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Take the Nature Valley No Barrier Pledge

Take the Nature Valley No Barrier Pledge
#MyAdventure #GetOUTThere

Have you ever been sitting there staring at the TV, computer, smart phone or just at nothing and all of a sudden it hits you!  Life is so short and you are just letting it pass by.   Well, it hits me all the time!  To much actually.   There is so much a person has to do and take care of on a daily basis that sometimes life just feels as though it is slipping away and there are so many places to go and things to see and do that I start to panic and feel I will never be able too.   See, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth so I have to work for those things.  I have to earn a living and plan ahead if I want to enjoy life’s adventures.  I know this is the case for many and also for many they will never get to see what all awaits us in this beautiful world.    Well, even though I wasn’t born rich, and have to plan my trips and save for them, at least when I do them I can actually see the beauty that awaits me.  How would you like to experience life but not be able to see it.  That is how Erik Weihenmayer is experiencing his journey down the Grand Canyon in a kayak for 21 days.  Now, that is what I call an amazing journey and one inspirational man!  277 miles in a kayak down raging rivers… Yikes!     Check out Erik telling you about it in his video ~


Follow Erik’s journey on the Nature Valley TUmblr page.


Who is Erik ?   Erik is the only blind adventurer to ever climb to the seven highest summits in the world.  This amazing man is now taking on the adventure of kayaking the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River along with his fellow blind adventurer Lonnie Bedwell.

This expedition serves to inspire people to not limit themselves, eliminate barriers in their lives and live life to its fullest.  Nature Valley is joining Erik Weihenmayer in inviting people to pledge to get out there and live a No Barriers Life.

The Expedition

  •      The “No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition” is a 21-day, 277 mile journey through some of the world’s most challenging whitewater terrain in the Colorado River.
  •      Erik Weihenmayer will be supported by an experienced paddling team, and joined by accomplished kayaker and Navy veteran Lonnie Bedwell.  Together, Erik and Lonnie will demonstrate the power of harnessing inner strength to overcome challenging barriers.
  •      Preparation for the Expedition has been extensive, with both Weihenmayer and Bedwell spending the last several years training and developing innovative systems for kayaking rapids with support from high-tech radios and verbal commands from river guides.
  •      The trip will begin on September 7 at Lees Ferry, nine miles south of the Arizona-Utah border. Erik and his team expect to complete the expedition on or around September 28 at Pearce Ferry, which marks the boundary between Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon.

Follow along on Nature Valley’s Tumblr:  

If you are a Tumblr user, please repost and follow!

Weihenmayer Featured in Nature Valley Advertising

Weihenmayer is featured in a series of new television and digital advertisements “Feel Nature’s Energy” for Nature Valley, highlighting the unique ways in which Erik experiences nature. Links to videos above!

Want to go above and beyond? Take the No Barriers Pledge

  •      As a founding member of No Barriers USA, Weihenmayer advocates for the organization’s mission to empower people with the message, “what’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way.”
  •      You can join Nature Valley and Weihenmayer in the goal of encouraging one million people to live a No Barriers Life by visiting today.

About Nature Valley

  •      Nature Valley has a long history of commitment to nature, outdoor activities and the national parks.

  •      The brand finds inspiration from the beauty of nature and the way people connect with nature – whether that’s from a fearless adventure like those undertaken by Weihenmayer or an everyday hike.

  •      It’s Nature Valley’s belief that experiencing nature enables people to feel most alive and Weihenmayer is a great demonstration of our belief.


I might not be as adventurous or brave as Erik but I do like to do some milder stuff like some mountain/rock climbing.  We love to travel and have seen some amazing things and had a lot of fun in our journeys.   A few years ago we went to South Dakota and drove thru Needles Highway where we stopped and climbed up some big rocks to get a good view.  Here I am sitting there in the sun..  ;)


Since today is my 43rd Birthday, maybe it’s time to plan another trip with some adventure in it to make sure I am living my life to it’s fullest and not letting things pass me by.     Tell me, where should I go and what should I do?  I need ideas and maybe a “dare” or two.

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl received compensation for cooperation with Nature Valley and Sverve on this campaign.  All opinions expressed are solely that of Living Smart Girl’s. 

