestly, I felt bad with all the talk I made about the 

5)  THE WATER PARKS.  Seriously one of the coolest thing ever is enjoying a WATER PARK while near the ocean!  The PIers really have a couple cool water parks that everyone has to take advantage of when in Wildwood.  Being a kid from the midwest and never even seeing the ocean till much later in my college years, the only water fun we got were water parks.   I grew up in a boat on a dirty lake in southern Illinois.  Our 'special treat' was hitting a water park.  So to be a kid and have the ocean at your fingertips?  I can't even IMAGINE what a cool opportunity that is. The #1 thing that I love most from my move to Philly is that we are within a couple hours drive of the shore.  From Cape May to LBI - I am forever in love with it.  Add a boardwalk AND a waterpark?  Totally died and gone to heaven reliving my childhood with my son at the 

6)  THE HISTORY.  More than one occasion my family had to distract me to STOP looking at all the images on the walls at the Pan American Hotel!!  I stopped every time so that I could read, snap and share the great history of Morey's Piers!  

7) OH-MY-THE-ORANGEAIDES.  Seriously.  I should be embarrassed with how many orangeaides I had on those piers!!!  My mouth is watering now for one dangit.    

Now check out their fun History YouTube video:


How To Have Fun For Father's Day In New Jersey

How To Have Fun For Father's Day In New Jersey

'Tis the season for water parks and Summer adventures! This year, we're  thankful for Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks for providing us with a perfect Summer getaway location! We'll be visiting this weekend to celebrate Father's Day and there is a ton of stuff to do - for the whole family! We are going to stay at the Pan American Hotel where they have a great bistro called Alosi's Bistro where we'll be stopping for breakfast!  There are two new amazing attractions at Morey's including KONG and artBOX:LAB. 

Kong, an iconic boardwalk landmark in early 1970s, and also the new gorilla themed amusement ride is now open on Surfside Pier. KONG, who you'll see snorting smoke and fog, sports an “I love Wildwood” t-shirt (who wouldn't?) and clutches one of Wildwood’s well-known tram cars while hanging from the 60 feet tall lighthouse at the ride’s center - sounds awesome! Eight vintage shark themed ride vehicles will duck and dive around the infamous gorilla, bringing riders 26 feet in air. After sunset, KONG lights up the night sky with a rotating light on top of the lighthouse and enhanced LED lighting outlining each ride vehicle. This looks like it will be a great ride for us to try out this weekend while we celebrate Father's Day! 

 

Underneath the ride is Kong & Co. a new 3,000 square foot retail space offering charging stations and comfy chairs, as well as chocolate covered frozen bananas and merchandise for purchase. Besides there being snacks and merchandise, the charging stations is such a great idea. Sometimes large families like to split off during their vacation, and if your phone is dying, it can be nearly impossible to find the rest of the family! These charging stations are really convenient!

artBOX:LAB is a new interactive workshop for kids. The resident artist, David Macomber, leads the class and allows kids of all ages to create their own spins on works of art to take home! There is a rotation of guest artists all Summer long so you'll be able to experience a lot of different artistic perspectives and more! Classes include block printing, origami, painting, and even jewelry making! The classes are available Thursday-Sunday from 5pm to 10pm so this would be a GREAT wind down activity for the kids after all day at a water park! There are no appointments necessary and class prices are anywhere from FREE to $35! 

If you're not used to the weather in Wildwood, NJ, they're pretty warm during the Summer. In June, the temperatures can reach the low 80's so make sure to pack plenty of sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and most importantly - your bathing suits! 

Now that you've got a sneak peek of Morey's Piers & Beachfront Water Parks - keep an eye out for my followup after Father's Day weekend! What would you be most excited to try? Let me know in the comments below! 

For more information, you can find Morey's at:
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Top 5 Faves of the 2015 Chevy Tahoe #TravelTuesday

Top 5 Faves of the 2015 Chevy Tahoe #TravelTuesday

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Back in 2006 I had the hottest convertible Mitsubishi Spyder that rocked my hot chic world.  

I got engaged in 2006 and 3 months later I was at a live broadcast with the station I was on at a car dealership.  And.... long story short-I traded in my convertible that day and bawled the whole way home because I traded in my hot-chic-in-her-20s-car for a "MOM MOBILE".  Bawled.The.Whole.Way. lol

Here I am, almost 10 years later and it's time to trade that little mommy in for a Mom-Monster.  Destination Mobile.  Travel Companion. Soccer Chauffer.  You know... 'BIG KID STUFF'. 

