Top 5 BIG TOP #FamilyFun Moments at #UniversoulCircus #BestCircusEver , now in #Raleigh thru 8/20! 

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to review the show and share my thoughts with you! My opinions are 100% my own.

Now in its 24th season, UniverSoul Circus returns to Raleigh bringing big time fun under their Big Top Tent in the East Lot of PNC Arena! My mom and cousins, joined my husband and I in celebrating our daughter’s, fondly referred to on the blog as #outandaboutAva, 6th birthday. Attending UniverSoul circus was actually the kickoff to her birthday (since it was the evening before) and let me tell you, she had a blast!

We all had an amazing time at this action packed show and enjoyed seeing the brand new exciting production. One of the reasons I believe that this show is America’s premier family entertainment attraction is because its fun for people of all ages and its good for the soul! You’ll laugh, dance and be in awe of the talented acts that are full of “pure unadulterated energy” !

While there were many memorable and unbelievable moments during the show, I wanted to share my Top 5 BIG TOP #FamilyFun Moments  

  1. Dancing with Detroit’s own, The Fresh Clownsss!  Known for their popular dance “JuJu on that Beat”.Photo Credit: UniverSoul Circus              
  2. Getting our mind blown watching the Bone Breaking Contortionists from GuineaPhoto Credit: UniverSoul Circus              
  3. Traveling to Trinidad and Tobago by way of perennial favorites Caribbean DancersPhoto Credit: UniverSoul Circus              
  4. Riding an elephant (for an extra cost of $10) was a first for #outandaboutAva and her cousin. A memory they will cherish forver! 
  5. Being thoroughly entertained by Ringmaster Lucky Malaysi of South Africa and his amazing sidekick, Zeke!Photo Credit: UniverSoul Circus 

To see my full photo/video recap, check out my youtube video>>>>here.

Visit http://www.universoulcircus.com for more info, ticket prices, show times, and schedules.  Ticket prices range from $16 through $40.  Prices vary by venue and by day.  *For PNC Arena be prepared to pay $20 cash for parking* Also follow on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram.
I hope you go and check out this show before it leaves Raleigh, NC or next time it is in a city near you. UniverSoul is the perfect family date night to celebrate a special occasion like a birthday or to simply have fun ! 

 

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Top 6 #FamilyFun Activities to do this Summer in #Baltimore | #FamilyTravel #VisitBaltimore #MyBmore

Today on the blog, I am sharing #MYBmore TOP 6 Family Fun activities everyone should add to their child’s Summer Break list of things to do in Baltimore! This past weekend my #HeighPartyof3 drove the easy 5 hr ride to Downtown Harbor East and stayed at one of our favorite hotels, Hyatt Place. One of the reasons I was there was to cover the 4th Annual Chesapeake Crab and Beer Festival (be sure to check out my photo recap>>>here) but to also take #outandaboutAva to some museums and attractions in Baltimore. Here is my list of TOP 6 Family Fun Activites :

  1. See an Orioles Basesball Game -Orioles Park at CAMDEN YARDSA summertime visit to Baltimore would not be complete without a visit to the undisputed best ballpark in the nation! Oriole Park at Camden Yards is celebrating their 25th anniversary. We joined others to take in a game on an absolute beautiful evening. It was my little one’s very first MLB game and she loved it. Camden Yards is designed where there is not a bad seat in the house. She was also able to get up and close to the field pre game to watch the players stretch and interact with their fans. A night to remember for all.
  2. Learn and Play at Port Discovery Childrens MuseumBaltimore’s Port Discovery Children’s Museum is an expansive building dedicated to kids. They play and learn. Sometimes at the same time. This place has so many things to do, it can fill up an entire afternoon. From a faux diner called Tiny’s where the little ones can serve you lunch items {albeit plastic of course} to jungle gyms and a whole area dedicated to solving the mystery of what happened to a missing family, this place is amazing. My daughter enjoyed the Oasis room where she could sit quietly and read.There is plenty of hands on exhibits and interactive areas that the kids will simply love. A must stop for any families visiting with children. When you arrive grab your map at the front desk, arms in and let fun begin!
  3. Eat,Drink and Be Royal at MEDIEVAL TIMES Dinner & TournamentGo back in time to King Arthur’s day and visit the Medieval Times castle for a Dinner and Show you will never forget!  This attraction is not in Downtown Baltimore, but in Arundel Mills Mall (aprox 30 mins away by car).  Along with a medieval dinner (that you eat with your hands only),…we enjoyed entertainment like jousting,horse dancing and a real Falcon soaring above our heads to do a stunt!  This is all entertwined with a storyline the narrator explains.Medieval Times is great place to take someone who proclaims that they have seen it all. A mix between a Broadway show and Polo…Nothing compares to this experience. My daughter and her Grandma truly enjoyed their ‘Knight’ out! 
  4. Take a Joy Ride thru History at B&O RAILROAD MUSEUMDid you know that Baltimore is the home for modern commercial Railroading? The B&O railroad, which operated from 1828 to 1987, had many people skeptical {and scared} of this “new” technology. That didn’t last long as the B&O proved sucesseful in (per it’s motto)”Linking 13 Great States with the Nation”. We learned all about the rich history at the B&0 Railroad Museum while enjoying the impressive collection of vintage trains. We even took an actual 1.5 mile ride on an original section of the line! The museum does an excellent job telling the story of the railroad, which mirrors the story of America itself. Children can enjoy a hunt to collect stamps at stations throughout the museum in a little passport booklet which they turn in at the end for a free present at the gift shop! They also have a kid play area and rides outside which makes this a fun informative museum the entire family will love. I made a YouTube video full of highlights from our visit. Watch it here and Enjoy! SobeSavvy Tip: Check out this special circus themed event ‘Under The Big Top’ happening Now thru June 30 For more info visit www.borail.org.             