Easy Ways to Exercise While You Travel



Do you like to travel, or just have to travel for work or other reasons?  Sticking to your exercise routines while you are traveling is not always easy because you are not near your local gym, don’t have any of your favorite workout gear with you and are not familiar with established routes. All of this should not stop you from getting in the exercise that you crave, and still be able to see everything you want to in your new destination. There are several easy ways to add exercise while you travel, and most of them are fun or give you a new way to see a city, countryside or beach town.


No matter what type of travel you are doing, or where you end up, here are a few easy ways to add exercise into your travels.


As You Go Rentals

More and more destinations are investing in citywide, pay as you go rentals for everything from bikes to fitness centers. These options are perfect for travelers that want to be able to access great facilities and equipment, without having to make a big commitment. Look for private or public bike share programs and use a bike to get around instead of taking the bus. Find hotels or fitness centers that offer day passes, or pay as you go passes that you can use during the duration of your trip.


Add a Walking Tour

Instead of booking a trolley tour that will drive you up to every landmark in the city, find a walking tour that forces you to get active. These tours let you see the city in a new light and have more of an insider feel than any of the larger tours that will drive you past a lot of places you might be interested in.


Create a YouTube Playlist

There are several fitness instructors, workouts and exercise ideas on YouTube, so before your flight, take the time to create a playlist. Use this playlist when you don’t have the time to get in a full workout, want a quick morning routine or have a rainy afternoon to fill. Its also the best way to make sure that you are working out and toning all parts of your body equally while you are away.


Try New Forms of Cardio

To get your cardio in and create some vacation memories, try out a new form of cardio like the locals would. Anything from rock climbing to kayaking to paddleboarding are fun ways to get out and get in a nice workout. Think about the destination and find an activity that pairs well with the locale. Anywhere near water is a new way to discover a fun water sport. Country destinations can include activities like hiking, climbing, cross country skiing or snowshoeing in the winter and even horseback riding.


Getting in your workout while traveling is all about including more physical activity into what you already have planned or need to get done while at your destination. Turn that activity into fun things to do while out of town and your exercise is as easy as having fun.

Whether you travel for enjoyment, or for other reasons, make sure you check out our partner site (owned by us) at That Traveling Chick, because we offer low prices on all sorts of travel as well as lots of great reviews on places we have traveled and travel tips.


Our Travel Bucket List


This is a sponsored giveaway with Mums the Word Network and All opinions are my own.  @RCI_Timeshare  #ad

Hubby and I so love to travel!  We could travel every week, but with life and jobs and the cost of travel that just isn’t something that will ever happen. So, we have sat down and made a list of places we want to for sure hit, before we can’t travel anymore.  We call it “Our Travel Bucket List”.  I know most people have a bucket list for other things they want to do that might include a bit of travel here or there, but ours is all travel.

Our travel bucket list includes places like – Hawaii, Las Vegas, Colorado, Yellowstone, Niagara Fall, Florida Keys, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Carlsbad Caverns, Coty Wyoming, Branson Missouri, California, Disney World and Disney Land, Alaska, Texas, Maine, New York, Route 66, … Oh the list goes on and on!   We want to do and see so many things and places and add a new thing to our list weekly.  Hubby is always looking at the map.  We spend a lot of time, and money when we travel so we soak it all up.  And, I blog all my travel which is great because it’s like having an online diary to look back and see what we have done.

There are things that we do to make sure we can take vacations that fit into our yearly budget.   Using timeshares is one of the ways we save money and make our trips fun and easy to take.   Using RCI is a great way to make sure to fulfill our travel bucket list.

One way to make sure you don’t lose sight of fulfilling all of your dream trips is to commit to yearly vacations through vacation ownership, or timeshare. Timeshare ensures that you will take a vacation every year.  And I firmly believe that every family, person, couple, etc., needs to take a vacation yearly. And if you purchase a vacation exchange membership through a company like RCI, you can essentially swap your vacation ownership unit for accommodations all over the world.  Perfect because you don’t have to visit the same place, twice.