My 2004 Mitsubishi Endeavor has so many pretty bumps and scratches, I hate to see it even getting bought...but those beauty marks are what makes it special.  One of them, made by my husband when he hit a tree stump at my parents house.  Ahem.  Another one?  MADE BY MY HUSBAND. Yeah.  He's not a good driver...but I digress. 

So this year, I've partnered with Chevy and between now and January I'm going to test drive their SUVs to see where I 'fit' in.  Of course Chevy has many different parts to the GM family including Buick, Cadillac, Chevy & GMC.  I of course know what I need - but I don't know what I want.  And since I'm going to be driving this beast for another decade - I want to get down and dirty (including the left over cheeze nips) with their automobiles and put them all to the test. 

Here, I'm going to give you my Top 5 Faves of each vehicle.  I sure hope you help me figure it out!!  Cause man alive.  This is a major decision.  Kind of like deciding to get married, have kids, buy a house, moving to Philly..... 

First off... I'm not a 'car person'.  I don't believe in driving a crazy expensive car and live in an apartment or a town home.  I believe in what will get me from point A to point B.  (Of course, who DOESN'T like to look good while doing it!)  So, I'm not going for the 'shiny object'.  I'm HONESTLY going to PAY for my choice so why not go on this journey together!

I know what I can afford.  I know I do NOT want a minivan.  (GAG.)  I know that I need something with a HUGE trunk space.  I also want USB ports cause my car charger stinks and DUH it is 2014!!!  So with that being said... everything else is gravy. 

Top 5 Faves of the 2015 Chevy Tahoe

1)  The SENSORS.  Whoaaaa - the sensors! My husband wasn't a fan of his butt vibrating when he got too close to the side or another car - but I like it! ha.  Check out the video on what he said about that. 

2)  Automated 3rd Row Seating - THIS IS HUGE.  Probably the biggest thing my oldest loved.  The buckets in the 2nd row was great to get around to get to the 3rd row.  And the fact its a tiny button that gets pushed?  SWEET!

3) SIDE BLIND ZONE ALERT WITH LANE DEPARTURE - Yeah, so this goes along with #1.  There are SOOO many flashing lights, vibration, beeps... you are sure to not fall asleep at the wheel!  It's a great thing.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've ALMOST hit a car because I didn't see them in my blind spot.  This Tahoe?  You will KNOW if there is one in your blind spot!

4)  RAIN SENSING WINDSHIELD WIPERS - And might I add - wipers that don't scream at me cause I need new ones!!  (Here it scratching when it moves. UGH = MY CURRENT CAR.)  Seriously though... this Tahoe pretty much drives itself!

5) THE DASHBOARD AND A 110 VOLT FREAKING AC POWER OUTLET!! - Can you believe that?  I can actually PLUG my PLUG into A 3-PRONG-OUTLET!  Modern tech.  Motherly heaven for sure!!  Not to mention - I counted at LEAST 5 freaking USB ports!!  This is seriously the mac-mommy of automobiles. 

Overall - I loved the smooth ride, the Power Sunroof with bug catcher, the rear seat entertainment, the xm radio with WIFI, the backup sensor on screen, the fact that the mirrors move when you back up, the steering column and the adaptive cruise control that breaks you automatically when you get too close to another car!!

It's the bomb.  In every way.  

The only thing about this SUV that will keep me from buying it?

The size.  IT'S A FREAKING BEAST.  The back is longer than I think I want to handle.  

And the price.  Whoa.   I'm being honest here.  

The 2015 Tahoe that I test drove has a sticker price: $69,630.  

Yeah. $70K is a LOT of money for an automobile.  The base price without all the bells & whistles is around $45K.  That's still a lot and definitely out of our range.  BUT, if we LIVED in it?  I'd make it work.  Cause it's AWESOME!

NEXT UP:  THE CHEVY TRAVERSE.


 

** Please note:  I REALLY am going to buy a new car.  And I REALLY am giving you my honest reviews.  I was teased with driving their automobiles - but in the end - I'm picking AND paying.

Travel Heaven with AT&T GoPhone

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I travel. 

A LOT. 

And it's not always to the grocery store, ya know. 

As a mom on the go, I use my phone & internet almost as much as I travel. 

A LOT. 

