The Very Best of Arizona

The Best Of Arizona by Melissa Temple


When you are out exploring the country don’t forget to explore Arizona! Arizona has many beautiful and unique experiences to offer. We have a thriving metropolitan area in Downtown Phoenix with art, dinning and museums and there are many activities in Southern Arizona to explore and have fun. This article is going to focus on all the beauty and fun of Northern Arizona.

If you have a week to vacation in Arizona, you should definitely check out this vacation! For this vacation you are going to need a vehicle! If you are close enough to drive, I suggest driving. I use an app called Gas Buddy to check fuel prices. If you fly into Sky Harbor International Airport, you can rent a vehicle at the Airport. I like to use Enterprise. They are have very good customer service and I get a discount through my cell phone service.

For booking hotels I use because I can pay at the hotel and get kicks through an app called Shopkick! You save the kicks and earn gift cards. So in my book it’s a win-win. There are a lot of great hotels in Flagstaff, Arizona, which is where you need to base yourself! I do recommend the La Quinta Inn and Suites! It’s easy to find where I-17 and I-40 meet!

Day 1 of this vacation starts by arriving in Flagstaff or flying into the airport, renting a vehicle and driving to Flagstaff. It’s about 2-3 hours North of Phoenix. It is really easy to get to. You just take I-10 West to I-17 North and that takes you to Flagstaff! So get to Flag as we locals call it, check into your hotel, and get something for dinner! Get a good night’s sleep tomorrow will be a busy day!

Day 2 I want to suggest you book a trip on the Grand Canyon Railroad! Go to, that’s the website where you book passage to the Grand Canyon. It is a 65 mile daily train ride from Williams, AZ to the Grand Canyon. You have about 30-45 minute drive to get to Williams in the morning. The train departs at different times during the year but a typical trip could leave at 9:30am and gets to the Grand Canyon at approximately 11:45am. It departs back to Williams at 3:30pm and then you drive back to Flagstaff.

The Train operates 364 days per year closed on December 25. The trip on the railway includes a Wild West Shootout at the Williams depot before your train departs. Then during your journey there is entertainment and live action onboard! You will also be able to get a copy of Territorial Times, the Grand Canyon Railroads very own news publication.

While you are at the Grand Canyon, take lots of pictures! It is one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the World! While you are there you can take a 1.5 hour guided tour that is only open to the patrons of The Train. You can have lunch, check out the Grand Canyon Village, the Museum, and the hotels! This is an amazing site you should definitely check out and the taking the train is a beautiful and relaxing way to go! You can even have a seat in the panoramic dome and see the Kaibab National Forest.

(Photos Courtesy of

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(Photo Courtesy of Lowell Observatory)

Day 3 of this Arizona adventure keeps you in Flagstaff. I suggest visiting the Lowell Observatory. It is 125 year old telescope.  They have programs for everyone to enjoy. They have daytime tours, evening activities and a special Jr. Astronomer Program for kids!

The daytime tours consist of three different topics. The first called the Lowell Tour takes you around the campus and discusses the history of the observatory. You also get to see the 24” Clark Refracting Telescope still in use today! It’s a little slice of history. On The Story of Pluto Tour you learn about the Pluto Discovery Telescope. And on the Lunar Legacy Tour you learn the history of the telescopes part in the Apollo Moon missions.

At night they have several programs. The Wonders Of The Solar System, The Lives Of The Stars, The Flyby, Galaxies And The Expanding Universe, Constellation Tour and evening viewing of the Telescope. You can also participate in 45 minute science demonstrations which are hands-on!

They have a museum called the Rotunda Museum and it is open during certain hours. It houses artifacts relating to the history of the Observatory. They also have a cute gift shop, called My Astronomy Shop. You can get souvenirs, telescopes and other space themed items!

The Jr. Astronomer Program is similar to the Jr. Ranger Program at the National Parks. Kids ages 5 and older can complete activities while visiting the Observatory and earn a badge. It costs $3 and is approximately 3 hours. It is designed for kids ages 5-13 but “kids” of any age can complete the program! So if you have ever wanted to be an astronomer you should check out this program!

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(Photo Courtesy of the Lowell Observatory Jr. Astronomer Program)

So after your day of hanging out at the Lowell Observatory you are going to want to eat. Flagstaff is no different then most cities and have plenty of chain restaurants or fast food restaurants if that is what you like. However if you want to try something new try the Flagstaff Brewing Company. You can pare craft beer or they have specialty whiskey also with your burger or sandwhich!  If you want a quaint diner experience try Downtown Diner 7 E Aspen Ave (they don’t have a website!). If you want a cool Route 66 experience check out The Crown Railroad Cafe.