RCI has nearly 4,500 affiliated resorts in more than 100 countries in its network – making it the largest vacation exchange company in the world. This means that almost no matter where we want to go, we can find a place to stay.  Very important in travel, to have nice places to stay that are within our budget. If you’re not ready to make a long-term commitment, you can also try out timeshare units by booking them through sites like, which offers great deals on a variety of accommodation options including vacation ownership, and see if this type of vacationing fits your lifestyle.  I have many friends and family members who own timeshares and wouldn’t have it any other way.  And, when they vacation they invite us along.

Do you own a timeshare?  Have you ever looked into it?  Do you love to travel?   What 3 places do you plan to travel to next ?

On Our Way to Rock Fest #RockFestWi


On Our Way to Rock Fest for our 10th year in a row.    As you read this, we are in our motorhome (redneck one too) and heading to the summer party to top all summer parties.   There is music, food, booze, fun, friends, laughing, screaming, games, jello shots, beer bongs, wet t-shirts, half dressed people and some not even with that much on…. and so much more.  But, the main reason we go is because we love music, and love being able to see this many bands in only 4 days.

This year Rock Fest did something new, they built a pit around the stage and sold pit passes.    So, aside from the already good seats we have we decided to buy some pit passes to be up close and personal with the bands we love ~ Aerosmith, Rob Zombie, Cheap Trick, Sammy Hagar, Sick Puppies and Live.    So Stoked!!

We always go VIP which means we get up close seating, and fed 2 times a day, and all the beer, wine, pop, water, coffee, and milk we can drink.    The food is good, the beer is cold and the people are all friendly because they want to be there.

Do you like music?  Do you go to any music festivals in your area?   Tell me about them, I might have to come check out your local festivals.

What bands here would you love to see?   What ones have you seen ?



Cupcake Decorating Aboard the #LibertyoftheSeas


“This post is brought to you by me, all about my experience upon a Royal Caribbean cruise for a press trip.  While I received my cruise at a discount I received no other compensation for my review. “
#libertyoftheseas  #seastheday @royalcaribbean


Just when one thinks a cruise is all about laying on the top deck sunning themself, taking a dip in one of the pools,  or eating amazing foods at the many restaurants, or enjoying the night life with shows, casino fun, or dancing and drinks… then you find out that there is even more fun stuff to do.  Like what?  Well like decorating cupcakes in the cupcake shop.  Yes, I said decorating cupcakes.   Yummy ones at that.

All 40 of us bloggers got to take a class and learn the techniques of making cute cupcakes.  I have never done any cupcake decorating before, except with that icing from a can and a butter knife.  Maybe, I have even gone as far as putting a few sprinkles on them.  Usually, they are just left plain and gone before I have time to frost them.   So, this was something I never would have thought I would do, or enjoy.  But, I loved it and can’t wait to try my hand at my own batch here at home.

The instructor we had was so much fun, and very comical.  And the way he said “puppy dog” was just as adorable as all the puppy dog cupcakes we all decorated.

Decorating a “puppy dog” cupcake was a lot easier than one would think.   You start with 2 cupcakes.  On the first cupcake you put the frosting on the top, using an icing bag and making little stars all over the top.  Then, cut about 1/4″ off the other cupcake and place it on top of the frosted cupcake with the rounded top facing toward you.  cupcake5 cupcake6

Once the top cupcake is in place, then you put a row of stars all the way around it, where it is attached to the bottom cupcake.

Then you put a couple stripes from the bottom of the cupcake, up over the top of it and toward the back.


Next, place your lime gummy wedge on it at the base of the top cupcake where it touches the bottom cupcake.


Now it’s time to fill the whole cupcake with icing.  Using the icing bag draw lines on the sides, toward the back of the cupcakes.


Then you take your icing bag and draw 3 lines, in the form of an S, to make it look like a mustache over the gummy wedge.  Now place a jelly bean where the nose would be, and 2 gumdrops on top where the ears would be.  Then you ice the ears so they look like puppy dog ears that stand up.   Next take 2 candy buttons and place for the eyes.  Those are the candy buttons that come on a long strip.. like we used to eat when we were kids.