At Blogger Bash this past July, I happened to meet the team behind the AT&T mobile hotspots.  As an AT&T customer personally for the past 7 years - I had no idea that they had such a thing.  I mean, I knew they had some sort of tethering opportunity for cell phones, but I was grandfathered in by their 'unlimited talk & text' programming.  And a mobile hotspot addition would have made my good deal - gone.  So when I heard about the AT&T Unite Pro Mobile Hotspot it totally peaked my attention.  

Isn't technology just awesome these days?  I mean seriously.  My mom had a BAG PHONE!  Remember those?  Now we are connected from all angles.  Sometimes I think of the world connected along with myself all the time as a blessing or a curse.  But then I realize, it's just like sitting down to a cake.  MODERATION!  Know when to turn it off, MOMS!  lol (Work in progress in our house!)

Back to my amount of traveling.  Yeah... I've been on about 25 different trips this year.  And that's NOT including the train rides to NYC (which I'm doing right now by the way...)  I've been to NYC probably about 20 other times as well & no offense Amtrak - but the internet is BRUTALLY slow on the train.  

That's why when AT&T offered to send me the GoPhone by NETGEAR to review - I was all over it.  I wanted something that I could 'pay as I go' plan.  Not something that I have to pay a big chunk and then if I don't use it - it's gone.  And that's what is great about the GoPhone!

With this small device you can add money to the usage or put it in the closet until your next trip comes around!  What I love about it is that no matter what you're doing or where you are - from soccer to camping - being connected in essential!  I know we need to 'turn it off' sometimes - but we also need to be sure we have connection in case of emergency, for sure.  The AT&T Unite for GoPhone by NETGEAR gives families secure Internet access to be connected on the go.  I love that you can connect up to 10 devices at once!     Plus, it's secure internet access via AT&T's 4G LTE network, 10 hours of battery life, touchscreen, and the price rocks!  For just shy of $100 you get no annual contract, no credit check, no monthly commitment and no hassle!  

Grab yours at Amazon, Wal-Mart & Best Buy!

 

Hershey: The Sweetest Place on Earth

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Chocolate.

Just say the word, and I am there.

One of the things I absolutely love about living in Philadelphia is my proximity to Hershey, PA. That's right, Chocolate Town!  I have had the pleasure of visiting many times over the past several years, and I'm heading there again this week as I am what every chocolate lover dreams of.. A HERSHEY AMBASSADOR!  Rough job, I know.  But SOMEBODY has to do it. 

I always look forward to my Hershey visits. No, not just because I can stock up on the best chocolate on the planet!  But I love that Hershey is a family-friendly destination. For locals who can't quite swing a big vacation, Hershey is the perfect "staycation." There is so much to do, including Hersheypark (Boston LOVES the chocolate characters!!  The pic to the left is from our 1st ever visit to Hershey.)

Thrill lovers: did you know Hersheypark has 12 rollercoasters? Epic! They also offer live entertainment as well as kid-focused rides for even the smallest chocolate lovers.

Hershey, PA offers more than just the theme park, though. Visitors can head to ZooAmerica, with over 200 animals on 11 acres. There is also a large educational component. Keep the learning going through the summer! Kids can learn about the history of Hershey at The Hershey Story and get the whole scoop on how chocolate is made at Hershey's Chocolate World (and pssst: you didn't hear it from me, but after the informational tour they may or may not give out chocolate samples. SCORE!).

Accomodations are not lacking in Hershey, and I can attest that the Hershey Lodge is fantastic for families. If you want to take it to the next level, check out The Hotel Hershey!  We are MEGA excited about staying at Hotel Hershey as we've only stayed at the Hershey Lodge in the past. Check out their awesome packages, as well. There are great seasonal and year-round offerings that make a stay at Hershey all the more sweet.

Also? I may be a little obsessed with the fact that Kate Gosselin lives nearby. Because. KATE GOSSELIN.


I digress.

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So whether you are near or far, take the scenic ride through the rolling countryside of Pennsylvania and make your destination the Sweetest Place on Earth!

Check our twitter, Instagram and Facebook stream for our overflowing amount of images from our experiences.  I promise to share unique shots at our favorite sweet spots!

What is YOUR favorite Hershey memory?

****Yes, as an ambassador I get some SWEET deals! Some of the activities are comped in result of my ambassadorship with Hershey, PA.  But of course - the REAL mom is always going to be real.  Now, back to my chocolate dream.

 

Tuckerton Seaport Privateers and Pirates Festival: June 7, 2014

Yo ho ho!

