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Top View Sightseeing NY Style #ad

13 Aug

Top View Sightseeing double decker tour buses have over 2 million happy customers.

I can definitely see why. I recently took a tour on one of these popular buses for a trendsbus event I covered with my blogger buddies.

Top View Sightseeing picked us up at one of their stops at South Street Seaport Pier 17. The buses are easy to recognize with their red, white and blue colors. I had a great time sitting outside on the upper deck. There’s also the option to sit inside on the lower level. Being outside up high got me awesome pics of landmarks in NYC. Yes I’ve seen these landmarks before as I was born and raised in NY but I don’t walk looking up taking pictures so Top View Sightseeing put me up close and personal where I got those amazing pics. I enjoyed hopping on and off and having the bus waiting till we got back then off to our next destination.

I love that Top View Sightseeing tours not only in Manhattan but The Bronx and Brooklyn as well. How amazing is that?

ABOUT: Launched in December of 2016, TopView now offers five different routes across NYC: Downtown Tour, Uptown Tour, Bronx Tour, Brooklyn Tour, and Night Tour.

Their destinations include the most essential sites for entertainment, shopping, culture, and history.

With four different All City Passes available there is sure to be one that will exactly fit your needs. Double Decker buses equipped with a state-of-the-art GPS triggered audio guiding system in 8 languages: English, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, French, German, Korean, and Russian.

Booking your bus tour packages is simple, and when you buy NYC tour tickets online, you’ll save up to 50% off! You can also arrange group tours and save an extra 10%. Buying on their website is the most convenient and budget-friendly choice.

TopView Sightseeing, team is made up of local experts who know all of the best spots to hit. New York sightseeing bus tours with TopView include all the popular landmarks and attractions, and you’ll have the flexibility to see everything you want to see, without the stress of having to coordinate all of your top NY sightseeing stops Just hop on, they will take care of the rest, and hop off when you’d like to explore the sights further!

Let TopView Sightseeing help make your trip to New York City an unforgettable experience. Book your tour package today!

To book tickets and view packages check out: http://www.topviewnyc.com and head to @topviewnyc on Instagram.

Here are some of the super packages they offer:

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Opinions are mine 100% as always. Thank you Top View Sightseeing for a fun tour.

Spring Break Family Fun @OkemoMountain Ski Resort #MtOkemoEvent #hosted

9 Apr

Planes, trains and automobiles are just some modes of transportation you can take to Ludlow, Vermont where you come to heaven when you reach Okemo Mountain Resort. Oh what is Okemo? Just the best family ski resort ever!!!!

Actually Amtrak Ethan Allen Express (which is what we took) takes you to Rutland and it’s about another half hour to reach Ludlow. Okemo’s shuttle picked us up from there. Yes there is an actual airport there as well which will gladly fly you over. Driving is always another option. Takes about 4 1/2 to 5 hours total from NYC. Not bad at all. We were ahead of schedule on Amtrak. Thumbs up!! We love traveling.

The reason I’m telling you all this is because we were very grateful to have been invited by Momtrends to a much needed family getaway during Spring Break to this beautiful resort. When I say beautiful I mean my kids wanted to move there that’s how amazing it was. From staff, to service, to a gorgeous suite and plenty to do we were just smiling the whole time we were there.

We arrived a day ahead and was given a gift bag and a huge suite with a balcony, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen, fireplace and it sleeps 8 to 10 people. I immediately took a video of the room and put it on my Instastories. We didn’t unpack, we headed straight to dinner, looked around, watched a little tv and then lights out.

At breakfast the next morning my kids quickly found out how good the pancakes were and ordered it everyday. Dinner was great too, we had the most tender braised beef you ever tasted. The salmon, wings and Mac and cheese were delicious too. Momtrends held a special buffet dinner for influencers Saturday night.

The first night we arrived my kids saw there were s’mores on the menu and that was a must have at least 3 times. The server brings it out in a mini oven with flames already lit and you roast your s’mores at the table with everything included.

Waiting for us in our room was the best gift from Cabot. A Cabot gift bag full of cheeses, cutting board and knife. I immediately went in and had the Colby Jack with crackers. Thank you Cabot. Cheese fans we definitely are.

There are two different pools. One is located in the resort (indoor/outdoor heated pools) and the other one is steps away in the Spring House behind the resort. In this building there’s a workout center, sauna, hot tubs, racquetball court, kiddie pool, exercise classes and yes ladies a spa!!

There’s also an Ice Skating rink in the Ice House which we went to with friends. My children enjoyed SnowTubing in the Jackson Gore Village.

The Timber Ripper Mountain Coaster was our absolute favorite. It goes up in the mountains and you can see the skiers/snowtubers in sight.

We loved it. You can ride alone or with someone and you control how fast or slow to go. Ages 3 and up can enjoy this year round.

The tent sale had the best sales ever!! Up to 50% off outerwear, skis, snowboards, goggles, accessories, kids clothing, etc I wish I could have purchased lots more. I found my daughter and I great goggles and other souvenirs.

Can’t forget about the Brew Fest. Lots of delicious beer to try, live band, yummy BBQ and a gorgeous day to enjoy it all. It was a packed scene.

There was an Easter Egg hunt on Easter Sunday and my daughter enjoyed finding quite a few eggs. Lots of kids had fun that day.

