Visiting a real life bear at the L.A. Zoo in honor of Disneynature Bears – in theaters April 18, 2014


DisneyNature Bears Poster

This Friday the newest film from Disneynature called Bears opens in theaters across the country. I was excited to have the opportunity to screen the film a few weeks ago. The film opens in theaters April 18, 2014.

I love bears. I think they are beautiful creatures. They look very cuddly. I just want to snuggle up with one. Of course I can’t really do that. I don’t think the bear would be too happy about it. LOL.

I love animals. I have been an animal lover all my life. Bears are one of my favorite animals (in the top 10).

We have a small zoo near where we live. They have a couple of bears that live there that are indigenous to our area. The zoo is located in Bear Mountain State Park (NY). This year to celebrate Earth Day (April 26th) they are inviting people to visit the park and make treats to give to the resident bears.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

One would think the park was named because of the area bears that call it home. The are was actually named Bear Mountain because the profile of the mountain resembles a bear lying down (so I’ve read). There are bears that live there and in our area. In fact my daughter and I saw a small bear strolling along side the road when we were leaving the bank – a 1/2 mile from our home. The bears like to feed in the dumpster at the nearby dumpster. Bear sightings are not uncommon around here since we live on the edge of the park land. My husband even saw a bear one day on his way to work.

I’ve also been an ambassador for the Bronx Zoo (NY) for the past few years. They have Polar Bears there too.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

When I was out in Los Angeles a few weeks ago we had the opportunity to screen the Disneynature film Bears. It’s the story of a mother bear named Sky and her two cubs, Scout and Amber.

In an epic story of breathtaking scale, Disneynature’s new True Life  Adventure Bears showcases a year in the life of a bear family as two  impressionable young cubs, Amber and Scout, are taught life’s most important  lessons. Set against a majestic Alaskan backdrop teeming with life, their  journey begins as winter comes to an end and the bear family emerges from  hibernation to face the bitter cold. The world outside is exciting—but risky—as  the cubs’ playful descent down the mountain carries with it a looming threat of  avalanches. As the season changes from spring to summer, the brown bears must  work hard to find food—ultimately feasting at a plentiful salmon run—while  staying safe from rival male bears and predators, including an ever-present  wolf. Bears captures the fast-moving action and suspense of  life in one of the planet’s last great wildernesses—Alaska!  Directed  by Alastair Fothergill (Earth, African Cats and  Chimpanzee) and Keith Scholey (African Cats), and narrated by  John C. Reilly.

After we screened the film we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Los Angeles Zoo to check out a real bear. I love bears. I love animals. I love zoos. Needless to say I was thrilled.

The Los Angeles Zoo is located at 5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA. It’s open Monday through Sunday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM (they start to put the animals away for the night around 4:00 PM).

I’ve been to the Bronx Zoo here in NY many times. The animal enclosures are huge and sometimes it’s hard to see the animals. At the L.A. Zoo the animal enclosures are smaller which allows you to really get close to the animals (a safe distance of course). I liked being able to get close to the animals. Los Angeles Zoo

Here are some fun facts about the L.A. Zoo.

The  Los Angeles Zoo was the fourth zoo to serve the city.

The Los Angeles Zoo opened in November 28, 1966. Among the animals at the Zoo on opening  day was American alligator Methuselah, who passed away in 2010.

The world’s first gorilla baby delivered by Caesarian section was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in 1977. He weighed in at 5 pounds, 2 ounces and was named Caesar.

In 1981 the L.A. Zoo become a partner in the California Condor Recovery Program, helping to  bring this majestic bird back from the brink of extinction.

A donation from Alice C. Tyler funds a new Meerkat exhibit which would later provide inspiration for the animators of Disney’s The Lion King.

Our first stop on our zoo visit was the California Condor Rescue center. This special center not only provides visitors with the opportunity to learn more about these magnificent endangered birds but it is also a fun interactive play area for children.

Much work is being done by the zoo to help repopulate the California Condor. Many of these birds have died over the years due to garbage that people carelessly toss on the side of the road and in the woods. The birds will eat just about anything and have consumed things such as buttons, bottle caps and screws. Many of these items are poisonous or end up getting stuck on their insides, killing the birds.

California Condor

X-ray of a California Condor

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Look at all the garbage tossed aside by humans that get ingested by the Condors. I see bottle caps, screws and what looks like glass.