5. Take a cruise aboard the ‘Fearless’ and become a pirate for the day with URBAN PIRATES 

A day at the world famous Inner Harbor demands that one gets out on the water. We chose to take a trip back in time with a company called “Urban Pirates”. Based out of the Ann Street Pier in the Fells Point area, Urban Pirates takes visitors on a 90 min trip around the Harbor on a vintage looking ..well pirate ship. We didn’t know what to expect when we boarded along with other families. We were given official pirate names with tags and some pirate attire to wear for our voyage. https://www.instagram.com/p/BVu67NbBU55/ 

Once out on the open water, the crew did a great job of entertaining all of us (and especially the kids) with songs, dances and all sorts of seafaring games. We even had an attempted sea hijack that we all thwarted with their water cannons! I don’t want to give away too much but let’s just say be prepared for a great experience unlike any other.

6. Discover close to 20,000 animals at NATIONAL AQUARIUM The National Aquarium with its unique spiral floor plan, it’s huge rain forest in the rooftop, the diverse species of fish plus sharks and dolphins make it THE aquarium to visit. We chose to go early on Sunday morning and it paid off for being less crowded since this is Baltimore’s most popular attraction. 

The close encounters of being able to touch horseshoe crabs and a real moon jellyfish in the Living Seashore exhibit made the experience that much more real. This aquarium is a crown jewel for both kids and adults alike and we always look forward to learning something new with each visit.

Now that you know “Where to Play” your next visit to Charm City, be sure to check back here on Friday when I’ll be sharing “Where to Eat” and “Where to Stay” in Baltimore. Also check out www.baltimore.org for any information you need to plan your trip.

Check out my fun photo video recap of these listed attractions : https://youtu.be/8lWvmmN9LRs

@American_Girl #WellieWishers Swimwear Fashion Fun Review with #outandaboutAva by SobeSavvy.com

Thanks to American Girl for sending #outandaboutAva these fashions and doll accessories for review! All opinions expressed here are my own.


🙋Raise your hand if you like building sandcastles in the sand? Well that’s what #outandaboutAva and her @agwelliewishers Kendall Doll did while having some fun in the sun sporting their matching Fun Fish Swimsuit & Cover-Up!

This undersea-themed swimsuit set includes a matching blue hooded coverup, sandals and a faux pearl headband for WellieWishers Dolls .

👙 Accessorize with @americangirlbrand Starry Sunglasses and your girl and her #WellieWishers doll can be ready for sweet summer memories in their American Girl Swimwear! Swimsuit/Coverup for girls range from sizes 4-7

I thought all of the pieces for both my girl and her doll were great quality and super cute! My daughter had so much fun dressing up like her doll and other beachgoers thought she was “Avadorable” in her bathing suit. The cover-up is very soft, almost like a terry cloth cotton towel material and is hooded. This made going from the beach to any indoor areas easy! My 5 year old and her Kendall Doll are ready to make a splash this summer in their swimwear and accessories from American Girl! For more info, visit http://www.Americangirl.com

To see more doll fashion and fun pics of #outandaboutAva and her American Girl WellieWishers Doll day at the beach..see here>>>https://www.instagram.com/p/BUMhteABLpV/

#outandaboutAva Celebrates National Poetry Month + April News from @American_Girl #NPM17 #Poetry

Hey American Girl Doll fans….

