Archive for the ‘Going Places’ Category

izeafest2009

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Here I sit at IzeaFest2009. I’ve used the time productively – while speakers are on, I’m in the background updating WordPress on my blogs and trying to fix the errors caused by updating WordPress on my blogs.

I’m also enjoying a girls weekend with Jennifer – we’ve got a very strict schedule of blogging, naps, dining out, and visiting bars. Last night was Ice Bar and tonight is Howl at the Moon. Tomorrow is a day at Sea World. It’s rough, but we’re managing!

win a kissimmee florida getaway

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Matthew turns 10 (eek!) in a matter of…well, a month and a half, and I’m trying to think of something special we can do as a family to celebrate his move into double digits. When we went to Atlanta last month he was ALL about going to Medieval Times for dinner. Lucky for us, we don’t need to travel all the way to Georgie to feast on chicken and ale and watch knights joust, because we’ve got our very own Medieval Times location right in Kissimmee Florida. Jim and I went there 13 years ago on our honeymoon, but we’ve never taken the kids!

Walkabout Waters mainI’m thinking a long weekend in Kissimmee might be just the thing for a boy reaching the ripe old age of 10, and I can think of loads of activities to do, from using our Sea World passes to shopping at my favorite outlet malls to cooling off in one of the theme park water parks. And I know any kids of mine would LOVE to play laser tag!

Best of all, right now you don’t have to pay a thing to visit Kissimmee and the Central Florida area surrounding Orlando…if you’re lucky! You can enter to win a Kissimmee vacation and enjoy either a 3 day / 2 night weekend getaway for two or a week long vacation for four! Drawings are being held between now and June 1, 2009 so hurry up and enter!

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izeafest: thursday night

Friday, September 12th, 2008

Yesterday I left work around 1pm and drove myself over to Orlando. After a quick trip to the downtown Orlando Publix for sodas and snacks, I left the store, only to find a monsoon outside. I waited it out in front of the store for a bit and then made a quick dash to the car, getting soaked in the process.

Cass and Marisa had left the hotel and headed out for a walk, and had called it quits when the rain started. I circled around the block and picked them up, and we headed to the Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Orlando (also know as the site of IzeaFest) to check in. The hotel is beautiful – the website does do it justice. The colors and decor are rich and over the top. It’s decorated a bit like a bordello, but it’s a beautiful bordello!

After an hour or so of showers and primping (Marisa did my eye makeup and Deb curled my eyelashes) we took our prom pictures. (We all took pictures, but our shutterbug Alli is the only person organized enough to have posted pictures!) The red velvet behind us is the curtain in our hotel room – I want me bedroom at home to look at like! Then it was off to the hotel bar for an open bar and all sorts of appetizers. (Try the pot stickers – they’re delicious!) I spent my time schmoozing with an advertiser or two, and catching up with bloggers like Heather (and her gorgeous daughter Crystal), Lisa, and StarrySkye. I also oohed and aahed over pictures of David’s little boy (he’s the Izea controller) and talked to Izea peeps like Pete and Ted and Luke and Louis.

Around midnight, I called it a night and headed upstairs with Cass and Marisa. Julie called me from Las Vegas (miss you and wish you were here with us!) and I talked with her for a bit…loudly, while Cass and Marisa attempted to doze off. Apparently, I also emailed my husband a link to this picture with the subject line “Eat your heart out, baby”…I had no memory of doing this until he mentioned the picture to me today.

I slept like a rock, thanks to the mass quantities of open bar that were consumed.

have yourself a staycation this summer

Friday, June 20th, 2008

We’re only taking a short vacation this year. Not quite the “staycation” that plenty of folks are doing to save on gas, but almost. We’ll be driving a few hours to a port on the other side of Florida and getting on a cruise. Previously, we had looked at renting a vacation home or cabin and driving somewhere for a week, but gas is way too expensive to think about going on a 1,000 mile drive.

