Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mom's Night Out at the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive

Well,  its taken almost two years, but I finally felt comfortable leaving my son overnight.  You know what that means!  Girls night out!  Of course, now that we are older and have more responsibilities ranging from motherhood, to traveling the country for work, to working through law school.... we had to plan this outing quite a few weeks in advance just to find a date that worked with everyone's schedule.

Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive
I had been looking forward to this night of "freedom" and also to staying overnight at one of the most well known hotels on International Drive in Orlando.  The Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive recently underwent a multimillion dollar renovation and I couldn't wait to see all of the new features.  "Renovation" doesn't even begin to describe the amount of work that has been done to this resort.  The entire property has received a complete makeover and has been completely redone.


Family Suite
I never really knew how big this resort was until I checked in.  There are many different accommodation options ranging from deluxe rooms to one bedroom suites to, my favorite, the family suite.  This suite configuration is certainly one of the property's most innovative and unique features.  This large suite features a separate enclave with bunk beds and bean bag chairs to give kids their own space without having to pay for a separate room.  Other treasures I discovered while exploring the property?  A swimming pool, one fabulous pool bar (we will get back to that later), a contemporary lobby bar, a small playground for children, and a gift shop that sells ice cream, Starbucks coffee, candy, snacks, liquor, and even beachwear.

Property Swimming Pool
The hotel itself is located on a prime section of the attraction filled International Drive.  Within the past couple of years this area has grown and undergone many changes.  Many new restaurants and bars have been added to this strip of the road. New entertainment complexes, including Mangos Tropical Cafe Orlando and a 400 foot Ferris Wheel, are expected to open next year.  For families looking to visit Orlando's theme parks, the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive is just two and a half miles away from Universal Studios and minutes away from Walt Disney World thanks to a quick drive on the nearby Interstate 4.  All of this only adds to the value, versatility, and convenience of this hotel.

Some of our beauty supplies for the evening.
After spending sometime exploring my new home away from home for the day, I went back to my room to relax before the girls arrived.  Once the ladies were in house, the beauty part of our evening begun.  There is nothing quite like getting ready with your girlfriends for a night out.  Makeup, mirrors, the smell of hair styling appliances... its all part of the fun.  We required a ton of beauty products for this special occasion (which I will touch on in detail at a later date.)  However, some of our favorites were COVERGIRL's Ink It! eye liner and Flamed Out Shadow Pots,  Mally's Volumizing Waterproof Mascara, and our array of MAC Lipsticks.

At the resort pool bar
We decided to start the night with a few drinks at the hotel pool bar.  This ended up being one of the best parts of our night.  Our bartender, Justin,  not only made excellent drinks (I had the strawberry mojito and it was delicious),  he was also great company.  We ordered nachos to share and were surprised at how generous the portion was and how fresh the ingredients were. 
Pool Bar Patio
As we sipped on our drinks, took bites of our food, and enjoyed interesting, silly, and entertaining conversations we completely lost track of time.  We had spent two hours at the pool bar without even realizing it.  So knowing we had to move on to our next adventure of the night, we said our goodbyes to Justin and headed down to Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant, which is conveniently  attached to the hotel.



Cooper's Hawk is an elegant restaurant that offers wine tastings and serves decadent dishes.  We enjoyed dinner, tasty sparkling wine (I recommend the Almond) , continued our conversation and started to map out our plan for the night.

Dinner at Cooper's Hawk
Originally we had planned on walking from bar to bar since we were centrally located to all of the places we wanted to visit.  But, you know, Florida weather is a funny thing.  And it was raining all night.  So we decided to use the Uber app.  Now, I was skeptical about this app.  It seemed scary and dangerous.  But honestly, the Uber drivers we had the pleasure of meeting were some of the most professional car service drivers I've encountered. And I would definitely recommend using Uber if you're out with a group and unexpectedly need a car service.

The places we ended up going?  First we went to Cafe Tutu Tango, a unique bar decorated with artwork created by local artists', then we decided to go to Senior Frog's and do a little dancing, then from Senior Frog's we went to Ice Bar.  Ice Bar is known for having the largest permanent ice bar in the world with over 50 tons of carved ice.  There is another area of the bar called the "Fire Bar"  that is modeled like a more traditional dance club.  We elected to stay in the "Fire Bar"  and enjoy a chocolate pretzel shot because of the rainy weather.  No one wants to spend girls night cold and wet.  This is where we danced, laughed, and ended our night out.