It's time to don your best pirates attire, put on your finest eye patch and get ready to set sail on your dreaded pirate ship!  That's right, it's that time of year again: Tuckerton Seaport is hosting their annual Privateers and Pirates Festival!

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On Saturday June 7 starting at 11am, Captain Black will be coming ashore with the crew of the Valhalla, ready to transform Tuckerton Seaport into a pirate paradise. For the pirate-at-heart, this is the perfect event for the entire family. Meet pirates in person, join a treasure hunt, and get your picture taken on the plan. The best pirate costum will be awarded a prize at the end of the day!

Not only will the day be filled with fun adventures, there will be live music as well. Here are some other great highlights waiting for you:

Privateers & Pirates Festival Highlights

  • Pirate Meet & Greet
  • Pose on the Plank
  • Pirate Costume Contest for Adults and Children
  • Piratology 101: Learn about the Golden Age of Piracy!
  • Cannon Demo: Watch how to handle and fire a cannon. Volunteers will be needed to join the gun crew. Don’t be scared by the big BOOM at the end.
  • Scurvy Mutineers Sword Fight Show: A live steel combat show complete with action and laughs. Volunteers will be selected from the audience to join the mutiny.
  • Whip Show: Things will really heat up as tricks and skills are shown.
  • Pirate Pistol Duello Show: A stage show of how a friendly game of Liars Dice can go terribly wrong. Learn how pirates settle an argument.
  • Amputation Demonstration!
  • American Water Puddles Van: Learn about water conservation, where the water locally comes from, how the water is treated and play interactive games where you can estimate your daily water usage
  • Watch the Parrot Pirate Party with a Parrot that Talks
  • Pirate Food Court
  • Make-and-Take Crafts
  • Live Music by Pirates for Sail
  • Treasure Hunt sponsored by Fantasy Island Plus, Pirate Ship Bounce House included with Admission!
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Tuckerton Seaport is located at 120 West Main Street.  Admission for the Privateers and Pirates Festival is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children, and free for Seaport Members and children under 5. Event admission includes access to the Seaport’s 40 acres of family fun, featuring maritime activities, historic and recreated buildings, live animals, a boardwalk, miniature golf course, and exhibits.


For more information, find the Tuckerton Seaport on Facebook or call 609-296-8868.

Kid-Friendly Things to Do in New Jersey

Philly-area families know that once Summer hits, the best place to be is the beach. Luckily, we are within a 1-2 hour drive to fantastic beaches. New Jersey is one of my favorite places not just to hit the sand and sea, but to take my kids.  The entire state has fabulous attractions and events all year-round. Here are some of the best kid-friendly things to do in New Jersey: 

    

 

Tuckerton Seaport

Quaint, yet a hop skip and a jump from New York City and the Jersey Shore, Tuckerton Seaport is the perfect day trip for the family. If you are staying at the beach and want to shake up your week, Tuckerton Seaport Museum is as fun as it is educational. This attraction is rich in preserving the “maritime history, artistry, heritage and environment of the Jersey Shore. They also have super fun events, like the Bluegrass and Barbecue Festival.

Adventure Aquarium

You don’t have to travel far into New Jersey to find family-friendly fun. The Adventure Aquarium, just over the bridge from Philadelphia, is a hot spot for visitors. Watch the hippos swim, touch a shark and laugh at the dancing penguins. There is a ton to learn about sea life as well as watch  one of their Meet the Divers shows!

Atlantic City

Who knew that Atlantic City was family friendly? Over the past few years, the town has rebranded, making sure to offer something for everyone. There is the beach, fun places to eat like Rainforest Cafe, Atlantic City Aquarium and the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum. This is only a smattering of what AC has to offer families. How will your family #DoAC?

Sahara Sams

We all love Summer because the warm weather and brilliant sunshine gives us a much-wanted opportunity to spend time outdoors. But what about the weeks it rains all day? Then there is nothing better than an indoor/outdoor water park!  Sahara Sam’s in West Berlin is the best of both worlds, offering both an indoor AND outdoor water park! Outside is complete with a children’s splash park, wave pool and volleyball courts. Inside offers water slides, lazy rivers and an arcade. Perfect for any weather all through the year!

Congress Hall  

Some resorts are perfect for adult-only vacations. But what about family getaways? Congress Hall in Cape May has families covered! Offering luxurious accommodations, Congress Hall still knows how to have fun. Get your karaoke on during the weekly Family Karaoke Nights as well as the Carnival on the Grand Lawn every Monday night (which includes a complimentary family-friendly movie once the sun goes down)!