Then, using chocolate sprinkles you take a toothpick and dip in a bit of icing so the sprinkles stick.  Pick out long and straight ones to use for the line under the nose, and to make a W for the mouth.  Then, put a red gumdrop cut in half for a tongue.   Now turn the puppy dog so the back is facing you and using your icing bag make the hair on the back on it.  You can do lines, swirls, stars or however you wish, to give your puppy dog the kind of fur you think he/she should have.


Now it’s time to give your puppy dog some legs.   Draw 2 lines down from the body to the plate for each leg, and then make 3 stars at the bottom of each leg to look like paws.   Then you can take chocolate sprinkles and put on each paw.


Now, isn’t that a cute puppy dog?    I might not explain it as good as our instructor did, but hopefully I gave you a good idea of how easy and fun it can be to make a cupcake puppy dog.

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See how excited and happy I was that I actually made something, that did sorta look like a puppy dog.
This class was so much fun.  It was on deck 5 of the ship, where the shopping and a few other restaurants are.  There were people walking by the whole time and checking out what we were doing.  I even had a few people take pictures of my puppy dog.

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This was such a cute shop, and of course filled with yummy cupcakes.  Aren’t they all delicious looking?


Have you ever decorated cupcakes?   Share your tips and tricks with me.   If you ever take a cruise (highly recommended) I suggest your check out and see if the ship offers something like this.  It is so much fun, and relaxing at the same time.

I had so much fun on my cruise aboard one of Royal Caribbean’s cruise ships the Liberty of the Seas.  This is the 3rd largest cruise ship in the world, and it is not only huge, beautiful, amazing, but full of adventure and fun for everyone.

Want to read more about my adventure on the Liberty of the Seas?  Check out my other post, click here.

Keep any eye on my posts and I have more to come about my great adventure.

#libertyoftheseas  #seastheday @royalcaribbean

My Adventure Upon Royal Caribbean’s #LibertyoftheSeas

Going on a cruise is more than just taking a vacation.  A cruise is an adventure. An adventure that I highly recommend everyone try at least one time in their life.  If you read my pre cruise post you remember me telling you how I was scared to go on a cruise due to my fear of water.  Well, I got over that fear pretty quick on my way to the ship, due to the size of it.  OH MY… this is a HUGE ship.  It is the 3rd largest ship in the world.  Just take a look at his girl!

libertyoftheseasship “This post is brought to you by me, all about my experience upon a Royal Caribbean cruise for a press trip.  While I received my cruise at a discount I received no other compensation for my review. “

That was taken as we were approaching so it really isn’t even the whole ship.  Since I had never been on a cruise before I didn’t know what to expect and this ship just blew my mind.  So big, fancy, intriguing, pretty, well put together and full of adventure.

My adventure began when we got in line to go through all the steps to board the ship.  Well, being a newbie and never traveling out of the country I don’t have a passport.  Not a big deal as we were told we could use our birth certificate and marriage license.  Well, I didn’t think I needed it until we docked in Mexico… so, I left it in my bag that was loaded onto a cart with other bags, and brought to a room with all the other 6000 passengers bags to be scanned and then delivered to our rooms.    NOT GOOD!!  I got up to the counter and when they asked me for my passport or other documents I explained what happened and they said I couldn’t board the ship.   Right there, all I wanted to do was cry and go home.  I was so mad at myself, and so sad that I couldn’t board the ship with all the other gals from my group.  But, the PR Gal (Julianna) was amazing.  She talked to a few people and then the search began for my bag that had my documents in it.  It was about an hour or so and a guy came walking by with my bag.  Oh, I could have hugged him.  How they found my tiny red bag in the mass jumble of thousands of bags I will never know, but at that point didn’t care as I was so excited to be able to board finally.  And, I did get to board with a few others who were late comers so I was excited about that.

Finally aboard the ship I was just in awe of all.  This ship is way bigger than one realizes from any picture or standing by it.  Yeah… I was on a cruise ship.  :)I headed right for my room to put down the heavy bags I was carrying and to check out my room.   HOLY COW.. what an amazing room my roommate and I had.  All of us on Brandcation were given Balcony rooms with are very nice rooms.  If you cruise a lot and are used to the lower prices rooms you really need to splurge and try one of these rooms.   So much bigger, and the balcony was to die for.  Sitting out there was so peaceful.  Check out a few of my room pics.


