In about a week or so David, Little E, my shih tzu, and I will be heading on a cross country road trip. This is my second time driving from coast to coast so I’m excited but David is taking some convincing. He can’t fathom sitting in a car for that many hours but I am stoked pregnant or not to head out across the country again. We plan on hitting all of the southern states first then all of the midwest on the way back. We are also buying a dash mount for my GoPro so that we can record our whole journey. It will definitely be filled with lots of adventures along the way! Have you ever driven cross country? What was your favorite part? Which part did you hate the most?
I happened to browsing the internet like I always do and stumbled upon a hotel call the Wonderland House. Um, how have I never heard of this place?! An Alice in Wonderland themed hotel sounds like one of the coolest hotels that I need to add to my bucket list. Thought buying Alice’s real house would be pretty cool too. Nevermind me though, take a look for yourself. Every room is themed to go with the story. If I’m ever in that area the Wonderland House is a definite stay for me!
As a pretty big fan of zoos and an even bigger fan of animals I have managed to check out zoos in many states. There’s just something about seeing wild animals safely and so closely. No, its not their natural habitat unfortunately but its as good as you can get here in the United States. I feel like we have very little wild animals left living here.
Though San Diego’s zoo is still on my list, I do have a pretty awesome zoo in Arizona that I enjoy on a fairly regular basis and that’s the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield. It runs about $30 per adult and $12 for a child though you can normally find coupons to reduce the rate. Not only that, the zoo is not only a zoo but also an aquarium so you get more bang for your buck. The zoo also has a log ride, air lift, train ride, petting zoo, playground, and a rather bomb restaurant.
Here is a variety of shots I’ve collected over the last 2-3 visits:
and last but not least a sloth, my favorite animal in the world! <3 What’s the best zoo you’ve ever been to? Were they humane?
Choosing a place for a honeymoon can be a difficult decision for a young couple. For the couple who loves history and wants the romance of the Old South, Charleston SC, affectionately known as “Chucktown” by locals, can offer both. With many different things to see and do, Charleston is the perfect place to make memories that will last a lifetime.
Kiawah Island – Kiawah Island is an ideal place for honeymooners to enjoy the relaxed environment of a beach community but still be close enough to the city to take advantage of all that Charleston has to offer. There are a variety of vacation house rentals available for couples who are looking for a place to call their own for their honeymoon. The island offers small shops and restaurants that are within biking distance from most of the vacation rentals as well as world-class golf courses for the couples who want to spend part of their honeymoon on the links.
The Battery – Situated between the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, the Battery is the perfect place for a romantic sunset walk. In the past, the Battery has been used for military protection of the city and is still used to protect the area from hurricanes. In addition to an amazing view of Charleston Harbor, some of the most expensive, grandest houses in Charleston are located here. The homes on the Battery are a blend of new builds and old antebellum homes, seamlessly fitting together to create a fabulous place to walk and see the beauty of the varied architecture in Charleston.
Plantation and House tours – Charleston is home to many antebellum plantations as well as many colonial homes. Plantations such as Magnolia Plantation, Boone Hall, and Drayton Hall show visitors what life was like in the Old South. Within the city, houses such as Nathaniel Russell House and the Aiken-Rhett House combine history with examples of Federalist architecture at its finest. Many of the houses in the city are within walking distance of each other so couples can easily make a day of visiting the stately old homes of Charleston. While most of the plantations are outside of the city, it is well worth the drive to see these well-preserved examples of the homes of the Old South.
Charleston City Market – No trip to Charleston is complete without a visit to the Charleston City Market. The Market is one of the oldest in the country, a treat for history lovers. Filled with a variety of small stalls selling everything from art to clothing, the Market is a great place to find tasteful souvenirs and mementos of your trip to Charleston. The City Market also serves as a central place for visitors and locals to meet for dining and shopping. The ideal place to take a rest and people watch, the Market is a popular place for locals and visitors alike to enjoy an afternoon snack or dessert in the evening after a day of sightseeing or shopping. It also is a great place to pick up an evening carriage tour to see the sights of Charleston from a carriage and learn more about the city’s history. The City Market also serves as home to the Daughters of the Confederacy museum.
Restaurants – Charleston boasts some of the finest restaurants in the South, many of the specializing in the cuisine of the Lowcountry. The food of the Lowcountry features seafood, rice, and other staples of southern cooking yet is a little lighter than some of the more traditional cuisine of the Deep South. With restaurants ranging from very formal to very casual, Charleston has the right place to suit all tastes. For the honeymooning couple, a trip to 82 Queen or Poogan’s Porch will provide the ideal place for a romantic dinner for two. Many of the restaurants in Charleston are housed in old homes or other old buildings that have been repurposed as restaurants.
