Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Get Fit this Fall with Groupon Things To Do


** This is a sponsored post for a company I know, use myself, and luv.  As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own!

Unfortunately, as summer comes to an end, so does much of our outdoor fitness; going for a run along the boardwalk, kayaking on the lake, or biking to the beach becomes a bit more challenging for many folks across the country.  NOW is the perfect time to find your best, most convenient, and amazingly affordable alternative.  Enter Groupon Things To Do!

I found my gym on Groupon!
Don't lose your hard-earned health and fitness gains this fall- find a gym, personal trainer, yoga studio, Zumba class, or CrossFit center right in your own neighborhood.  Studies prove that exercise that is convenient and easy-to-use is most likely to be repeated.  Add in affordable, and you have your recipe for fitness success.  (For instance, at the gym I joined last week, a one-month membership normally costs $150.  The Groupon rate for that same month is only $19!) 


Top PT Tip:
Going on vacation and don't want to lose your motivation or momentum?  Research Groupon Things To Do deals for the city you plan to travel to.  You may find the perfect opportunity to try a new fitness vehicle (body boot camp anyone?) at a can't-be-beat price.  Never lose a step while on vacation!!  We visit my son in Washington D.C. often; the Groupon selections there are vast. Kickboxing seems to be quite popular in our nation's Capitol.

Kayaks for rent on Long Island.
Of course, Groupon also offers substantial discounts for everything from jewelry to electronics, clothing to hotel stays.  (And if you are tempted to give back some of those fitness gains, everything from wine tasting to a meal at your local steakhouse is also offered!  Not to tempt you, but many of our favorite high-end restaurants are also on the site...)

Groupon Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Groupon.US/?brand_redir=526662987435979

Groupon Twitter:  https://twitter.com/groupon


Monday, September 12, 2016

New Global Marketplaces at 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival


Welcome to this month's Blogorail Green Loop. Today we are taking a closer look booths at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.



A longer than ever- September 14, 2016, through November 14, 2016- event, this year's Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is about to kick-off its 21st season.  For the very first time, the festival will move outside of Epcot into the on-property resorts.  (For instance, I sure wish I could get to Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam's Grog Grotto!)  Once again, Future World will host many of the newer booths.

New Global Marketplaces for 2016:

-   The CHEW Collective
Inspired by ABC's The Chew, last year's Chew Lab and Sustainable Chew have returned with a new name and new menu:
Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots, and Feta Cheese
Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce (Returning from Sustainable Chew's menu.)
Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle
Festival Chardonnay
Festival Cabernet Sauvignon

-   Wine & Dine Studios
California-inspired, this booth has overtones of Disney California Adventure for me!
Seared Scallop, Truffled Celery Root Puree, Brussel Sprouts, & Wild Mushrooms
Pork Tenderloin with Cannellini Bean Ragout & Zinfandel Reduction
Trio of Artisan Cheese
Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese
Round Pond Estate Sauvignon Blanc
Kurt Russel's GoGi "Goldie" Chardonnay  (Isn't that adorable??)
Vinum Cellars Pinot Noir
Robert Mondavi Winery Maestro Red Blend
Conundrum White Blend 20th Anniversary
Michael David Winery Seven Deadly Zins Zinfandel!

-   Chocolate Studio

Come to mama!
Red Wine Chocolate Truffle
Ghiradelli Chocolate Rasberry Torte
Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey Caramel (Returning from Chew Lab.)
Fonsesca Bin No. 27 Port
Justin Cabernet Sauvignon
Rosa Regale Sweet Sparkling Wine
Blandy's Alvada 5yr-Old Madiera

-   Greenhouse Guru hosted by Village Farms

Another healthy and fresh option folks!  (Sustainable and eco-friendly food, as well.)
Chilled Tomato Gazpacho with Lump Crab Meat
Duck Confit with Creamy Polenta and Fire-roasted Salsa
Heirloom Tomato Salad with Goat Cheese, Aged Balsamic Vinegar, and Micro-Basil
Mini San Marzano Tomatoes  (Buy a bag and eat them instead of candy!)
Chateau Ste. Michelle Cold Creek Vineyard Riesling
Acrobat Pinot Noir

-   Islands of the Caribbean 

Some delectables from 2015- Frozen Dominican Pina Colada and returning Pescado con Coco.
Last year's Dominican Republic Marketplace was one of my favorites; the menu, atmosphere, and eating areas were, in my mind, the best of 2015.  SO, I am hoping this "new" area will be more of the same.  (If only they were bringing back that Frozen Dominican Pina Colada!!!)
Pescado con Coco: Seared Grouper, Pigeon Peas, and Rice with Coconut Sauce  (Delicious.  Again!)
Jamaican Beef Patty
Mojo Pork with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Pickled Red Onions
Quesito: Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce  (Looks like a HIT!)
Presidente Pilsner
Frozen Mojito  (A variation of an old festival favorite.)
Caribbean Sangria

New Menu Items From Your Old Favorites:

-  China                       Sichuan Spicy Chicken
-  Farm Fresh              Chicken and Dumplings
-  France                      Gruyere and Cognac Onion Soup
-  Greece                      Vegan Loaded Greek "Nachos"
-  Hawai'i                     Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine
-  Hops & Barley         Smoked Beef Brisket and Pimento Cheese served on Griddled Garlic Toast


Pull up to a virtual bar table along World Showcase Lagoon and join me.  May I ask, what is your must-eat favorite at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival??