Speaking of Route 66…it’s a historic roadway steeped in tradition and history. So check out the Historic Route 66 Walking Tour. They also have a Historic District Walking Tour and Haunted Flagstaff Walking Tour. I don’t know about you but I love to do these behind the scenes kind of tours!

Day 4 of your perfect Arizona trip is a drive out to Meteor Crater! It’s about a 45 minute drive from Flagstaff. This is another really big hole in the ground! But it’s beautiful and very picturesque. A definite must do in your Arizona itinerary. This crater was made long ago when a meteor hit the desert landscape. They have educational programs and you can learn all about how the crater was formed. They also have a cool exhibit about astronauts and a gift shop.

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(Photo Courtesy of Meteor Crater)

A guided tour is available and included with admission.  Admission information is available online. They do offer Military Discounts for active duty and retired. They have complementary RV Parking and Big Rig Parking if you want to do this trip in an RV which would be an amazing way to do this trip also.

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Day 5 is a trip to the Petrified Forest. It is about an hour and a half drive from Flagstaff but it is worth the trip! It is part of the National Parks system. They have a Jr. Ranger program for kids to participate in as well.  They also have guided tours if that is your thing. But if you are a little more adventurous they have backpacking, camping and horseback riding.

To backpack or camp you have to get a permit which is free. You can get this permit at either of the Visitor Centers. The area is very fragile and delicate so groups are limited to 8 people. There are a lot of regulations you must follow and abide by pack in and pack out rules. But it is an amazing experience.

They also have geocaching which you can find out more by clicking on the link. There is so much history and culture to learn about and take in, be prepared for this to be a whole day experience. Also do not take any plants, rocks or petrified wood!!! It is illegal and disturbs the land.

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(Photos courtesy of National Park Service)
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(Photos courtesy of National Park Service)
(Photos courtesy of National Park Service)

Day 6 your trip is almost done! This day takes you to Sedona, AZ. It’s about an hour drive South of Flagstaff. This is a must for any Arizona trip. It’s where the famed Red Rocks are located. There is a thriving art culture in Sedona. If you like fine art, abstracts, bronze, kinetic sculpture, jewelry, Native American art, photography, ceramics or woodcarvings, you will find something to love! Please utilize the Sedona Visitor Center Information website to research and plan your day! I will of course be telling you about my favorite Sedona things to do!

I personally love Oak Creek Canyon. Which has hiking, camping and fishing. They also have a scenic driving route and if you love mountainous and curvy roads I highly suggest you drive the Canyon. They have a really great place during the summer called Slide Rock and it is a natural water slide. We used to go as kids with friends and it is such a fun family friendly activity! If you are going to be there just for one day there is day use area but if you would like to camp there for your Arizona trip they have tent and RV sites available.  The other activity I really enjoy in Sedona is Pink Jeep Tours.

(Photo courtesy of

With a Pink Jeep Tour they have full day adventures or even just a few hours. They take you to some amazing sights and you get to have a fun off-road adventure! There is also some tours that include hiking, lunch and shopping if that is what you like to do. They have tours for all physical ability levels from easy to adventurous. So no matter what you would like to experience they can accommodate your family.

Day 7 is always the saddest of the trip. This is your pack up and head home day. If you decide you want to stay and play for a while in Flagstaff, you can check out the downtown area or anything in the day 3 suggestions you didn’t get to experience yet. You can also utilize the Flagstaff Visitor information website to find out more of this beautiful Arizona destination.

After reading this, I hope Arizona is on your list of States or Areas of the country to visit. We really have an eclectic and picturesque State with all of our scenery, culture and history to learn and explore!

About the Author:

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Melissa Temple is a disabled wife and mother. She has worked in the medical and mental health fields. She loves to help people and volunteer in her community. She loves reading, crafts, Disney movies, and music. She blogs about disability travel and lifestyle with a very heavy emphasis on Disney related travel. She started Disabled Disney with her husband of 19 years, David. Disabled Disney has a website, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook and Patreon


Melissa thank you so much for sharing! Arizona looks beautiful and like there is a lot to do outside! I enjoy being outside! A jeep tour I would love that! We keep on going back and forth on if we want to purchase a jeep on not. I have never had one nor have I driven one. I am kind of afraid to go test drive one and fall in love and make a HAVE TO purchase. Haha! Hopefully someday soon my family and I can visit!