And this is a view off my balcony before the ship sailed.


I was worried about my motion sickness so I had taken Dramamine when I left the hotel room.  So far so good upon this big ol ship, but we weren’t moving yet.

Once the ship started to move I have to admit, I barely knew it.   Yes, during the cruise there were times where I knew for sure it was moving as it got a bit rough, but not bad enough to scare me.   I did keep up on my motion sickness meds though as I didn’t want to take a chance with spending my whole cruise in the bathroom.

There is so much to do and see aboard the Liberty of the Seas that there is no reason anyone should be bored or not enjoy their cruise.  You can go swimming, lounge by the pool, play shuffle board, visit the game room, go shopping, go rock climbing, try surfboarding, chill out in a bar, dine at the many restaurants, go ice skating, check out a show, take an excursion when you dock, and so much more.  Never a shortage of things to do or see.   Myself, I loved the few shows we saw, enjoyed the dining as we all got to gather and learn more about each other, loved my time in the sun up on the ship deck and also touring the ship to learn about how the galley is run.  I could have spent so much more time on this ship just so I could experience everything.  Guess that just means I have to take another cruise soon.  Now that I know what they are all about, my hubby can join me on the next one.

Well, if you want an adventure make sure you check out any of the Royal Caribbean cruises, especially Liberty of the Seas.   Keep an eye on my site for more posts about my adventure.  I will let you know all about the foods and the fun I had aboard the cruise.



First Leg of Brandcation for #SeastheDay

Here I sit in an airport in Minneapolis, Mn., catching up on some work and overdue email replies while I wait for my connecting flight to take me to warmer climate. It is cold here in Minnesota! Yikes, it was 1 degrees this morning when we pulled out of my driveway at 4am. After a busy day of packing yesterday (April 1st), and a busy evening of making sure everything at home was done and ready for my hubby to be left alone for 2 weeks I was so tired but so excited for my trip that I maybe slept 4 hours. Went to bed at 9pm to have some snuggle time (wink wink) and then I watched the minutes slowly pass as I lay there and tried to fall asleep. My alarm went off at 2:20 am and I hit snooze several times and finally drag my butt out of bed at 2:50 am. Tired as all get out!

Well, since I was running late, of course I arrived at the airport late, and the people in front of me to check in were having issues so I was starting to stress I might miss my flight. Well, a nice guy informed me I could check my baggage using the Kiosk, which I didn’t know as I had never done that before. So, I quickly did that, rushed up to security and then to my gate and still had about 10 minutes to spare. Whew!!

The flight from Duluth, Mn to Minneapolis, Mn is only about a 20 minute flight in total. It takes 3 ½ hours to drive from my house to the Minneapolis airport so that is why I choose to fly. The ticket is always more money for the convenience of not having to drive, park my car, pay to park, find my car when I return and drive home all tired after a long flight. So, I don’t mind paying a bit more.

Where a I going you ask? Well I am heading to Ft Lauderdale, Florida to join 39 other bloggers on a 4 day Royal Caribbean cruise upon the Liberty of the Seas ship. This is going to be so much fun and I can’t wait to tell you all about my cruise (first time on a cruise). This is a huge ship and there is so much on it. They have pools, rock climbing, ice skating, zip lining, dining, dancing, shopping, and so much more.

Keep tuned to Living Smart Girl for lots of updates. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so you don’t miss any of my updates.

#RoyalCaribbean  @RoyalCaribbean #SeastheDay

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogwarts Express

Today, Universal Orlando Resort revealed never-before-released details about the Hogwarts Express experience that will debut as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley – the all-new, magnificently themed land opening this summer.