The California Condor is the largest bird in North America. It’s wing span can reach up to 9 feet!

At one point there are around 20 California Condors left. Thanks go conservation efforts there are now over 400 California Condors, 200+ are freely flying around California, Arizona and Baja California, Mexico.

The zoo was kind enough to bring out one of their California Condors, Dolly, for us to meet in person. Isn’t she beautiful.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Dolly the California Condor

If you ever have the opportunity to visit the L.A. Zoo make sure to stop by the California Condor exhibit. The play area features places where kids can climb and crawl under things. It’s set up to mimic the Condor’s natural environment. There is also a medical area where children can examine and care for Condor’s (plush, stuffed animals), complete with medical scrubs, stethoscopes and X-rays.

Condor Rescue Zone

There are a lot of wonderful animals to be seen at the L.A. Zoo including Koalas, Giraffes, Chimpanzees, Okapi, Lemurs, a Rhino and more.

Here are just a few of the animals we had the opportunity to check out while at the zoo.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Masai Giraffe

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Happy Chimpanzee

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Baby Masai Giraffe

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)


PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Giant Otter – They can grow to be five feet!

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimerly V. (She Scribes)

Flamingos. The gray ones are babies. Do you know how Flamingos get their pink color?

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)


PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Alligator – I don’t want to get too close to him!

We also had the chance to meet Randa the Indian Rhinoceros. The zoo spell’s it Randa but it sounds like Rhonda.

Randa is the second oldest Rhino in captivity (she’s in her mid-40′s). The unique thing about Randa is that she had cancer. The cancer was located under her horn. The zoo had to remove her horn to get to the cancer that was underneath it. They successfully removed the cancer and after many weeks of chemotherapy Randa was cancer free (yeah!).

The zoo had to adapt a machine used on humans to work with Randa so she could get the treatment that she needed.

Her keeper told us that Rhinos like to rub their horns no things. Since Rando no longer had a horn, all she had left was a bit hole in her nose. They had to constantly put new bandages on it because she kept opening it up and it was getting infected. To combat the infection the zoo put MAGGOTS in her wound! Ewww!!! Maggots actually help to heal wounds a lot faster. Doctors around the world use maggot therapy to treat patients. Thank goodness my doctor doesn’t do that. Gross!

I’m glad that Randa is doing OK these days.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Randa the Rhino at the Los Angeles Zoo

The zoo also has a beautiful carousel that features many of the animals found at the zoo.

One odd carousel character that stands out is the Dung Beetle. The carousel has one along with a pile of dung (aka – poop!) that you can sit in and ride around in the carousel. LOL!

Dung Beetle Carousel Seat.

Dung Beetle Carousel Seat.

LA Zoo Carousel

BEAUTIFUL carousel creatures.

The zoo visit would not be complete without stopping by the Bear exhibit. The L.A. Zoo has a Black Bear on exhibit. His name is Ranger.

Here are some interesting facts about Black Bears.

American black bears are the smallest and most prevalent of the bears native to North America.

American black bears live in various   forests throughout North America and are found in 41 of the 50 United States.

Black Bears mostly occupy temperate forests but can also be found in swampy or mountainous forested areas.

Black Bears eat grasses, fruits, berries, nuts, insects, human foods, and occasionally small vertebrates.

They can weight from 150-600 pounds.

Male bears are 25% larger than female bears.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Black Bear at the L.A. Zoo – Doesn’t he look soft and cuddly?

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

So beautiful!

For more interesting information about bears you can download a FREE educational guide from the Disneynature website. The guide is 93 pages long! It’s not only great for educators but also parents and people who are interested in learning more about Bears.

You can find the guide at Nature.Disney.com. Scroll down about half way and you’ll see the guide along with several other guides you might be interested in.

Also on the Disneynature site you’ll find videos, photo gallery, information about Bears and other Disneynature films and more.

The bears featured in the Disneynature film Bears are brown bears, but the information found in the guide covers pretty much anything and everything you’d want to know about these beautiful creatures.

Disneynature Bears opens on Friday, April 18, 2014. If you see the film during opening week (April 18 – 24, 2014),  Disneynature, through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fun, will make a  donation to the National Park  Foundation to help protect our national parks and the wildlife that calls them home. That means bears, like the beautiful black bear at the L.A. Zoo and bears like Sky, Amber and Scout (featured in the film) will be protected, as well as other wildlife.

