Friday, April 27, 2018

24 hours in Charleston, West Virginia

Last year, I was blessed with my first official trip to West Virginia. After which, I made it my mission to start exploring more of the state itself! What better way to get to know a state than visit it's capitol?? We enjoyed 24 hours in Charleston, West Virginia and I want to tell you all about it!  
It is located in the Appalachian Mountains giving you picturesque views as you get off the express way. We also saw large barges (much like the one pictured above) moving in and out of the canal transporting goods.
I was given a complimentary tickets and accommodations for my trip. All opinions are my own.
Near the waterway you will find the Capitol building. It was designed by Cass Gilbert after I hear several other Capitol buildings were destroyed due to fires. 
What a spectacular building to see and tour. 
The Capitol Dome even comes complete with gilded 23 1/2 carat gold!! 
As we wondered around the town I found some interesting things along the way. I enjoy any part of the History of an area. Luckily, my family agrees so often we like to just wander around finding things to capture. 
The buildings, their designs, the statues can all tell a lot about a place.
My son has been keeping track (in a National Geographic book we got him for Christmas) of all the places we have visited. Charleston was another off the list!! 
Everyone works up an appetite while they explore, right? Just wonder downtown to get a sense of the artsy atmosphere they have here. Book store, live music at night and little restaurants ready to serve you! I loved the old charm the town had because it was mixed with a younger generation vibe. 
Our hosts explain that Pies and Pints Pizzeria was a must stop place to eat! Once inside, I understood what they meant. This gigantic Elephant for instance was a staple of the wall for years. Through different establishments that rented the buildings it stood until someone painted over it. When the Pies and Pints Pizzeria uncovered it, they restored it back to it's original glory. Now, it is part of their logo and what a magnificent addition to the place as you sit to enjoy a meal!
The menu here is a collection of all sorts of interesting combinations a top of homemade pizza. We stayed traditional and just got a classic pie with root beer. Was it worth it?? You bet!! On our way out we met the Mayor. I wish I could have accepted the invite to a baseball game but he weather just was NOT on our side, Sadly (next time).
I will say if you are venturing down town leave your vehicle at the hotel. The streets are easy to walk and everything is rather close to one another. Parking is only an hour and believe me that hour is up before you know it.
Our first day in town was on the rainy/snowy side. We decided to head indoors and explore the Clay Center for the Arts & Sciences of West Virginia.
Safe to say we enjoyed ourselves!
 Such a wonderful interactive place for both kids & adults to enjoy!! We spent most of our time in the interactive city on the lower level. I thought about sharing a bunch of photos but I really want you to go and visit! We spent most of our time earning "money" in a scavenger hunt theme game they have out for the kids. My personal favorite was the kid garage complete with a vehicle you could work on. My son was not a fan of putting on the costume overalls but I tried!
After a full day of exploring we hung our hats at the Four Points By Sheraton Charleston. It was perfect for our family! The accommodations were beautiful and clean. The hotel itself was located near everything. We could easily walk downtown and listen to live music playing at several of the businesses. If you wanted to stay in, they have a pool, restaurant or just order Jimmy Johns!
Instead of a stop off destination, one could easily spend days/nights exploring and enjoying the city. The people are extremely friendly and welcoming. Overall our time in Charleston, West Virginia was short but sweet.
Have you ever been to Charleston, West Virginia??
What are your favorite things to do when exploring a new destination??
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Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Focusing on Hockey Thanks to Fizzique

I remember the first time I stepped out on the ice. I fell straight away.....right on my bum! After getting up I suddenly wasn't afraid of falling anymore, because well, I had already done that. I learned to figure skate throughout my high school years. Competing and even wining medals. When it was time to head off to college I traded my skates in and headed into the work force. Fast forward to 2 years ago when my son came home from school one day asking if he could "learn how to ice skate".
 **I received a free products to facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review in any way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
We signed him up for lessons and I dusted off my old figure skates. He caught on extremely fast and last November we took him to his first Hockey game. It was sort of a last ditch effort in fighting his high fevers. We figured if he spiked a fever we were already in a nice cool ice arena. After his first game he was HOOKED! He has spent the last few months getting ready for hockey season.
 