Comfortable beds at the
end of a night out = Heaven
On the way back to the hotel we decided to take a RediPedi, or bicycle cab.  It was surprisingly quick and before we knew it we were back in the comforts of our home for the night.   This is where I discovered my mom super power.  We were all exhausted and ready to get under the soft blankets in the plush, pillow covered Wyndham beds.  While the other girls did their short cut beauty treatments, I went through my entire bedtime beauty routine (shower and all) knowing my skin would be angry if I didn't. 

Once I completed my beauty routine, I walked into the room to find both of my girlfriends asleep in bed.  I continued to clean up the room and pack, only leaving out the few items I would need in the morning.  And this is when I realized motherhood came with a super power.  Ready for it?  The ability to fully function and do what needs to be done in a very tired state.  Before I had my son I had done exactly as they did after a night out.  Quickly washed (most) of my makeup off, changed into pajamas and gone to bed.  But now, I had a checklist of things I wanted to get done before hitting the sheets.

Breakfast in bed
After one of the best nights of sleep I've had in a long time,  we woke up and decided to order room service for breakfast.  Within 20 minutes a friendly face was at our door with eggs, bacon, ham, coffee, juices, and breakfast potatoes.  I enjoyed my breakfast in bed and even stayed in bed to enjoy a movie as the girls left.  Because of the hotel's late check out option, I wasn't scheduled to leave until the afternoon and had every intention of soaking in my last bit of relaxation.  Then, once the movie was over and my bags were completely packed, I headed out.  Back to reality for this mama but I will definitely be back to the Wyndham Orlando Resort International Drive when its time for another mini-vacation. Maybe I will even bring the family next time!


Monday, September 22, 2014

Its Happening! THIS FRIDAY!

Can. Not. Contain. My. Excitement.

This Friday I will be participating in a Mom's Night Out Event! Of course, I'm sure when the day comes I will be torn between my excitement to have a night out with the girls and my anxiety over leaving my son for a full 24 hours.

Not surprisingly, I am still trying to pick out my outfit for the night.  I have narrowed down the options to the following LBDs.

H&M

and

Patty Boutik




I HAVE found my shoes for the evening

BCBGeneration via Marshall's


And I've decided my toes will be decked in MAC's Studio Nail Lacquer in Midnight Storm (from the A Novel Romance Collection)


Accessories, makeup, and hair are all still up in the air.


Want to be apart of the fun?  Be sure to check the Mommy Diaries (Of a Florida Mom) Twitter and Facebook often on Friday!  We will be updating and posting throughout the day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beauty Tag [Video]

As many of you have realized, I don't usually do "Tag" videos.  However, I was tagged for this one several times.  So I gave in.  Here it is. I did not read all the way through the survey before starting (not a good idea... noted.)  But I was able to use editing magic to keep the video short.  Enjoy!



Tags:
Stephanie at Pure Fitspiration
Stefanie at Healthy Hankerings


QUESTIONS:
1.) Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and lip-glosses or lose all of your palettes and eye shadows?
2.) Would you rather chop off all your hair or never be able to cut it again?
3.) Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?
4.) If you had $1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes (with accessories) or makeup?
5.) Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?
6.) Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?
7.) Would you rather only use one eye shadow color or one lip color for the rest of your life?
8.) Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?
9.) Would you rather have dark nails or bright nails all year round?
10.) Would you rather give up your favorite lip product or your favorite eye product?
11.) Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a ponytail or a messy bun?
12.) Would your rather never be able to paint your nails again or never use lip-gloss?
13.) Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all or sharpie them in everyday?
14.) Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Planning Your Trip to Disney World: 4 Tips to Add to the Magic

*The following post was written and provided by OrlandoVacation.com*

It’s true: any trip to Disney World is a magical experience. However, with the expense of taking the entire family to this magical destination, you want to make sure it’s as special and awe-inspiring as possible. Check out these 4 unique ways to make your trip something truly special.

1. Minimize your waiting and maximize your fun

If you purchase theme park tickets in advance, you can set up 3 FastPass+ reservations per day. This simple process involves selecting your favorite 3 rides or attractions and choosing the times you want to visit them each day. While it does require planning and a little thought ahead of time, the great news is that when you show up for these FastPass+ reservations you get to skip the lines.
Be sure to maximize their efficiency by choosing them for the rides and attractions with the longest wait times. For example, if you have little princesses or princes who want to meet Anna and Elsa from Frozen, their meet and greet is a great choice for a FastPass+ - the standby line can grow to 2+ hours during peak hours. Here is a site that sells tickets with the FastPass option; they have great deals on Disney World packages.