If you’re thinking about your own vacation plans, and want to try having a “staycation”, you don’t need to stay at home. Just think about places within a short drive of your hometown that will be like a vacation to visit. Siesta Key hotels are one such option for residents of Tampa Bay. Siesta Key is located in the Sarasota area, just two hours south, but it’s a whole ‘nother world. Or even Destin vacation rentals up in the Florida panhandle. Live in Denver? Check into Breckenridge lodging and take advantage of the summer sports and outdoor activities that a ski area offers. No matter where you live, you can find vacation homes and rentals are Rentalo.com, and what I’ve found is that many owners are offering GREAT deals to entice people to rent in this time of economic crisis. We’ve watched the price on the rental we almost got drop several times. No matter if you want to rent a house, or a hotel room, or a bedt and breakfast – Rentalo.com can give you the hookup to make your staycation a bit more interesting.

my orlando weekend!

Friday, May 9th, 2008

We’re finally firming up our summer vacation plans!

We only have enough time for a quick getaway. With Jim and I both attending school full time through the summer, and the kids starting back in August, we’re almost going to be too busy for a vacation. I think we’re going to do a cruise, but it got me thinking about the great vacation we took last summer to Canada. I’d love to go back. Toronto was fab, Montreal was amazing, and Niagara Falls was incredible. If we ever went back, I’d love to go further north into Quebec City!

One of the reasons we’re not taking a big trip like that, aside from the time factor, is that I’ve already got a weekend trip to Orlando in the works for September, and another trip to New York City for October. The Orlando trip is for IzeaFest, which was held in Las Vegas last year under the name “PostieCon”. I’m so excited that it’s going down in Florida this year! Not only does it mean I can drive there instead of fly, but Orlando is home turf for Izea, meaning all of their staff can attend! I’m planning on hooking up with quite a few bloggers there, so my peeps better be on the lookout for a cheap flight to Orlando! Those of you entertaining the thought of coming from the U.K. should check out the deals on DialAFlight.com. Come for IzeaFest…stay for Disney!

visiting beantown

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston for a business trip. I can say I’ve “been to Boston”, but I didn’t exactly see the sights. My plan got into Logan Airport in the evening, and it was already dark by the time we got a rental car. I drove out to the suburbs (Waltham) to my hotel and checked in just before midnight, and then spent 2 days at the Boston office of my employer. Back to the airport and the trip was over…wheee!

I am a HUGE history geek so Boston is a place I want to get to soon! (Watching John Adams on HBO these past few weeks has only reinforced that interest) There are all kinds of fun and historical things to do in Boston! How about a ghost and gravestones tour? Or walking along the Boston Freedom Trail? There’s even a walking tour of Plymouth that will give you insight into how the pilgrims once lived in the area. Sightseeing tours are such a great way to learn about a city like Boston.

If you’re worried about finding your way around town, enter to win a handheld GPS from Trusted Tours & Attractions just by signing up for their newsletter!

lake buena vista hotels

Monday, April 7th, 2008

IzeaFest 2008 is in just 5 months, and the event is being held in Orlando this year. There’s been lots of discussion on the Izea message boards about where to stay and what to do, and I’m right in the middle of it. My friend Julie wants to stay on Disney property, near Downtown Disney, so I gave her the scoop on the Disney owned hotels closest to Downtown Disney, as well as the non Disney hotels just around the corner. Hey, you make enough trips to Disney, you learn a thing or two!

Now, I thought I knew about every single hotel located near Downtown Disney, but I didn’t know about all of the Lake Buena Vista Hotels. (The Lake Buena Vista hotels are the ones closest to Downtown Disney, and are right off I-4 – close to Sea World and Universal too! These hotels are so popular when it comes to meetings and events. I went to a conference at one years ago, and it was such a great location. The Orlando Vista Hotel is now the latest to become one of the official
American Urological Association hotels…because they’re hosting the 2008 American Urological Association Annual Meeting.

The Orlando Vista Hotel is the hotel of choice is you’re attending the AUA convention. It’s walking distance to restaurants like Olive Garden, Pizzeria Uni, Chili’s, Chevy’s, and more. There’s a Gooding’s super market close by, and you’re just a half mile from the entrance to Downtown Disney┬« Pleasure Island!

adults only weekend in nyc

Monday, March 24th, 2008

I’m just itching to plan another vacation. We can’t settle on the family vacation just yet, due to scheduling conflicts, so the next trip I’ve got on the books is my Avon Walk in New York City this October. At this point it looks like the friend I’ll be traveling with is agreeable to staying an extra day in the city to explore (provided we’re not too exhausted from the walk), and I’m excited about that! I haven’t been to New York City in years and years, not since I was in high school. On that trip, we visited Ellis Island, walked all over mid town Manhattan, and caught a Broadway show…but we skipped the Metropolitan Museum of Art – no time!

