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travel

0 In Entertainment/ Travel

Here’s How Sesame Place is Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street

Sunny days! Can you believe Sesame Street is 50 years old this year? I’m amazed (though not surprised) of the longevity of this program. I remember being in love with Sesame Street when I was a kid. When I had RJ Sesame Street used to come on every day at 10:30am, and it was a part of his nap time routine. Now, Zayn enjoys Sesame Street too, mainly via YouTube Kids. It’s so amazing how the show has been able to evolve over time,yet still remain the same show that I loved in the early 90s.

This spring, Sesame Place is looking to kick off their most exciting year yet!

Continue Reading →

0 In explore - nyc/ Travel

Meet Me in the Catskills! – The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark

We LOVE a good waterpark. We took RJ to Coco Key for his birthday in October and I thought we may be headed back in the spring BUT! New York is getting a new Indoor Waterpark and Resort. The Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark is coming to upstate NY and I am probably more excited than the kids.

The Kartrite Resort will be a part of Resorts World Catskills campus which is comprised of four major components. This includes a 100,000-square-foot Casino featuring more than 150 live game tables, 2,150 state-of-the-art slot machines, a poker room and private gaming salons. The accommodations will include 324 luxury suites. The hotel and indoor waterpark will also feature multiple dining options, a spa, a ropes course, and an entertainment arcade.

One of the biggest things that deter us from staying at these resorts is pricing. Luckily, the Kartrite Resort (scheduled for grand opening on April 5th), is running an amazing special in lieu of its opening! If you head to their site you can see the MANY specials they offer. Specials include a military discount, and a discount for local visitors.

Guests can begin to stay at the Kartrite Resort & Indoor Waterpark April 4th, 2019. Will you be meeting me in the Catskills?

0 In Uncategorized

I Have to Stop Calling My Oldest a Toddler

My family and I were hosted for the weekend at The Hotel ML & CoCo Key Water Resort in exchange for sharing our experience with you! As always all opinions expressed are my own.

A week and a half ago my big boy turned 4. I cannot believe that I have a four year old. It was emotional when I realized that I don’t have two toddlers anymore. I have a toddler and a preschooler. A whole school aged child. How did that even happen? Wasn’t I just sharing his birth story like yesterday? It’s unbelievable.

Anyway, we’ve started trying to travel more especially for birthdays. Our children are blessed to have big families and of course.. blog life, so they truly don’t need anymore “things”. We took a big trip to Disney and LEGOLAND this summer and I was hoping to be able to take RJ back to LEGOLAND for his birthday this year. Bonus: knowing your children! My kids LOVE water so I was on the search for an indoor waterpark, not too far from the city where they could “swim” to their hearts content, and have access to other amenities as well.

Thank God for Coco Key!

If you live under a rock somewhere, CoCo is an OG when it comes to the indoor waterpark game. Located about 2 hours from our house, it was the perfect distance for us to take a short family road trip. We left in the afternoon and got to the resort early evening. We didn’t get to check out any water park features that evening, but I thought it was great that inside CoCo Key they hosted family movie nights both nights that we were at the hotel. The first night they showed COCO (one of RJs favorites and the second night they played Horton Hears a Who. The boys opted to just watch COCO in the room but I loved that they still had the option of an evening activity.

The next day was the day RJ probably dreamt about all night. We woke up for breakfast downstairs (the hotel has packages that offer buffet breakfast with your stay), went outside for a little while, and then we waited. RJ asked over and over if we could go to the waterpark but we were waiting for his cousin to show up and he had no idea. When they got there it was finally time and we headed around the corner to the water park (thank God for a first floor room!).

So how did they feel?

The boys absolutely loved the waterpark, as expected. I love that Coco Key has something for everyone. They have 2 hot tubs, a lazy river, multiple slides and a kiddie pool plus more. All ages were enjoying the 80+ degree temps as if it were a summer day in NJ. Another cool thing was there were multiple birthday parties going on. I never thought to have a whole party there, but I guess I haven’t gotten that far into mom life and birthday planning yet. They have birthday party packages as low as $228 for up to 10 kids. That is really an amazing price for the fun your kids are gonna have. To check out their rates, you can visit their reservations page here.

Have you stayed at Coco Key? Are you a waterpark fan? Am I the only one sad that my kids are growing up? LOL

0 In Travel

The Suite Life! |Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa

  My family and I were hosted for 2 nights at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed belong to me ;). 