You might be wondering if went skiing or snowboarding. Unfortunately we did not this time. But I promise when we go back we will. We just wanted to enjoy other things and relax but I know for a fact it is fun when you go on the slopes. We’ve done snowboarding before.

I enjoyed the cozy lobby as well with another huge fireplace, lots of comfy couches/chairs and a bar as well.

This truly is the best place to visit. You will enjoy every second. Everyone was wonderful. Thank you to everyone who made his experience possible. Special shout out to Bonnie our host who picked us up and drove us back to the train and gave us a history lesson of Ludlow/ Rutland and Okemo. You have a great job and we love your driving and when you’re in NY let us know.

FAQs to know:

For those who need babysitting services they thought of that too. The daycare center at Jackson Gore offers evening hours on selected holiday dates, so mom and dad can enjoy an evening out together. Kids’ Night Out for ages 6 mos -12 years from 6-9:30 pm includes movies, pizza, and lots of age appropriate fun including swimming, skating and wallyball for the older kids. Reservations are required. Please call 802-228-1600 to reserve a space for your child.

There’s also day care in the Penguin Playground Day Care Center for children ages 6 months to 4 years. Reservations are required. You can call 802-228-1600 or learn more about the daycare center online.

They have skis, boots, poles, snowboards and helmets available for rental in their rental shops.

Ski season is Early November to Mid April. There’s 121 trails, slopes and glades 20 lifts, including 1 high speed detachable 6-pack chair with protective bubbles and heated seats, 9 quad chairs (4 high speed detachable quads, one with protective bubbles), 3 triple chairs and 7 surface lifts.

Vertical drop: 2,200 feet (highest in Southern Vermont)

98% of all terrain. The highest snowmaking efficiency amongst all ski resorts in Vermont!

They offer Adult lift access for ages 19-64; Young Adult/Senior lift access for ages 13-18 and ages 65-69; a Junior/Super Senior lift access for ages 7-12 and ages 70+. Children 6 & under ski or ride free.

Okemo’s Ski + Ride School offers private, semi-private, group lessons and children’s programs.

First Timers: First Tracks and Double Tracks introduction to skiing or snowboarding offers an affordable lesson, lift ticket and rental equipment package (available in 1 or new 2-day option). They also offer an affordable Learn to Ski & Ride promotion early each season for true beginners.

Inside Edge Rentals at Okemo is a privately owned boutique rental and lodging company specializing in beautiful homes in prime locations both on and off Okemo Mountain (ski on/off properties are available).  Our properties include luxury slopeside custom homes, townhouses and condominiums as well as off mountain private homes and condominiums located within 3 miles of Okemo.

Inside Edge Rentals at Okemo

PO Box 168

Ludlow, VT 05149

802-298-0087

www.insideedgerentals.com

insideedgerentals@gmail.com

Okemo’s 10th Annual Hops in the Hills Beer & Wine Festival will take place August 3-5, 2018 in the Jackson Gore Courtyard. This signature festival lodging package includes two nights lodging (arrive Friday, depart Sunday), plus a minimum of 2 sampling glasses with 3 tasting tickets each.  Choose either a commemorative stemless wine glass or pint glass for beer enthusiasts.  Sample more than 90 craft beers and ciders from regional brewers, and you can also enjoy a selection of great wines as well.

The festival will also showcase a great lineup of live music with 6 bands, craft vendors, tasty food options and the great outdoors in Jackson Gore courtyard.

Head to @okemomountain on Twitter and Facebook

@okemomtn on Instagram

Website: http://www.okemo.com

Love cheese: Check out @cabotcheese on Instagram and Twitter and @cabot on Facebook

Disclosure: This trip was hosted by Momtrends. We were personally invited to attend. Opinions are ours 100% as always. Thank you for an incredible time from the bottom of our hearts.

Finding The Perfect Family Car #spon

31 Jan

This is a sponsored post. Opinions are mine 100% as always.

What is the perfect family car? That depends on a lot. How big is your family? How much storage do you need? Is a mini van better than a SUV? Can I afford the one I really want? Safety, gas mileage, gps, Bluetooth enabled with my phone. 

I’ve never purchased a car because living in NY with a car makes no sense. Of course my kids bug me about buying a car but it just ain’t gonna happen at least not now. I only drive when a car company loans me cars or when I rent cars. As much as I want to keep them I know the hassle of moving the car (alternate street parking), buying gas and having insurance will leave me working three jobs. 

My ideal family car will be room for about 7. I love big cars (SUV’s, Jeeps) but would settle for a comfortable and safe wagon. I have a few in mind.  Test driving is a must and I’ve tested quite a few so that’s easy. Lots of leg room because my boys are tall. Love drive assist which is very handy on road trips. Drive assist reads the road and pulls you back into your lane if you drift without putting your blinker on. Would also love TVs for the kids but they would probably be on their phones, Nintendo switch and 3ds so if it’s not included I wouldn’t pay extra. I love having heated seats (winter) and of course air conditioning for the summer. 

Yes we should all want a safe vehicle and driving should be fun and stress free but to some it isn’t so being alert and having a good night rest for those long trips are worth it. There are so many new features in cars now to help you stay focused and alert.

Check out https://www.cars.com/ for more info.