If you would like to learn more about Disneynature and the film Bears you can check out their Facebook and Twitter pages. They can even be found on Pinterest. The official hashtags are #DisneynatureBears and #MeetTheCubs.

The Disney Store is also contributing to the National Park Foundation. For every plush from the DisneyNature Bear film that is purchased, $1.00 will be donated to the National Park Foundation (campaign ends May 11, 2014). You can find the plush bears here – Amber and Scout.

I have one of the plush toys (Amber). I took her to the L.A. Zoo with me. She “photo bombed” a few of my photos, as well as happily posed for others. Here are some fun photos from the day.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Amber rescued me from a Rattlesnake at the California Condor Rescue area. No worries… it’s not a REAL snake. I wouldn’t put Amber I danger.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Amber reading up on Vultures and Condors at the California Condor Rescue Center.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Amber “monkeying around” while I tried to take a picture of a Chimpanzee.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Whose the real bear in this picture?

DODOcase was kind enough give the bloggers on our trip lovely iPad Air, iPad Mini and iPhone 5/5S cases. These are limited edition cases that you an purchase from their site. They each feature a custom Bears design in honor of the film.

DODOcase is donating 20% of the sale of these cases to the National Parks Foundation. This is just one more way you can help save bears like Sky, Amber and Scout and many other wildlife creatures.

To learn more visit www.DODOcase.com.


To learn other ways you can help the Nation Park Foundation visit www.NationalParks.org.

For more information about the L.A. Zoo or to connect with them via social media, here are some helpful links for you.

Official website: www.LAZoo.org.

FacebookTwitterYouTubePinterest. The official hashtag is #LAZoo.

PHOTO CREDIT: Kimberly V. (She Scribes)

Amber at the L.A. Zoo


*I was not compensated for this post. My travel expenses were covered.

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Chloe Elyce Skin Care Travel Kit



Trying to pack when you are traveling is easier said then done. Personally I am always afraid that I am going to forget something and not be able to get what I need while I’m at the hotel. Some things you can usually find at the hotel’s shop or a near by drug store. Other thing are a bit harder to come by.

Looking good while I’m traveling is very important. Just because I’m on vacation doesn’t mean that I want to give up my beauty routine. I still want to wash my face and rid it of dirt and impurities and make sure my face is moisturized.

Prior to leaving on my trip to Los Angeles I received a wonderful travel kit from Chloe Elyce Skin Care. It was perfect for my traveling needs.

The kit came with the following products;

  • Mist Me? Botanical Hydrating Face Mist
  • Bisous Botanical Lip Cream
  • Gel Fraiche Cleanser
  • Crème Fraiche Moisturizer

Also included was a see-thru travel case (perfect for getting through the TSA check points at the airport) and a cotton washcloth. Since I knew the hotel would have washcloths I left the one in the kit at home. I didn’t want to have to worry about packing a wet and dirty washcloth. I rather use the hotels.

Each bottle adhered to the travel sizes as well. I didn’t have any issues when I went through the TSA check point.

Here is information about each product and my thoughts.

Mist Me Botanical Hydrating Face Mist

Mist Me? Botanical Hydrating Face Mist

Refreshing moisturizing toner/mist, which soothes and protects against dryness. Restores skin’s natural radiance while balancing and protecting against trans-epidermal water loss: ultra hydration, even over make up. The result: fresher, smoother and brighter skin.

Directions: Use after cleansing, over make up, or as toner to refresh and replenish skin and protect against dryness.

Ingredients: Distilled Spring Water, Vegetable Glycerin; Extracts of Witch Hazel, Organic Calendula, Organic Chamomile, Organic Echinacea, Styrax Benzoin Gum; Organic Lavender; Argan Oil, Xanthan Gum; Essential Oils of Peru Balsam, Rose Absolute and Rosemary; Grapefruit Seed Extract.

My thoughts - I found this spray to be refreshing. I didn’t notice that my skin was smoother or brighter, but it did feel refreshed and it perked me up. I did find it soothing and I could tell that it was hydrating my skin. My skin seemed to drink it up.

