Disney Surprise! We are Going to Animal Kingdom

It’s been a few years since my family has taken a mid-winter vacation to Florida, so I was over the moon excited to surprise my boys two weeks ago with a family vacation to Disney.

This was how we gave our kids their Disney surprise…

OMG. That was so much fun!

We spent the first few days of our trip with my parents exploring some natural areas near Delray Beach (like the Wakodahatchee Wetlands. It felt so good to be in flip flops and have sun on my shoulders again. If you’re ever near Delray Beach, I recommend visiting Wakodahatchee. It has over 140 different species of wildlife including turtles, frogs, alligators, iguanas, and birds. My boys fell in love nature photography during our trip.

Florida Then, thanks to the help of Kissimmee Guest Services and All Star Vacation Homes, we packed up our bags and headed to Kissimmee for our Disney Animal Kingdom adventure.

Disney Animal Kingdom Friends told us to go straight to Kilimanjaro Safaris as soon as we entered the park, which is exactly what we did. The wait was only 25 minutes… and Disney makes the waiting area so engaging and stimulating that my kids never complained about the wait.

Kilimanjaro Safaris is a must if you go to Animal Kingdom. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to being on an actual safari in Africa. Even my zoologist husband, who has been to Africa several times, was impressed with every small detail Disney puts into the safari to make it as real feeling as possible.

Disney Animal Kingdom SafariWhile we were in Africa, we also went on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, the Wildlife Express to Rafiki’s Planet Watch and saw the MUST SEE Festival of the Lion King.

Next we ventured to Asia, hitting the Maharajah Jungle Trek, saw the spectacular Flights of Wonder show… and then my husband and oldest son tackled the Expedition Everest high-speed roller coaster. Since it was only 50+ degrees out, we skipped the Kali River Rapids.

Disney Animal Kingdom AsiaWe made a quick stop in Dinoland for the boys to ride the Primeval Whirl coaster and then headed straight to Discovery Island to see the Tree of Life and the It’s Tough to be a Bug show. One of my absolute favorite stops along the way was visiting the baby gorillas. OMG…. they were so beyond adorable.

Disney Animal Kingdom Dinoland and Discovery Island Of course, we couldn’t leave the park without getting our #DisneySide groove on….
Disney Animal Kingdom #DisneySideWe had such a spectacular day. My kids were pretty much in a state of awe the entire time we were at the park.

Our Disney Animal Kingdom Adventure would not have happened without the help of Kissimmee Guest Services, who have a lowest price guarantee for all of Kissimmee/Orlando attractions. Their low price guarantee states…

“If you find a cheaper ticket somewhere else, we’ll will match the price or refund the difference – even after you have already used the ticket. We’ll save you some time at the gate AND we’ll save you money – Guaranteed! So go ahead and purchase your tickets today! Kissimmee Guest Services – the most trusted name in attraction tickets. kgstickets.com

After our Disney adventure, we spent a few more days with my mom and dad, swimming, fishing, and soaking up the sun.

Florida VacationOh how I love family vacations!

Still Evolving

Disclosure: I received three complimentary media tickets from Kissimmee Guest Services. All opinions are 100% my own. 

 

My Dream Kissimmee, Florida Experience

All travel and adventures were provided by Experience Kissimmee.

Rock Your VacationI recently returned from a DREAM Kissimmee, Florida #RockYourVacation press trip with the amazing team at Experience Kissimmee. Most people, when they think of Kissimmee, they think of Disney. But oh – Kissimmee is SO MUCH MORE!

Kissimmee is relaxing, invigorating, exhilarating, breathtaking, and again SO MUCH MORE!

In addition to the “main attraction” there is Gatorland, Medieval Times, SeaWorld, Hot Air Balloon rides, Wild Florida, Orlando Premium Outlets, Chocolate Kingdom, Fun Spot USA and again SO MUCH MORE!

Here’s a glimpse into some of my highlights…

GATORLAND

Screamin’ Gator Zip Line

Zip lining Screamin’ Gator Zip Line Gatorland I strongly recommend starting your Kissimmee experience with a fun soaring adventure at the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line in Gatorland. My heart was pounding when I left the first launch pad, but then I quickly realized zip-lining over alligators was definitely more fun than scary (yes, there were over one hundred giant alligators below me).