2. Get the gals dolled up – and the gents too!

Has your daughter always wanted to feel like a princess for a day? With the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique she can! There are two locations, one in Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom and the other in Downtown Disney. No matter which one you choose, your little one will be treated to a princess up-do courtesy of a fairy godmother, plus tons of pixie dust and glitter. Bring your own princess dress or buy one at the Boutique.
Gents who want a little something special can check out the Pirates League. This experience is open for little girls too, and includes costumes, pirate makeup, props, and more. Both of these experiences require reservations, so make sure you plan ahead.

3. Rent a vacation home and live in the lap of luxury
Many families assume that staying on Disney property is the best use of their vacation dollars, but the truth is that renting a vacation home creates a paradise that’s truly a home away from home. These homes start for just $99 per night and can have incredible amenities like a private pool for late night or early morning swims, full kitchens, plus separate living and sleeping areas so you can tuck the kids in at night without having to go to bed yourself.

4. Meals can be an attraction in and of themselves

It may be tempting to find the quickest and most convenient meal options possible to maximize your time on rides and attractions, but the truth is there are plenty of meals that are destinations in and of themselves. They’re a great chance to unwind, relax, and take in a little extra Disney magic. Character experiences like Tusker House in Animal Kingdom and Cinderella’s Round Table in the Magic Kingdom offer delicious food and great character interaction, and shows like the Hoop Dee Doo Review bring together the best of theater and dining.

These are just 4 simple options for adding that little extra touch of magic to your trip. No matter what you choose to do, one thing’s for sure: you’ll be creating memories that will last your family for a lifetime.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

These are Two of my Favorite Things

Fall and coffee.  What can be better than a large cup of coffee on a crisp Fall morning?  It is the epitome of a simple joy in life.

While it may not be crisp or cool here in Florida quite yet(not even close actually), I am definitely ready with my new go-to Fall cup of joe.  Starbucks has done an amazing job in their cafes capturing the feel of each season with their seasonal specialty coffees  (Hello Pumpkin Spice latte.  I've been waiting for your return. Peppermint Mocha... we will be reunited soon, my friend. )   They now have seasonal coffees you can find in your local grocery store and make yourself at home. Convenience without losing the Starbucks quality.  Its a win, win.

The Starbucks Fall blend is the perfect accompaniment to my favorite season.  Cozy, full bodied, and balanced, this blend reminds me of soft sweaters, cool breezes, and days spent comfortably outdoors in the sunshine. Plus... do you see that packaging?  Gorgeous! If that doesn't put you the the Fall Harvest mood, I don't know what will.

So come on Florida, bring on the brisk weather!  I'll be here ready and waiting with my Starbucks Fall blend.

Monday, September 8, 2014

My Favorite Alternatives to Naked

That's Urban Decay's Naked Palettes, of course.  I know I sound like a broken record when I talk about the Naked Palettes.  The gist of my opinion is yes, they are nice, high quality products... but there are so many other companies that put out the same quality, if not better quality products that are similar for less money.  There are also those that offer more for about the same price.  Now my love for Urban Decay is definitely complicated.  I love their liners and mascaras, but dislike the fact that those superb products are grossly overshadowed by the trendy eyeshadow palettes.  But I digress.  The following are excellent Naked alternatives that give you more bang for your buck and are staples in any makeup collection.


1.  TheBalm Nude 'Tude Palette

I know I've referenced this palette many times before.  It is just that amazing.  I use it daily. The colors are fabulously neutral without being muted or boring.  With this palette it is super simple to start off with a "daytime" look and then go to a dramatic night look by adding one or two of the darker colors from the palette.  I also like that this palette contains both shimmer and matte shadows.  So no matter what you're in the mood for, you'll find it here.


2. Mally Beauty's In the Buff Eyeshadow Palette

Mally Beauty is an excellent cosmetic brand that is certainly known among beauty lovers - mostly for their fabulous Volumizing Mascara.  However, this is one of those brands that I feel deserves A LOT more attention and praise - especially from the mainstream beauty media outlets.  All of the products by Mally are high quality, long lasting, and versatile.  Celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal has truly created products that provide the flawless look that was once reserved for the rich and famous while at the same time are still easy for the every day woman to use on her own.
The In the Buff Palette is my new go-to.  Not only are the colors highly pigmented, easily blended, and long lasting with little to no fall out, this palette also comes with an eyeshadow base. YES! Thank you! The base is of a larger size than the shadows (presumably because you will use it more often) and is a handy product that evens, smooths, and prepares the eyelid for application while keeping the eyeshadow put all day without creasing.  The addition of the base makes all the difference and is one of the many instances where one can see Mally just gets it! A high quality product with everything you'll need for a great day or night look that will last - that is this palette.  More bang for you buck, as usual from Mally.