If you don’t know it is ALL DISNEY, ALL THE TIME in our house. I wanted to take RJ to Disney for his birthday last year but timing didn’t work out and I chickened out with taking Zayn while he was only 3 months old. So this year, our plans were SET. Disney for Zayn’s first birthday because we were ALL ready to go. RJ had started asking, I’ve never been, we were ready. I googled for MONTHS about what to do, where to go, how to get there, what to wear what to eat, but most importantly I had to know where to stay. I knew we would see more than Disney on this trip and while I know there are amazing benefits to staying on Disney property, I just wasn’t sure if we were ready for that. 

*Enter Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa*

When I came across LBV resorts condo style suites online I IMMEDIATELY fell in love. If we can, I try to stay in suites whenever we vacation for multiple reasons. The comfort, space and amenities definitely make it worth it and more often than not the location is ideal. Our resort was located right next to Lake Buena Vista Factory stores so when we realized last minute that we didn’t shop for RJ’s stepping up ceremony which was the day after we got back, we walked over to Osh Kosh and got the kids cute clothes at outlet price! In case you need further convincing, here is a complete breakdown of why you need to reserve your next Orlando stay at Lake Buena Visit Resort Village and Spa.

Location 

I already told you that the resort is located right next to the outlets, but Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa is centrally located close to many of the must see attractions/parks in Orlando. Our first night we drove to Disney Springs, the outdoor shopping complex at Walt Disney World Resort. It was about a 15 minute drive to most attractions, and the resort is also close to many restaurants, and we saw a few other outlets close by. 

All Suite Style Rooms

The rooms at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa are BEAUTIFUL. My photography really doesn’t do it justice. The resort features all suite style rooms of different sizes. Each suite includes a full kitchen and a private balcony. There was ample space for our family and we only ended up sleeping in one room (cosleeping problems). The extra spacious suites definitely give the feeling of being at home and would be perfect for families. 

Images via LBV Orlando Resort

Outdoor Pool & Bar

While neither of my kids are swimmers, they both think they can. THE FIRST thing we did after checking out the room was head to the pool located on the resorts property. The boys loved the pirate ship (which actually has a slide if you can tell from my picture) and I loved all the outside seating available. There is also a bar located on the pool deck that serves drinks, ice cream and different “bar type” foods. I definitely went there by myself when I had a VERY BRIEF free moment ;). 

On-Site Dining & Grocery 

We went out to dinner our first night but the second night after had a long day at Magic Kingdom, no one felt like going back out. The Pizza Hut express was perfect for all of us to grab something quick to eat. RJs favorite food is pizza and daddy was able to get pasta. Plus there was a fully stocked grocery section in case you needed to grab anything to cook in your full kitchen! We weren’t really grocery-minded but I wish I would’ve remembered to head down there when I realized that I had forgot to bring deodorant. They literally had EVERYTHING. 

Customer Service

All in all, the customer service at Lake Buena Vista Resort and Spa made the trip even more special. The concierge was available to answer all the thousands of questions that I had being a Disney newbie, we were able to check in early without there being a lag in service and the smiles were genuine and didn’t feel forced. Even with the resort being as beautiful as it was if the customer service was poor, it would’ve ruined the experience so I’m glad that was not the case. Everyone was more than willing to help us out at all points of our stay and I was so grateful for that. 

We had an amazing experience at Lake Buena Vista Resort Village and Spa and it made our first family trip to Disney even more magical. I’m so grateful for our experience and I would definitely stay here again, check out the spa, and maybe even take an adult trip =). 

Have you ever stayed on a resort that was off Disney property? Where do you Disney? 

0 In Travel

FALL for the East Coast – Captain’s Quarters Resort is An AMAZING Family Destination

RJ turned three 2 weeks ago and we desperately wanted to get out of New York. We’re trying to step our travel game up so when we got the opportunity to head to Myrtle Beach for the weekend it was a fast and obvious YES! 

We set out on our road trip EARLY Thursday morning and arrived at Captain’s Quarters Resort that evening. It was a LONG trip but we were immediately excited to get out of the car. No one was more excited than RJ especially since he had some birthday loot waiting for him once we got to our room. 

IMG_2121 from Tanay Howard on Vimeo.

I’m going to admit I’m a habitual trip checker and I researched everything up and down when I’m headed on a trip. I was sooooooo happy with our hotel choice and I knew after a good night’s sleep RJ was going to be EXCITED to check out the pools. Captain’s Quarters boasts an impressive 15 water features and we tried just about all of them! Myrtle Beach still has beautiful weather at the end of October so we were able to enjoy both the indoor and outdoor water features which RJ LOVED. 