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The Very Best of New Jersey


The Very Best of New Jersey

Yes, you read that title correct.  This post is all about the very best of New Jersey.  I know many of you will scoff at that. New Jersey has long been the butt of jokes in this country.  Those yahoos on “Jersey Shore” didn’t help matters. I’m here to tell you that New Jersey is more than loud Italtians in wife beaters and big hair.

I have lived in New Jersey all of my life. I grew up in the shadow of the capitol, Trenton and currently live near the Pine Barrens. I love my state and really wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.  But, I’m aware that New Jersey isn’t your first thought when planning a vacation.

I get it, really. All you ever hear about are the bad parts of this state.  But, New Jersey has so much to offer. Let me show you.

  • The Shore

The Shore. The Beach. Whatever you call it, New Jersey has 141 miles of it.  I’m going to tell you my favorite beach in the state. But, first, there are some things you need to know when visiting the Shore.

  1. Most towns require you to purchase a beach tag to use their beaches. These range in price, but usually are around $5-$10/day per adult. Children are usually free, but I advise you to check before you go.  The tags can be purchased at the entrance to the beach or on the boardwalk. If you are caught without a tag, there is a fine of a few hundred dollars. So, just get a beach tag. It helps keep our beaches clean. Beach tags are not needed in the off season (before Memorial Day or after Labor Day).
  2. Parking is hard to find.  If you are going for the day, you will either have to hunt for a metered parking spot or pay a premium to park in a lot.  If I know I’m going to be there for more than a couple hours, I will splurge for the parking lot. FYI, off season (before Memorial Day or after Labor Day) you can usually find free street parking.
  3. The seagulls are quite aggressive and will steal food from your hands.  You’ve been warned.

Ocean City is my absolute favorite beach town.  It is perfect for families with small children. There is a large Boardwalk with rides, mini golf, and arcades. There are lots of great restaurants.  The beach is beautiful and clean, and beach tags aren’t too expensive.

One caveat, Ocean City is a dry town.  You can not purchase alcohol anywhere in town. But, don’t worry there are liquor stores strategically located on either end of the island, just over the town line. However, because it is a dry town, you don’t have the loud, obnoxious tourists like you do in other beach towns. Ocean City is not a party town.  It is a family destination.

So, grab some Jilly Fries, a Kohr’s ice cream cone, and settle down for a relaxing day at the beach.

  • Amusement Parks

For a small state, NJ has a lot of great Amusement Parks.  Not only does every boardwalk have rides and attractions, but we also have theme parks for every age group.

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By Storybook Land –, FAL,

Storybook Land is the best place to take toddlers and preschoolers for a day of fun. The park is celebrating its 60th year and it easy to see why it has been in business for so long.  The park is clean and never too crowded (except during holidays and special events). There is plenty of shade and cool down areas.  And, the theming is charming and nostalgic. The park looks very much like it did when it opened back 60 years ago.

I’ve been taking my son here since he was a little over a year old. Even at that young age, he could go on just about every ride.  There aren’t any big rollercoasters or thrill rides here. The scariest ride they have is the little caterpillar kiddie coaster. Everything else is perfect for the littlest rider.  

Parking is free and you can bring your own food and drinks if you don’t want to eat the park food.  Like all amusement parks in NJ, they are open from Spring to Fall, though hours are limited to weekends during non-summer months.

If you have a truck lover between the ages for 3 and 10, Diggerland USA is a must.  My 4yo and I visited fort he first time recently and he loved it. I’m glad I got a membership because we are going to be there a lot.

Diggerland USA has a very simple theme, trucks.  Construction trucks to be exact. And, lots of them.  Every ride features some sort of truck or moving vehicle. There are trucks that you child can drive (they may have to sit in your lap to do it, but it doesn’t hinder the fun).  There are trucks they can dig with (diggers, duh). They even have a truck themed carousel.

We spent 4 hours there and my son was planning his next visit before we even left the parking lot.  Confession, this place is really just for the truck lovers. It is definitely not someplace I would choose to go if I didn’t have a little boy.

Parking is free, but you can’t bring outside food into the park.  There also is no shade anywhere in this park. And, since most of the rides require kids under 48” to be lap riders, single parents of multiple children will want to bring a friend or family member to help out.