  • Roses are Red,                                  
  • Violets are Blue,                 
  • SobeSavvy.com                                 
  • has exciting news for YOU! 

April is National Poetry Month, and to help celebrate American Girl is debuting a series of Gabriela-inspired videos, featuring real girls who use their passion of spoken word to let their voices be heard, while encouraging girls how to get started if they’ve never created spoken word poetry before.

In February, I shared a fun blog feature about #outandaboutAva and her new doll, the 2017 Girl of the Year, Gabriela McBride

 In case you missed it, here is a quick update on Gabriela:

·        Gabriela expresses herself through spoken word poetry. To help celebrate National Poetry Month (April), 

·         To connect boys and girls with Gabriela’s inspiring message and bring awareness of the strength in poetry, American Girl has partnered with Scholastic to create and distribute Express Yourself , a custom curriculum program that teaches 3rd-5th grade students how to use poetry as a tool for self-expression. The program features a poetry contest for students that will run throughout the month of April.

After watching the videos, my daughter was inspired to get out a pencil and paper to write her very own poem called “Math” because she loves numbers.  I guess her and Gabriela will be doing a little spoken word performance after dinner!

One plus Two…..I Love You

I have more exciting news for American Girl fans. American Girl will be launching Z Yang on April 27!

“Z” (short for Suzie) is Korean American and the latest character to join this series of contemporary characters, representing more diverse backgrounds, creative interests, and experiences for girls today.  As part of “More Characters To Love,” Z Yang will join Gabriela McBride, Tenney Grant and Logan Everett as AG newest doll in 2017. 

To celebrate Z’s launch, AG is hosting Z debut events at its retail locations nationwide the weekend of April 28. And on May 6, American Girl’s stores in NYC, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas, and DC will host meet-up events to introduce fans to real girls who, like Z, have gained popularity and a strong online following based on their creative passion for photography and stop motion videos. They are:

 

o   NYC: Basilmentos https://www.youtube.com/user/basilmentos

o   Chicago: AGSmiless https://www.youtube.com/user/AGsmiless

o   Seattle: FiveHensandaCockatiel https://www.instagram.com/5hensandacockatiel/

o   Dallas: Mixie Pixie https://www.youtube.com/user/mixiepixie7

o   DC: FiveDollStars https://www.youtube.com/user/FiveDollStars

 

 

For more information, go to www.AmericanGirl.com

Remember Create, Dream BIG, and Celebrate your Inner Star!

In honor of National Poetry Month, feel free to drop a poem below in the comments. You never know who you might Inspire! 

Disney Princess Pleybox by @MyPley|Unboxing with #outandaboutAva #Disney #BeautyandtheBeast #pleybox 

Disclaimer: We received the introduction box complimentary for review, however all opinions are my own.

April Showers bring May Flowers but it also brings lots of indoor play time for my daughter. With her being an only child, she has found creative ways to use her imagination and make indoor playtime fun. However, sometimes even #outandaboutAva gets bored with the same toys. So when I heard PLEY.com had launched Disney Princess Mystery Box service, I knew we had to try it! 
As the leading subscription toy company,  Pley.com is expanding its popular toy service by introducing a Disney Princess mystery subscription box line. The Disney Princess PleyBox subscription service will magically arrive every two months and includes a mix of toys, t-shirts, accessories and other goodies. The service is kicking off with a one-of-a-kind package inspired by Disney’s animated classic film Beauty and the Beast.

My daughter was very excited to unbox her very first Disney Princess Pleybox and couldn’t wait to explore the activities and discover the many fun surprises inside. Here is what you get for just $24.99:

  • a mystery box containing between 4-8 Disney Princess toys
  • activity book
  • fashion accessories (The Beauty and the Beast box includes a t-shirt, and role play item..this gorgeous gold crown!)
  • Each bi-monthly box tells the story of a new princess and, like a rags-to-riches princess story, the shipping box magically transforms into a castle, boat, or tower that can be decorated and played with, both reducing waste and increasing play value

Earth Day was just this past Saturday, so I appreciated this innovative, eco-friendly packaging that turned into a castle. I also liked the convenience of having cool toys delivered to our door without the  expense, waste,mess or stress. My husband was happy to have some Daddy -Daughter time by helping to put the castle together!

“Instead of throwing the packaging away, our physical shipping boxes become a part of the princesses’ story. Each box has instructions that transform the shipping box into a playable toy such as a castle, boat or a carriage that can be decorated and played with,” explains Pley CEO Ranan Lachman. “We call it ‘Pleycycle,” and are proud to be a leader in reducing the environmental footprint of toy packaging.”