Everything at the resort was super kid friendly and they truly pride themselves on being the friendliest resort on the beach. This was our first birthday trip, our first trip as a family of four and our first long stay away from home all together and I couldn’t have been happier with our stay at Captain’s Quarters! 

Fast Facts About Our Stay – Captain’s Quarters Resort Myrtle Beach, SC

  • We stayed in an Angle Oceanfront Suite. The view was beautiful (see below). Captain Quarters has a variety of room accommodations to fit families of various sizes. Accommodations can be checked out here
  • Level 6 Entertainment Center hosts a variety of games, 20 AMF lanes of bowling and a bar. We fully took advantage of the fact that each guest receives a free game of bowling per day!
  • Captain’s Quarters has several dining options. Our favorites were Loco Gecko, and the Vista 9 buffet-style breakfast. I’m bummed we didn’t get a chance to get a window seat because the view up there is amazing! 
  • The back of the room key is a discount card to a lot of local places around Myrtle Beach. Though by the time we realized this it was our last day, and the boys randomly got a cold so we took it easy most of the day. Check out all the places it can be used here
  • Fall and Spring are the best times to visit Myrtle Beach as the ocean waters are warm and inviting, the sunshine and ocean breezes are abundant, and there’s more elbow room on the beach.

Where was your last family getaway? Have you been to Myrtle Beach?  

My family and I were provided complimentary accommodations by Vacation Myrtle Beach to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed belong to LifewithTanay. 

0 In life/ Travel

I LOVE Harry Potter But I’ll NEVER Go To Harry Potter Festival in Chestnull Hill

And when I say never I legit mean probably… NEVER. 

You see this little human…

He decided (literally…. he wasn’t due for weeks) he wanted to be born on October 23rd.

Chestnut Hill’s annual Harry Potter festival falls on October 20th and 21st this year. Like every year, it’s on his birthday weekend and I just feel like I’d be a bad mom to let my fandom interfere with celebrating his life. 

But since I can’t go, do you wanna know what goes down? 

Fans of all ages can attend the festival on October 20th & 21st for two days of film screenings, scavenger hunts & more! 

Some of the festival highlights include:

The Hogwarts Express and Opening Ceremony
Each year, the Hogwarts Express (a.k.a. SEPTA’s Chestnut Hill West regional rail line), has departed from Jefferson Station and making all regular stops to Chestnut Hill West. Also onboard? Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron and Dumbledore look-alikes to greet guests.

Quidditch Tournament
One of the main festival events is the 8th Annual Philadelphia Brotherly Love Cup Quidditch Tournament at Chestnut Hill College.

The tournament runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Admission to the tournament is completely free.

Read more: http://www.visitphilly.com/events/philadelphia/harry-potter-weekend-in-chestnut-hill/

I wanna go, I wanna go, I wanna gooooooo! *stomps and slams the bathroom door*

For more info or to check out other events in the area make sure to check out Visit Philly. And maybe tell them to change the dates next year just for me? LOL

0 In Travel

Avoid These 5 Common Mistakes When Applying for Your U.S. Passport

Disclaimer: I am by no means an authorized agent to issue US Passports, I am solely speaking from experience based on everyday encounters. For authorized, professional information please visit travel.state.gov or your local passport acceptance center. 

I hear people applying for their passport all day and person after person comes in ALL day asking the same questions and making the SAME mistakes. ALL of the instructions are on the form when applying for your passport but most people get intimidated because there are quite a few pages and paragraphs of instructions. I don’t have a long intro for this post to make it sound good I’m basically about to tell you the most frequently asked questions/mistakes I hear all day and the answers to those questions. 

 

1. Fill out your passport application using BLACK INK only. 

It’s literally like the first thing the application says after “Application for US Passport” and still its one of the most common mistakes. No it won’t be ok if you use blue ink. Yes it really does matter. Especially now more than ever the lines when applying for your passport are LONG and you WILL get sent to the back of the line with a blank form to fill out again. Don’t waste your time. You can also fill it out online ahead of time and print it out at travel.state.gov.

2. The bottom part of the first page that says STOP…. really…. STOP. 

That portion of the front page has to be signed and completed in front of an authorized passport agent. I promise they don’t need your help. Do not sign ahead….or you will again, be filing out another passport form. 

3. If you’re a minor applying for a passport, BOTH parents must be present. 

The only exception to this rule is to have written, notarized consent from the other parent and it must be signed the same day. You can check out form DS-3053 here for the complete rules regarding circumstances like these. For special circumstances such as sole custody, death of a parent etc., proof must be provided. 