All Aboard Carnival Cruise Line For A #CarnivalCuisine Experience (New Ship Spring 2018)

18 Sep

I had the pleasure of being invited on Carnival Sunshine Cruise for a #carnivalcuisine experience. When you see me post things about food you know I’m either throwing it down in the kitchen, eating at the best restaurants or creating a new recipe. I also work in a restaurant so I’m definitely a foodie lover. 

I went on a vacation with my son on the Carnival Vista back in November 2016 for an 11-day cruise and we had a blast. I love cruising and enjoying great food and Carnival sure knows how to please your palette. They cater to everyone’s needs and if you have a food allergy or dietary restrictions they accommodate you. 

On board Carnival Sunshine we were in for a treat. We ate at the Fahrenheit Steakhouse. The waitstaff passed around appetizers which melted in my mouth. Loved the mini lobster sandwiches. To start I chose the Gulf Coast Shrimp with Yukon Gold Blini and Lemon Butter Avocado Cream. I also chose the Classic Caesar Salad. For my main course the Double Cut Lamb Chop and Loin with Crispy Quinoa, Carrot Cumin and Port Wine was amazing. I also had Yukon Gold Mash with Wasabi. For dessert the Chocolate Melting Cake was perfect. There were also cocktails, wine or soda. 

Did you know Carnival is America’s Cruise Line sailing 5 million guest a year? Carnival also sails more children and military personnel than any other cruise line. Carnival also recently launched their first sailings to Cuba and just announced 5 additional voyages to the island in 2018. In Spring 2018 Carnival will introduce their second Vista Class Ship Carnival Horizon. 

Carnival Horizon will leave from New York May to September 2018 for four -to eight day cruises. I hope to be on one of those with my family. Carnival Horizon will be the first in the fleet to feature Dr. Seuss WaterWorks with more new features still being announced. 

On Carnival Vista my son and I enjoyed the 24 hour pizzeria and Guy’s Burger Joint. I also enjoyed tacos and lobster rolls. On Carnival Horizon new food venues like Guy’s Pig N Anchor featuring a variety of BBQ favorites smoked right on board over hickory and cherry wood using Guy’s signature recipes, rubs and spices. Another new food venue will be Seafood Shack a New England style seaside spot which will feature crab cake sliders, lobster rolls, fish & chips, lobster rolls and much more. 

Disclosure: I was invited to attend this event as media. This is not a sponsored post. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

Farm Fresh FAM Tour with Dutchess County, EscapeMaker, Metro North #distinctlydutchess #hosted

3 Jul

I’ve always dreamed of moving into a big house having a farm and lots of land. I love the quiet life. New York is fine but it’s overcrowded. Who knew my dream was just a train ride away? If you hop aboard the Metro North you would think you have traveled to another world. Well that’s how I felt. It’s perfect. 

I was invited to the Farm Fresh FAM Tour with Escape Maker, Dutchess County and Metro North. 

I started my day early and met other journalists at Grand Central Terminal and we boarded the Metro North to Wassaic. From there we took a shuttle to our first stop on the tour to Harney & Sons Teas in Millerton, NY. If you appreciate a good cup of tea then I suggest you check out this shop. The company, which sources, blends, and packages their product from start to finish has grown from their original six teas, to more than three hundred. We sampled some of the teas and my favorite was the Hot Cinnamon Spice. Harney & Sons Teas gave us a nice variety of teas to take home. I absolutely fell in love with this town. So many cute shops and all the locals know each other and in no way is it overcrowded like Manhattan. Check out @harneyteamillerton on Instagram and http://www.harney.com for more info. 

Stop #2 was Irving Farm Coffee Roasters also located in NY. If you know me you know I love coffee. Iced, hot, cold brew and an occasional coffee ice cream and can’t forget coffee cake. Wait is there coffee in coffee cake? Don’t know, but it’s still good. Coffee samples were great. Coffees from Guatemala, Brazil and Columbia to name a few. I also purchased a coffee mug and bakery treats. Head to @irvingfarm on Instagram. 

Stop #3 the McEnroe Organic Farm. They produce premium organic meats, vegetables, and soils & compost. We took a tour on the shuttle through the farm and oh my did we smell the compost. I spotted chickens and sheeps. I also went inside my first greenhouse. There were tomatoes everywhere. We enjoyed the best organic, fresh, healthy lunch from the farm. Roast beef and chicken salad wraps, green salad cucumber water or iced tea and cookies were amazing. We were given time to shop in their market and McEnroe was nice to give us more cookies to take home. If you have kids or even if you don’t this can be a fun tour to take and learn all about McEnroe Organic Farm. Please check out their page on Instagram @mcenroeorganicfarm http://www.mcenroeorganicfarm.com

McEnroe Organic Farm has been NOFA-NY Certified Organic for over 25 years; it is one of New York’s oldest and most diverse certified organic farms and stands at over 1,100 acres of fields, pastures, and greenhouses.

Their Market has grown from a small roadside stand to year-round market, offering local, seasonal, and organic groceries. The talented kitchen staff uses the produce and meats from the farm to create healthy. delicious, and sustainable meals.

The farm’s methods include crop rotation, biological pest control, composting, careful cultivation, and cover cropping. They grow certified organic vegetables, fruits, herbs, and feed for their livestock. With green houses and cold frames, they extend the season for organic tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, field greens and herbs, enabling them to grow as early as April and as late as December.
Established in 1683 as one of the original counties of New York. Bestowed in the Hudson River Valley midway between New York City and the the capital of Albany it is easily accessible by car, train, bus, air and boat. With its abundance of historic landmarks, restaurants, festivals and natural scenic beauty, Dutchess County is 800 square mikes of fascinating sits, lively events and breathtaking vistas. 