Each week I watch him conquer more hockey skills and get better on the ice. Most days I have to drag him off the ice much like my younger self so many years ago! To keep me energized while on the ice I found a fabulous new sparkling drink, Fizzique
 Fizzique combines liquid protein with healthy bubbles with only 20g of protein, only 80 calories, and zero net carbs, it’s the perfect grab-and-go option that helps satisfy hunger between meals. A great (and mess free) healthy alternative to ordinary protein drinks and sugary protein bars! This drink allows me to keep my focus on the ice not on my hunger or unhealthy drinks at the rink.
Save 10% with code "LIZFIZZIQUE" 
to try these tasty drinks out for yourself over here.
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Monday, April 23, 2018

Saving a Fortune at PetSmart

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #fortunaforall #cbias #collectivebias
Our pets have always been like family to us. They have been with us through many things in our lives. We like to spoil them! I know I am not alone, raise of hands who likes to save money and spoil your fur babies?? When our PetSmart store opened we found ourselves visiting weekly. On a shopping trip this week I learned of a few money saving offers I thought I would share with all of you pet loving families. 
In case, you were interested George's food is the Purina Pro Plan Savor Shredded Blend. Did you know if you Spend $20 on your first transaction you will get a $5 PetSmart gift card?! When you are ready to check out give them your contact information (which will give you an entry into the Grand Prize Sweepstakes) and upload your receipt on PurinaFortunes.com.
Next, I needed some litter. Cats can go through litter if you do not find the right kind that suits them. I am no expert but that is what I have found over the years. I use the Tidy Cats Free & Clean Unscented Scoop kind. George never has any litter out of his box and we have no lingering smells! Make sure you check because several of the containers had $3 off coupons!! Since you can redeem for multiple gift cards for every $20 purchase, now is the time to STOCK UP! Just make sure to Make your purchases from 4/3/18-5/18/18 (Promotion ends 5/31/18).
Need some of the items pictured above? Hover over the photo to click through and shop these products!
Note: The first $5 gift card awarded requires the $20 purchase be on one receipt. Subsequent receipts can be of any value and when $20 in Purina products have been accumulated. These are considered a “gift with purchase,” so you cannot redeem them for gift cards!
 While PetSmart is running some great offers on products, you can earn more savings and gift cards! Just play the Play the Paws of Fate game (located here>>PurinaFortunes.com) to instantly win prizes including Save a Fortune tarot cards and PetSmart gift cards. There is No purchase necessary to win and you can play on both your mobile device or desktop!
If you are interested in more information check out the Social Hub. While there you can find the Instant Win website!! Good Luck because the grand prize is a Dog/Cat Dreams of Fortune bed. 
George has been with us for almost 14 years. There is really nothing I would not do to ensure he has a continued healthy and happy life with us. 

Do you like to spoil your pets?
Have you Played the new Instant Win game??
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Friday, April 20, 2018