I used the spray after I washed my face, both in the AM and in the PM. It was like the “cherry on top”. It was the final touch that I needed to feeling like my face was thoroughly cleaned and moistened.

I did spray it on a few times during the course of the day while I had make up on. It didn’t mess up my make up. If anything it just made my skin feel better.

Bisous Botanical Lip Cream

Bisous Botanical Lip Cream

Organic Lip Lovers Dream for silky soft, sparkly baby lips. Nourishing moisturizing Huckleberry and Pomegranate to soothe and protect lips. Ideal for travel protects lips from dryness, chapping and wrinkling. With all natural and organic Jojoba oil, coconut oil, Huckleberry and Pomegranate Oil to lessen the appearance of creases. Naturally plumps and smoothes lips.

Directions: Apply to lips throughout the day to prevent premature aging and lip lines, dryness and chapping.

Ingredients: Organic Coconut, Almond Oils, Montana Beeswax, Mica, Aloe Vera, Organic Jojoba Oil, Huckleberries, Tocopherol, Pectin, Cane Sugar, Alkanet Root.

My thoughts - I loved the lip cream! You apply it to your skin with your finger. Just a small dab it enough to cover both your upper and lower lips. I could feel my lips drinking in the moisture from the cream. I have a tendency to get dry lips, especially in the corners. This cream provided instant relief and it stayed on my lips for a long time. I only felt the need to re-apply a few times throughout the day and not non-stop like I do with other lip care products.

The lip cream is currently in my purse. I still use it daily.

Face. Crème Fraiche - Rejuvenating Botanical Facial Cream

Face. Crème Fraiche – Rejuvenating Botanical Facial Cream

Deeply nourishing, moisturizing, repairing and hydrating for all complexions. Gentle enough for delicate skin areas including around your eyes. Effective as day and night cream. Excellent for all skin types.

Directions: Apply AM and PM on cleansed face, neck and décolleté.

Ingredients: Rose and Lavender Hydrosols, Grapeseed, OG Sunflower, Safflower, Almond, Avocado, OG Jojoba, OG Evening Primrose Oils; Fresh Royal Jelly, Montana Beeswax, OG Shea Butter, Tocopherol (Vitamin E for product freshness); OG Chamomile, Grapefruit, OG Gotu Kola, OG Echinacea, OG Green Tea, OG Mallow, Witch Hazel Extracts; Xanthan Gum, Zinc Oxide, Seaweed; Essential Oils of Lavender, Orange, Palma Rosa and Rose Absolute.

My thoughts – I really didn’t like this product. It’s very thick and I found it hard to smooth it on to my face. It was hard to work with. I had to make sure my face was wet in order to get it to smooth over my skin. After a few days I stopped using it.

I can see how it would moisturize your skin but I felt it was too heavy and I could almost feel it on my skin throughout the day. I couldn’t wait to wash it off at the end of the day.

Cleanser Gel Fraiche   Mild Botanical Facial Cleansing Gel

Cleanser Gel Fraiche   Mild Botanical Facial Cleansing Gel

Gentle facial cleanser for all complexions including very sensitive skin. Fortified with pure botanical and herbal extracts and antioxidants. Perfect for travel; can be used also on hair and body.

Directions: Apply small amount on face/neck and mix with water, remove with washcloth. Ideal to remove make up.

Ingredients: Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Coconut Oil Olefin, Coconut Oil Betaine, Lemon Extract, Avocado Oil, Grapefruit Seed Extract, Vitamins A, C & E, Potassium Sorbate (food grade), Citric Acid. Essential Oils of Bergamot, Cypress, Lavender, Clary Sage, Rosemary, Frankincense, Myrrh, Neroli, Jasmine.

My thoughts - Great cleanser! I loved it. It went on nicely, rinsed off easily and didn’t leave any residue or anything else behind on my skin. It’s very gentle too. I have skin that can be sensitive at times and this didn’t bother my skin at all.

The cleanser removed all my make up, including eye make up. I used it both in the shower and with a wash cloth at the sink. My face felt completely clean after each use. It also didn’t dry out my skin or make it feel taut like some facial cleansers do.

A little bit goes a long way.

For a really refreshing feeling spritz on the mist after cleansing your face with the cleansing gel.

The products can also be purchased individually and in larger sizes (I reviewed the smaller, travel size versions of the products).

Here is the story behind Chloe Elyce Skin Care products.