The king of the theme parks in NJ is Great Adventure. Perfect for older kids, teens, and adults, GA (as we locals call it.  Or maybe is was just my friends) has lots of thrills and entertainment. Not only does Six Flags have some of the best rides in the world, it also features a Safari and water park.

I must confess that I have not been to Great Adventure in years. I’m not a fan of big coasters and thrill rides in general.  Plus, my son really isn’t old enough for those types of rides, yet. However, I spent a lot of time in this park as a kid and I know a lot of people who still love it.  It needs to be on the list of anyone who loves amusement parks.

Park is not free and cost about $25 at the time this post was written. Food is available throughout the park but you may not bring in outside food.

Great Adventure is a little like Disney, you want to do some research before you visit so you can get the most out of your day.

These are just a few things that New Jersey has to offer.  For more info, check out VisitNJ.

About the Author:

Pamela Thompson
I am a Stay-at-home Boymom and blogger at I love to share activities, crafts, recipes, reviews, as well as, my personal experiences as a mom.
You can find me at


Pamela thank you for sharing New Jersey with us! I really want to visit The Shore sometime and Six Flags! I bet my two nephews would love that Diggerland! Super excited to share it with my sister!

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The Very Best of Massachusetts

A Vacation In Massachusetts

Having lived in MA my entire life, I know a few places that you should see if you ever make the trip out here.  Depending on what you like, we have something for everyone! We have all four seasons, although it feels as though we just have a short summer and long winter, so depending on what your tastes are make sure to travel during the right season!  I personally live for the summer! I love being outside and enjoying the sun.

Ok so if you are like me and love the summer you want to head out this way during June, July, or August.  The city of Boston is beautiful in the summer. Be careful when booking your hotel as you get what you pay for in the city (which usually means if the price seems cheap, the place is too).  We have used Groupon a couple of times in order to save money on hotels and it really does get you some great deals. We stayed at the Constitution Inn, which is down by the Wharf.  Parking is in a garage down the street.  The area is beautiful to walk around. You will be close to the harbor walk and the freedom trail.  


The harbor walk is relatively new and follows around the water throughout the wharf and all of the wonderful buildings.  There are benches along the way so you can sit and have lunch or just relax. There are a few parks for the kids too. There is also a really good spot to sit and watch the planes landing at Logan.

One of our favorite places to walk around is Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.  There are street vendors and entertainers around on the nice days so there is always a crowd.  There are so many different foods to try in the market and plenty restaurants nearby if the market seems to crowded.  There is also shopping. The subway is nearby as well so it is easy to get to. Keep in mind that Boston is definitely a walk-able city with a great public transit system.  You won’t need that rental car until you are ready to head out of the city.

If you are into beer, we have the Sam Adams Brewery.  They show you how the brew the many different beers they offer and walk you through the entire process.  I personally have never been but I feel like I have since EVERYONE goes and talks about it! It is definitely on my to-do list.  We also have Boston Beer Works, which I have been to, and this place is great!  I love getting flights because I can try all the different beers.

Make sure you check out what shows are in town when you are because the Orpheum Theatre and the Wang Theatre are great places to see a wonderful performance.  The theatre district can be very pretty at night so make sure you walk around and check out the scenery too.  Make sure you take a trip to Fenway Park when you are here.  Catch a game or even just a tour as it is one of the oldest baseball stadiums still standing.  This park has been there since opening day April 20,1912. Once you have had your fill of the city, go get that rental car because now you are off!

Your next stop should be down on Cape Cod.  They have the best seafood! The beaches are awesome and you can see so much wildlife.  We have stayed down the cape a couple of different times and the place we would go back to is Hyannis.  We stayed at the Heritage House Hotel.  This place was close to everything!  The hotel is affordable, so not the Ritz, but was clean, the staff was friendly, and we enjoyed the indoor pool and Jacuzzi a lot!  It is also in downtown Hyannis so you are close to the beach, mini-golf, restaurants, and a lot of history.

Make sure you walk around and check out the scenery.  There are museums close by like the John F Kennedy Museum.   This walks you through his life with over 80 photos.  There is also a multimedia exhibit that shows you how JFK spent his time down the cape.  There is the harbor where you can look at the boats or take a cruise. The spot we love to eat is by the water is Spanky’s Clam Shack. There is a great area to sit outside and enjoy the great weather and seafood.