4. Renewal forms are for adults over 16 years of age only! 

If you were issued a passport and you were under the age of 16 at the time it was issued, you have to go through the process as if you were obtaining a new passport. Point blank. Even if you still have your old passport. 

5. You must check online for the appropriate fee for your application! 

There is a separate passport fee and execution fee. Both can be found here. This is the most updated way to get the appropriate fee for your application. 

 

Dassit! So now, where are we headed? xo.

0 In Travel

5 Instagram Accounts That Will Ignite Your Family Travel Wanderlust

For some reason this post was a lot harder to write than it should’ve been. I really had to sit and question, where are all the black family travel bloggers? If you do a quick search of the hashtags #familytravel or #familytravelblogger the lack of melanin is all up and thru there! I was slightly disappointed and for a minute I questioned if we’re still so busy buying Jordans and “doing it for the gram” that we STILL aren’t providing our children with experiences when it’s becoming even easier to find inexpensive ways to do so. 

Anywho now that my short little rant is over I have to say I’ve been bit with the wanderlust bug. Of course now, I’m 8 months pregnant and I can’t go much of anywhere so I’m hoping this baby comes a little early so we can fit in a late summer trip. But while I’m waiting these families on Instagram are giving me all the feels and reminding me that #blackfamiliestravel. 

1. @themomtrotter

Aiden: "Mom, can you take a picture of me under water?" . With the weather in the 80's yesterday, this guy spent all day in the pool. —- He starts his summer swim lessons next month and is super excited about it 🏊🏊🏊 —- Do you know how to swim? Do your kids know how to swim? And At what age did they learn how to swim without floaters? . . . . . . . . . . . #GoProHero4 #GoProKids #UnderWater #LosAngeles #HomeSweetHome #SummerReady #KidsSwim #JetsettingKids #FamilyGo #FamilyAdventure #TravellingFamilies #FamilyTravel #FamilyTravelBlog #TravelKid #ToddlerTravel #KidsTravel #TravellingWithKids #TravelWithKids #TravelKids #KidsWhoTravel #ThingsToDo #OneStateAtATime #FamilyOnVacation #WorldSchooling #TakeYourKidsEverywhere #ShowThemTheWorld #HaveKidsWillTravel #WeAreTravelMums #TakeTheKids #BringTheKids

A post shared by K @ theMOMtrotter (@themomtrotter) on

2. @thepreciousmommy

3. @thetravelingchild

4. @seejettfly

5. @heathergd

Loved the bright colours on the streets of #Cascais #art #instaart

A post shared by Heather Greenwood Davis (@heathergd) on

Are you following any of these beautiful traveling families? Who are some of your favorite family travel bloggers? 

0 In life/ Travel

I Rode My First Rollercoaster at 26!

Thank you to Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom for providing us with complimentary admission in exchange for this blog post. All opinions expressed belong to me =)

A couple weeks ago I FINALLY had a day off from work and was able to take a day trip with my boyfriend and friends to Dorney Park. We went on a perfect day, being a Tuesday (which Dorney recommends on their Trip Tips page) the wait time in line was MAYBE 10 minutes the longest. 

I was excited, but secretly terrified all at the same time LOL. I had never done the rollercoaster thing. The last time I went to an amusement park I was in …… EIGHT grade? Soooooo over 10 years ago. And even then I was too chicken to ride any rollercoasters. I was excited, it was my boyfriend and my 6 year anniversary and I was ready to face my (for nothing) fear!!

 Out here being a winner.... Though I didn't actually win anything LOL

Out here being a winner…. Though I didn’t actually win anything LOL

If you can’t tell by the name, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom are two separate parks, in one location. They have the majority of their water rides separated from the dry rides still allowing you to get the best of both worlds. Saisha and I were ALL READY for the water rides, but the guys weren’t as thrilled. After two rides (and the two of us spending some time in the kiddie area LOL) they were ready to go to the other side of the park. 

 Idk if my boyfriend is dancing... playing the drums.... I have no idea. LOL

Idk if my boyfriend is dancing… playing the drums…. I have no idea. LOL

 In line for the Wild Mouse rollercoaster... which is one of their smallest coasters, yet it's the one that gave me the biggest heart attack.

In line for the Wild Mouse rollercoaster… which is one of their smallest coasters, yet it’s the one that gave me the biggest heart attack.

When we first got to the park The Talon was being worked on and we didn’t think we would get to ride that particular roller coaster. It ended up being the last ride we went on and my favorite from the entire day. I’m glad I got over my fear, tried something new, and enjoyed the experience with some of the people I love the most! I can’t wait to make another trip to Dorney! 