Available now, the Disney Princess PleyBox subscription service will bring the stories of the brave, kind and adventurous Disney Princess characters to life in a unique and interactive way. Designed to empower girls, this mystery box is an ideal gift for kids who love the Disney Princess characters and their unique stories. The Disney Princess PleyBox delivery service can be ordered at https://www.pley.com/disney-princess. This box will be offered at a limited quantity, so make sure you order yours for your favorite little princess today! 
For more information visit: http://www.pley.com

Want to see more of  #outandaboutAva ‘s unboxing? Check out video slideshow here.

Do you use toy subsription box servives or subscribe to any subscription services? If so, share below!

Where to Play: #Atlanta Must Do Family Fun Attractions #puppetryATL @CTRPuppetryArts & @LDCatlanta  

Disclaimer: We received complimentary passes to visit these 2 attractions in order to facilitate review, however the opinions are 100% my own.

This past Friday may have been ‘Good Friday’ but we turned it into a Great Friday by visiting two of Atlanta’s family fun attractions: Center for Puppetry Arts and LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta! Both of these attractions are kid friendly, educational, full of family fun and a must do when visiting Atlanta, GA.

Center for Puppetry Arts

The Center for Puppetry Arts has alot to explore and a whole lot to admire. I learned so much about the craftmanship and the passion behind making a puppet. Everyone’s childhood history involves being entertained by a puppet. Whether its Sesame Street….

…the Muppets,with our favorite couple Miss Piggy & Kermit…

..or any of the projects Jim Henson was involved in, we all learned at an early age that puppetry like love is universal. 

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Now thru May 28, Pete the Cat will be playing at the Center. Be sure to request all-inclusive tickets which will provide admission to the show, access to the Worlds of Puppetry Museum and ability to attend the Create-A-Puppet Workshop to craft your own Pete the Cat hand puppet! It was nice to be able to see the interactive show based on the books my daughter loves as well as create a keepsake afterwards to take home. 

Our favorite thing that we did was create our own puppet show. My family and I pretended to go live on tv with the hand puppet of our choice and let our imagination wonder! Hmm, I wonder if PBS is hiring?

Located in Midtown, the Center for Puppetry Arts should be a part of your family vacation memories your next visit to Atlanta.

Center for Puppetry Arts

  • 1404 Spring St. NW at 18th
  • Atlanta, GA 30309-2820 USA


LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta

A family visit to the LEGOLAND Discovery Center was recommended as a family fun attraction during our stay at the Mandarin Oriental because it is conveniently located nearby in the fashionable Phipps Plaza shopping mall.

Legos are those little plastic, colorful, play things that are beloved all over the world. We knew a visit to this attraction would definitely appeal to our 5 year old!

While legos and building opportunities are everywhere here, they have different areas dedicated to specific themes. Their “miniland” area had lego mock ups of construction projects and the space program. They also have 2 rides; Merlin’s Apprentice and Kingdom Quest laser ride. We also took turns getting on a specially calibrated scale that converts your weight to how many lego bricks it would take to weigh that much! However Daddy and daughter mostly enjoyed connecting and discovering what they could build together.

When it was time for a break we took in a show at their incredible Lego 4D Cinema where you are immersed {literally} into the story of the screen. You may get snowed or rained on in the theatre! 

My daughter also had great fun using the karaoke machine. If you get hungry they have a neat little Cafe where you can get snacks and Icee’s. LEGOLAND Discovery Center Atlanta is truly fun for the whole family! It brought out the little Big Kid in us all. 

LEGOLAND Discovery Center 

Phipps Plaza, 3500 Peachtree Rd.

Atlanta, GA 30326

Where to Enjoy a Luxury Family Getaway ~Mandarin Oriental Atlanta @MO_Atlanta #FanofMO 

I have been fortunate enough to have had quite a few experiences traveling the globe and staying in some of the world’s premier hotels. Whether for business or pleasure, most were renowned for their “luxury” and grandeur. However, my most recent stay at the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta was the first luxury family travel experience shared with our daughter. As a kindergartner celebrating her first Spring Break, I thought we’d stay at this 5 star hotel known for its beautiful rooms, superb restaurant and elegant spa. We were quite pleased with how this property combined luxury with great service while keeping the littlest guests in mind.

