Celebrate #GirlDay2018 + National #EngineersWeek with @American_Girl ! #EWeek2018 #Stem

Did you know that its National Engineers Week? February 18th thru 24th is a week dedicated to increasing public awareness and appreciation of engineers and their work. With two uncles that have careers as electrical engineers, my 6 year old daughter may just become one herself when she grows up! She has an increasing desire to know how things work and when they don’t, she wants to know what can be done to fix it.

Learning, Building, Creating with #outandaboutAva

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, women represent 50.6% of the US population yet make up only 11.7% of all engineers. Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day on February 22, 2018 (part of the larger observance of National Engineers Week) is all about changing that forever and American Girl is inspiring young girls with their 2018 Girl of the Year, Luciana Vega.

Luciana’s first book unlocks behind-the-scenes storytelling

Luciana shows what it can mean to be a girl of strong character today, where creative thinking, collaboration, and STEM literacy provide opportunities for meaningful growth and development. Technology continues to revolutionize what we do and what we know, and Luciana is a character that can bring visibility and valuable lessons to girls at a time in their lives when they’re learning about their infinite potential to change the world.

Saturn V, the rocket that was built to send people to the moon and used in the Apollo program in the 60’s and 70’s, is just one part of the journey to create Luciana’s character

This doll and her story inspires young girls to be curious, courageous, and determined. Bringing this story to life is an all-star advisory board that includes: Dr. Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, Dr. Deborah Barnhart, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, Maureen O’Brien, Manager of Strategic alliances at NASA, and Dr. Megan McArthur Behnken, NASA Astronaut.

Luciana’s Mars Habitat unlocks space missions

I love how American Girl sparks a passion for science and problem-solving in our girls while developing toys, books, accessories that complement STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) curriculum. Take a look at this video sharing Luciana’s development and story theme:

More than just one day, Introduce a Girl to Engineering is a national movement that shows girls how creative and collaborative engineering is and how engineers are changing our world. Read more about the #GirlDay February 22 observance on American Girl’s Explore site. Here is a link to that article which is filled with information on how/where to celebrate and more :

http://www.americangirl.com/explore/articles/introduce-a-girl-to-engineering-day/

Thanks American Girl for inspiring girls to learn and be creative thru play. This helps in developing a child’s mind and lays the foundation for a great engineer one day! Be sure to visit americangirl.com/luciana to explore bonus content and discover all the interactive ways to play.

#OutandaboutAva meet Luciana Vega, American Girl of the Year 2018

What ways are you celebrating engineering week? Do you have a girl that creates and play with an American Girl doll?

#BestNine of 2017 + Welcome to 2018 #SobeSavvy #LifestyleBlog

Happy New Year everyone! In my opinion, 2017 flew by which is why its so important to value time, cherish moments and  capture memories because before you know it a new year is here. I have enjoyed sharing the savvy of my life and inspiring others to be savvy via my lifestyle blog, SobeSavvy.com. In case you missed it, here are the BEST NINE 2017 (from left to right in photo above):

1. Family Travel Guide to Arlington,VA Read this #soTravelsavvy post about where to eat, stay, play for a weekend of fun in Arlington,VA

2. Jill Yoga Girls and Ladies Activewear  ~ Thru my #getLovelyfit fitness journey, my daughter and I had the opportunity to collaborate with a company that combines two of our interests: yoga + fashion. Check out our Mommy & Me moves and learn more about JillYoga.com  >>here.

3. Whispering Angel Rosé Wine       ~Hello, my name is Leslie and I love wine. Not only did I share how to host your own wine tasting at home tips on the blog, but started a #SobeSavvySips series where I share recipes and reviews for not only wine but spirits/beer too. In honor of National Rosé Day, I featured this wine on Instagram. It has been one of my favorite wines to introduce to others. Read wine review >>here.

4. ‘808 Converstion Starters for Couples‘ ~ This book featured on my Instagram and later reviewed on the blog sparked an interest amongst singles that were dating and couples who have been married for awhile. The art of conversation is a dying art with all the texting and ‘sexting’ going on, so I believe this book was refreshing and fun to explore. This book is available to buy >>here.

5. Polished Nail Bar’s Grand Opening      ~ I had a blast at this VIP event for media/bloggers here in Raleigh,NC and have since returned to get my nails ready for the holidays. I highly recommend you treat yourself and a loved one to a mani/pedi for Valentine’s Day (which is right around the corner). Read more about Polished Nail Bar >>here.