I ended up taking most of pictures on and of the actual rides on SnapChat (follow me) and forgetting to save them, my boyfriend also was convinced his phone case was waterproof, took pictures, and the phone didn’t survive to share LOL. So sorry for the stock image of the coaster but the one below has part of it in the background!

What’s your favorite amusement park? Do you have a roller coaster fear? What other parks should I visit?

 

0 In Travel

Day Trip to Sesame Place in the 2016 Mazda CX-5

I received this car courtesy of Mazda in partnership with Driveshop to drive for a week free of charge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

At the end of April we had the opportunity to attend opening day at Sesame Place! I hadn’t been in forever so my excitement was REAL. It’s a little drive from NYC so when I was given the chance to drive the 2016 Mazda CX-5 I literally wanted to JUMP in. I was too hype on drop off day and of course I couldn’t wait to start posting pics on Snapchat!! 

The CX-5 was a beautiful Soul Red just like the Mazda 3 I reviewed late last year. The inside was a cream and black leather interior and it was soooooo nice I almost didn’t want to let RJ in it (cause you know, toddlers!). 

After RJ and his daddy got everything situated in the car, we drove our 2 hour drive to PA in comfort! The heated seats in the front definitely came in handy when we were on our way home and it was chilly outside. I love some heated seats! LOL. The CX-5 came equipped with blindspot detectors, auto-windshield, SIrius XM radio and a whole lot more that made me feel extremely fancy! I loved driving the car in “Sport” mode (you’ll love it too if you like to drive fast, hehe). 

So ya’ll know I always have to talk about the gas mileage since my own car is a guzzler. The CX-5 boasts an impressive 35 highway MPG giving you the change to “conquer more highway on less fuel”. I was super excited when I was able to get half a tank of gas for $10… that’s with NYC gas prices! The only struggle I had during my week with the car was figuring out how to open the gas tank…. are they all on the floor now?! LOL 

Starting at $21,795 the Mazda CX-5 is the perfect family car and an amazing compact SUV. To learn more about the CX-5 visit here.

0 In Travel

Our Super Quick Staycation – Split Rock Resort

My family was provided complimentary accomodations at Split Rock Resort to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

Last week our family went to visit a friend in Pennsylvania and even though we have a family house up there we wanted to take a “staycation” and take in some new scenery away from work and pretty much everything that was familiar. We had an amazing overnight at Split Rock Resort and I while I was actually pretty sad that we had to come back so soon, it was SO worth it.

 Excuse the grainy snapchat screenshot. This was the first thing he ran to though.

Excuse the grainy snapchat screenshot. This was the first thing he ran to though.

Pretty much anything you can think of that you would WANT to do, you can do at Split Rock. You pay a small resort fee and you get access to all the amenities and equipment that the resort had to offer. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to spend that much time exploring outside because it was a rainy ugly day and it was super late once we got back from visiting with our friend.

 H20ooohh Water Park! 

H20ooohh Water Park! 

H20ooohh! is the resorts indoor water park which boasts over 53,000 square feet of attractions. During the off season the park is open Thursday – Sunday and we were there on a Tuesday so we didn’t get to go in. We definitely plan to revisit. 

Split Rock has a variety of accommodations, and during our stay we got to stay in one of their bigger suites. Our room included a full kitchen, a living and dining room area, a separate bedroom  with an in-suite tub. It was beautiful and definitely one of the nicest rooms I’ve stayed in (sheltered life)! 

 This was my favorite part of the room! And RJs too! He loved taking a bath in the huge tub.

This was my favorite part of the room! And RJs too! He loved taking a bath in the huge tub.

The hotel has a couple different options for food so the morning we checked out I headed to Split Rock Grill for  breakfast. BABY!!!!!! Everything was delicious! The food was ready in about 10 minutes and I took it back up to the room since the boys didn’t want to get out of bed til the LAST minute. I enjoyed my breakfast silently… I’ll spare y’all the after pic but I did post it on snapchat. LOL. When they finally did get up we walked around the resort some before we had to head back to NYC and real life. 

 His little self was so excited and overwhelmed with the arcade. He didn't know which button to press first.

His little self was so excited and overwhelmed with the arcade. He didn’t know which button to press first.

Even though our stay was super short, we enjoyed being away from home. Most times when you stay away, you’re ready to go back home. This was not one of those times. We’re definitely going to look into visiting again in the summer when we can do more things outdoors and hopefully have a chance to visit the water park. If you’re looking for a quick staycation, a getaway from NYC, or a great place to visit on the east coast then Split Rock is it!