Once you have enjoyed the weather and water down the Cape you should head north to go and check out the suburbs.  The county I live in has some great things to offer. Check out the Radisson in Chelmsford as it is just north of Burlington (shopping and restaurants) and just south of Nashua NH which has tax free shopping.  It is clean and affordable and has a great pool. It is also not too far from our favorite hiking spot, Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle.  The trails are all clearly marked so you know where you are on the map at all times.  The park allows dogs and horses so pay attention to where you step!

There are many loops of trail with all different distances.  We know the ones that we travel by heart.  We like the trails that loop off of the main trail of Pine Point Loop.   There is a pond in the middle and there are many different bridges and walks that go over the water.  If you are in it for the long hall, take Trophet loop and Heartbreak Ridge, which ends up close to 5 miles by the time you are done.  

Once you are back near the parking lot, go have some ice cream to cool down at their farm.  The cows are all there and the ice cream is to die for! The kids can feed the animals too.  My son loves that!  


Also if you come this way in the winter they have paths marked for skiing and snowshoeing.  We go hiking almost every weekend once the weather is good. Our other spot is Ward Reservation in Andover MA.  This is also not too far from Chelmsford.  The big hike up to Boston Hill is so worth it!  At the top you can see the skyline of the city and it is amazing.  

If you like the beach and the outdoors another place to go check out is Salsbury Beach State Reservation.  You can go for just the day to the beach or go camping at the family campground there.  The water is cold just to warn you! Even on the hottest day that water is freezing! But the beach air is amazing and the kids will have a blast playing.  It is a great way to kick back and relax. We spend a week at the beach every year.


There is also a great park to go hiking and look at the river boats, Maudslay State Park.  The trails here are not as clearly marked as they are in Carlisle but we still enjoyed the scenery.  There is also the Ghost Trail that is in Salisbury, which is a cool walk.  This trail got its name for the “Ghost” trains that transported wooden carriages that were covered with white canvas shrouds, from Amesbury through Salisbury.  There are plenty of signs that explain the history and tell the story of a great train robbery in Salisbury. There is also the Eastern Marsh Trail that offers views of the Merrimack river and a great nature walk.


Now if you want to travel this way in the winter, I suggest heading out to the Berkshires.   Aside from traveling further north to NH and Maine, this is the place for skiing.   If you come before the snow flies the foliage out that way is gorgeous. If you come once the snow is here, get ready to hit the trails.  Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort or The Ponds at Foxhollow are the places you will want to stay.  You may pay a bit more at these resorts but the amenities make it worth it.  If you are a member of a vacation club or have a timeshare somewhere, they do have those resorts in the Berkshires as well so you may be able to trade your week and get a really good deal.

If you are a football fan, make sure you take a trip to Foxborough before you head home so you can check out Patriot Place and maybe catch a game!  During the summer there are concerts and in the winter FOOTBALL!!!!  The games are a lot of fun. If you don’t want to see a game or we don’t have one happening when you are here don’t worry, going to Patriot place will be a ton of fun too.


Another beautiful thing about coming to Mass is that you are so close to NH, VT, and ME.  Make sure you check out the other posts about those states as you can probably take an extended vacation and see everything that New England has to offer!

Quick Bio


Hey guys!  I’m Joanie.  I am happily married with one son of my own and 3 wonderful stepchildren.  We also have a dog and a cat, which makes for one crazy household! I love traveling and seeing the world!  My husband was never big on traveling until we got together and now he comes along with me for the ride!

We have been blessed to have family who will take the young one so we can travel as a couple and we also take family vacations.  We currently still live in the house I grew up in in Billerica MA. We are in the process of relocating to the west coast in San Diego!  We went there, I fell in love, we took the boy and he fell in love too so another great adventure here we come!

I recently started blogging and so far loving every minute of it!  I have met some wonderful people, like Jess who put this thing together, and have become a part of a wonderful community.  My blog can be found over at and as you can guess from the name, it’s all about being a mom and juggling everything in life.  Please check it out and follow me on social media. My links are below. Thanks for checking this out and hope you check out MA soon!


Joanie thank you so much for writing about Massachusetts! I hope to visit someday! It will have to be in the Summer time though! I love the summer too!

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The Very Best of Florida

Why I Became an Instant Floridian

(after relocating from the Midwest)

Oooo, another exciting assignment from Jessica. This time, I get to share about the state I currently reside in- Florida.  

I’m not from here.  I grew up in the New England state of Connecticut. And then, after college, I lived in the Midwestern state of Ohio for some time.  Ohio, also known as the Buckeye State, is where a lot of my extended family live. It’s where I still have a lot of friends, where I met and married my husband, and where my son was born.