6. Our Visit to the North Carolina Zoo       ~My husband ,daughter and I planned a Sunday Funday to the North Carolina Zoo and shared a recap of the visit. Our daughter, fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, loved the experience. I also shared some #SobeSavvyTips on why a visit to the zoo during the Fall season should not be missed!

7. Luxury Family Travel to Atlanta,GA    ~ We have enjoyed several family trips to Atlanta because there is so much family fun to be had there. In 2017, we road tripped to the ATL for our daughter’s Spring Break and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta. That was a delightful (and relaxing) experience where we enjoyed making many family memories.

8. NC Farm Tour in Asheville,NC        ~This mom got a chance to getaway for a few days and joined other food and travel writers on an agritourism trip to Asheville,NC to get a true farm to table experience. We all left with a greater appeciation of our NC Farmers. That was my first visit to Asheville and staying at a bed and breakfast. I gave readers a #soNCsavvy full recap of the trip on the blog and also shared an inside look of the Sweet Biscuit Inn

9. byKikisol in store Fashion Event with Torrid + Groupon Promo                              ~if you ever had the pleasure of attending a byKikisol blogger event here in the Triangle, then you know it’s going to be a fun time for creatives, influencers , bloggers and fashionistas. I got my model on in the dressing room at their Torrid Fall Fashion event and shared a Groupon Promo encouraging readers to grab a deal!

For 2018, as always I do a detox ( which I have shared online in the past..you can read posts here). However, this year I will take the whole month of January to unplug, reset and prepare to bring you more Lifestyle|Food|Travel|Fun stories on the blog! 

Thank you for a wonderful 2017..here’s to all the best in 2018!

#outandaboutAva visits the @American_Girl Store for Holiday Shopping, Bistro Dining and More! 

We are in Charlotte,NC where a visit to the American Girl store in the SouthPark Mall is a must do experience! Our daughter, now age 6, was very excited to take her GOTY doll, Gabriela McBride, with her for the first time to enjoy afternoon tea at the Bistro, ear piercing at the doll salon and some holiday shopping. Not only did my husband,daughter and I enjoy our family date, but we got the opportunity to #givewhatcounts to our child. American Girl brand inspires all to create memories that will last thru the holidays and beyond!

THE BISTRO

Good eats, delightful sweets and for your doll a special seat..that’s what you can expect at the Bistro. We went during their special Holiday Tea event, which included a deliciously different menu of teatime treats, a craft, and fun conversation with the holiday Table Talkers. We made a fleece headband to keep the dolls’ ears warm on chilly days, and a holiday-card-making craft. It was great way to start the holiday season with a special teatime together and a couple of crafty projects!

DOLL HAIR SALON

Recently, #outandaboutAva got her ears pierced just in time for her photo with Santa and thought it would be great to have her doll’s done too! At the American Girl Doll Hair Salon you can get a “Gabriela Girl of the Year Ear Piercing”, which is an exclusive ear-piercing service available only for the Gabriela™ 18″ doll. It was a quick service for her doll, which included her signature earring set. The music note studs are so adorable, I wish I had a pair! Pampering services and hair styling services are also available at the salon. It was so fun to see the dolls get a new look!

SHOPPING

Christmas is just days away and if you are still looking for ideas to gift your girl then look no further than American Girl. They have gifts that will teach her that “little moments of kindness can only come from big hearts”. I decided to treat my daughter to an early gift to celebrate her courage in performing in her first solo ballet recital a few days ago. It was practiced as a duet but in the last moments, she had to do it by herself. That experience helped build her confidence and allowed her to let her spirit shine.

To help her with backstage jitters, we were able to discuss how her American Girl doll Gabriela loves to perform and express herself thru dance just like her. Gabriela’s story inspires creativity and even when its not easy, she uses her talent to help those around her. So for both, my daughter and Gabriela, we got matching girl & doll PJ sets, which are on holiday sale until 12/24/17. We are planning an NYE ‘family date night in’ which is a together tradition we do and you can bet these fun, matching pjs will come into play. Find creative tips on planning the ‘Ultimate Sleepover’ inspired by American Girl’s ‘A Year of Slumber Parties’ book.

SobeSavvy Tip: Now-Thru December 31, 2017 while shopping at any American Girl store in the U.S., American Girl will match any customer donation to the American Red Cross, up to $75,000 maximum. Tied to the debut of its newest BeForever character, Nanea Mitchell—a Hawaiian girl growing up in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1941 during WWII, American Girl is supporting the American Red Cross and their Service to the Armed Forces mission
to provide care and comfort to members of the military, veterans, and their families. Donations can also be made at americangirl.com.