Mother – Daughter duo Mary Anne Hawrylak and Chloe Johnston – the Philadelphia based co-founders of CJ Tours, introduce Chloe Elyce Skin Care. The travel product line grew naturally from both of their travels, and the difficulty it takes to have skin that looks and feel fresh when traveling. Working with Drs. Michael and Veruschka Torosian, a couple, both board certified in anti-aging medicine, Hawrylak and Johnston were able to experience the ultimate in beauty and science. The Torosians’ products inspired the duo to add products and tours that allow women to find a solution that compliments their quest in feeling and looking their best. Dr. Veruschka Torosian has formulated a most exquisite line of must have travel skin care products exclusively for CJ Tours under the name Chloe Elyce.

Their products are organic and cruelty free and made right here in the United States.

Over all I was very pleased by almost all of the products. I also liked the fact that my skin care needs were all taken care of in one small, convenient “kit”. There was no need for me to pour my facial products into smaller container or have to use sub-par products that I find in the pharmacy’s travel size product section (those selections are often very limited).

If you travel frequently you might want to give these products a try. They are also great for “at home” use. You can also toss the kit into your gym bag or overnight bag.

For more information visit the Chloe Elyce Website. You can also check out the brand on Facebook and Twitter.

Chloe Elyce Skin Care Travel Kit


*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Are you looking for a vacation destination? Check out Virginia Beach, VA #VisitVaBeach


Virginia Beach

After the miserable winter we’ve had this year I am looking forward to sunny skies and warmer weather. My husband and I are already talking about heading to the beach this year. Instead of covering my feet in several pairs of socks just to keep warm I am looking forward to sticking my toes into the warm sands of the beach.

One beach I am anxious to take my family to is Virginia Beach. They have never been there before. I have been to Virginia Beach (Virginia) a few times. Once on my school’s senior class trip, three times for a surgery I needed to have, and another time with my friend.

I cannot wait for the day my family gets to drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge on our way to Virginia Beach. If you have never driven across that bridge before it’s an experience you should try if you have the chance. The bridge runs for several miles and there are two spots where you go underground (under the Chesapeake Bay) to allow for the military ships to pass by.

Virginia Beach offers miles of some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever experienced. The beaches are clean and spacious. There are even different beaches in the area to suit your preferences.

When I was in Virginia Beach on my senior class trip I accidently fell asleep on my stomach and I didn’t have sunscreen on my back. As you can imagine I woke up with a major sunburn. I didn’t let the pain and discomfort spoil my fun.

The boardwalk along Virginia Beach is jam packed with hotels and restaurants, especially seafood restaurants. There was one restaurant I went to with my mom and aunt when I was down in Virginia Beach to have surgery. It wasn’t on the boardwalk but it was not too far away. It was called Captain George’s Seafood. I don’t remember the address but I do remember its nautical theme and the food was amazing. Probably the best seafood I’ve ever had (I had crab legs).

Photo Source: Virginia Beach Facebook page

Photo Source: Virginia Beach Facebook page

The boardwalk also features a lot of typical beachside shops that sell bathing suits, souvenirs and equipment for water activities. If you are into the nightlife there are plenty of bars and clubs up and down the boardwalk to choose from. At night the boardwalk transforms into a grownup’s paradise. During the day the boardwalk is more kid and family friendly.

Virginia Beach is home to a terrific amusement park. It’s not a huge park but it will certainly keep your family entertained for hours. They have rides for the youngest family members to rides for those who seek more of a thrill. The Ferris Wheel is especially fun to ride because it gives you breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean as well as the beach and the Virginia Beach area.

There are also plenty of games that you can play at the amusement park and win fun prizes.

One of my most favorite experiences at Virginia Beach (aside from the beaches) is the Aquarium. I LOVED the aquarium and I hope that I get a chance to go back some day. They have sea turtles, sharks and super cool “tanks” that make you feel like you are in the ocean with the sea life. If you do one thing at Virginia Beach I would highly recommend the aquarium. That is my #1 destination when I finally have a chance to go there with my family (the last time I went was with a friend from high school).

Another thing I would recommend is taking a Whale Watching trip. I did this with my friend too. We not only saw whales but also a Basking Shark! It was as big as a whale. Thank goodness it’s not a “meat eater”.