I think before our walk starts on Friday it would be neat to take a quick tour of the city to get our bearings. Trusted Tours & Attractions offers tours in NYC and also lists things to do in New York on their tours page, for those of you who want to go it alone. Jim is dying to take the kids on a trip to the Big Apple, so I’m all for hearing about family vacation ideas, but October will be an adults only trip. Sex and the City tour, anyone?

While I’m on the topic of NYC, I should tell you about my 2nd trip there. I was 9 or so, and my parents took me to the city for the day, along with our exchange student we had that semester. While we were eating pizza at Sbarro, my mom put her purse on the floor…guess what was missing when we got up? We never saw anyone come NEAR our table or the chairs, so we were shocked to realize her purse had been stolen. When we got back to New Jersey that night, where we were staying with my grandmother, a man got in touch with us – he had found the purse under his car and tracked us down! Her money (only $10) was missing, and she had already canceled the credit cards, but it’s amazing that someone found the purse and went through the trouble of finding her, isn’t it?

Trusted Tours is also giving away an IPod Nano to one lucky newsletter subscriber. Just visit the Trusted Tours & Attractions newsletter sign-up page to get registered and win!

crikey, a trip down under?

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

My son recently watched all of the Lord of the Ring movies, and after I told him the movie was filmed in New Zealand, he’s been hot to travel there. That combined with his love of the Crocodile Hunter (may he rest in peace!) means that the boy would be quite happy with a vacation down under. I won’t be booking the family on a flight to Australia anytime soon though – that’s a major undertaking! We’d need passports for the kids, for starters, and Australia is a big place. It’s definitely the kind of place you’d need at least two full weeks to really enjoy all that the country has to offer. Visiting Australia and just seeing two of it’s major cities would be like visiting the U.S.A and only seeing New York and Washington, D.C. – you’d miss out on everything else the place has to offer!

I’d love to spend a few days in Sydney, and then go into the outback to see kangaroos and koalas in person. Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef would be a must do – just keep me away from the dangerous sea creatures! Speaking of sea creatures, another must see would be the whales migration along the Sapphire Coast. The whales can be seen in September, October, and November as they migrate to Antarctica.

Last but not least, we’d need to visit the Australia Zoo in Beerwah, Queensland, made famous by Steve Irwin. My kids were (and are) huge fans of his programs. I think it would be neat to visit in person and see the animals and people we’ve only seen on TV up till now!

virginia real estate at drodio.com

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

We frequently entertain the notion of buying property out of state, in the mountains “somewhere”. Up until last year, “somewhere” was always defined as being North Carolina or Tennessee, in the areas of either Boone or Gatlinburg we’ve visited so often on vacation. Both vacation spots are only a (long) day’s drive from our home in Florida, acreage is still affordable, and the views can’t be beat. It was only after my friend Amy’s trip to Virginia that it occurred to us we might be missing out on something in that state as well. Amy went to Catawba, Virginia, and the pictures she shared with me later were amazing. I never realized that corner of Virginia was so pretty, having only enjoyed the state from my drives along I-95 in the past.

I immediately went online to check out the major real estate sites for listings in this pretty area outside of Blacksburg, Virginia, and was sorely disappointed by the options. I don’t even think Realtor.com recognized that the area existed, and I found two parcels for sale – TWO! By comparison, Drodio.com provides you with every single town in the state, from Arlington real estate to Yorktown, Virginia. The area around Blacksburg is represented as part of Roanoke, and you have the option of browsing all listings, viewing listing locations on a map, or creating a custom search for properties you’re interested in. All of the listings are shown on a Google map, so you can see at a glance what listings exist, and in which towns. It’s very user friendly, and I can see the site becoming a huge distraction for me!