My Adventures in Florida

All travel consideration provided by Experience Kissimmee.

I’ve been talking about my trip to Florida from the minute it ended. I was telling a TSA agent about my zip line adventures while she was giving me the opt-out patdown in the Orlando airport; I showed my “Experience Kissimmee” portable charger to the lady I was sitting next to on the plane and told her about how much fun I had on my trip. As soon as I walked into the PDX airport, I began telling Jai all about the details behind the activities he’d seen pictured on my Instagram account. It’s safe to say that I had a good time!

Fear on the Sky Coaster

Thank you to Melissa for this photo!


I purposely got out of my comfort zone on this trip and faced fears in the spirit of personal growth and adventure. The biggest of these – literally – was SkyCoaster, a ride that takes you 300 feet into the air in a harness, then cuts loose to create a swinging freefall. I was sick to my stomach just thinking about it, and although it was terrifying to do, I am so proud of myself for doing it and feel like it was a valuable experience!

Ziplining over gators

Photo courtesy Gatorland & Experience Kissimmee.

Somewhat less terrifying – but still really scary – was when I rode the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line over alligators!

Hot air balloon over water

But not every ride was terrifying! I had the opportunity to ride a hot air balloon at sunrise and it was amazing.

I also loved taking an airboat tour at Wild Florida to spot alligators in their natural habitat!

Leucistic alligator

Beeb holding a gator

Yes, this was a very alligator-filled trip! I stepped into a “Gator Wrestlin’” arena at Gatorland, checked out the alligators swimming in their zoo, held a small gator at Wild Florida, and fed a gator too!



Beeb feeds a dolphin

Photo provided by SeaWorld and Experience Kissimmee.

Actually, I fed a lot of other animals on this trip, too. I gave grapes to lemurs and also had a chance to feed dolphins and stingrays!

Orlando Premium Outlets

Thanks to Experience Kissimmee for this photo.

But it wasn’t just a non-stop adrenaline rush – we also got to enjoy more relaxing activities like shopping at Orlando Premium Outlets!

Medieval Times Group Photo

Photo courtesy Experience Kissimmee & Medieval Times.

We also ate a royal banquet fit for a king at ye olde Medieval Times!

Gator bites

As seems to be the norm on these type of vacations, I ate my way through the state at a number of wonderful places, trying everything from gator bites and cheese grits to Tiramisu!

Limo

Photo thanks to Experience Kissimmee.

No matter what activity we did – going to dinner, heading to Gatorland to wrestle alligators, or even make a pitstop at Walmart, we were chauffeured there in style by Southern Elegance Limousines.

All Star Vacation Home

At night, I relaxed in an All Star Vacation Home with all of the other bloggers who were on the trip. It was so much fun!!

Star Wars Home Theater and Gaming Room

We hosted a Twitter party at another All Star Vacation Home in conjunction with the Rock Your Vacation contest. In addition to have 9 bedrooms and bathrooms, this home also had a special Star Wars themed home theater and gaming room. Maybe I’ll stay here next time I’m in the area! ;)

My trip to Kissimmee was unforgettable; it’s amazing to think how many new and exciting experiences I had jammed into the course of a few short days. I had an incredible time!

Taxes, Blogger Friends & Dead Whales

Today has been quite interesting. I headed to my accountant’s office this morning to pick up my finished tax return so that I could mail it in time for today’s deadline – Jai dropped off my taxes while I was in Florida and this was my first opportunity to pick them up after I returned. After I got that finished, Jai and I met up with my friend Jen of The Mom Reviews, who just happened to be in town with her husband. It was so wonderful getting a chance to meet her in person and we had a lovely time over coffee!

After I got home, Jen sent me this link – apparently, a 40 foot dead whale had washed up this morning and was beached near the turnaround, while we were having lunch at Sam’s totally unawares. So, Jai and I headed back down to the beach. Since I’m pretty much the only blogger in Seaside at this point, I try to report on our local news. You’re welcome:

Dead whale in Seaside

Whale tail

Sad whale photo

Dead whale

No official word yet on cause of death or how the whale will be removed; hopefully, dynamite will not be involved.

Delivery Man Blu-ray Review

Delivery Man Blu-ray

Promo copy provided for review. This post contains my Amazon Associates link.

You may recall that last summer, I was one of 533 bloggers to share a sneak peek at the trailer for Delivery Man, which came out in cinemas in November. Once again, I am grateful for how quickly movies are released onto DVD and Blu-ray these days, because I never got a chance to watch this in the theater while it was running – Jai and I got so sick over the holidays that I barely made it into the cinema to see 47 Ronin, and I’m usually at every Keanu movie opening at midnight. As you can imagine, my “To-watch” list has gotten huge with all of the movies that have come out in the past few months, so I was pleased when a Blu-ray of Delivery Man arrived in the mail this week so that I could get caught up on one of the flicks on my list!

