Monday, February 24, 2014

Guest article featuring Kendra Thornton: Favorite places to travel!

Hey guys! I'm so excited to be posting this "favorite places to travel" themed article! If you read my last post, then you know that I teamed up to guest write with an expert in the travel industry. Kendra Thornton and I have both written articles about our favorite places to travel. Both of the articles are below. I hope you enjoy them, and be sure to check out Kendra's website for some great travel advice! 

Happy Reading!!
Chattanooga, TN: Fun-filled Family Getaway

Last May, my family and I were considering different places to vacation to for a quick, weekend getaway. After researching our options, we finally settled on Chattanooga, TN. Chattanooga offered some of the best indoor attractions coupled with exciting and scenic outdoor adventures. Chattanooga also has a rich history that makes downtown the place to be! Below is a list of just a few of the things that make Chattanooga the best choice for your next family vacation!

Chattanooga Aquarium- This was definitely one of the best highlights from our trip to Chattanooga. The aquarium showcases all kinds of aquatic animals from sharks to alligators to penguins. It even features an IMAX theater along with a riverboat available for tours. There is sure to be something that will thrill every person in your family. The aquarium is a very popular tourist and local hotspot, so definitely be conscious of allowing enough time to explore every part of the aquarium when you plan your visit!
Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel- This hotel has been one my favorite hotels that I have ever stayed. It is a hotel that used to be a real, working train terminal. There are so many great aspects to this hotel that you could take a good chunk of your day just to explore the grounds. It has everything from pools to gardens to shops and restaurants all on-site. One of the best parts is that you can actually reserve a renovated train car as your hotel room! The location of this hotel is hard to beat as well. It is in downtown and has a shuttle bus stop right outside of the hotel. (TheFREE shuttle bus gives you access to all of downtown including museums and the aquarium. And you can bring your stroller aboard!)
Area museums- I love getting to visit a museum in a new city, and Chattanooga has plenty to choose from. There is a Creative Discovery Museum that is a great place to let the kids get some energy out. There are also multiple museums that offer the adults a little time to appreciate an impressive array of art and history. And there is even a whole museum dedicated to vehicle towing and recovery! All you have to do is decide if you are in a fun, silly mood or a more serious, contemplative one. Either way, there is a museum for you!
Outdoors adventures- One of the absolute best parts of Chattanooga are the amazing outdoors activities that you can participate in. Rock City Gardens offers an exciting  and beautiful nature walk that leads you to Lookout Mountain, which is where you will truly be in awe of the 7-state view it gives you. Don’t worry if you aren’t in excellent shape, though because the walk is easy enough for anyone to be able to conquer. But do wear tennis shoes! Those paths can get slippery with all of the natural waterfalls. Once you have had your fill of climbing up the mountains, it’s time to go way down below. Ruby Falls was my daughter’s absolute favorite part of the whole trip. Ruby Falls is a natural waterfall that is 1,120 ft. below the surface. You get to take an elevator ride that lasts about 30seconds down to the beginning of the trail that leads through the mountain and ends at the waterfall. Along with the colorful lightshow that shines on the waterfall, it is a breathtaking sight. Your tour guide will also give you a brief history lesson about the waterfall, which only serves to make the fact that you are viewing it that much more incredible.

I hope that this list of our favorite parts of Chattanooga has made you consider it for your next vacation. This list is in no way totally comprehensive of all there is to do in Chattanooga because there is just so much. So get on out there and make some new lifelong memories with your family in Chattanooga, TN!

--By Dani Mosley

Why Las Vegas is Still My Favorite Vacation Spot

I enjoy traveling to many different places, but Las Vegas is one of the few places I make it a point to visit at least once a year. It's a perfect getaway if you're looking for some fun and excitement, and the surrounding area offers lots of natural beauty. If you haven't been to Las Vegas lately, I invite you to check out my list of recommendations.

1. Interesting Museums in Las Vegas
One aspect of Las Vegas that I've always found charming is all of the oddball museums and exhibits you can find all over the place. For example, the Atomic Testing Museum on Flamingo Road has all kinds of collections and exhibits on the topic of nuclear weapons and testing. They even have lectures dedicated to the mysterious Area 51, the possible site of an alien spacecraft landing! If you have a fascination with old signs and advertising you shouldn't miss the Neon Museum, which is full of remnants from the city's fascinating past. You can take a photographic tour of the museum's "bone yard" and add to your collection of interesting photos.

2. A Unique Mini Golf Experience
My whole family loves mini golf, and one of our very favorite places to play is KISS By Monster Mini Golf. This unusual mini golf course pays tribute to the unique American rock band that became famous in the 1970s. There is nothing quite like this course, which has 18 holes of bizarre but thoroughly entertaining features, including animated replicas of the band members. It's a challenge to focus on your golf swing as you try to putt the ball into Gene Simmons' head! This is the perfect place to come if you're looking for a fun activity in between meals or before you hit a show or the casino.