On Jan 1, American Girl is introducing Luciana Vega, the 2018 Girl of the Year. She comes with her cool line of space inspired products (like a Mars habitat and flight suit!) AND an out-of-this-world storyline about an 11-year-old who dreams of being the first person on Mars. American Girl worked with NASA, including a task force of advisors (scientists, astronauts, and more) who helped ensure the accuracy and authenticity of Luciana’s world—from her story and products to a STEM-based educational program in partnership with Scholastic and Space Camp.

We plan to head to the Raleigh,NC temporary store to celebrate her launch. AG is hosting Luciana debut events at its retail locations nationwide on January 1. The event features interactive science demonstrations, a Moon Phase craft, galaxy-inspired treats, and a free Luciana doll tee to take home. For more details, visit americangirl.com/retail.

Check out more of our in store experiences on You Tube and see a glimpse of how magical it is! Enjoy..thanks for reading..and Happy Holidays 🎅🎄💖🎁

Family Fun|Opening Night Review #DisneyOnIce presents Dare to Dream @PNCArena in #Raleigh 12/6-12/10!

​Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to review the show, however any opinions are my own.

On Wednesday Dec 6, my husband, daughter and I joined other families for a chance to celebrate what’s possible at Disney On Ice presents Dare To Dream! Now showing at the PNC Arena until Dec 10, 2017, this show follows the adventures of five daring Disney heroines who’s mission is to spark the courage inside us all. Here is more about the show:

In her Disney On Ice debut, see how far Moana will go when she embarks on an action-packed voyage with mighty demigod Maui in a quest to save her island, become a wayfinder, and find her own identity. Anna’s devotion to her estranged sister Elsa sets her on a perilous journey to mend their bond, and stop an eternal winter. Rapunzel breaks out of her tower and teams up with an unlikely companion, Flynn Rider, as she goes to great lengths to realize her dream. Armed only with courage, Belle befriends the enchanted castle staff and learns to look beyond the Beast’s rough exterior. With help from her friends and a little magic, Cinderella is determined to make the wish in her heart come true. Hosted by Mickey and Minnie, discover why no dream is too big when we find the strength to shape our own destiny at Disney On Ice presents Dare To Dream!

SobeSavvy Tip: Make sure you get there early to have some time to walk through the concourse and browse some of the novelty stands. There is plenty of awesome Disney merchandise to choose from!

There’s also face painting and a Disney photo booth to enjoy prior to the show or during the brief intermission. A keepsake mug is a must for our daughter. So after some high level discussions on what style of cup she wanted, we settled on a souvenir Mickey Mouse snow cone mug and some cotton candy {which comes with a crown with Mickey Mouse ears}! 

We got to our seats just in time as the lights were dimmed and the show began. Belle from Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, Frozen’s Anna & Elsa and Moana were the heroines of the evening. Each main character had their own unique elaborate sets and scenes straight from the big screen played out on ice with plenty of special effects and all the sing along sets we have come to love. Watching my 6 yr old enchanted by all the Disney Magic just made me feel like a kid myself all over again. He denied it, but I swear I caught my husband singing along with a ‘Shiny’ singing crab from Moana! I mean when was the last time you saw a crab dance and skate on ice?!

Disney is known for putting on a top notch show, whether on land or ice and this one did not disappoint. It snowed, got windy, had aerial acrobatics and even had a huge dancing horse. It’s a whole lot of magic and family fun with important life lessons for everyone. The Disney Heroines reminded us to face fears, be courageous, dare to dream and ……. ⤵

Join the magic now until Dec 10 at the PNC Arena. For more information about the show go to www.disneyonice.com. Tickets are available for purchase >>> here

Watch this video of more #DisneyOnIce magic moments from opening night here in Raleigh,NC at PNC! 

Enjoy Holiday Shopping, Food & Fun thru Dec 24th @BmoreChristmas @BaltimoreMd #BmoreChristmas

Christmas Village in Baltimore | SobeSavvy.com

Are you ready to shop, dine and be entertained this holiday season? If you are local or have plans to Visit Baltimore, make sure to go to Christmas Village in Baltimore for an experience you will never forget! Celebrating its 5th Anniversary Season, this Authentic German Christmas Market is open now thru December 24, 2017. I went with my husband and our daughter on opening day (Nov. 23 Thanksgiving) and we had so much fun at the Christmas Village, located at the Inner Harbor/West Shore Park. (Between the Maryland Science Center and Visitors Center.) 

