I Need A Vacation, And So Do You

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Why I Love Vacation

I don’t know about you, but I need a vacation! A little about me – my name is Beth and I’m a political consultant, Pilates instructor, wife and mom of two boys in Austin, Texas. I’ll be guest blogging here at Main Street Tales for the next few months. But more importantly, I am a person who LOVES vacation.

 

Disney’s Aulani Resort, Oahu, 2015

Vacations are what keep me going through the slog of of the daily grind. I love all kinds of vacations — family vacations with just the four of us, a vacation with my husband, adults-only vacations with friends or even family vacations with multiple families. I love looking forward to vacations — daydreaming about visiting new places and relaxing while taking in the scenery. I love preparing for vacations – shopping for vacation clothes, getting my nails done, even exercising to get into that swimsuit. Most importantly, I love vacations because they give me an opportunity to spend time with people I love, to experience new places and to do things I wouldn’t normally have the chance to experience.

Pike’s Peak, Colorado, 2014

Vacations don’t have to be fancy to make an impact. I’ve had great family vacations involving nothing more than a one night stay in San Antonio (about 1 ½ hours from our house) and a day at a local theme park. I’ve tagged along on my husband’s work trips and considered my vacation relaxing by the pool and going out for a nice dinner. The point is that I got away, even for one night, to relax and experience something new.

Napa, 2016

I believe in the value of EXPERIENCES over THINGS. A good vacation experience doesn’t have to be complicated, it can be as easy as sleeping in and letting someone else clean the room. Kids can give us great examples of how small, simple experiences can make a great vacation. My kids love hotels. They enjoy pressing the button for the elevator, eating a breakfast buffet and taking baths in a different tub than the one at home. It’s the change of scenery and disruption of the routine that they enjoy most.

After I come back from vacation I feel relaxed and recharged, and it motivates me to work harder (if for no other reason than to afford my next vacation!). Vacations give me something to look forward to and a goal to work toward.

Mardi Gras, New Orleans, 2015

 

Your Turn for a Vacation

Now that summer is here, it’s time for YOU to take a vacation. Disconnect from the real world, even if it’s only for a day. Spend some time away from your cell phone. Relax and enjoy a good meal. Try a new activity or adventure. Explore a new place. Do something different, and get away from everyday life.  

If it’s a family vacation you’re considering, give your kids the gift of your undivided attention. Make memories together. Give them something interesting to write about for their “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” essay assignment when they return to school.

Summer may already be upon us, but it’s not too late to pull something together if you haven’t already. Our family is taking a 10-night cruise to the southern Caribbean on the Disney Fantasy and I couldn’t be more excited. Thanks to Main Street Tales’ travel agency partner, Trips to the Mouse, anything is possible. So gather your family together and make a plan. Where will vacation take YOU this summer?

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Top 5 Walt Disney World Snacks

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I recently had a client ask if I could make any recommendations the top Walt Disney World snacks. They wanted to splurge and get a few every day to share. Though I managed to be more professional in my email back to her, my in-person response would have been “Girl, do I!!”

I consider myself and my family “snack connoisseurs,” though I don’t know that this is a particularly flattering description of us. Our favorite park is Epcot, which is a veritable smorgasbord of deliciousness, and the snack options are part of the reason we love it so much. Who doesn’t want to travel around the world and eat themselves silly?

It is in this spirit that I present my top five (yes, I know – it was hard to pare them down!) Walt Disney World Snacks:

 

5. Werther’s Caramel Popcorn

Sweet and salty? It’s right up my alley. You really can’t go wrong with popcorn of any kind at Disney World, but if you’re a caramel fan, the caramel corn at Karamell Kuche at Epcot’s Germany pavilion is where it’s at. While you’re there, grab a Mickey rice krispy treat dipped in caramel and milk chocolate, or a pecan caramel cluster.

4. Carrot Cake Cookie

This cult favorite used to be “the snack to have” at the Writer’s Stop café in Hollywood Studios, but since the café’s closing, you can find it at Sweet Spells right down the road. Two HUGE delicious carrot cake cookies sandwich a massive layer of cream cheese frosting. And since it has carrots in it, it’s good for you, right?! (photo credit: The Disney Food Blog)

3. LeFou’s Brew

If you’re a big Beauty and the Beast fan like I am, just the experience of stepping into Gaston’s Tavern, located in Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom, is a dream come true. He uses antlers in all of his decorating – seriously! There are plenty of delicious snacks to be had at this unique snack counter (pork shank, giant cinnamon rolls, oh my!) but the winner is LeFou’s Brew, an apple/marshmallow/passion fruit combo of a drink that will blow your mind. Sound weird? Just trust me and try it out! (photo credit: The Disney Parks Blog )

2. Dole Whip

To not set off the ire of the Dole Whip diehards out there (you know who you are!), I will explain that there are times that this would rank #1 for me. Who wouldn’t like pineapple ice cream? There are many variations of this treat – with and without alcohol, with and without pineapple juice, etc. – and they’re all delicious. But my favorite is at Pineapple Lanai at the Polynesian Resort. Pineapple and vanilla soft serve swirled together to perfection-yum!