Starring Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders, Chris Pratt and Bobby Moynihan, Delivery Man follows the life of loser-with-a-heart-of-gold David Wozniak. David isn’t having the greatest week: He’s in huge amounts of debt to a couple of goons who will break his kneecaps if he doesn’t pay up, his family is mad at him, and he finds out his girlfriend is pregnant. Things take a turn for the crazy when an unexpected visitor shows up: He figures it’s a gangster coming to kill him, so imagine his shock when he finds a lawyer, serving him with a class action lawsuit…from 533 children. As it turns out, David made numerous donations to a fertility bank in the ’90s, which resulted in hundreds of pregnancies. Those children, now grown, want to know the identity of their biological father and are suing to find out.

David then embarks on quite the adventure, enlisting his friend/aspiring lawyer to defend him in the suit. When he receives a stack of legal paperwork naming the plantiffs – over 100 of his biological children – he decides to track down each one and casually make friends with them, not revealing his true identity. David starts to think of himself as their “Guardian Angel” and tries to help each of them on their path in life. As the lawsuit closes in and David’s girlfriend approaches her due date, this slacker faces some tough decisions as he tries to figure out the right thing to do.

The next part of my review contains some minor spoilers, so click on the blurred text to read it!

I have to say, this is one of the most upbeat movies I’ve seen in a while. I kept expecting some tragedy to befall David and unravel everything – I thought for sure one of his daughters was going to overdose after he signed her release from a hospital rather than send her to rehab, but nope, everything turns out just fine; better than fine, because everything is perfectly resolved and everyone is happy at the end of the movie. It’s really, really sweet – the film is not realistic by any means, but honestly, most of the time I am complaining because movies are too depressing. Films are escapism for me, because as far as I’m concerned, real life is stressful enough without having to be stressed out over fictional characters, too. It’s very relaxing and nice for me when a movie is just straight-up happy!

This film raises some questions about modern-day fertility treatments and navigating the ethics of them – Delivery Man veers towards being a little hokey and stereotypical at times, but it’s well-meaning (Just like David!) and really is a cute movie to watch if you want to forget about your problems and watch something really happy.

Delivery Man was released on DVD and Blu-Ray this Tuesday and is available on Amazon and other fine retailers.

What would YOU do if you had 533 children?

Florida, Here I Come!

Airboat

Travel, accommodations and related consideration will be provided by Experience Kissimmee.

This weekend, I’m packing my bags and heading to Florida for the first time. I’ll be in Kissimmee for 5 days covering a special VIP tour around the area for MomStart. There are all manner of exciting activities planned, like an airboat ride through the Everglades and a trip on the fastest, highest zipline in the world over giant gators. I love having new adventures so I know this will be a trip to remember! You can sneak a peek at my full itinerary here, and be sure to follow me on Twitter and Instagram for real-time updates while I’m on the road. Once I get back, I’ll be sharing all of the details and alligator photos with you, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Have you ever visited Kissimmee?

Once Again, Journalism at its Finest

I’ve complained before about new outlets that put little to no effort into fact-checking in an effort to rush a story on their air. Another fine example of this occurred this morning when Fox 31 KDVR in Denver reported on this morning’s tragedy in Seattle. Using an iPad, the new anchor showed viewers photos from the accident site that were taken in real time and uploaded to Twitter. The fatal mistake occurred when the anchor started flipping through all of the trending photos live, on the air, and apparently without checking what the content was beforehand. First, we see a picture of Edward Scissorhands; then, a photo of a Chimichanga; then…a photo of a full-frontal nude male. The reaction of the whole news crew when this blunder happens is pretty priceless; you can click here to watch it, but it should go without saying that this is not safe for work!

Besides the obvious problem with airing full-frontal nudity on afternoon news, this whole scenario points to the larger and more disturbing trend of carelessly airing anything, anytime, under the guise of news. Even if the news station hadn’t potentially violated federal law*, why in the world were they showing irrelevant snapshots in the first place? It gives the appearance of the news station doing exactly zero research beforehand. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps they did look at the Twitter stream ahead of time and just clicked through the irrelevant content by mistake, but still – could you not open the newsworthy photos in a new tab? And if a Twitter stream has close-ups of genitalia on it, should that not be a sign to skip using that platform as a source live on the air? From what I can tell, it looks like they were pulling up any photos that were included in the trending topic. It should truly be a no-brainer to anyone with even a vague familiarity with Twitter that there will be all kinds of unrelated material being spammed or incorrectly marked with the topic at hand, so why would you use it as a source? Furthermore, if you allow yourself to be surprised, you have no way of knowing that the pictures “From the scene” that you are viewing are actually from the location or day in question. Even 10 minutes of research could have produced an iPad browser with multiple tabs opened to newsworthy material from individuals at the location, instead of wasting viewer’s time with unverified nonsense.

On another note, I think the selection of photos aired perfectly sums up social media in a nutshell. Horrific tragedy? Check. Pop culture? Check. Food? Check. Nudity? Check!

*ETA: I should point out that the FTC is likely all but giving up prosecuting “Fleeting nudity”, although airing obscene content still remains illegal according to their site. What they consider to be “Obscene” is another interesting and inconsistent topic!