You’ll find places to explore both outside and inside at the Christmas Village which has over 50 vendors where you can shop from a truly distinct selection from hard to find international items to seasonal and holiday gifts. We picked up some wooden ornaments from Myroslava Creations for a $1 that our little one can not wait to hang from our tree!

Christmas Village in Baltimore | SHOP for the Holidays

This festival features all things that Germans find dear about celebrating the holidays the German way.  And if you work up an appetite while shopping, you can nosh on Bratwurst, Schnitzel, Gluhwein and more! A hot chocolate with deluxe toppings of whipped cream/ marshmallows served in a collectors mug is a must have for everyone to take home. On weekdays they have wine tastings with Boordy Vineyards and  a “Ho Ho Ho Happy hour” where you can hang out for drinks and snacks with your friends and catch live performances daily!

Christmas Village in Baltimore | FOOD – Enjoy European Specialities & Beverages

In addition to daily live entertainment on the event stage, Christmas Village in Baltimore has a weekend line up of events. SobeSavvy Tip: Admission is free weekdays and this 1st weekend! Today for the opening weekend, you can meet the original German Christkind. Since I knew we would miss it, we took advantage of the fun photo op to turn into the German equivalent to the American children’s Santa Claus. She represents the spirit of Christmas in Germany and will be at the opening ceremony on Saturday, November 25, 2017. 

Christmas Village in Baltimore | FUN for everyone!

So grab the entire family and go experience the German way of celebrating the holidays. See for yourself why this has quickly become a Baltimore favorite. Go to WWW.BALTIMORE-CHRISTMAS.COM for more information. Fröhliche Weihnachten….which means Merry Christmas in German! 

Check out my video photo recap >>> here and make plans to visit this authentic German Christmas market for an experience you will never forget!

Christmas Village in Baltimore

501 Light St

Baltimore, MD 21230

#NC Holiday Happenings | #NCChineseLanternFestival @BoothAmp #KokaBooth in Cary Opens Nov 24 -Get Tix Now! 

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival Guide

Looking to experience something magical with your family this holiday
season? Look no further than the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival at the Koko Booth Amphitheatre in Cary,NC. Back for it’s third year, SobeSavvy.com attended a media preview of this delightful exhibition and enjoyed learning what it takes to make these larger-than-life holiday lanterns! 

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival |CHINESE LANTERN-Traditional Lamp and Palace Lanterns are very distinctive to the handicrafts which represent happiness.

Hundreds of artistic hand-made lantern displays are spread throughout the expansive grounds, including the spectacular 200-foot Floating Chinese Dragon on Symphony Lake. Each of these magnificient lanterns are shipped from China where artisans hand make the silk fabrics that cover a steel frame. These frames are then lit underneath to give them a bright colorful and warm lighting
effect that is spectacular to see up close! The color red is found throughout most displays due to that color in particular means good fortune in Chinese culture.

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival | THE CHINESE LANTERN GALLERY – Since lantern handicraft appeared 2000 years ago, every year before and after the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese lunar calendar, people would hang up the red lanterns, which symbolize reunion and happiness, to create a festive atmosphere

Last year, my family and I attended the opening night in 2016 and was amazed at the beauty and artistry of Chinese cutlure displayed in an authentic way. There are hundreds of all-new lantern displays for the whole family to enjoy! Our daughter really enjoy seeing the animals, flowers, shapes and even Santa all aglow! Some of them even spin, twirl and move! Her favorite was the PANDA PARADISE, which we learned that pandas are a symbol of peace in China.

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival | PANDAS !

Festival Admission includes Chinese cultural performances, martial arts as well as artisan craft-making. Three performances take place each night where visitors will get a chance to see traditional dance, acrobatics, drum performances and more. We got a chance to have a sneak peek of Chinese Cupe Diablo, which is a form of juggling that has evolved from 12th Century Chinese yo-yo, consisting of an axle and two discs spun using string attached to two hand sticks. Check out my short video clip below : 

SobeSavvy Tip: See Daily Chinese Cultural Art Performances: Tuesday thru Sunday 6:30P | 7:30P |8:30P    

EVENT DATES/TIMES

November 24, 2017 – January 14, 2018
Tuesdays – Sundays: 6pm – 10pm (Closed Mondays. Except Dec 25 & Jan 1)

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS ONLINE!