The HorseShoe Curve, Altoona PA

Remember last week when I promised to give you an exclusive and in depth review of this place?? Today is your lucky day because we are talking all things train related!! Trains have always been a real fascination of mine. When I was younger we lived across the street from a set of train tracks. I can remember placing pennies on the tracks and waiting for the trains to go by to see what flattened treasures they would leave behind. I even had the privilege of being a "walking" child in the movie: Planes, Trains and Automobiles starring the late John Candy. The train station part in the movie was filmed in my home town located in Western New York (still standing today). It's several memories like this that started my curiosity about trains and steam engines. As I have gotten older my son has started to share that same passion. We both enjoy learning about the history of an area especially if it includes trains! 
I was given a complimentary tickets for my trip. All opinions are my own.
The HorseShoe Curve located in Altoona PA has been in operation since around 1854. It was built with the idea that trains could get over the Allegheny Mountains at a gliding incline. 
Once you see it in person, you will agree, that this place is breath taking! Just picture hundreds of immigrants creating this beautifully functional train way out of picks, shovel and horse draw machines!! CRAZY!! 
This area is well suited for both adults and families. With two ways of going up the mountain to the viewing station you can easily access it through the Museum entrance.  The conductors will even wave at you!! Something we found out after watching the first train roll through.
While you are not privy to a train schedule (Thanks 911) you can estimate trains will be passing every so often. We saw several on our visit and each one came from a different direction and was different in styles, shapes and colors! 
They even have an engine for you to enjoy as you sit and wait for the next train to pass!
“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful — 
an endless prospect of magic & wonder" ~ Ansel Adams
If I could give you a few pieces of advise while you plan your visit gauge around an hour. I know it might seem like a long time but I felt that hour went by so quickly! We could have sat and watched the trains roll in all day. Well....maybe... if it had not been snow/raining on that particular day!
Before you go I would also recommend a stop in their Museum. While it is on the smaller side my son really enjoyed all of the wonderful artifacts they had on display. They also have a video you can sit in and watch. My last suggestion is to visit their gift shop! We found some great souvenirs in there. They have a whole kid section of fun educational train related materials as well! I mean they have toys too but I tried to stay away (we have enough toys after all).
Do you like trains?? How about your kids?
Have you ever visited the The HorseShoe Curve in Altoona PA?? 
Tell us about it below!!
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Thursday, April 19, 2018

How to effectively Brand & Market your Blog

Enjoy these tips in collaboration with Profisee MDM.
Today I want to talk about behind the scenes of blogging. Let's start with branding and marketing first because that is a large part of the blogging industry. 

1. Decide whether you are a hobby blogger or a business.
At first my blog was a hobby because I was a stay at home Mom. When my son grew up and went off to school I decided to take the plunge and make it a career. ‘But, just because you decide something does not mean it will happen! It takes WORK!
2. If you decide you want a career remember it IS work. 
I work more now than I ever have in my life. My corporate job pales in comparison to the amount of hours I log now. I also have more rewards! I can travel with my entire family and experience new things before they are open to the public. I also can give back to our community shelters, soup kitchen and schools because of the wonderful sponsors I work with. 

3. If you decide to blog, as a business, you need to brand yourself. 
This is so important because it sets you apart from other bloggers. It let's everyone know what you have to offer them and why they should read YOU! 
4. Never let anyone tell you, you have to fit in a box! 
I have been told, only write one topic focus on ONE niche. My brain does not work like that. Bloggers used to tell me I could not achieve something but I knew I could and went after it anyway. 
5. Create a list of goals. 
Write an obtainable goal list and then write a ‘crazy off the wall I hope this happens in a million years’ list. I find I reach the crazy one’s first! 
6. Once you have found out what you will write, and your personal style, Market, market, MARKET! 
Let people know about you and your blog. If I could go back and redo this step it would have saved me hours of headaches! I started my blog first and then never started social media sites to market. My blog grew but my media sites were no where because I had not started them yet. 
7. Learn from your mistakes.
This may be my last tip but it is just as important as the rest! Learn, ask questions and be willing to take productive criticisms. Also be able to here "NO", from companies, bloggers well everyone. No, does not mean never just not right now.
If you are looking for more resources check out, Profisee MDM. They have over 30+ Best Master Data Management Tools!!
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Monday, April 16, 2018