1. School Bread

 

The cardamom bun. The vanilla icing and toasted coconut drizzled over the top. That slightly lemon-y dollop of pudding cream. Oh, how I could wax poetic on the deliciousness of this Norwegian treat. My family likes to get one to share while visiting the Norway pavilion at Epcot, and several to eat for breakfast the next day when we’re on our way out. I literally dream about this treat when it’s been too long since my last visit! (photo credit: The Disney Food Blog)

 

There you are – my top 5 treats you must experience your next trip to Walt Disney World. What would you add to the list?

 

This post is brought to you by Laura Wright, a travel advisor with Trips To The Mouse. If you would like Laura to help you with all of your Disney vacation needs, email her here or request a quote here.

Laura “I am an avid traveler – to Disney and beyond! (read that in Buzz Lightyear’s voice and you’ve got the right idea!) My daughters, husband and I have taken four Disney trips in the last five years, as well as journeyed in an RV for six months across the Western United States. My favorite rides at Disney World are Space Mountain, Peter Pan (I get chill bumps every time we fly over London!), and Star Tours. The Polynesian Village Resort is my absolute favorite place to stay, especially because there’s unlimited Dole Whip!”

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You’ve Been Booed by At Home Store!

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At Home Store

I am sure you have all seen the Halloween tradition of being boo’ed where a friend or neighbor places a sweet note and a Halloween treat on your front porch. This year the At Home stores took things to a whole new level! We were able to shop and choose Halloween decorations to then boo someone special.

I have shopped at the At Home stores but it was the first visit for my four year old. To say he was entertained was an understatement.

scary

I admit to being home decor challenged. I loved how their displays could be 100% replicated in your home!

 

Halloween Display

 

 

 

First our mission was to find Halloween decorations. There were so many to choose from!

 

 

 

 

Our kids are obsessed with inflatables. Our front yard at Christmas has more than any one family needs. Naturally the largest inflatable that we could find was chosen. And there might have been a sneak peak at the Christmas options for us as well! (don’t tell Mickey on us)

Minion

And our four year old has a sense of humor and selected the largest wine glass he could find for the mom in the family!

 

While there I couldn’t pass up a few items for our mantle for fall.

mantle

The next day I felt a little like a weirdo trying to figure out when our friends would not be home. I chose this family because the parents are in a high stress field during the election cycle and I knew they had not had time to decorate for Halloween. I knew their boys would love it also!  We went as a family and got to work hoping they didn’t come home from their baseball game early. Surprisingly their neighbors didn’t seem to think it was odd that we were in their yard putting decorations out.

decorations                   decorationsinflatable

 

I did give her a hint that I would love a video when they saw the surprise I dropped off for them. I don’t think she was expecting this!

 

 

Have you been to an At Home store? If not, you should go! They make decorating for the holidays easy, but they also have home decor options for any style, including my simplistic tastes.

 

 

 

This was a sponsored post. My opinions were my own.

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Armadillo Bazaar

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The motto of Austin is “Keep Austin Weird”. The thing about Austin is we really aren’t that weird at all. We just like to support small businesses, artists, and keep things local. One of the events that embodies this is the Armadillo Bazaar! It has been an Austin tradition for 40 years now.

From the press release ” The Armadillo World Headquarters (AWHQ) was considered the premiere ‘third coast’ concert venue for live music in the 1970s, and a vibrant community center. The folks around the AWHQ were raising eyebrows long before “Keep Austin Weird” became a slogan. Many local musicians, songwriters and performers, some of whom are now considered legends, honed their craft there. National touring artists includedWillie Nelson, Jerry Garcia, Van Morrison, Bruce Springsteen, and Frank Zappa.The AWHQ quickly became a countercultural institution known for out-of-the-box thinking. The scene around the Armadillo became a powerful magnet pulling in young creative people and energy from all over the country and gave Austin the roots of its current attractive cultural identity. This is where the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar was born. In 1975, Lucinda Williams, through an offhand comment, inspired a fabulous solution to AWHQ’s mid-winter money woes. “Too bad the artists down on the drag don’t have a warm, dry place like this to sell their art for Christmas”. Her spark provided a perfect opportunity to expand AWHQ’s cultural and economic prosperity.”