CHECK IN

The moment we arrived at this 580 ft tall skyscraper in Buckhead, we immediately felt part of the #MOfamily. When we pulled up to their valet service, no one asked us did we need help with our luggage, they simply just took over the task. I found that predicting needs is what sets them apart from the rest. The intimate check in area was friendly and efficient. Upon arriving, a special welcome awaited our daughter along with a ‘Passport’ that had a fun scavenger hunt inside. This allowed us to tour the hotel to find clues as well as admire the ppst modern architecture and beautiful decor, such as the white and black marble floors throughout the lobby area!

A warm welcome always makes a great first impression. Our little one received a MiniMO stuffed Panda and slippers along with some bath products to make her stay more comfortable. Also awaiting for us was a beautiful array of delicious sweets to enjoy. These special children’s amenities and treats were a pleasant surprise! 

OUR ROOM

Our first room located on the 6th Floor had an issue with the Air Conditioning unit. Maintenance arrived in a few minutes. After a quick assessment they determined it may take a bit of time to repair. The room phone rang. It was the front desk. They apologized profusely for the situation and advised we would be immediately moved and upgraded to one of their Mandarin Terrace Rooms on the 15th floor. This room had a private balcony which overlooked the Buckhead skyline. The staff took control of what could have been a negative experience and not only solved it but enhanced the positive.  Click here to see our video tour of this elegant and spacious room. My favorite feature in the room was the smooth white marble bathroom with deep soaking tub, walk in shower and vanity area with flat screen tv. Our daughter really enjoyed bath time watching her favorite cartoons and I enjoyed winding down each day by turning bath time into my own city sanctuary! 

DINING

After a great night’s sleep, which included turn down service-another sign of the high caliber property that the Mandarin Oriental is, we woke up just in time for room service to deliver our breakfast. It was delightful. The American Breakfast offered a variety of delicious breakfast favorites. The Brioche French Toast with chocolate chips is definitely a 5 yr old’s dream! We enjoyed the meal and it was a great way to start off the day.

We also dined in their sophisticated restaurant and enjoyed breakfast there on our final day. I laughed when I was about to ask my waiter for more cream but he magically appeared before I could ask…he was holding more cream..There is that predicting needs thing again! The Cafe & Bar and its inviting surroundings not only offers a tasty breakfast menu but dinner, lunch and Sunday brunch. French Press Coffee, Freshly Squeezed Juice, Belgium Waffles, and Shrimp & Grits are just some of the modern American cuisine menu items you can find on their menu. High quality, locally and flavorful ingredients were used to prepare our meal and without a doubt turned us into #MOfoodies!

THE SPA at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta

Winner of the Best of Atlanta Awards by Atlanta Magazine, Dec 2016 for Best Spa Package (Splurge) , The Spa at Mandarin Oriental Atlanta is a wellness oasis and a great treat for anyone needing some relaxation. I had a spa appointment for an Oriental Essence massage on our final day but prior to my indulgent treatment, we enjoyed their 60 foot lap indoor pool. 

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental offers a range of treatments, sauna, steam room, vitality pool access, a spa boutique, fitness center and more. The minimum age requirement for Spa and Fitness center access is 18 yrs old, however the pool is available to all guests. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day around the corner, I highly recommend treating someone to the gift of luxury & wellness by gifting them a Mandarin Oriental gift card! They won’t be disappointed. 

AMENITIES & OFFERS

While I received my massage, hubby and daughter wanted to check out Lenox Mall & Phipps Plaza nearby. While he was going to retrieve the car, the doorman advised them for such a close drive they should take the Mandarin Oriental’s house car. Ahmad the driver pulled up in their Tesla sedan and off they went. They simply called him when they were ready to return and he promptly picked them back up and delivered them back to the property. Very nice indeed.

The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta has a variety of offers for those planning a luxury retreat. From May 1-October 31, 2017 check out their Family Field Trip package which encourages family travelers to explore Atlanta’s great outdoors.  We checked out some indoor family fun attractions: Center for Puppetry Arts & Legoland Discover Center (which is conveniently close to the hotel and a must do). Stay tuned as I share my review of these Atlanta kid friendly places this week.

I hope you enjoyed reading about some of our favorite moments staying at The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta and are inspired to ‘Experience MO’ yourself with family.  At check out, #outandaboutAva received a concierge gift for completing her scanvenger hunt and answering correctly. Luxury they do very well. Service they do even better. We are definitely #MoFans aka Fans of Mo and hope you will consider becoming one too!

The Mandarin Oriental Atlanta 

3376 Peachtree Road NE

Atlanta GA 30326

Website: http://www.mandarinoriental.com/atlanta