But Florida is where I am now, and hopefully where I will stay. I love it here.

Having been here for four years, or most of my son’s elementary school career, I pretty much consider myself a local now.  So, why do I love this state so much?

Vacation Destination

Let’s face it- I live where pretty much everyone else wants to go for vacation.

Florida is the number one vacation destination in the world, and Families flock here from all over the globe.  This is in part thanks to Universal and Walt Disney World. But we are also the home to the Kennedy Space Center, Lego Land, South Beach, Busch Gardens, and Key West.

Oh, and did you by chance hear about our beaches? Clearwater Beach is continuously rated as one of the top ten in the World, and that’s just one of them. There’s also St Pete Beach, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Amelia Island, Panama City, and because it’s more than just a hot spot for nightlife, South Beach.

Tampa has Bayshore Boulevard. It’s the longest connected sidewalk in the world (4 & 1/2 miles) and has its own Wikepedia page.

Sporting Events

With no less than three major tv markets (Miami, Tampa and Orlando), and one decent midsize one (Jacksonville), we have no shortage of professional sports here.  

In Tampa alone, we have the Lightning (NHL), the Buccaneers (NFL), and the Rays (MLB). An hour’s drive to Orlando, and you’ve got the Magic (NBA). We’re also home to spring training to many other major league baseball teams (Yankees, Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays), and several minor league teams.


Tampa is also host to two College Football Bowl games a year (Gasparilla and Outback), and frequently hosts the College Football Championship game. We’re also getting ready to host the Super Bowl again in 2021.

Is Auto racing your thing? Tampa hosts the St. Petersburg Grand Prix every year, and we are only a few hours away from the Daytona 500 and Sebring.

Regular Family Life

I’m a working Mom, so my life involves a lot more than beaches and sporting events. Actually, one of the main reasons we moved down here to Florida was because of a job opportunity. Tampa, Orlando, and Miami are all bustling metros, with lots of different industries.  Finance, Construction, Medical, Education are just some of the areas you can find lots of open positions in, on top of all the work available in hospitality.

Florida is also a good place to raise a family. One of the reasons I specifically like Tampa is that it feels a lot like the Midwest to me (not weather-wise of course). It probably has a little to do with the fact that there’s a lot of transplants from the Midwest here, but it’s just a friendly place to live.


And we have a lot of the family-oriented things that you would want in your city, such as Scouts, a vibrant YMCA, great parent-teacher organizations, and lots of parks.

The Downsides

If you ever want to move to Florida, there are some things you should probably know. First, it’s hot and humid during the extra-long summer, and the Mosquitos are relentless year-round.   

Traffic is insane no matter which one of our major cities that you live close to.  There are never any shortcuts, and everything is a toll road. If you’re lucky enough to live near water, like we are, your rush hour commute may have the extra bonus of needing to cross the only bridge that can get you and everyone else to where you’re going.  

There are no income taxes in Florida, yay!  So, they make up for it in everything else, Nooo!

License plate renewal fees, sales taxes, property taxes, they get you everywhere. Which is probably part of the reason why the cost of living is a little higher here than in the Midwest.   

Oh, and we also have hurricanes and alligators.  And did I mention the &%#@ mosquitos.

I love it here

Yes, we have bugs, but here are some things we don’t have- snow, ice, sleet, slush, polar vortexes, short summers, freezing winters.

We have jobs, sports, beaches, amusement parks.

And we have water.  As I get stuck on the bridge in rush hour traffic, I stare off into the big, beautiful Tampa Bay waters, and all of my troubles just seem to float away.

I realize how lucky I am to live here. I may be from New England, and maybe turned into a little bit of a midwestern girl during my time in Ohio. But I’m in Florida now, and I love it here.

About the Author:


Candace is a working Mom. She’s learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work. Sometimes the hard way. Both she and her husband work full time, while raising a relatively normal, if not rambunctious young boy.  It’s tough being a working Mom, but she gets it done


Thank you so much for telling us about Florida! I hope to someday live there as well!

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The Very Best Of The US

Hello everyone! Starting tomorrow night we start my guest post series of “The Very Best of the US.” Each day I will have a guest blogger posting about a different state. You will learn what they feel like is the best of their state and what they would recommend you to do in their state. Each post will go live every day at 7pm CST.