The Armadillo Bazaar has grown into a family favorite in Austin and attracts people from all over the country! Art collectors and music lovers both enjoy the event. Many make it a yearly holiday family tradition.

“This philosophy of community, enhancing spheres of prosperity and commitment to art and music are what makes the Armadillo Bazaar the best of Austin’s ‘weird’ and wonderful. Armadillo will continue to be the place for an authentic Austin live music and art buying experience, where creativity, originality, and fun are celebrated in the true spirit of the holidays. “

I personally am most excited about this year’s music line up! Check it out here.

You can buy tickets here:

The location is at Palmer Events Center located at 900 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78704.

Which artist or musician do you want to see the most?

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Disney’s The Little Mermaid comes to Austin

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Disney's Little Mermaid

We had the pleasure of seeing Disney’s The Little Mermaid last night at Bass Concert Hall. It is part of the Broadway in Austin series. You must buy tickets! Better yet take your friends too, especially if you loved the original story.

 

King Triton

I was curious how they would portray so much of the musical under water. The sets never disappoint with the Broadway in Austin series. You really did feel like you were under the water! Blues and greens were used heavily as you might expect. And instead of making the water move, the cast moved in a way to make you feel like you were floating. The costumes though took the prize. The pageantry of colors felt like you really were seeing under the sea with the bright colors of all the fish. Having seen various versions of The Little Mermaid, I expected more puppetry but to my pleasant surprise there was very little. The one thing that really was surprising though with the costumes was the use of skateboards! Flounder and the evil eels Flotsum and Jetsam all three incorporated skateboards into their costumes and movement. Brilliant!

Ursula and the Eels

Prince Eric and Ariel

 

Anyone reading this blog knows the story of The Little Mermaid. One of the parts that I really thought the actors nailed was the chemistry between Ariel and Prince Eric. It definitely grew as time passed. Don’t worry it was all G rated though for those little ones who are in the audience.

 

 

 

Sebastian and Ariel

My favorites of the musical were Ariel and Sebastian. Both were as true to the original story as you could have hoped for. They had great personality on stage. Ariel’s voice was expected to be beautiful but it was strong and captivating as well. Sebastian’s facial expressions made his part. I also enjoyed Ursula. She was hysterical and really captured the humor of the sea witch along with the meanness.

 

 

 

Flounder

The crowd favorites were Flounder and Chef Louis. Flounder, the dear soul, really did an incredible job. He constantly moved just like the Flounder in the movie! So much so, it made this motion sick person a little quesy watching him. In this version, Flounder also had a crush on Ariel. I don’t recall that part in the story or movie or any other version I’ve seen so I am not sure if that was subtle and I didn’t catch it or if this was just a tweak for this production. It felt a little wrong to me though! Not creepy wrong just off. Chef Louis was a riot! I laughed so hard I had tears in the scene with Sebastian and Chef Louis in the dining room. That was serious talent to pull off those shenanigans!

Chef Louis

And a musical wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the most important part of the production, the Orchestra. People were moving in their seats. Some(unfortunately) even tried to sing along. Please don’t do that for the sake of all around you! The orchestra though was just beautiful.

We saw this production as a date night. This would make a great date night this weekend but also a wonderful girl’s night out. It is kid friendly but there were a few parts that would be scary for the 6 and under range, especially Ursula! Tickets are still available. Don’t wait though because I expect it will sell out. Last night was a packed house!

 

The Little Mermaid Program

BASS CONCERT HALL ENGAGEMENT RUNS

September 29 – October 4, 2015

 

 

WHO:           Lexus Broadway in Austin presented by Texas Performing Arts

 

WHAT:         Premiere of The Little Mermaid

 

WHEN:         September 29 – October 4, 2015

Tuesday – Friday at 8 p.m.; Saturday at 2 p.m & 8 p.m.; Sunday at

1 p.m. & 7 p.m.

 

WHERE:       Bass Concert Hall / 2350 Robert Dedman Drive / Austin, TX

 

TICKETS:    Start at $35. Tickets are available at BroadwayinAustin.com, the Bass Concert Hall box office, all Texas Box Office Outlets, by phone at (512) 477-6060. For groups of 10 or more, call (877) 275-3804 or email Austin.groups@broadwayacrossamerica.com.

*All Photos other than the program photo are courtesy of Broadway in Austin and subject to copyright laws.

 

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