Dutchess County is a year-round vacation getaway so there are plenty of events and activities for all tastes and styles. Listings are subject to change so it’s a good idea to call ahead. Check out the calendar at DutchessTourism.com for current listings. 

EscapeMaker.com, NYC’s guide to local getaways since 2000, announced earlier this year that it was selected by Dutchess Tourism, Inc. to administer the operations of their successful Dutchess County Farm Fresh Tours program through 2017 with Metro- North Railroad.

For 10 years, Dutchess Tourism, Inc. has operated the Farm Fresh Tours program, which offers guided day trips to local farms and producers in and around Dutchess County by providing bus shuttle service to train passengers arriving at Metro-North Railroad stations in Poughkeepsie and Beacon, among others. 

Many Dutchess County farms are family-owned and welcome visitors to “pick-your-own” produce, make purchases from their farm stands, or join them during family-oriented festivals. Apple picking, wine making, visiting breweries and learning about cheese making are all examples of agritourism, which supports local farmers and producers.

Stop #4 Taconic Distillery. If you’re a bourbon whiskey fan this stop is for you. Yes you get samples of spirits here. I’ve been in Distilleries before but if you see all the land that the Taconic is on you won’t want to leave. It’s breathtaking. I learned quite a bit about how the bourbon whiskey is made and how long is has to rest to become Straight Bourbon Whiskey. (2 years in case you wanted to know). I wrote my name on a barrel and will check it in 2 years. There’s also Founder’s Rye Whiskey, Dutchess Private Reserve, Rolling Hills Rum, LIMITED EDITION Double Barrel Bourbon Whiskey with Maple Syrup and Cask Strength Straight Rye Whiskey. We also tasted pure maple syrup. I purchased a bottle of the Barrel Bourbon Aged Maple Syrup which is enhanced by the hint of their Dutchess Private Reserve Bourbon. My pancakes and waffles won’t know what hit them!!! There was also a raffle and I won a cool tshirt. Instagram: @taconic_distillery and http://www.taconicdistillery.com for more info. 

Our final stop was at Crown Maple. This is where magic happens. Pure, organic maple syrup is made at Madava Farms. Lots of syrup tasting going on here. I also love the shop where I made sure to take home Madagascar Vanilla syrup for the kids. You can find them on Instagram @crownmaple https://www.crownmaple.com/visit-madava-farms

I really enjoyed myself on this Farm Fresh FAM Tour. It was great meeting new people and exploring for the day. Everyone on the tour was great!! 

Farm Fresh Tours will officially kick off for the season on Saturday, September 2nd and will run through the end of October 2017. Packages will go on sale via Metro-North Railroad in July 2017 and can be purchased from full-service ticket windows and ticket vending machines. Attendees will be required to make reservations beforehand at EscapeMaker.com/FarmFreshTours 
EscapeMaker .com will continue to offer many of the existing farm and destination itineraries from past seasons, which include Metro-North transportation. All itineraries transfer from the Beacon, Wassaic and Poughkeepsie stations and highlight artisanal eats, craft beverage tasting, apple picking, eco-friendly and organic farming, festivals and more. Following the 2017 season, EscapeMaker.com will be exploring ways to expand in other seasons, including working with GrowNYC’s Greenmarket and farmers to educate their shoppers about trip options.

Metro-North Railroad, is a suburban commuter rail service run by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, a public authority of the state of New York. The service also offers packages, special fares and deals to area local attractions and weekend getaway destinations.

Disclosure: This tour was hosted by EscapeMaker, Metro North and Dutchess County. Swag , tickets, transportation and lunch was given. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

Mythbusters & Illusion Exhibits At Liberty Science Center & Ticket Giveaway #MTMyth

6 Mar

We’ve been to the Liberty Science Center quite a few times now with Momtrends and the fun never ends. This time we were there to attend Mythbusters The Explosive Exhibition and Illusion Exhibit. 


What does Illusion mean? 

Illusion: something that looks or seem different from what it is; a misleading image presented to the vision. 

I was excited for this exhibit and the hands on Mythbusters exhibit as well. 

We ate lunch first then headed to the Mythbusters exhibit where we tested out our skills. We love mental challenges science in general and couldn’t wait to experiment. 

If you’ve ever seen the television program Mythbusters on the Discovery Channel upon enetering the exhibit you see different props from the show and interactive videos. Under the guidance of the scientific method, MythBusters: The Explosive Exhibition is your chance to try the MythBusters’ unique “Put it to the Test” methodology for yourself.

I think trying to pull the tablecloth off the table without dropping the dishes was the most popular. My daughter actually did it and I got some on video. It was fun seeing everyone try to pull it off. It’s actually very simple.

The exhibition team filtered the  “rainwater” with glow-in-the-dark florescence, which is completely stainless and harmless, but stays on your body and shines under black light. It’s perfect for counting the number of raindrops that land on you. My kids enjoyed this. On one side a person walks and the other side a person runs and you find out at the end which one gets wet more, less or the same. 