Cape May County Zoo

If your visits bring you to Congress Hall, then there is no better way to spend a day of your vacation than the Cape May County Zoo. A beautiful show of natural environment, the lush gardens are an oasis for over 500 animals (representing over 200 species!). The beach is the perfect place to get an education on the animals of our planet!

What are YOUR favorite kid-friendly spots in New Jersey? Inspire our next trip by sharing your tips!

Toddler Travel Tips to Orlando

Toddler Travel Tips to Orlando

I never really thought about it - but it really is such a brilliant idea!

Traveling with toddlers to Orlando in May!!

Why such a great idea, you ask?

Because think about it.  Spring break, the holidays mean insanity in Orlando with all the families piling into the city to take in a vacation.   But in May - it's not too hot yet.  Plus the big kids are still in school.  Meaning any parent who has kids that are in pre-K and younger should TOTALLY be taking their vacations to Orlando then!

Here are 5 Great Toddler Travel spots in Orlando:

*LEGOLAND . This was by FAR the best place we visited while there this past trip!  What's great about LegoLand is not only the fact that it's not as insane as some of the other major locations in Orlando but they are opening a fabulous new toddler attraction in May!  Duplo Valley is set to open in May with some awesome new attractions for the toddlers!  We unfortunately didn't get to enjoy the new visitor spot when we were at LegoLand because it was all caught up in construction. But the barn was there - and I was DYING to get a sneak peak!  So, when you go in May - be sure to tweet me with your shots!! 

*NICKELODEON HOTEL - Seriously.  This was a shocking addition to our stay!  Everyone knows my family love of Disney.  We LOVE LOVE LOVE Disney (so much so, we're hitting up DisneyLand next week! lol)  But when I had the opportunity to 'visit Orlando' this time I wanted to try out something totally different.  This hotel was perfect for us!  They had so many great things that were not only awesome for kids - but parents too!  (Remember the show back in the day hosted by Mark Summers called Double Dare?  They have actual shows IN THE HOTEL!)

 

**TRAVEL FYI FOR TODDLERS**

AIRPORT BABY DRAMA -- Heaven forbid you get stuck with weather or mechanical delays or maybe even the airline lost your baggage - good news; baggage claim offices at airports will have emergency supplies of baby products, diapers, formula, baby snacks, blankets - AWESOME, RIGHT?

EAR POPPIN' PLAN -- Speaking of airports - if you have a child under 1 - be sure to bring a binky, bottle or something for your baby to suck on to avoid the ear pressure pain.  That is the WORST.  (Have gum on hand for older kids too...you'll be glad you did.)

SKIP THE LINES FOR YOUR SANITY -- Do you despise long lines and crowded theme parks?  TOTALLY need to take your toddlers to Orlando in MAY!  The weather is great.  It's past spring break so the lines are SHORTER & kids' are STILL in school!  BRILLIANT time to go if you don't have school age kids.

BEST TIME TO PLAY IS IN MAY -- May is also a great time because many of the theme parks in Orlando have HUGE discounts!  Buy an adult ticket, get a kids ticket free type deals.   Sea World, LEGOLAND, Universal & more!  Check out www.VisitOrlando.com/May for the great deals!

If you could go to Orlando - what would be the first place you'd head?

 

#RockYourVacation in STYLE with Kissimmee!

 

Ya know... Do you ever stop and wonder "How can I vacation or get away more?  Who doesn't wonder that on a daily basis.  I know I do!  Especially if you get an opportunity to WIN a fabulous vacation that is totally paid for!!!

I'm sure you've seen me post about the amazing trip I get to enjoy with Experience Kissimmee, right? (Time to totally catch up on the instagram #RockYourVacation awesomeness!)  But from ziplines to gators to a feast watching a real medieval battle - this trip is so much more than a 'visit to Kissimmee'.  It's been a EXPERIENCE in KISSIMMEE!  

I love to travel.  It always has been a passion of mine.  I've been to Florida twice in the last month and everytime I come down here I see something totally different than the last!  So much to do that you're guaranteed to NEVER hear 'I'm bored!'

When I think of Kissimmee - I think of an experience over a visit for sure.  So what am I doing this week?  Promoting the AWESOME promotion they are doing called #RockYourVacation!!  Experience Kissimmee held a video contest on Instagram on how you would #RockYourVacation and now the voting has begun!  Be sure to head over to www.RockYourVacation.com and vote ONCE a DAY for your FAVORITE video!  There are some really amazing & creative videos.  Who would have thought you could rock a 10 second video? haha  

Ok - so this winner is getting a trip of a lifetime valued at $10,000!!  NO KIDDING!!  Some of my press friends and I get to experience tiny bits and pieces of this trip and I can assure you - it's going to #ROCKTheirVacation!!  