Calling all Harry Potter fans!   Did you see the latest press release about the addition to Universal Orlando ?
Universal Orlando revealed never-before-released details about the Hogwarts Express experience that will debut as part of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley – the all-new, magnificently themed land opening this summer

The train will connect the new land in Universal Studios Florida with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in Islands of Adventure – allowing guests with park-to-park admission to enjoy a real journey aboard the iconic locomotive. Park-to-park admission is required to experience the Hogwarts Express journey.  Please know that never before has this been done – creating an actual train ride experience to connect two spectacularly themed environments. Everything about the train is authentic – from the paint and the materials used to build it….all the way down to the whistle. The Hogwarts Express experience combines powerful storytelling, live special effects, lifelike animation and state-of-the-art technology to take riders on the journey of a lifetime.


As part of the Hogwarts Express, guests will enjoy two completely different experiences depending on whether they’re traveling to Hogsmeade or London.   Once seated in the cabin, guests will be able to look out their windows as an incredibly authentic and magical adventure unfolds before them.  They’ll see Hagrid come alongside the train on his flying motorbike, Buckbeak the Hippogriff swoop gracefully over Black Lake, the Weasley twins on brooms and up to their usual antics, the Knight Bus swerving through London traffic – and other special moments and surprises.

I know how exciting this is for anyone who is a Harry Potter fan.   Myself, I have never watched a single Harry Potter movie, but after my latest trip to Universal Orlando I will be checking out all the movies so I can be up to date on all things Harry Potter.

Are you a Harry Potter fan?   Have you been to Universal Orlando?   Will you be going to check this out?

Loews Royal Pacific Resort for Rest, Relaxation, and Fun

Loews Royal Pacific Resort for Rest, Relaxation, and Fun


Now doesn’t that look absolutely peaceful ?
Well if you are dreaming of a vacation and need to know what kind of resort to stay at then you have just got to read on.
#LoewsRoyalPacific  #WishYouWereHere

Loews Royal Pacific Resort is one of the most amazing places I have had the pleasure of staying.   During our trip to Florida I reached out to a rep for tickets to Universal Orlando and she put me in touch with the rep for Royal Pacific Hotel.    I am so glad she did, and we decided to stay at this place because it is absolutely amazing!!   From the minute you get out of your car, and walk into the hotel you are just in awe at the beauty of everything.   The staff is so friendly and the hotel is so unique.

RoyalPacificResort2 RoyalPacificResort1

Breathtaking isn’t it.  Pictures just don’t do it justice.

We arrived at the hotel at about 9 am to check in, and when I walked in I was just so taken back by the beauty.  I walked up to the desk and gave my name and confirmation number.  The girl picked up the phone and all of a sudden another gal came over, introduced herself and shook my hand and gave me a business card to the manager for if I needed anything during my stay.  I was star struck, as I have never been greeted like that before.   I was given our room keys and told that they would text me when the rooms were ready.  So, on our way we went to enjoy the day at Universal Orlando.    It wasn’t long and my text came thru to let me know our room was ready.  But, we were having so much fun we didn’t head back to our room till about 10 pm. after our dinner at Margaritaville.

Upon entering our room I think my husband had to pick my jaw up off the floor.  When we entered a few lights were on and my first thought was.. crap, I am in the wrong room.   No, I wasn’t… someone had left our lights on for us along with some goodies on our table and a nice card to welcome us to the hotel.   See what was left for us  ~

RoyalPacificResort6 RoyalPacificResort7

Not only did they look amazing, they tasted amazing!   We couldn’t eat them that night as we were so stuffed from dinner so we ate the strawberries with our breakfast and at the cupcakes on our drive back to Minnesota.

Our room was so big, and beautiful.   I just was in love and told my husband I never wanted to leave there.   We got a king room, and the bed was the best bed I have ever slept in, in a hotel. It was seriously like laying on a cloud.  My husband laid on the bed and was asleep in minutes.  Me, I took my time and enjoyed the room and the view from our window and relaxed in the bed till I drifted off to dream land.

RoyalPacificResort4 RoyalPacificResort5 RoyalPacificResort3

After a great nights sleep, we decided to treat ourselves and do something we have never ever done… order room service.  We had requested a late checkout so we got to sit and enjoy our room and each other.    We ordered up our breakfast and again, I was just blown away when our meal was delivered.  The sweetest gal knocked on our door, and when I opened the door she asked me if it was ok that she came in.  (So Polite).  She pushed the cart into our room and proceeded to show us our food and asked with each dish if we wanted to cover left on or taken off.  Then she positioned the cart where we wanted it, chatted with us a bit and wished us a great day and left our room.   I could have just hugged her!!   We ran into so many rude people on our vacation and the staff at this place just reminded me that there are good people in the world.