You can have fun at Killer Card Toss, Dodge A Bullet- how fast you can dodge a bullet (don’t worry no bullets actually fly at you), Change Like A Superhero- how fast you can change in a phone booth like a super hero, Cliff Hanger- how long can you hang off the ledge of a building. 

The Illusions exhibit was just as fun. The exhibit includes optical, perceptual, and audio illusions. Science and art intersect in this mind-boggling, mesmerizing exhibition.

My daughter put her hand on a screen and it looked like bugs were crawling up her arm. Now if those were real bugs she wouldn’t have done it. She enjoyed it though. My son gazed into a mirror and watched himself morph into his inner animal. 

Take a look at the pictures to see what other Illusions we came across. 
Mythbusters The Explosive Exhibition will be at Liberty Science Center till September 4, 2017. Get your tickets. The Illusions Exhibit will also be there till August 27, 2017. For all ages. 


Check out the Liberty Science Center for all types of programs, and exhibits and fun. 

GIVEAWAY: Want to see how cool these exhibits are ? Liberty Science Center was kind enough to offer one of my readers a family 4-pack of tickets. Just leave a comment below letting me know what Exhibit you want to see. Winner announced March 13, 2017. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are ours 100% as always. Thank you to Momtrends for a fun science filled hands on day. 

All Day Play At Camelback and Aquatopia #MTCamelback

1 Feb

Skiing, snowboarding and snow tubing OH MY!!! That’s what we were doing in Camelback Resort January 22nd. Momtrends had Ski Day for bloggers and their families and we packed up the 2017 Toyota RAV4 and headed to Tannersville, Pennsylvania for the day. 

We were very excited because this was our first time ever going skiing. I signed the kids up for snowboarding lessons. I decided to snowboard on my own and it was pretty fun. You can see my skills on my Instagram page here: https://instagram.com/p/BPmI4CwhBKZ/


My daughter took lessons with her age group and my son went with his. Lessons are 90 minutes long. This gives the adults time to do other things like ski or snowboard themselves or stand on the side and take pics and video of your kids. 


My daughter said she enjoyed her lesson. My son on the other hand had an accident and I was contacted on my cell phone to come quickly. I was so scared and worried but hoping it wasn’t too serious. When I got there my son’s arm was in a sling and he was waiting for the snowmobile to take him to fist aid. I wanted to cry because as parents we never want to see our kids in pain. I definitely wanted to know what happened and if he was ok to finish out the day or did we have to leave right away. Since first aid is not an actual hospital with doctors all they could do is tell us to keep it in the sling and go to a hospital to make sure his wrist wasn’t broken. Yes, when my son fell he landed on his wrists. Out of all people to break something I thought it would be me. 


I was also told we should have had helmets and wrist guards for first time snowboarders. I had no clue we could have rented this there. It was not part of my package but I definitely would have purchased it. Good to know for future visits. 

After a lollipop was given to my son he wanted to eat. First aid told us to go to a clinic nearby and get an X-ray but the clinic didn’t take our insurance so we decided to go to our hospital once we got back to the city. 

I really was sad my son couldn’t go snowtubing and have fun in the waterpark (Aquatopia). He’s a trooper and hung in there so his sister could have fun. I was still hoping his wrist was ok at that point. 


Aquatopia and snowtubing is amazing. I don’t know how many times my daughter went snowtubing with friends. Hopefully we will go back and make a day out of it again minus the snowboarding. It was a good day and the weather was great it was in the 50’s. 

Made it to the emergency and after 3 X-rays my son had a few broken bones. He was numbed with a needle and some of the bones were pushed back in place. I couldn’t look but I’m glad he didn’t feel anything. I feel like I felt all the pain. The other bones will heal with the cast that was put on. He had an orthopedic appointment the other day and must keep the cast on for 4-6 weeks. It’s his left hand. He’s a righty so I’m glad if he needs to write he’s able to. 
I remember having a cast on my right arm when I was in elementary school and taking a fall at the playground. It’s not fun. All he wants is for the bones to heal so he can play video games but he’s not complaining about being out of school. Typical teenager. A teacher will come to our place and study with him a few days a week till he’s ready to go back. I’m so glad his school provides this service. 

I still would like to thank Momtrends for having Ski Day at Camelback Resort as we still will always remember this trip. As I said on my Instagram post We came, We played, We conquered. This is a great place for families especially Aquatopia which is indoors at Camelback Lodge. So many water rides to choose from. 

For more info check out: 

Facebook

@CamelbackMountainResort

@CamelbackLodge&IndoorWaterpark

 

Twitter 

@SkiCamelback

@CamelbackLodge

 

Instagram 

@SkiCamelback

@CamelbackLodge


Disclosure: This was a hosted event courtesy of Momtrends. Opinions are mine as always. 

CARNIVAL VISTA 11-DAY CRUISE WITH MY 20 YR OLD SON. SHARING MY 20 MONEY SAVING TIPS. #hellovista #carnivalvista

31 Dec

So if you follow me on social media you’ve seen me posting pics about going on an 11-day cruise to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas on Carnival’s new ship The Vista with my 20 year old son. I’ve been on a Norwegian 7-day cruise with my kids but this really felt like a vacation. 

I want to share with you my money saving tips so when you’re ready to take a cruise you will still have money left when you return. 

TIP NUMBER 1:

I am so grateful that cruises leave from New York which saves me so much money on airfare. If you live in New York take advantage of the cruises and you’ll see just how much extra money you will have. I only spent $20 to take a cab from my apartment to the port.