 

For more about the Food & Wine Festival, check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Green | Around the World | Food & Wine Booths Loop:

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Three Reasons Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular Will Keep You Spellbound


The Sanderson Sisters are back in the living world.  Walt Disney World, that is!  Now 23 years since they last returned to frolick with mortals, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular remains the ghostly belle of the Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party ball.  I was fortunate to have seen this castle show's debut last September and I will tell you, I was bewitched!  Here are three reasons you cannot miss the antics of these three enchantresses:


1.  Dance and music

I've seen my share of shows on the Castle Forecourt Stage at Magic Kingdom park; some have been toe-tappers, others have had pleasing scores.  I thought the musical performances ("Come Little Children", "I Put a Spell on You", "Friends on the Other Side", "Oogie Boogie's Song") and choreography executed by the cast of ghastly ghouls were unrivaled.  The parts of the sisters, Winifred, Mary, and Sarah, were expertly cast and stayed true to the original Hocus Pocus film characters. Such phantasmal talent!


2.  Stagecraft

The special spectral effects of Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular really are, well, spellbinding.  The set, complete with lighted jack-o'-lantern, graveyard gates, and a simmering cauldron, is backlit by "spelltacular" visual projections on Cinderella Castle. These elements, combined with the fireworks finale, reminded me of the drama and impact of HalloWishes!


3.  Plot

"I smell children..."  This Castle stage show has a real story that evolves and captures your attention.


Sarah calls sings the children to come to her "garden of magic."


To the cauldron for the spell- a Hocus Pocus Party Potion is in the mix!


This spell requires sinister shadows from longtime Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party favorite, Dr. Facilier.  (AKA as "The Shadow Man.")


Next component: nefarious nightmares from Oogie Boogie, the archenemy from The Nightmare Before Christmas.


Plus the "power of frightful friends"!  Enter Maleficent, Evil Queen, Hades, Cruella DeVille, Captain Hook, Jafar, and Lady Tremaine.  The hair of an innocent makes the formula complete.


SPELLTACULAR!!


This twenty-two minutes of naughty frivolity is another not-to-be-missed during this special ticket event.  In fact, we found it so difficult to do everything Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party had to offer (and we didn't touch the attractions!) that a second or third night would have been needed to participate in all of the phantom fun.

Check HERE for party dates and HERE for Hocus Pocus DisneyBounding inspirations!




Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Snaps to Disney Social Media Celebration On-The-Road New York City


This year's Disney Social Media Celebration On-The-Road New York City brought highlights of #AwakenSummer, a big anniversary for Disney Parks Blog Jenn Fickley-Baker, Pinterest strategies galore, blogging success with your kids, and... good golly, Snapchat. Say what?!  As Parent Council President I spent five years crusading AGAINST this evil app; the ultimate tool for tween and teen bullying was a proven vehicle for sharing questionable video images that survived for ten seconds and then disappeared forever.  It cruelly left behind no evidence of its content.  I forbid my own boys from opening an account until college.  They eventually forgave me, but may not now.  Mama's got a Snapchat account.


On the morning of March 30, 2016, Disney Parks Social Media Director Leanne O'Regan opened the show for the fifth iteration of Disney Social Media Celebration On-The-Road.


I was anticipating Disney Parks Pixie Dust and insight into social media mechanics.  I was NOT prepared for this:

In 2014, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort added Snapchat accounts to their social media storytelling.  Impressed by the level of user creativity (we all know that the Disney brand and creativity go together, hand in four-fingered-glove), Disney Parks promoted their accounts during the Rock Your Disney Side 24-hour event.  Success!  Text, drawings, and filters enhanced and personalized their Disney Parks experience.  Now, with the addition of  Geofilters (location-specific overlays), Guests can locate and create their own unique "postcards" throughout the parks.  Sounds like a magical treasure hunt to me!  (Pokemon, be darned.)

Snaps to my friend Lisa at Home is Where the Mouse Is for this photo!
If it was good enough for Walt...  I set up my account.  Yes, it's yet another social media channel, but one that isn't designed for comments, likes, or shares.  Well isn't that liberating?!  With the addition of Snapchat "Stories," users can preserve their images and video for 24-hours; more my speed.  At approximately 8 BILLION video views per day, it would be foolish not to give it a stab.  If it builds community, I'm in.  (Don't worry my sons, I will not be intruding on your Snapchat space.)

Thanks again Lisa!
Join me on Snapchat @DIStherapy and watch me (attempt) to share Walt Disney World Resort with you on September 15th!!


As always, I send my heartfelt gratitude to Leanne, Jenn, and the entire Disney Parks team.  You make the big boss proud!

**  I received magical invitations to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration "On-The-Road" events and was admitted free of charge.  This magical re-creation comes purely from the heart!