So where am I staying?  A GORGEOUS home with AllStar Vacation Homes.  Where am I eatin'?  A persona chef has created some meals for us from   A Chef of Your Own   Also dining at Columbia Restaurant..and DESSERT at Chocolate Kingdom! Plus caught a show and dinner at Medieval Times.  Shopping?  Orlando Premium Outlets of course!  Playing?  ZIPLINING at Gatorland, SeaWorld Orlando VIP tour, getting crazy at FUN SPOT USA!  

THEN.... yeah.  That's not all. 

THEN - we're going on an airboat ride AND a hot air balloon ride!!

Yes.  I do love my job.  Someone's gotta be a daredevil to share the fun with you, right?

Ok... so enough about ME. 

Get over there and ROCK YOUR VOTE FOR #RockYourVacation!!!

Visit Philly

 

Really Visit Philly

 

I've lived in this uber awesome town for almost 7 years!  I can't believe it.  The time has flown by.  And I'll be totally honest with you when my husband said 'I got a job offer in Philly' I kind of snarled.  I had never been to Philadelphia before and the city didn't have the best reputation from what I had heard. 

But when we arrived and I finally got to see and 'visit Philadelphia' as a tourist would, I quickly realized there was so much more to this city than what anyone could tell me that didn't live here. The secret little places from City Tavern where our dignitaries once came after a long day at the office.  No big deal. JUST WRITING THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE!  Awesome, right?

So many secret little places in Philadelphia that visitors can truly learn and experience our countries heritage.  You know what else Philly has that isn't like any other city?  FUNKY FAST STOPS!  That's what I call 'fun-out of the box-unique places-to see on the fly'!

For the Three Stooges Fans

The Stooges have a Museum in Philly called the Stoogeum!  Get it - Stooges and Museum? Ha. Love it.  The Stoogeum is the first and only museum for the Stooges with over 100,000 pieces of Stoogiabilia.  (Yes. That is a REAL WORLD.)  The Stoogeum is also home to the Three Stooges Fan Club.  From artifacts to artwork dating back from 1917 to today - you're sure to remember something fabulous from your childhood!  (I use to watch the Stooges with my grandpa and this place brought me back to those memories!)

YES! Pizza Brain in Guiness Book of Records!For the Pizza Lovers

Pizza Brain located in the Fishtown section of Philly is the first pizza culture museum and shop.  This fun shop has everything from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles memorabilia to more facts you can handle about pizza!  All truth and backed by the Guiness Book of World Records, thank you.  Fun for the whole family for sure!

For the Shoe Shopping Addict

Ok, so you won't be able to fuel your addiction if you really are a shoe addict but you will be able to have some fun learning all about SHOES at the Shoe Museum at Temple University!  This museum is home to over 900 pairs of shoes and 250 of them are on display!

From celebrities, former presidents to even a circus giants size 18 pair of shoes, you will definitely get the shoe buzz visiting this quirky place in Philly!  This museum isn't one you can just 'stop by' as you'll have to make an appointment but it's well worth it for any shoe lover!

Staying in Philly

Of course you need to find a place to stay.  I'd love to have you at my house but my 5 year old might talk your ear of and my 1 year old might eat your food. Sooo..with that being said - the best place to find the best deals for staying in Philly is the website www.VisitPhilly.com/overnight.  There you'll see the latest and greatest places to stay that works with Visit Philly to offer the best deals.  In this deal you get 2 nights accomodation, free parking (MEGA value there!) and a fab With Love, Philadelphia XOXO Welcome Gift!

So what are you waiting for!  Come Visit Philly!

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

Philadelphia is the perfect spot for a getaway! Stay for any two consecutive nights at one of twenty participating hotels and your car stays free! For more information and to book your room visitphilly.com/overnight.

 

______________________________________

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

Elves and Eggnog at Omni Hotels

To celebrate the sprit of the holiday season, the Omni Hotel at Independence Park invites winter travelers to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year by offering a "Elves and Eggnog" overnight package. Not only will you receive 20% off luxury accomodations featuring Omni's signature blend of modern luxury and classic sophistication, the offer includes two enticing speciality eggnog aperitifs, prepared exclusively by Omni's brand mixologist, and complimentary breakfast for two.