TIP NUMBER 2:

You do not want to be disappointed or embarrassed when you check in and they tell you birth certificates are not allowed to travel. Have a passport or get what my son and I have: An enhanced license (permit, or non-driver ID) is a New York State DMV issued document that you can use instead of a passport to return to the US by land or sea from Canada, Mexico and some countries in the Caribbean. 

TIP NUMBER 3:

The first picture that the cruise member takes before you board the ship is the best picture. Even if you think you don’t want it let them take it, then look at it on your he app andi guarantee you will want it. I also allowed cruise members to take one picture of us at each destination. I don’t care what kind of camera you have their pictures always come out perfect. I also took home one in black and white which I didn’t know they could do. They are not expensive at all. 

TIP NUMBER 4:

Eat, eat and eat. It’s all included. Why would you not want to eat? Food is available all day. Some of the restaurants charge you to eat but you don’t have to eat there if you don’t want to. Also there were times when we didn’t want to get up early to go eat so I would order free room service for basic stuff like croissants, bagels, muffins, coffee, tea, fruit, cereal, etc.. After that if we wanted the hot breakfast we had till 11am to get it. So take advantage of free room service for breakfast only. On port days it would take longer so my advice get up and go eat before leaving the ship. Also don’t forget to tip for room service!!


TIP NUMBER 5:

Excursion: a going out or forth : expedition, a usually brief pleasure trip, a trip at special reduced rates. 

For some people these excursions are planned in advance and can cost quite a bit depending how many people you are traveling with and what exactly it is you want to do. There’s lots of things to do from snorkeling, horseback riding, party boats, beaches with access to spas, scuba diving, and shopping trips. You name it they’ve got it. There was one port we couldn’t stop at because of flooding so refunds were given. 

For others they just want to stay on the boat no matter what. Then you have some who want to hop on a free trolley like we did and do your own sightseeing and shop and just be a tourist with the people you’re traveling with. All the money I could have spent on an excursion we used to shop and unless we wanted to try the local cuisine we were nearby the ship where we could go back on have lunch, drop off our bags and head back out again or stay on the boat and enjoy the pool and other rides while the ship was empty. Remember there are things going on in the ship for those that don’t want to leave. At certain ports there are roundtrip boats that take you to the beach for $7 per person and you could also do shopping there as well. 


TIP NUMBER 6:

Never leave the ship without your coupons. 

I had so many coupons to take with me during our port stops that I collected so much free jewelry and gifts I didn’t have to spend a penny. Even on the cruise there are events where you can win raffles for jewelry, pairings and even a free cruise. Make sure you always check your mail, redeem your coupons and attend the seminars to get even more coupon books and freebies. Some of the coupons can even be used when you come back so don’t throw them away. It was great to walk into a retailer and get a free gift without having to purchase anything even though they will try to get you to look at the expensive jewelry. It’s still cheaper to purchase souvenirs off the ship if you’re taking gifts home. Coupons are also good on the ship too. 

TIP NUMBER 7:

Your room key (sail and sign card) is your identification card on and off the ship, your money card and your card to turn on your lights in your room so don’t lose it. I purchased a sparkly necklace or neck rope to attach it to. If you don’t want to spend any money download the ship’s app which you’re gonna need anyway and show it to the shops and they will give you a free necklace to attach your room key to. The first day you board you can link a credit or debit card to your room card and it can be split between you and your family or you can have control of all the purchases. A minimum of $200 is what you should start with. I had mine linked with my son so he could make his own purchases. 

Drinks can be purchased at the bars, games can be played, snacks from other shops, etc.. I didn’t purchase a soda plan in advance because we don’t drink soda and it was too expensive. There is free coffee, tea, juices, cold lemonade, iced tea and water so we were fine. You must be 21 to drink alcoholic beverages . There is also a liquor package which I didn’t purchase. It was cheaper to buy a drink here and there. 

Here’s another great TIP. When you order room service ask for a pitcher of water then keep that pitcher for your entire trip and keep refilling with water to keep at the table or bring back to the room so you don’t have to make double trips carrying cups of water. Make sure you keep the pitcher in the fridge so housekeeping doesn’t take it. We stayed hydrated for 11-days. Also guests used sports bottles. 


TIP NUMBER 8:

Some people pay for tips and gratuity during  the booking of their trip. You don’t have to. You can do it 2 days before the trip ends. You can let the cruise add it on to your bill which they will do anyway. If you feel you need to dispute the price let them know in person and they will remove it and you can ask for envelopes and leave what you feel is right for each employee like housekeeping, bartenders, room service, etc.. I feel like I made personal connections with everyone so I handed enevelopes to individuals. 

TIP NUMBER 9:

If you see the prices of the spa on the cruise you might want to think again. I’m not saying don’t do it just me personally I got a better deal by bringing my own facial treatments with me. I spent less than $5 at Target and had the best peel off facials ever! I got to relax in my Carnival robe and meditate or watch tv, listen to music or just take in the ocean and didn’t have to spend hundreds of dollars. Now if you want a massage or botox or something else then I suggest you hit the spa. The hot tub is free too. 



TIP NUMBER 10:

Be sure the person you take is someone you will get along with. Believe it or not there were people arguing on vacation. 