A honeymoon is a time for a young couple to relax after the stress of planning and having a wedding and being their lives together. For it to be perfect, the location should be romantic and feature places that will allow a couple to look back on their honeymoon with fond memories to last a lifetime. Charleston, SC, with its blend of history and romance, is the ideal place for a honeymoon couple to enjoy their first vacation as a married couple and begin their married life with the romance only this gem of the Old South can offer.
Arizona is not a place that would typically pop up in my mind as ‘hey, let’s go skydive there!’ but it happened and was beautiful. An acquaintance of mine had an itching to go skydiving and asked everyone on facebook if anyone would be interested in going. Being that I’ve gone before and my dad use to be an instructor I said yes!
My first dive was in North Carolina when I was 16 and everything went well until the landing. The instructor kept changing his mind on how he wanted us to land and so when my feet were about to hit the ground I took one approach and he took the other. Sadly this resulted in me fracturing my ankle but it wasn’t that bad in comparison to all of the other injuries you can get from skydiving.
So we did some research and decided to go with the Red Rock Skydiving company in Sedona, Arizona. We read from reviews that the other places were just kind of mediocre and that the Red Rock Skydiving company were friendly and did an awesome job.
When we arrived it was pretty warm outside and the building was situated in the middle of all the beautiful red rocks that Arizona so proudly displays up north. We went in, did a little training, suited up, and headed out.
I will be honest, the plane we flew in scared the living piss out of me. It was old, had no flooring, just metal, and the door was plexy glass that slide up and down. I’m not scared of heights but the thought of falling out of the plane while we were ascending stayed consistently on my mind. Once we finally reached out altitude of 13,000 feet we hooked up and got ready to jump.
Nothing gives you an adrenaline rush like your feet dangling outside of a plane and hoping that nylon fabric is going to catch your fall. In 3, 2, 1 we pushed off from the plane and started falling. I immediately remembered one of the things I didn’t enjoy about skydiving and that was trying to breathe. You’re falling so fast that its hard to catch your breath but eventually I caught it this time.
We fell for what seemed like 15 seconds before pulling out chute. Once our parachute was all out the instructor let me take the reign and guide us down. This was something I didn’t get to experience on my last jump so it was pretty awesome.
We finally landed safely, ankles in tach, on our bottoms in the dirt landing circle. I was pretty pumped about the smooth landing and gave a high five in excitement. Afterwards we went inside to check out our video, undress, and try to bring down our excitement levels.
For anyone whose interested in trying skydiving for their first time or just skydiving in Arizona, I would high recommend Red Rock Skydiving. You get a beautiful view of Arizona, red rocks included, and its a safe, pleasant experience.
Summer doesn’t last long but once its here there’s nothing better than swimming in the ocean. Since you could slightly say that North Carolina is my hometown I thought I would start with 9 North Carolina beaches worth checking out.
1. The Outer Banks — Outer Banks is one of the most well known of all the beaches in North Carolina. The Banks offer plenty of beach area as well as tons of history. You can visit the spot where the Wright Brothers first took flight in Kill Devil Hills that is nicely marked with a tall monument.
2. Bald Head Island — After leaving your car behind and hopping on a 20 minutes ferry ride you will arrive at Bald Head Island. The island is a small island that offers 14 miles of beach and a car free experience. That’s right, no cars are allowed on the island and most residents use modified golf carts to get around. Though Bald Head Island is a popular place for retirement, you can check out many locations where movies like Weekend at Bernie’s was filmed.
3. Atlantic Beach — Atlantic Beach is one of 5 communities located on the eastern end of the Bogue Banks which is part of the Crystal Coast. Atlantic Beach offers attractions like the Historic Fort Macon State Park which is full of Civil War history and very well navigated to keep your interests peaked.
4. Figure Eight Island — Figure Eight Island is a private island and is well known by celebrities and politicians such as Al Gore. The island is definitely an exclusive luxury spot to visit if you have the funds.
5. Carolina Beach — Carolina Beach offer the state aquarium, a state park, as well as many other attractions but what the beach is most known for is partying. Being close to many colleges, many students take advantage of the scenery by holding many parties throughout the summer.