All of my guest bloggers and myself are looking forward to this series and we hope that you will want to visit the states soon! Please share with us which state you are looking foward to hearing about?

I do still have some states that I do not have bloggers for and would greatly appreciate a re-blog, tweet, share anything you can do to help me find someone to blog from the states that I do not have someone for.










New Mexico

South Carolina

South Dakota



Thank you for reading and leave a comment below with which state you are looking forward to hearing about!

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Mystery Blogger Award


I am so honored and thankful that Beth nominated me! Be sure to check out her blog! Finding the Road to Simple is the name of her blog and you will not be disappointed she is AMAZING! I have enjoyed getting to know Beth through blogs and social media! She makes me feel like I have a friend that I have never met, but if we did we would talk non-stop!

The “Mystery Blogger Award” is an award for amazing bloggers with ingenious posts. Their blog not only captivates; it inspires and motivates. They are one of the best out there, and they deserve every recognition they get. This award is also for bloggers who find fun and inspiration in blogging; and they do it with so much love and passion.
– Okoto Enigma, creator

RULES from Okoto’s site:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog

  2. List the rules.

  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.

  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well

  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself

  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people

  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog

  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)

  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

Three things about me:

  1. I was only 2lb and 5oz as a baby. I had to stay in the hospital over a month before I was able to go home with my mom and dad.
  2. I am afraid of snakes and spiders, but I want to swim with the sharks… maybe.
    fish aquarium thailand royalty free
    Photo by Public Domain Pictures on
  3. My favorite soda is Dr. Pepper!

Questions from Beth:

  1. Why do you enjoy blogging? I enjoy thinking outside of the box and doing something for me and only me. I did this blog just to get thoughts off of my chest sometimes and I have thought about writing  a book. I figured if I want to write a book I should practice writing on a blog and go from there.
  2. What is your favorite way to spend a lazy weekend? One of my favorite things to do is binge watch TV series either on Netflix or hulu. I have watched a lot. I wonder if people would be interested in TV show reviews… hmm. Might post some and see if I get any interaction.
    closeup photo of person holding panasonic remote control in front of turned on smart television
    Photo by on
  3. What is the craziest thing you’ve done? Skip school when I was a teenager? Walked out of a job? umm I am not sure if I have done anything crazy crazy, but I can be crazy sometimes!
  4. Can you keep a secret? Yes, but I will most likely end up telling my husband. I can barley keep presents a secret from him.

    black and white black and white depressed depression
    Photo by Kat Jayne on
  5. What movie could you watch over and over again? Twilight movies.

    white popcorns inside of a red and white popcorn box
    Photo by Pixabay on

I think my best post is:

My nominations are:






Ann Marie






My questions for nominations:

  1. If you could be an animal for a day what would you be and why?
  2. What keeps you motivated?
  3. What kind of hobbies/actives do you enjoy the most?
  4. If you could move anywhere in the world where would you move to and why?
  5. What is your favorite App you use and what is your most used App?

Thank you for reading and enjoying!


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Graze Box Review

Have you heard of Influenster?  Well I don’t remember where I heard about it, but I downloaded the App and then I got an email saying that I could get a FREE Graze box, so here it is! My first one EVER! I was super excited to try it out for the first time! The box itself is cute. When you open it up each snack has its own spot! Then on the inside it has a foldable brochure on why you would love Graze. 

Plus a Get your 1st and 8th Graze box FREE coupon code… I have 4 so the shoot me an email ( and I will give it to the first 4 that send an email.

I tried each of the four snacks! The first one was coca and vanilla protein flapjack and it was okay. I will eat all of it, but I don’t think I would purchase that one because it was not one of my favorites. It left a bad flavor in my mouth.

The second one I tried was vitamin E defense a good source of vitamin E to help protect our cells from stress. It has hazelnut, peanut, cranberry and raisins. It was a good mixture to have in all together and I would eat it again.

The third one I tried was natural vanilla seeds it had vanilla pumpkin and sunflower seeds. It was an interesting taste, but good. This one is my second favorite because I love sunflower seeds! Adding the vanilla pumpkin to it made it made it taste just a little bit different, so it had an extra flavor.

The last one I had was my favorite! Luckily the box isn’t too big because I would buy it in bulk if they had it! It was cinnamon pretzel; it has pretzels and cinnamon honey almonds in it. It was yummy in my tummy! Lets just say this one did not last long, both my husband and I snacked on it and now it is gone!