To purchase tickets over the phone, call ETIX at 1-800-514-3849

In person at the venue Box Office:

BOX OFFICE HOURS
Tuesday-Friday 12 p.m.-6 p.m. EST
On Festival Days (Nov 24 – Jan 14):  Tuesday-Friday 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. EST
Saturday-Sunday 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. EST
Closed Mondays

Ticket Prices
Kids 2 and under FREE
Ages 3 – 17 – $10.00
Adults ages 18+ – $15.00

PARKING IS FREE at the venue

HOLIDAY TREATS
Venue Concession Stands will be open selling a variety of food, beverages & Holiday Treats.


DISCOUNTS

Discounts available on SELECT nights only: TUESDAY-THURSDAY & SUNDAYS:
$12.00 FOR SENIORS 55+, COLLEGE STUDENTS WITH ID & MEMBER OF THE MILITARY WITH ID
We offer no discounts on Friday, Saturday & Holidays nights. (Holidays are December 24, 25, 31 & January 1) 

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival | Media Preview Recap by SobeSavvy.com

I definitely recommend you adding this to your holiday to do list of events to check out on the Triangle. Go see why the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival has quickly become a popular holiday tradition. Bring your family, tell your friends and see this wonderful display of Chinese culture before it ends! 

Check out my video photo recap here from the media preview night! Enjoy and be sure to tag your photos including #KokaBooth and #NCChineseLanternFestival ! 

#FiveForFriday | 5 Childrens Books to Gift this Christmas #holidaygiftguide

Disclosure: This post is sponsored and contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using one of the links in my post, I will receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

It’s almost Christmas and when it comes to shopping for our 6 year old or any other young children in our lives, I prefer to give the gift of reading. BOOKS make great gifts because no matter what your child enjoys, there is nothing like a new book to read to themselves, to you, to their favorite stuffed animal, for you to read to them at night, to take along on a trip..the ways to enjoy a book are endless! If you are ready to rebuild your home library with the best books for your little ones, ages 4-8, then this Amazon list is a great place to start! 

  • ELI’s 1st WINTER CARNIVAL by Lisa Bowen 

 This book will have you excited for Winter, as Little Eli enjoys making snow angels, and helping his family make a silly snowman at his first winter carnival! The joys of winter fun and quality time with family are wonderfully illustrated in this 36 page book for recommended for age level: Birth-8, grade level: preschool – 5.

       

  • Smarty Locks and the Unforgettable Zoo by Marilyn Harary

This rhyming book inspired our recent trip to the NC Zoo and my latest hair do..lol! Smarty Locks is so excited for her class trip to the zoo, but when plans change she comes up with a clever plan of what to do! The lesson of ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’ is loud and clear for young readers ages 5-8 and their parents to hear! 

  • I Just Kept Spinning by Destini Berry

As a young black girl who enjoys ballet herself, my daughter was thrilled to receive this diverse book. The author, who is 18 years old, retells an inspirational story based on true experiences of overcoming discrimination when she was 7 years old. I Just Kept Spinning relays an important message that no matter how you wear your hair, or what you look like, to have self-love and always follow your dreams!

    • No Chimney? No Problem! by Jodi Wojtowicz

    If you ever had a child ask, “If our house has no chimney, how will Santa get in?” ..this book will answer the question! Prior to Christmas Eve, give this boxed gift set which includes a hardcover, dust jacketed copy of the book and keepsake key and ribbon. We plan to start a new family tradition of hanging this decorative Santa key on the door and unlock the magic this year! This book gift set is available for purchase at www.nochimney.com. Use discount code  ‘NOCHIMNEY10BT’ from 10/23-11/30. 

    • Rice & Rocks by Sandra L. Richards

    We loved this picture book which not only spoke to our love of travel and food but celebrates culture and diversity! When Giovanni learns his grandmother is serving ‘rice and rock’ to his friends who are coming over for Sunday dinner, he worries they will think the traditional Jamaican dish is weird. However, he discovers other places where people eat rice and rocks too and that its these delicious similarities that bring us all together!

     

      There are so many amazing books our daughter read this year that I would recommend to give as a gift but these were her favorite five. On #outandaboutAva ‘s Christmas wish list this year is Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vasht Harrison (avail for pre-order now on Amazon).

      So if you are reading this Santa, she has been a good girl and would love this book! Check out a sneak peek of the book >>here.

      Be sure to follow along on social media at #outandaboutAvareads to see what books she has reviewed + stay tuned for giveaways!

      Happy Holidays and Happy Shopping!

      WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU GIFTING TO A YOUNG READER OR YOURSELF THIS HOLIDAY? Comment Below 📚