FYI… if you plan on going on a Whale Watching boat ride make sure you slather yourself with sunscreen. The sun if VERY potent when you are out on the water and you can easily get sunburned as my friend and I found out the hard way.

I don’t think Whale Watching tours are year round. I think they are only certain times of the year when the Whales pass by the area. It was about this time of year that my friend and I went.

Offhand I can’t remember the name of the company we used.

I like that Virginia Beach is also a pleasant drive to get to. From where I used to live in upstate, New York, it was an 8 hour drive. We would drive half way, stop and spend the night in Dover, DE (they have a mall there and plenty of hotels and restaurants) then head down to Virginia Beach the next day. I’ve also done the trip in one day. It’s a pleasant drive from the New York area.

Photo Source: Virginia Beach Facebook page

Photo Source: Virginia Beach Facebook page

Another fun thing you might want to know about is that Virginia Beach has a service called “Take Out Taxi”. You can place an order through them from any of the participating restaurants and they will deliver right to your hotel. I’ve used that service a few times when I was down there. Once I was there with my then boyfriend (pre-surgery visit). He wanted burgers and fries and I wanted seafood. We didn’t feel like going out and it was late. We called Take Out Taxi and they picked up food for us from two different locations and delivered right to our hotel room. The delivery fee was nominal too (plus tip of course).

I wish I had personal pictures to add. The last time I was down there was many years ago with my friend and we didn’t have a digital camera then (just a regular 35mm camera). I DO have pictures (even pictures of the Whales we saw that day) but I have no clue where those pictures are (they would need to be scanned since they are not digital photos).

There is so much to see and do in Virginia Beach for all ages, from playground and parks to awesome shopping and nightlife. Plus there museums, the aquarium, the boardwalk and miles upon miles of gorgeous beaches. Even if you are not into hanging out by the beach there is still plenty to see and do in the Virginia Beach area. It’s a great family friendly location for your next vacation. There are also plenty of year round festivities, entertainment, art shows and more. Be sure to check the official Virginia Beach website for information and events, www.VirginiaBeach.com. You can also check out the Virginia Beach Facebook page for plenty of great photos from the area and updated information.

You can also follow Virginia Beach on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I should forewarn you that all these sites have beautiful pictures from the area on them and you are going to want to pack your bags and head on down there right away, especially if you are one of the millions of people who had to deal with the harsh winter we’ve had. I think we can all use some “fun in the sun” at Virginia Beach.

Have you ever been to Virginia Beach? If so, do you have a favorite activity, restaurant or event you’ve enjoyed on your visit? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Photo Source: Virginia Beach Facebook page

Photo Source: Virginia Beach Facebook page



Tell us why you love Virginia Beach!

Share your Virginia Beach vacation story!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Virginia Beach via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

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Pack Better with the TravelWise Packing Cube System


TravelWise Cubes Teal

Tomorrow I am heading off to Los Angeles for a whirl wind week of interviews, movie screenings, the LA Zoo and the red carpet premiere of Muppets Most Wanted. Today I need to finish up some last minute things like getting everything in need together and packed.

I hate packing. I really, really, REALLY hate packing. I am always afraid I am going to forget something very important. I am also afraid that I won’t have enough room and I’ll need to take an actual suitcase and check it. I prefer carry on luggage because I don’t want to have to wait around for my luggage to show up. I also worry about it getting lost. I prefer to keep my luggage with me at all times.

I also worry about stuffing my luggage too much where I can’t bring any goodies home for my family.

I don’t know how some bloggers do it all the time. I only travel for blogging related events 1-2 times per day. That is more than enough for me.

I like to keep all my things nice and neat in my luggage. That is not as easy as it sounds. Things shift around during transit and by the time you open up your suitcase once you’ve arrived at your destination your things have been tossed around all over the place.

There is a new product that recently launched that is sure to keep your things neat and organized when you travel. It’s called the TravelWise Packing Cube System.

I received to review the TravelWise Packing Cube System – Extra Durable 5 Piece Weekender PLUS.

The system comes with five “cubes” in various sizes – 1 small, 2 medium and 2 large.

Each cube has a zipper that goes 3/4th of the way around it (one side doesn’t have a zipper).