Elves and Eggnog Holiday Package

Santa's helpful scout elf, "Elf on the Shelf", will also be present in each Omni hotel to help Santa manage his naughty and nice list with younger travelers. So need to bring yours from home! Each package also includes holiday turndown service with a treat, delivered by hotel elves, "hotelves," and late check-out so guests can enjoy some extra relaxation during the busy holiday season.

About the Omni Hotel at Independece Park

The Omni Hotel at Independence Park, 401 Chestnut Street, is a four-diamond European-style luxury hotel that  offers elegance and style at its best - all within walking distance of the Liberty Bell, U.S. Mint, Independence Hall and the Benjamin Franklin House.  Situated just 10 minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport, the Omni Hotel at Independence Park offers the ideal Philadelphia hotel location.

Breakfast with Santa at the Golden Inn

Ho, Ho, Ho with a touch of sand and you have the perfect way to celebrate the holiday season! Santa will be arriving beach side at The Golden Inn of Avalon on Sunday December 15 and Sunday, December 22, 2013 for a special breakfast and a visit with Santa.

No matter if you have been good or bad, this is a breakfast that you won’t want to miss!  Seating begins at 8a.m. with the last seating at11 a.m. The cost is $9.95 for children ages 12 and under and $14.95 for adults. The menu includes scrambled eggs, home fries, bacon, turkey sausage, fresh fruit blintz, build your own pancakes, fruit salad, Danish, pastries and cookies.

 

Kids of all ages can write their holiday list and give it to Santa and in a couple of days they will receive a personalized letter back from Santa!

Reservations are a must and space is limited! For more information about The Golden Inn call 609.368.5155 or log onto www.goldeninn.com.

About the Golden Inn

The Golden Inn is located at 7849 Dune Drive in Avalon. Open 365 days a year, The Golden Inn of Avalon, is the perfect place for a summer vacation or a getaway anytime!  Just steps from the beach, The Golden inn features 154 guest rooms are equipped with 27-inch color televisions, individual temperature controls and – in many cases – breathtaking ocean views.

Sandman Matt at the Golden Inn

Can you build the ultimate sandcastle? If you have watched the Travel Channel's Sand Masters and wondered "How do they do that?", here is a chance for you to learn from one of the Masters himself. 

The Golden Inn of Avalon will be hosting renowned sand sculpture Sandmann Matt Long Sunday, August25 through Tuesday August 27 as part of a unique and afforable VIP family overnight package. 

This is Sandman Matt's second visit to the Golden Inn. We were able to go down and see him last year as he created a sand work of art over a two day period.  He created a 4x4 sandcastle incorporating the logo from The Golden Inn. This year, he has promised a bugger and even better sandcastle! 

The Golden Inn of Avalon is offering the Sandman Package. The package includes three nights accommodation in a standard room with two queen beds (upgrades are available), two lunches for all participants, two sets of sand tools, expert training, and a contest with cash and other great prizes! The total package runs $529! 

Guests will also have a chance to show off their new talens in a contest for the Best Sandcastle, Most Original Sandcastle, and Best Sandcastle fitting the theme of Avalon. Cash prizes will be awarded.

About Sandman Matt

Matt Long has been sculpting sand for about 13 years and professionally since 2001. Matt has been commissioned by an array of companies and organizations including, Atlantis Hotels, Nickelodeon, The PGA Tour, W Hotels, and The Curacao Department of Tourism. Like most sand sculptors, he has won numerous sand sculpting awards. 

About The Golden Inn of Avalon

Open 365 days a year, The Golden Inn of Avalon, is the perfect place for a summer vacation or a getaway anytime!  Just steps from the beach, The Golden inn features 154 guest rooms are equipped with 27-inch color televisions, individual temperature controls and – in many cases – breathtaking ocean views.

Travel with an Infant to Disney

Travel with an 
Infant to Disney

 

Why yes! I did just get back from Disney World!  I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration for the first time and I had to get my family there for sure!! 

I flew in with Boston & Hudson (ahem-yes-I traveled with a 10 week old A.L.O.N.E!) on Thursday.  My husband arrived on Friday and we played all weekend till this morning when we returned home.

I have to admit... as much as I am a travel PRO - I wasn't too sure about traveling with an almost 5 year old and a TEN WEEK OLD.  Yes.  10 weeks.  That's a whopping only 70 days old baby.  