My 20 year old son was the perfect choice. I love all my kids and it was hard to not have all of them there but I knew my son really needed this as much as I did. He’s a hard working young man and I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. He doesn’t ask for much and he’s just the sweetest, funniest, polite, mellow person. Everyone complimented him on his manners and how he was the best dressed person they ever saw. They also asked him about how he does his hair. He really enjoyed himself and took great pictures, got on a ride with me on board and took advantage of rest and relaxation. We laughed, shopped, explored, ate our bellies full and just enjoyed every moment. He enjoyed Guy’s Burgers the most. I treated him to milkshakes, candy and video games and we also enjoyed a comedy show on board. We liked the fancy dining rooms as well. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE SON THAT YOU ARE AND HANGING WITH YOUR MOM! 


TIP NUMBER 11:

To dress or not to dress that is the question. 

There are evenings when you can choose to dress up and dine or have dinner with the Captain or just wear casual clothes and eat casually. Some people really dressed up with sparkly evening gowns, tuxedos, high heels, etc.. I knew I didn’t want to dress up so I just came with regular sundresses and opted for casual dining. There were also themed nights like where you wear all white, or 90’s party, etc.. Those were fun. You can get the scoop of that online ahead of time so you know what to pack. 

TIP NUMBER 12:

Our room was great. We had two twin beds, two bathrooms and lots of storage space, a couch and tables and tv. We also had a window view of the ocean. Didn’t need a balcony and the bottom level we were on we didn’t feel the motion of the ocean as much as other people. We were on Deck 1 , Starboard 1417 AFT-S. 

TIP NUMBER 13:

I do not like checking my luggage. I don’t like the fact that my luggage sits in front of my door while I’m not in my room. There were luggage missing from rooms days later that were never found that had wallets, medicine or electronics in. I rather we take our own luggage to our room. Nothing missing, nothing to worry about. If it’s not a hassle take your luggage yourself and don’t have your wallet, medicine, purse or electronics in it. Keep that in your carry-on.


TIP NUMBER 14:

Carry a small umbrella whether you think you need it or not. It felt like 100 degrees and I was so thankful I had that extra protection  from the sun along with my sunscreen, hats and shades. We also got some rain at a few ports. Umbrellas are your friend. Never leave home without it. 


TIP NUMBER 15:

Don’t forget your portable chargers. As a blogger I never leave home without it. You don’t want to miss that great shot or miss talking to loved ones when you dock because you didn’t fully charge your phone. 

Depending where you go on your cruise you might not  get Wifi when you dock so don’t get mad unless you’re willing to pay for it or sit somewhere where there’s free Wifi which is at a restaurant. 

On board the ship Wifi plans vary. There’spackages to choose from like social media packages or internetand email packages, etc.. When using Carnival’s app on board you will not be charged. It’s free. This app really comes in handy when you want to know what’s going on daily on board and to order your pictures, etc. We were too busy enjoying ourselves to worry about using our phones so when we did get a signal then that was a good time to speak to family and send pictures. 

TIP NUMBER 16:

Magnets, coffee mugs and postcards make great souvenirs. Inexpensive and you can find them anywhere. Also don’t forget the clothing factories like Polo Ralph Lauren which was my favorite. Amazing deals. 

TIP NUMBER 17:

There’s so much to do on board you will always be busy unless you just want to relax. There’s drive in movies, bingo, casino, comedy, seminars, spa, exercise classes, gym, pools, saunas, rides, water slides, dancing, karaoke, scavenger hunts and that’s just some of the things you can do. 


TIP NUMBER 19:

Double check before leaving for your cruise to make sure you have everything and double check before leaving the ship as well. You’d be surprised how many things get left behind. 

TIP NUMBER 20:

Always listen for announcements from the cruise director or Captain. The television also have announcements so pay attention and you can follow the map on the tv to see where your next destination is. 


HAVE FUN ON YOUR NEXT VACATION!! WE CANT WAIT FOR OUR NEXT CRUUSE!!! 

Disclosure: This is not a compensated post. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 







Six Flags Great Adventure Thrills By Day, Fright By Night 

17 Oct

Fright Fest is still happening on the weekends at Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson NJ. Every year I say I’m going to go but I chicken out. This year Six Flags invited bloggers to their Fright Fest blogger event. From 11-6 the kids enjoyed thrills by day. New Halloween harmonies by the Skeletones, Just My Rottin Luck, Trick or Treat Trail and Spooktacular Dance Party. My kids were so into the rides we didn’t get to see any of this. We went all over the park just enjoying the rides and food. 


I kept saying I was going to leave before 6pm when Fright Fest starts but I ran into my blogger friends and decided to stay past 6 pm. I’m glad I did. Yes the zombies came out and yes me and my kids were running from them like crazy but it isn’t as bad as it seems unless you go inside the haunted houses. There are also scare free kid zones where you don’t have to worry about zombies. We survived our first ever Fright Fest and I’m glad my kids and friends were there with me to keep me calm. 


There’s a New Cell Block 6 haunted maze, Blood Shed, Big Top Terror, The Manor, The Awakening and Dead Man’s Party: Graveyard Rock both offering new scares in a new location. 