To give you an idea of the size I tired to take a picture of all five pieces laid out on the floor. Our cat Bella decided to sit on one of the large ones (which wasn’t completely folded). She is an average, 9 pound cat. You can see the size of the medium, small and large (bottom of photo) cubes.

The cubes are made to help you organize your clothing, personal care products and even shoes when you pack. It keeps everything neat and organized. For example you can use the smallest cube for your toiletries, make up, brush/comb or for men, your shaving products. That way everything you need is in one cube. You don’t need to go through your entire suitcase to locate the things that you need.

Another example would be to put your pants in one of the large cubes and your tops in another. That is what I am ultimately going to do.

I don’t have a picture of my packed suitcase yet because I am a procrastinator and haven’t even picked out the clothing I am going to bring with me yet. I usually don’t end up packing until I go to bed at night, then I re-pack things in the morning because I always end up forgetting something that I need.

I have shoes I plan on bringing with me too. I am going to put the shoes in the medium size cube so I don’t have to worry about them getting the rest of my clothing dirty.

The cubes are soft so you can flatten them down a bit in your suitcase if you need more room.

Each cube also have a small strap that you can use the hang it up.

Packing Cubes TravelWise

These are also a great way to help organize each family member’s clothing. If you travel with children you could assign a cube for each child, that way you have all their clothing in one cube rather than have to dig through all the clothing to find what you need.

When they are no longer needed they all fit inside of each other. The two larger ones fold up and all the cubes fit inside one of the medium cubes.

You can also use the cubes for other occasions. These would be great to toss into your gym back, backpack or even the trunk of your car (it’s always a good idea to carry around a change of clothes just in case). You can also use them to store things that you want to tuck under your bed. The possibilities are endless.

This will be my first time traveling with them. When I get back from my press trip (and when I have a moment) I’ll update this post and let you know how well they helped me when I was traveling.

The cubes are made by TravelWise and you can find them on Amazon.com. Currently the 5 piece set is unavailable but there is a 3 piece set you can purchase. You can also purchase them from the EatWise website.

The TravelWise cubes also come in a variety of colors so you can pick up a set for each family member to better identify which cube belongs to which family member.

What do you think about the TravelWise Packing Cube System? Do you think it’s something that will help make packing and traveling much easier? Feel free to share your thoughts.

Medium cube with clothing inside - plenty of room for me.

Medium cube with clothing inside – plenty of room for me.


*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.


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Win a 3 Day/2 Night Stay in Killington, Vermont PLUS Ski Lift Tickets (giveaway ends 3/7/14)


Killington Mountain Vermot

After the harsh winter we’ve been having it’s hard to believe that spring is just around the corner. The sight of Easter candy and gardening equipment is not enough to convince me that warmer weather is on it’s way. I need to FEEL it to believe it.

We’re even expecting more snow in a few days. Ugh! It’s almost March. No more snow!

I know some people are THRILLED by all the snow we’ve been having. That is because they are winter sports fanatics. I’m talking about people who love to ski, ride snowmobiles and ice skate. For them this winter has been amazing.

I wish I could ski. It does look like a lot of fun. I’m just afraid I’ll fall and hurt myself badly. I’m a bit of a klutz. I can trip over my own shadow!

I shouldn’t say that I “never” skied before. I have. Just in my backyard. It had a slight slope to it.

Here is a photo of me and my cousin John skiing in my backyard (I’m the one furthest from the camera). :-)


Living in New York we’re not too far from some popular skiing destinations. One that pops into my mind is Killington, Vermont. I’ve actually been there but it was during the summer, not the winter. Even in the summer the views are breathtaking.

Killington is know as the “The Beast of the East.” It’s hard to see it that way. When I was there I found it beautiful and tranquil.

I have pictures from our visit to Killington, I just can’t find them at the moment. I wanted to show you just how beautiful and breathtaking the views are.

Killington has been seeing a lot of action thanks to the excessive snowfall this year.

Killington is more than just skiing. The area is also great or snowboarding, crossing country skiing and plenty of outdoor activities for the entire family. They even built a state of the art Peak Lodge which was built at the 4,100 foot level of Killington Peak. Wow! That is way up there. You should check out their events calendar to see what fun things are happening in the area.

The Peak Lodge also offers guests fine dining with many fresh foods coming from local farms. After a long day of skiing you build up an appetite and nothing would finish off a great day better then a gourmet meal.