Encourage STEM Learning with Circuit Cubes

 As a mother you hear a lot about all the things you need to teach your child. Society, the education system, other parents and media flood you with advice on how to raise your child. One of the major educational focus teachers have in the last few years are STEM learning programs. What is the STEM approach people are talking about, you might ask? It centers around Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. I like to encourage my son by learn through his play. When ever I can find a "toy" that does just that I like to share it with other parents!! Recently we have been all about Spirograph! While shopping around online I found this STEM focused Spirograph, Circuit Cubes. We have been hooked with creating new technology creations and doodling on paper ever since!
  **I received a free products to facilitate my review. I was not required to write a positive review in any way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations.
What are Circuit Cubes??
Circuit Cubes are electronic building blocks that add sound, motion, light, and sensors to young Makers’ creations. Designed by STEM teachers, Circuit Cubes provide an easy-to-use platform that helps kids develop confidence while experiencing the joy of discovery. Whether a design uses your own building bricks, favorite vintage toys, or pool noodles — with three Circuit Cubes, you can create just about anything you can imagine!
In our box it came with instructions for a few different types you can create. Because this is a Art based box it helps you fuse Art with technology!
 By connecting the motor (via wires) you can move your markers around the paper creating different shapes. Each new "robot" creation draws different pictures. Like I said my son and I have had a fun time creating new ways to push the markers and create little artwork "masterpieces".
I think we both agree the one's that formulate the Spirograph are our personal favorites! This  Circuit Cubes kit came with everything you need and even a booklet of suggestions/instructions. Just simply charge the motor and you can easily get started! 
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Friday, April 13, 2018

24 Hour trip to Altoona, PA

This year we decided to break up the long drive South. I am so glad we did! We wanted to find more off the beaten path places and explore Pennsylvania (Instead of just simply passing through). I feel like we did just that! Enjoy our 24 hour trip to Altoona, PA. My first stop was dinner at Chipotle (we do not have one in our town, treat). This was the view from their patio (pictured above)....A-M-A-ZING.
I was given a complimentary tickets and accommodations for my trip. All opinions are my own.
We checked into to our "Family Suite" at the Comfort Inn in Duncansville, PA. Can I just say when we got to the room my son and I may have jumped on the bed a few times... Laughter is honestly the best medicine. What can I say...I'm a total kid at heart!
I have never stayed in a Family suite before but I have to say it's rather delightful! It housed two televisions one in the bedroom area and one in the "living room" area. Perfect amount of room so mac could watch morning cartoons. Worth a booking if you have a family and or just want the added space (in my opinion).
After breakfast the next morning we ventured out to the Horse Shoe Curve. I have seen some amazing captures of this area and was rather excited to see it first hand! I promise to give an exclusive and in depth review of the place shortly!
Little man was also rather excited to see the trains whiz by. Even in a light dusting of snow/rain we enjoyed ourselves. He even pulled out his very best Mary Poppins impression as the conductors waved at him!!
For lunch we headed to US Tavern Hotel. So much history in this place and it is located right next to train tracks. Grab a seat by the window and watch them roll in and out of the station.
Since, I am a bit of a history buff in training I ventured around with the owner. He explain this sign, pictured above, was the original sign from back when this place really was a Hotel. This building has been restored without taking away from the beautiful wood trim finishes. It even comes complete with a billiard room where a few ladies were enjoying a friendly game of bridge!
What about their food you ask?? I want to encourage you to listen to the house specials. I almost gave up my menu pick for one of them but settled on a out of the box burger instead. I would also recommend the Chicken and waffles because the Dr. Pepper sauce, YUM! 
Remember when I said you could sit by the window and capture trains? You can also tour their local train museum. Since we had a limited amount of time we did not get the chance BUT we will definitely be back to do just that! My son also wanted me to share this above picture with you all. Apparently they are doing away with cabooses and he is rather gutted about it! We managed to still find one though #MomWin
Our last stop was the Slinky Factory and Slinky Action Zone. I still remember the "everyone loves a slinky" ditty they broadcasted on television as a kid. It was so neat to share the love of this toy with my son. I would compare the Slinky Action Zone to indoor play area if you are unfamiliar. Think a place kids can climb, jump and run around in. They also have an arcade and food court area for parents to relax and recharge in!
Altoona, PA left us wanting to return and visit more of the local hot spots. Their jail resembles a castle, as my son pointed out, so we HAVE to come back to explore the area more!
Have you ever been to Altoona, PA?? 
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