And the great news is that HE WAS AN AMAZING little traveler!!

I did learn a few things along with way that I'd LOVE to share with you. 

Please note-I'm in NO WAY a "DISNEY EXPERT".  I actually have only been there 3 times.  This being the 3rd.  Each time I learn a little something new.  That place can be incredibly overwhelming for newcomers-add a BABY to the fold?  Could mean a yes or no on your family go. 

TIPS FOR TRAVEL - 10 WEEK OLD TO DISNEY

*DON'T FORGET TO PACK ENOUGH FORMULA - Yes.  I ran out.  (YES. Gasp. I'm NOT breastfeeding...so please refrain from hassling me on that one. My boobs don't work-'nuff said.)  I ended up having to buy the already mixed formula in the gift shop and it wasn't the same brand.  Um.  MEGA blowouts for 2 days.  Poor baby.  He didn't complain at all.  In fact he loved the formula...but his body and that quick switch isn't the best thing for a baby.

*BRING A SUPER LIGHT COVER TO SHIELD FROM THE SUN - The sun in Orlando is HOT HOT HOT.  I brought a really lightweight cover and laid it over the top of our stroller.  It was a lifesaver!!  The cover was breathable and he didn't burn while tramping around the parks.  *Note, some strollers have special spf screens or covers for them.  If your stroller offers it-BUY IT!  It's worth it in the end.

*HAVE A SPRAYBOTTLE HANDY - Yes.  We got suckered into buying another one of the Disney misty thingys that are fans that spray water.  We already have one at home-but why would I be brilliant enough to pack that one?  Ugh.  Anything will do...but have one.  Babies get hot easy and some misting might make them feel better.

*PLAN TO NOT HAVE A PLAN - We actually didn't have a plan other than the events I had to take part in with the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration that I was there for.  But we decided to take it easy the entire time.  If we could fit something in - we did... if not... we just went with the flow.  By not 'planning' every second we were able to relax a bit.

*STAY AT A RESORT ACCESSIBLE BY MONORAIL - This was a big one that I learned.  By using the monorail, the baby was able to stay in the stroller and I just tipped the stroller and drove it up onto the platform.  If you take the strollers with a baby on a bus (which we had to do to get to Downtown Disney) then you have to have someone hold the baby and break down the stroller - then hold the baby the entire ride there...and on the way back.  The monorail was great for convenience with the dude and the stroller.

*BRING A BABY CARRIER - I honestly only used this when doing the travel there and back part.  It was great on the airplane to have him hands free.  It helped him sleep the entire time both ways!  WINNER!  But I can tell you that there are some rides that allow babies to ride!  Can you believe it?!?!  (THANK YOU Joovy!)

*BABY RIDES - YES!  There are some rides that allow the babes!  I about flipped when they said there were.  Hudson, my 10 week old got to ride the Toy Story, Peter Pan Ride, It's a Small World, Under the Sea at Epcot and a few others!!  I highly suggest the baby carrier when going on those rides....but you can hold your little peanut too!

Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival at Tuckerton Seaport

Who doesn't like a little bluegrass and barbecue? On May 19, 2013 from 11-5, Tuckerton Seaport will be kicking off the summer with the down home sounds of bluegrass and the sweet smell of barbecue. There are a TON of things to come out and do: rafters, vendors, food, refreshemnts, family activities, demonstrations, decoy carvers, boat building and boat rides!

New this year to the Bluegrass & Barbecue Festival is Todd's Musical Petting Zoo! Try out over 100 instrucments from accordian to zither, steel drum to thumb piano and everything in between!

Real Mom Media will be on hand to share with you all of the amazing things that Tuckerton Seaport has on deck for the day! Make sure you follow us Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to virtually follow along with us!

OR, come on down and join us! General Admission to the Tuckerton Seaport applies.

About Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen's Museum

Tuckerton Seaport & Baymen’s Museum is located at 120 West Main Street in the heart of historic Tuckerton.  Event admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, $5 for children, and free for Seaport Members.  Event admission includes access to the Seaport’s 40 acres of family fun, featuring maritime activities, historic and recreated buildings, live animals, a boardwalk, miniature golf course, and exhibits.  This event is supported in part by a grant from New Jersey Department of State, Division of Travel and Tourism, www.visitnj.org.  For more information, find the Tuckerton Seaport on FaceBook or call 609-296-8868.  For more info, pictures, and a video of Todd’s Musical Petting Zoo check out www.diatoddnics.com/pettingzoo.html.