Have you ever been to Killington, Vermont? If so, what did you think of the area? How was the skiing?

If you would like to learn more about Killington, Vermont check out their Facebook page. You can also find Killington Mountain on Twitter and Instagram.


Photo Source: Killington Mountain's Instagram Page

Photo Source: Killington Mountain’s Instagram Page

I have a very special giveaway for a TWO (2)  lucky readers. There will be a grand prize and a runner up prize. 


  • 3 Day/2 Night Stay in a Killington-managed property.
  • Lift Tickets for the winning family to use for the duration of the trip (maximum of six).

PLEASE NOTE – Transportation, food and other expenses are NOT included – only the hotel stay and lift tickets. The stay has to take place before the end of the 2013/2014 winter season (usually by the end of March through mid-April). Life tickets will be mailed via USPS with a tracking number.


  • Lift tickets for Killington Mountain (up to six).

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and will end on March 7, 2014 at 11:59 PM (EST). The winners will be chosen at random using a random number generator from all eligible entries. The winners will bee notified via e-mail and will have three days to reply or a new winner will be chosen in their place.

To enter please comment on this post and tell me what your favorite winter activity is AND if you are interested in winning either prize or you are only interested in the Grand Prize OR Runner Up prize?

For extra entries you can use the Rafflecopter widget (below) but you must complete the initial entry requirement (I do check) or the additional entries won’t qualify. Extra entries are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


*I was not compensated for this post. I posted this for the enjoyment of my site readers. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.


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Reinvigorate Yourself with Marriott Hotels & THANN New Luxurious and Upscale Amenities



Traveling can be fun and exiting. It can also be very stressful, especially this time of year with flight delays and cancellations.

I don’t necessarily travel well (via airplanes). I always worry that I am going to miss my flight or have a flight cancelled.

Most of the time when I am traveling it’s for my blog and it’s usually to the west coast. Five to six hours on a plane makes me feel grungy and gross. Usually when I arrive at my hotel I have to dash back out again for a movie screening or press junket. The moment I am finally back in the hotel room the first thing I do is hop in the shower so I can wash away the stress from traveling and the ickiness I feel from sitting on a plane for so many hours.

It’s great when the hotel offers guests a nice assortment of products like shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion. Sometimes hotels just offer basic, no frill products. Every now and then I stay at a hotel that takes it up a notch and offers luxurious bath and body products.


Marriott Hotels, the flagship brand of Marriott International, is giving guests a better bath experience. They have partnered with a company called THANN to bring guests in invigorating bath and body experience to help wash away the stress of traveling and find peace and comfort so that guests can enjoy their travel experience.

THANN products will be found in Marriott Hotels across the Americas and Asia. Their hope is that with the luxurious bath products will allow guests to “Travel Brilliantly” at their hotels.

With THANN products Marriott Hotels would like guests to;


THANN amenities are formulate through artful natural therapy and modern dermatological science. The products are made from high qualify raw materials and botanicals and presented in imaginative packaging.


Marriott guests will get to experience the joyful and uplifting Aromatic Wood Collection – a line that balances Nutmeg essential oil with the sweetness of Orange and Tangerine essential oils.


Marriott’s Travel Brilliantly campaign highlights Marriott’s commitment to evolving travel beyond the hotel stay – a bold move that is inspiring influencers and consumer to co-create the future of travel in partnership with the iconic brand.

I received samples from THANN’s Aromatic Wood Collection which included shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, hand wash and hand soap. These are the same products guests at Marriott Hotels will receive.

All of the products have a spa-quality about them. I especially love the body lotion. It instantly made my skin feel soft and smooth.

You can clearly smell the citrus scents (Orange & Tangerine) in all of the products. Some have more scent to them than others. The citrus scent helps to give you a boost of energy and it makes you feel energized and invigorated. I find the scent very uplifting.

These are exactly the type of products I need when I check into my hotel room and want to take a shower to wash way my travel experience.

Knowing that Marriott Hotels put that much thought into making their guests travel experience that much better would make me consider their hotels over others. After all, I want to patronize a hotel that cares about these details, no matter how big or small they are.

To find a Marriott Hotels location visit www.Marriott.com. You can also purchase full size versions at www.ShopMarriott.com.

Marriott THANN


*I received free product samples in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way.  

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