I did enjoy trying each of these and look forward to my next box. They packages are small so it is a good grab and go snack. You could eat it right after school before dinner, on a car ride to a sporting event, take it with you in your lunch. The best part is… is that you don’t have too much and its healthier than what you would grab at the gas station!

Want to know more about Graze, click here.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget if you want a code email me! (I will update this when I am out of codes!)


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12 Things

Judy has asked us to answer some questions for her! If you would like to join please visit her blog at LifeLessons.

I can’t wait to read your answers!

Who in your opinion is the sexiest man (if you are a woman) or woman (if you are a man) who ever lived? 

Have you seen Justin Timberlake dance?! He would be my sexiest man alive!

What favorite food do you rarely eat and why? 

Seafood or Sushi because its expensive and I don’t know how to cook it correctly. I do not want to mess it up and make it all go to waste, so I have to eat out.

tilt shift photography of maki
Photo by Skitterphoto on

What would your closest friends be most surprised to find out about you?

I have depression and anxiety to the point that I take medication, but I think that she know’s that already. I am pretty sure she know’s it already, but I want others to know that it is okay to take medication for that! I am now the best person I can be.

Who is the most famous person you ever met and what were the circumstances?

I have never met a famous person. I hope to met some awesome Hockey players in the near future. I think I would just so super nervous though my heart my beat though my chest!

What famous person would you most like to have as a close friend and why?

Any comedian. Why because life would be so funny then!

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Photo by Sara Wether on

What is your biggest regret in life?

I do not have any regret in my life. I feel like I am who I am today because of everything I have gone through in my life.

What is the strangest pet you ever had?

Does a guinea pig count? It was my sisters. I did nothing with it. I only have had cats, dogs and birds and I don’t think any of those are strange. OH wait, maybe hermit crabs we got them in Florida for my son. Which would you consider strangest? Hermit crabs or Guinea pig?

What is the item of clothing you have owned for the longest period of time?

JEANS! I love jeans! You can never have enough jeans!

What object in your house holds the most nostalgic value for you?

Photos! I love all the photo’s that we have taken of our family! We have them hung everywhere in our home.

What question do you wish you had asked a deceased relative but didn’t?

I wish I would have asked my grandpa more about his childhood just to know.

Who in the world (relative or not) do you most resemble? 

My mom! img_2247

What is your favorite footwear and why?

Tennis shoes because they are so comfortable!

Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to see your answers! 

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The Road Back Book Review and Giveaway


What the book is about:

It has been a year since Karina Hawkins learned her husband had been killed in the line of duty. Now as she does her best to raise their young twin daughters alone, Karina decides to return to work in another attempt to rebuild her broken life. But when she arrives at a tech company to begin her new role as general counsel, she has no idea what awaits her inside.

Sawyer Banks has never forgotten Karina. Although he is a man with few regrets, losing the love of his life is one of them. Now that Karina is available and he is her new boss, he has every intention of getting her back and he is not stopping until she is his again. Although their chemistry is undeniably delicious, Karina is uncertain if they can overcome the hurt and secrets between them. But when a threat from her past returns and places her family in danger, Sawyer must prove if he is strong enough to stand by her and not abandon her once again.

In this erotic romance, a widow passionately reconnects with her soul mate just as her past comes back to haunt her, leaving them both to wonder if their relationship will survive.

My Recommendation:

I enjoyed this book so much! It was happy, sad, super sad, hot, steamy, interesting and sexy! Pretty much everything I love in a book! I could read this book and imagine it happening, maybe someday it could be a movie! I highly recommend reading this book! I didn’t want to put the book down. I need and wanted to know what was going to happen next. It kept me interested and excited to see how it ended. I needed and wanted a good happy ending. There are some major twist in the book that I did not see coming and that was also part of the fun of reading. Each character in the book I felt like I knew and I can’t wait to read the next book that Marla is sending me.

About the Author:


I was born in New York City in 1977 to Cuban exile parents. I’m an only child so I’ve been reading for a long time, I read my first romance novel at the age 14 and never looked back. At first they were historical and later progressed to contemporary novels.  I have a daughter, a husband and a dog named Zeus and we live in Western North Carolina.


Marla gave me this book to do a review and because I love it so much and want others to read the book as well. I am going to do a giveaway! You heard that right.. A GIVEAWAY! All you have to do is comment on this post to be entered. Also, if you share it I will put your name down twice! So you will get two chances of winning this book!

If you cannot wait to read this book you can find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo.

Thank you so much for reading.


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