Here’s a full description:

JACKSON, NJ — The world’s first fully interactive, horror-themed virtual reality coaster gaming experience, a new haunted prison maze and four new, devilishly entertaining shows including the world-famous Lizardman headline the biggest and scariest Fright Fest® season in history at Six Flags Great Adventure. Weekends and select days September 16 through October 31, families can enjoy all of their favorite roller coasters and thrill rides plus family-friendly themed attractions with Thrills by Day and terrifying mazes, scare zones and shows during Fright By Night. 

 

Daytime thrills are devoted to families. Guests can start their visit by dancing to Halloween hits at the Spooktacular Street Party, or catch the Just My Rottin’ Luck magic show staring Raoul the Duke of Deception beginning Sept. 25. New this year, Six Flags introduces “The Skeletones” a ghostly and charming acapella group performing bad-to-the-bone harmonies at the Wilderness Theater. Children under 12 can journey down the Trick-or-Treat Trail while meeting their favorite characters.

 

Beginning at 6 p.m., things take a drastic turn with the Fright By Night festivities. Swarms of decaying zombies, crooked clowns, freaks of nature and monsters of the night emerge in The Awakening parade, and then Dr. Fright unleashes these horrors into the streets. As the night creeps on, guests can enjoy one of three new “Monstertainment” shows, a new haunted maze, and fresh takes on park classics.

 

New and improved this season:

· New! Rage of the Gargoyles virtual reality (VR) coaster – Riders will use Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus headsets to battle demonic creatures in the world’s first interactive gaming VR experience on a coaster, Skull Mountain. Exclusively for Season Pass holders, active Members, haunted maze pass purchasers and owners of the Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S7 edge and Galaxy Note7. Must be at least 13 years old to wear Samsung Gear VR. Must be at least 44” tall to ride with an adult or 48” to ride alone.

· New! Bilkum, Burnham & Haugh’s Side Show Spectacular – World-famous Lizardman, Murrugun the Mystic and the beautiful sorceress Catalina Askew headline this jaw-dropping and heart-pounding freak show.

· New! The Donniker Bros. Worlds of Mirth – Dark and devilish clowns urge guests to step right up to this uproarious new performance packed with unseemly humor and ample shenanigans.

· New! Slash – Gallows humor meets unsettling, gory, hard rock violence as illusionists John Bundy and Morgan blur the line between reality and horror, premiering in Showcase Theatre. Suitable for mature audiences only.

· New! Cell Block 6 Haunted Maze – A prison on lockdown is overrun with strange and scary inmates desperate to break free. Guests wind their way through twisting corridors trying to escape before it’s too late. Extra fee to participate.

· Dead Man’s Party: Graveyard Rock – Dr. Fright and his friends take over a graveyard for Fright Fest’s signature song and dance production featuring many new Halloween hits and dazzling special effects with the help of celebrity choreographer Ashle Dawson. New location in the Movietown Arena.

 Six free scares, eight Monstertainment shows, the new Rage of the Gargoyles virtual reality coaster and the park’s world-class thrill ride collection are included with park admission, Season Pass and active Membership. Seven haunted mazes require an additional fee. Fright by Night is not recommended for children under 12 and those who scare easily. 

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Disclosure: My family and I were invited to attend Six Flags blogger day as media. Some info given. Opinions are mine 100% as always. 

Weekend Family Fun in Philly With The 2016 Toyota Rav 4

28 Sep

I enjoy car loans and test driving around the mean streets of New York and going on weekend getaways and road trips with the family. The Toyota 2016 Rav 4  SUV showed up and I fell in love immediately with the size, the interior design and the color. If you’re from New York you know how bumpy the streets are. With the Rav 4 you don’t feel a thing. Smooth driving all week was what I was doing. 



When a car is delivered for a review it comes with a full tank of gas. I received it on a Monday and drove around taking care of errands and school drop offs with the kids. That Saturday was our family road trip to Philadelphia for a blogger event. Before our event started we toured the streets of Philly and the Museum. We made sure to get our Philly cheesesteaks and headed to the hotel after our event ended. We stayed the weekend in Philly and drove home Sunday. That full tank of gas got us there and back and I filled up a half tank in Manhattan for about $15. Can you say amazing? An EZ Pass also came with the Toyota Rav 4 courtesy of the company. That saved us a lot of money on tolls and we were very appreciative of that bonus. 



The Toyota Rav 4 is very comfortable and the heated seats kept us warm that chilly morning. I love the cup holders, in front and back, leather steering wheel, power moonroof and ECO Mode that helps maximize fuel economy. RAV4’s standard backup camera displays a real-time view of what the camera sees behind you on the 6.1-in. touch-screen display on the dash. Always great to have. 


The Entune Audio Plus system with Connected Navigation is standard on XLE and SE and ready to help you find your way. RAV4 is now equipped with the Scout GPS Link App, so simply pair your cell phone to get turn-by-turn directions.  I was happy to use this which came in handy. 


We left New York with 2 bags in the back and came back with loads of things. The trunk was full and the cargo space was perfect for all of our goodies. 

We give the Toyota 2016 Rav 4 eight thumbs up. Even though I have a big family and if I ever purchase a car or SUV I would need more seats but if I’m purchasing for myself this would be first on my list. I enjoyed driving and the kids enjoyed being back seat drivers. We miss it already and hope to drive it again. 
For more info head here: http://touch.toyota.com/rav4/2016

Disclosure: Thank you Toyota for loaning us the 2016 Rav 4 for a week to review. Opinions are ours 100% as always.