3. Eat For Free -If You Can Finish It All
Man vs. Food on The Travel Channel is one of my family's favorite shows, and in Las Vegas there are several places that have created similar challenges for the public. The Texas 3-Pound Challenge at Bally's Tequila Bar gives you 30 minutes to put away a BBQ Bacon Cheese Burger with 12 strips of bacon. If you succeed, you eat for free but if you fail the effort will cost you $35! If you prefer a steak challenge, you can pit your appetite against the 120-ounce Ultimate Steak at the Monte Carlo's Brand Steakhouse. Don't forget your wallet for this one, for it will cost you $250 if you don't clean your plate!

4. Take a Mixology Class
Las Vegas is famous for its bars and clubs, and you can be sure that the city has some of the world's best bartenders. One fun activity I signed up for last time I was in town was a Mixology class at the Monte Carlo, so I could pick up a few drink mixing tricks of my own. This two-hour class is taught by the hotel's very knowledgeable Director of Beverages and includes a tasting. This is a popular class that is limited to four participants, so you should book in advance if you want to sign up for it. Now when I entertain at home, I can mix a few drinks just like the pros!

Las Vegas is one of those cities where it's almost impossible to get bored. There are so many things to see do and even places to stay. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, sites like Gogobot make it easy to plan your trip and read user reviews so you can be prepared to take on the city.
By Kendra Thornton

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Excited about new ventures!

Do you ever feel like you have so many amazing ideas but no clue how to execute any of them? Go on, you know you want to raise your hand. I have both of my hands waving wildly in the air right now. Well figuratively since I am typing--and also since I am in the middle of Barnes and Noble and would prefer not to get kicked out for being THAT person. But anyway, I digress. Hmmm...maybe my attention span is why my ideas seem to only stay in my head...Oh well, that's a problem for another day. ;)

I have been having the issue for quite a while now of making what I am passionate about into an actual profitable career. For those of you that don't know, my passion--aside from being Ella's mommy--is definitely my writing (and reading). This blog is currently my only release of this passion that anyone actually gets to read. I have two books that I am working on but haven't made as much progress as I would like. So right now the blog is definitely my main focus. Obviously, Ella is my entire world and that is why I love that I have been able to pair being her mommy with being a writer through this blog. This is all why I am so excited that I just got done writing my first guest-writer article! I can't post the article yet, but it is has been sent off for approval! Yay!! I was so surprised that a woman actually saw my blog and approached me to collaborate on an article about travel that she is doing. Not only is she just a travel expert, but she is extremely well-known in and out of her field. She has done multiple T.V. spots (including the morning shows and "Tyra Banks Show") and has her own travel agency. As soon as I know more about where the article will be posted I will definitely update you guys on where you can go to see it!

Another thing I am really excited about has come about recently from a new friend I have made through my mommies group. Sydni and I have a ton in common and have decided to start coordinating our own mommies group activities (although I still love the group I am currently in), and we are also looking into coordinating some fundraisers to raise awareness and money for excema. Her son suffers from a pretty severe case that landed him in the hospital dealing with some really painful and difficult things. Therefore, she is very passionate about it. And I am passionate about anything that helps out others, especially kids! A 3rd thing we are looking into is also doing some professional organizing on the side. She has an interior design degree so that is right up her ally. Now granted, my poli sci degree has nothing to do with that, but I'm going to make it work. LOL.

All of these things may not all happen immediately or some may have to get pushed to the side if it becomes too much of a task to take on, but I am just so happy to have things to focus my energy on outside of parenthood. And I am really thankful that Syndi is just as motivated as I am. Being lonely here in Birmingham has definitely been an issue lately, so I am glad that I am starting to meet people and make friends. I still wish I could have brought all of my friends to Birmingham with me, but sometimes even I can't get my way. :-D Don't tell KT I said that, though. He might try to use it against me the next time I convince him to bring me Starbucks home. ;)

Okay, seriously, please tell me that I am not the only one that has a mind full of ideas and a calendar that is completely empty of plans!!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hormones are a B***h

Seriously. Crazy hormones=crazy crying sessions convinced you are the worst mom ever. Well, they do for me at least. I suppose I should give a bit of the backstory here. First of all, I have the Nexplanon, which means my hormones haven't been right in over a year. Most days I can just control it better. Some days, like tonight, they send me over the edge.

It all started because Ella has a diaper rash. And KT believes that I left a potty diaper on her for too long and that caused the rash. He says that two days in a row, he woke up, and she had pottied and I had not yet changed it. Yes, this happened. I apparently didn't realize that I needed to check her diaper every 5 minutes to ensure that she didn't potty right before he woke up. Now keep in mind, he has been working overnights for a few days so he has actually been sleeping during the day and only has a couple hours a day to be able to spend with us. So this means that I take care of her pretty much all day everyday, which is usually no big deal. Not until tonight. I said she has a diaper rash and he responds that it is because I left two diapers on her too long (even though he has no idea how long either diaper was actually on her). Because I'm on crazy hormone schedule right now, I basically take this as him telling me I'm a terrible mother. Is this rational? No, not at all. Does he think I'm a bad mother? No. Am I bad mother? No. Is Ella well taken care of by both of her parents? Yes. Does all of this call me down?


Thus, I am crying while I lay in bed beside Ella as she sleeps because I'm convinced KT called me a bad mom. Thanks to my irrational, crazy, overly-dramatic hormones!

****I am not responsible for anything I post during this current state. Blame it on the hormones.****