3. SEPHORA COLLECTION - IT Palette - Nude

As we all know, Sephora is one line that is always on trend.  The IT palette in Nude is one of those palettes that contains just about everything. This palette easily takes your look from neutral to dramatic and contains 12 eyeshadows, an eyeliner pencil, and shadows that can be used as liners in a sophisticated, chic little compact.  With this palette you get the same high quality as the Naked palettes but for less money.  You also receive more product.  As you would expect from Sephora, the shadows are smooth, highly pigmented, and easy to apply for any look you may be going for.  For those who prefer different eyeshadow colors there is also the IT Palette - Smoky and the IT Palette Color Spectrum.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Secrets of a Beauty Lovin' Mama

One thing that no one ever really tells you before you have a child... your beauty routine and your whole perspective on what is an acceptable look for outside of the house will completely change once the child is here.  At least for the first few years.  Here are some of the thoughts that stream through my head quite often.

1.  I don't NEED makeup

I've never been on that feels like I "need" to have makeup before I leave the house.  Yes, I love applying it, I love trying different brands and color palettes... but it has ALWAYS been something FUN for me. Not something that I "have to do."  So naturally... after having my son I am often times without makeup when running errands. For daily to-dos the most I put on is concealer, blush, eyeshadow (neutral tone), and mascara. And even that's rare.

2. This is how I look...Deal.
 MOST of the judgement that comes when a woman doesn't wear any makeup comes from other women.  Men tend not to notice.  Seriously. They're not looking at your face that hard.  Now before anyone gets offended, I'm not trying to diss female kind here.  I'm just saying at times we are our own worst enemy when it comes to societal pressures and standards.  And that women really do dress/get ready for other women quite often...probably more than we realize.  I find the most judgement I've personally received comes from generations a bit older than my own.  And this may be because when they were my age it was expected for a woman to be dressed to the nines, have her hair done, and have her "face put on" before exiting the house.  Well here comes my generation... Hair thrown up in a messy bun, little to no makeup, and a tank top with yoga pants. Boom! Ready for the day.  I'm not saying either way is wrong or right... I'm just saying I'm ok with how I naturally look.  If you're not... then I'm sorry... but you're going to have to just deal.

3. Its really for me, though

Before my son was born, my husband and I would go out with friends AT LEAST every weekend.  Half of the fun was getting dressed up, doing my night time makeup and attempting to do my hair (I'm not very good at that part.)  I would dress for the occasion, dress for the group we were hanging out with, or dress for the venue.  Now that "dress up" times don't come around every weekend... or very often at all, I dress for me.  I still dress occasion, venue, and group appropriate but I take more time to look at what I feel I look best in, what I'm most comfortable in, and what will allow be to have a night out feeling beautiful without having pain and discomfort.  That means often times my 7 inch heels are replaced with 3 inch ones.  And my tightly structured dresses have been replaced by those whose material is more forgiving.

4. I miss the aqua...
I came to a point in my early 20s where I became very adventurous with my makeup choices.  Some were not great choices, but some I really loved.  My favorite look was aqua eyeliner.  Sounds a little wild... and maybe it was, but I loved that I felt I could pull it off.   Now that I'm older... and someone's mama, I feel like this look no longer fits me. I am not that young, seemingly carefree girl anymore... and I'm definitely not staying out until breakfast time these days... MAYBE we'll stay out till midnight... but that's pushing it.  Its just not me anymore and I'm ok with that.  But I still miss the aqua liner at times.

5. But I'll have to take it off later...

One of the biggest reasons I don't put on a full face of makeup much anymore?  I'll have to take the time to carefully remove all of it later.  Because my skin is sensitive, I can not leave any amount of makeup on my face overnight.  Not even the small amounts left behind when you don't use a makeup remover.  Nowadays, I am so exhausted by the end of the day that the extra makeup removal step seems taxing.  I just want to shower, get in my PJs, and go to bed.  So now when I'm pulling out that waterproof mascara for the day... I always think twice.