6. Topsail Beach — Though Topsail Beach is very well known for its sea turtle sanctuary and all the work the sea turtle hospital does for the little guys, did you know it was also known for pirates? Topsail got its name from pirates hiding in the coves and waiting for merchants to pass by so they could rob them blind. Eventually the merchants caught on and started looking for the top of the pirate ship’s sails to know when danger was lurking. The beach is also rumored to be the hiding place of Blackbeard’s precious treasure that has yet to be found.
7. Wrightsville Beach — Wrightsville Beach is probably the most popular for locals as its the closest beach from the Raleigh. The beach offers Jonny Mercer’s pier is is well known for being an excellent fishing spot. There have been many times I’ve seen fisherman who have caught and released baby sharks which is pretty cool.
North Carolina beaches each offer a different yet similar experience. Full of beauty and attractions any beach you choose will be an awesome way to waste the day away.
I giggle sometimes when I realize that my favorite place to take my family on vacation is known to many as “Sin City.” Seriously, there’s a lot to do and see in Las Vegas. When we need a break, I love to pack up the kids and take a trip to the desert. We do a few things on the strip, but we also take the time to enjoy the beautiful vistas in the surrounding Mojave Desert.
1. Maverick Helicopters
Mom, Dad and the kids will be speechless at their first aerial view of the Las Vegas strip. Maverick Helicopters offers a VIP-style tour that no visitor should skip. The pilot, after giving safety instructions and explaining the tour, will pose with your group for photos. In the air, each individual will be fitted with a headset. The tour is completely interactive as the pilot narrates the flight.
2. Bellagio Fountains
It never ceases to amaze me that Las Vegas has 8.5 acres of fountains right in the middle of the desert. These aren’t just any fountains either. Water shoots from 1,214 jets to heights of 460 feet in the air. Waterworks shows run regularly from 3:00 in the afternoon until midnight. This water can dance. Choreographies feature music ranging from the works of Michael Jackson to the crooning of Sinatra.
3. Pink Jeep Tours
Pink Jeep Tours are one of my favorite ways to enjoy the natural surroundings of Las Vegas. When you tire of shows and bright lights, take a day off to get in touch with nature. Pink Jeep Tours will pick you up at your hotel. Then you and the family can relax in style while learning about the amazing geology and biology of the area. Tours are even available to the Grand Canyon.
4. Eat, Drink and Be Merry
Dining options are everywhere in Vegas. A nice steak and a glass of red wine are my favorite Vegas cuisine. Be sure to explore the many dining options during your stay. SW Steakhouse features a water show visible from the dining area. Fiamma Trattoria features affordable but delicious pasta options.
Las Vegas truly has something for everyone to enjoy. The hotel options are seemingly endless and very unique. Gogobot makes it easy to read user reviews so you and your family will feel more comfortable with your purchase. Take a trip with your family here soon. I think you’ll have a wonderful time.
Living in Hawaii was one of the best places I’ve ever had the honor of inhibiting. Most people think of Hawaii and think about all of the beautiful things there are to do for adults but what about those of us who have little ones? Here are a couple of awesome places to check out for kid friendly fun while visiting the island of Oahu.
1. Kualoa Ranch
Kualoa Ranch is a beautiful place not only to visit but also explore. The ranch offers movie tours where you can see anything from Godzilla’s tracks to the George of the Jungle kissing gorillas. Your tour guide will stop at several different areas and let you explore and take all of the photos you’d like. If movies aren’t your type then don’t worry! There are also many other tours you can take part of including horseback tours, jungle expedition tours, the ocean voyaging tour as well as many others.
2. Ko Olina Lagoons
There are many beautiful beaches on Oahu but my favorite place to go with my son is the Ko Olina Lagoons. There are 4 man made lagoons at the Aulani Resort that are free and open to the public year round. These lagoons are perfect for little ones! They are relatively shallow for a good ways end before becoming too deep and because they scoop in away from the tide, there are hardly any waves. The lagoons are great for snorkeling with kids as well since the tide isn’t too strong and the water not too deep. and give you access to the resort if you’d like to order and food or drinks while soaking up the sun.
3. Paradise Cove Luau
After you’re finished with relaxing at the lagoons all day you can head over to Paradise Cove Luau. Though the island is filled with many different luaus, my favorite is the Paradise Cove. When you enter the luau you are welcomed with a lei, mai tai(alcoholic & non-alcoholic), and a photography to remember your night. From there you are free to take part in all of the activities before the luau begins including making your own leis, face painting, headband weaving, etc. Once its time for dinner you line up at an incredibly ono buffet to load your plate with all the amazing local cuisine before the show starts.