Tony ordered Eggs Benedict, I ordered oatmeal, bacon and we shared some bananas and strawberries.   I was really happy with the portions we received as well.   Doesn’t that bacon look good?  Well let me tell you.. it was the best bacon I have had in a long time.   We were so full after breakfast we actually went back to bed for a bit before getting ourselves dressed and packed for our day of driving.

We headed out of our room, after I did the online checkout and walked through the hotel to check out some more sights.   This place is beautiful and worth checking out.   Look at this neat fountain ~


I am so glad we stayed here and I know my next vacation I will be making sure I find where other Loews Royal Pacific Hotels are as they are now right at the top of my list for my favorite hotels to stay in.
Check them out on Facebook and Twitter, Instagram.

Disclosure ~  Living Smart Girl received media rates for the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in exchange for a review.  All opinion expressed are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s.

Universal Orlando is for Big Kids Too!

Big kids like to have fun too!
@UniversalORL, #UniversalMardiGras and #UniversalOrlando  @BMGOrlando

I am sure all you big kids reading my blog can agree, that things like theme parks are for sure not only for kids these days.   I love them!  Like, freaking love them!! I am such a kid at heart and when I can I will hit any theme park possible.

I have never been to Universal Orlando and was so excited when I reached out to my rep and she gave us 2, 1 day tickets so that we could experience and enjoy all that Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure had to offer the big kids in us.


We decided to start with Islands of Adventure and I have to say, I didn’t know what to expect.  Never being there and not knowing to many people who have I had no idea what was there except for a few rides I had heard about.   Well, I love this park!   Both my husband and I felt like kids.  This park took us back to our early years ~ pre teen and teen years.    As soon as we entered the park, I saw a character and ran over to get my chance at a picture with him.  Characters are hard to find and so I was excited!


When we came into the park after my character meeting, I noticed The Cat in the Hat section.  Totally LOVE!   I was a big fan of The Cat in the Hat, and so was my son.  So, this section was just super neat and would make anyone big or small smile.  The attention to detail was amazing and I kept thinking, man I wish I would have brought my son here when he was little.
Our first ride was The Cat in the Hat ride.  That was neat as it really took a person back to the story that everyone loves.
We then rode the Seuss trolly that is 15 Ft above The Cat in the Hat section.  Very neat to see all the stuff from in the air.


Islands of Adventure has so much to do and see.   It was hard to decide what we wanted to do because we were so busy looking here and looking there and pointing and laughing and just enjoying every second of being a big kid.   We ventured over to the Incredible Hulk ride where I decided I was going to ride.  Hubby is first, scared of coasters and second, just had surgery so couldn’t ride even if he wanted to.  I had the express pass but stood in line for about 40 minutes and then missed my hubby so left the line.   I didn’t want to leave him all alone on a day that was for us.  So, we ventured over to The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman and did that ride.  Now, I get motion sick very easy but was drugged up on on Dramamine so thought I would give this ride a try.   I am so glad I did because it was scary, fun, thrilling, and the best 3D ride I have ever been on.  Mostly because it didn’t make me sick.  There is one part of the ride where you are falling straight to the ground, or at least that is what if feels and looks like.  WOW!!  We loved it so much we did it a second time.


Another really neat section that brings back memories from childhood is the Toon Lagoon.  It is full of cartoon characters and things I remember reading in the Sunday comics.   I had forgotten how much I loved all those cartoon.   Hagar the Horrible, Popeye, Marmaduke, The Family Circle, Blondie, Beetle Baily, Betty Boop,  and more.

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As we ventured through the park we came upon Camp Jurassic.   Now this might not bring back childhood memories for me, but it brings back memories of when my son was little.  That was Davids favorite movie when he was about 5.  He would watch it over and over and would hide at the scary parts, but still loved it.  He had the toys and collectibles and clothing all Jurassic Park.   I too have always liked the movies so this was a fun area to walk through.  We wanted to do the River Adventure but it wasn’t warm enough for me and I don’t like being wet all day.


Well by this time we were both pretty hungry so Tony grabbed a HUGE turkey leg and I headed for the Comic Strip Cafe.   We had lunch and then decided we would head over to Universal Studios as the day was ticking away and the parks closed at 7pm.  We wanted to make sure we saw a bit of everything.    On our way over to Universal Studios we checked out all the restaurants in the Universal City Walk.  We knew before hand that we wanted to eat at Margaritaville for dinner, but just had to check the others out, just in case.  The City Walk is very cool and a great place for the big kids to hand after the little kids are all tuckered out for the day.



Universal Studios is neat as well.   This park is themed more for the movie lovers.  Things like Men In Black, Fear Factor Live, Transformers, ET, Mummy, Despicable Me, Terminator and more.  My son would have loved this park as he pretty much is into all of the stuff they have there.

We decided to do the Shrek 4D because ours on loved (still does) Shrek and so do we.  This was a very cute movie that I recommend anyone check out when you are there.    We then headed over to the Transformers 3D Ride.   Even though it was a 3D ride, and I get motion sick I thought I would give it a try.   Well, I didn’t get sick but did have to close my eyes a few times.   Very neat ride indeed.

I had been texting back and forth with my rep and we decided to meet up over at the Mummy ride.  It was so great to finally meet Meredith.  She is so sweet, (and very pretty) and after working with her previously last year it was nice to finally meet face to face.   After meeting we decided I would go on the Mummy ride since the line was only about a 10 min wait.   I love that ride.  It is an inside coaster, sorta scary, but perfect for all ages.   There is so much at this park to do and we barely touched the tip of the iceberg because Meredith said we should really check out the Harry Potter section over at Islands of Adventure.  Now, I admit, I have never watched a single Harry Potter movie, and really know nothing about Harry Potter.   So, we decided we would check out Hard Rock Cafe and head back over to Islands of Adventure.


Just had to take this picture.   LOL!!

I of course couldn’t leave Universal Orlando without riding the Hulk ride. So, when we walked back into Islands of Adventure we checked out the line and it was short so hubby waited in line with me and then just stepped thru to wait for me.  This ride is so freaking awesome!!  Fast, and loud and scary, just how I like it!     Here is a picture of the ride from across the road, leaving the hotel the next morning.


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Now, even though neither of us know anything about Harry Potter, I have to say this section was amazing!  So real, and so unique.  We now have to watch the movies.  There is a roller coaster over in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter that I had to try.   Dragon Challenge it is called.  Wow.. this is a heck of a coaster!  Fast, twists, turns, upside down, ..  I have never been on a coaster that was like this, and I loved it!
Next we decided to go on the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride.   Even though this ride is probably amazing, it made me sick :(    I had to close my eyes for most of it.  But, my husband said it was awesome, so realistic and one of the coolest 3D type rides he has been on even though you don’t even wear 3D glasses.   I am glad we waited till last to do this ride.  It was about 8:30 by the time we got off this ride so we just walked around a bit more and then headed to Margaritaville.   To our surprise Islands of Adventure was open till 9 pm so we were able to enjoy things a bit longer.

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After leaving the park we headed straight for Margaritaville to enjoy what….. well margaritas of course.


These were the best margaritas we have had in a very long time.
Of course what goes good with a margarita?  Burgers and fries.


We had such a fun day, and it was so nice to spend it together being kids again.  I highly suggest you and your partner take some time for yourself and leave the kids with the Grandparents, and head to Universal Orlando for a nice getaway.  You will love being kids again, without having to take care of kids ;)   (yes, I am sorta anti kid.. LOL).   Our son is almost 22 and yes we love him dearly but it is also nice to enjoy each other now that we raised our kid.

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Disclaimer ~  Living Smart Girl and her hubby were able to enjoy Universal Orlando thanks to comped tickets in exchange for a full review post.   All opinions are 100% that of Living Smart Girl’s (and her hubby’s).  
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