The Dole Plantation is full of kid friendly activities to partake in. The Dole Plantation held the Guinness World record in 2008 for being the World’s largest maze. The maze is made out of pineapple fields and you are given a little check point list to take along with you. At each check point you get to color in a new hawaii shape until you’ve completed them all and found your way back out of the maze again. The plantation also offers train tours which circle the plantation and go over the history of Dole and how its world famous pineapples came to be. Once you’re finished with the tour be sure to stop inside and enjoy a nice big scoop of pineapple ice cream. Kids just can’t get enough of it!
5. Circling the Island
This is one of my favorite activities that I absolutely do every visit. Circling the island of Oahu is one of the best things you can do to take in a smidgen of all the beauty the island has to offer. You may think, no way, my kids would go nuts being in the car that long but its honestly not bad with all of the stops you can make along the way. There is a wood widdling shop, fresh birds of paradise, Waimea Bay, the shrimp trucks, surfing competitions and fresh fruit stands with all kinds of exotic fruits to try. Though I have circled the island many times, I always find something new to discover.
Oahu has so many attractions and activities for all ages to enjoy. Every side of the island is different and has something unique to offer. Be sure to take advantage of not only the tourist type attractions but also local ones that involve you getting out there and explore all that Oahu has to offer.
While I was at work today a coworker of mine stumbled upon something that I think is totally awesome. We’ve all heard of the mile high club but have you heard of the mile low club? Apparently it is a real and happening thing and I think it’s kind of awesome. Though it does come at a hefty price of $250,000 and up so it would definitely be an elite club.
The mile low club begins at the Caribbean island of your choice and consists of a lavishly decorated submarine filled with all the necessities needed to have a great night. You are greeted with a glass of champagne then whisked to your rose petal covered bed complete with a Barry White soundtrack.
If you’re feeling hungry after all that beautiful sea exploration while cuddling, don’t fear, a full aphrodisiac menu is available for you to feast on. You can enjoy anything from oysters to chocolate fondant with hints of pomegranate. After all that eating you can use a two person shower at request to wash off all that mess and of course officially enter into the mile low club if you’d like.
If only they made these excursions more affordable…but then again they would probably become disease ridden and disgusting if so. Feel free to check out Oliver’s Travels if you have the funds to take this once in a lifetime trip.
While mapping out our Christmas adventure I decided it would be a great idea to hit up Four Corners. Well it turns out they were closed on our way up since it was Christmas Day and all but we had plans to stay the night in Moab, Utah so it didn’t matter anyways. Before booking at the Red Cliffs Lodge I did a little research on things to do in Moab. Turns out Moab is a badass vacation spot for sight seeing. I found loads for us to do but sadly we had less than 24 hours before we needed to head to our next destination and I’ll cover those awesome activities soon!
When we first got into Moab we had to drive down a winding highway for about 15 minutes before reaching the lodge but once we arrived we were greeted by rows and rows of lights lining the wood fencing to the office. It was absolutely gorgeous against the paper white snow and the amount of stars in the sky was absolutely phenomenal. I have never seen so many stars surrounding me in my entire life.
I hopped out of the car to face the brisk air and walk as quickly as possible into the office. Once inside I was promptly greeted by the friendly desk clerk who checked me in, handed me two cookies, and directed me to our individual lodge.
We headed over to our lodge which was absolutely adorable on the outside and unloaded quickly to get inside. Once we opened the door we saw the cutest little studio setting. There was a king bed with a dresser and tv then a step down to a pull out couch and almost full kitchen. Since we had been driving for 10 hours or so at this point we were pretty beat and headed to bed not long after enjoying a bottle of Christmas vino.
The next morning little E was beyond ecstatic to get up and go play in the snow so we were up nice and early. We showered, got dressed and walked outside to be blown away by the beauty surrounding us. I have lived in many beautiful places but this beauty was something way different than I’ve ever seen. The mountains, snow, river, everything.
We rounded off our morning with a tasty complimentary breakfast next to a large warm fireplace before it was time for check out. Overall we had the best time at the lodge even if it was for only one night. The accommodations were above and beyond what I expected and the desk clerks were incredibly friendly. The only thing I was bummed about was the fact that the winery and restaurant were closed for the winter. However, our stay at the Red Cliffs Lodge in Moab definitely won’t be our last. I highly recommend this lodge to any and all travelers heading through the area.