I launched from heights of up to 65 feet, soared across five super fun zip lines ranging in length from 230 feet to more than 500 feet, and crossed a swinging bridge (which, by far, was the only truly scary part of this adventure). The entire experience was exhilarating, refreshing, and genuinely FUN. Our highly trained and super funny guides made the experience even better.

Zip lining Screamin Gator Zip Line Gatorland

Flight times are available daily; reservations are required. Click here to book your adventure today!

 Wrestling an Alligator

Gatorland Wrestle an Alligator

Yep. That’s me wrestling one of the most feared creatures in the world. Yep. This gator has is nine feet long with 82 razor sharp teeth… not to mention the other twelve alligators swimming around me! Fun? Yes, it was actually pretty cool to be that close to a gator. Do I love the idea that this poor little gator has to live his life with people sitting on it? No so much.

Reservations are not required for this experience. You can purchase tickets at any time while visiting Gatorland.

Another Wildlife

In addition to alligators, Gatorland is also home to raccoons, birds, bobcats, scorpions, pythons, panthers, boa constrictors, rattlesnakes, white-tailed deer, American Crocodiles, and more.

gatorland wildlifeAnd even tarantulas!

GATORLAND
14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, Fl 32837
1-800-393-JAWS.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gatorland
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gatorland

SEAWORLD

Dolphins Up-Close Tour

My dreams came true at SeaWorld when I got to have some one-on-one time feeding the dolphins. Next on dolphin bucket list is swimming with the dolphins at Discovery Cove.

SeaWorld Dolphins

Visit the Inside SeaWorld blog to get an insider’s look at the park and check out the Inside Conservation blog for animal stories and SeaWorld’s conservation work.

SeaWolrd Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando
7007 Sea World Drive
Orlando, FL 32821
1-888-800-5447
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SeaWorld
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SeaWorld

Fun Spot America

The SkyCoaster

When we arrived at the Fun Spot America, I knew for sure that I would not be riding the world’s tallest SkyCoaster (standing at 300 feet). I had said YES to rocking my vacation, rocking my memories, and even rocking my heart rate… but I thought this was outside of my comfort zone.

I was wrong. Not only did I ride the SkyCoaster… I loved it! This was the closest thing I’ve ever done that resembled jumping out of a plane

The look on my face in the photos and video below tell the story. No words are necessary.

Fun Spot America SkyCoaster

Fun Spot America – Kissimmee
2850 Florida Plaza Blvd
Kissimmee, FL 34746
407-397-2509
Twitter: @funspotusa
Facebook: http://facebook.com/funspotamerica

 

Wild Florida

Airboat Ride & Wildlife Park

Wild FloridaI loved exploring some of Florida’s pristine protected swamps, marshes and rivers with Wild Florida. We saw lots of wildlife (including alligators) during our airboat eco-tour. The swamp we visited was free of any human development and was 100% pure Florida wilderness. It was heaven on Earth.

Here’s a tip: If you are heading to Wild Florida during the summer, the best tour times are 9am, 10:15am and 4:30pm. Wildlife is harder to spot during the hottest part of the day.

{video courtesy of Beeb Ashcroft}

In addition to the airboat rides, Wild Florida also has an amazing park, where we were able to see, touch and even feed some of the animals and tropical birds.

My favorite moment was when I got to feed and hold lemurs. OMG – They were so cute and cuddly!

Wild FloridaWild Florida
3301 Lake Cypress Rd
Kenansville, FL 34739407-957-3135
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WildFLorida
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wildfloridairboats

 

Thank You Experience Kissimmee!!!

Thank you Experience Kissimmee for this amazing experience. I’m so looking forward to heading back to Kissimmee with my family!

JOY

 

Avalanche Bay Named Among ‘The World’s Coolest Indoor Water Parks’ by Condé Nast Traveler

As a huge Boyne fan, I wanted to share this exciting news!

AvalancheBayAvalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark, at Boyne Mountain Resort in Michigan, has been heralded as one of “The World’s Coolest Indoor Water Parks” by Condé Nast Traveler.  The premier travel magazine featured an elite eight waterparks on their website designating them as the coolest in the world.  Parks were featured from Beijing, Germany, Canada, and the United States.

Avalanche Bay Indoor Waterpark is themed as a snowy Swiss-Austrian Village and maintains a constant temperature of 84 degrees making it the perfect escape for spring break and year-round enjoyment. The 88,000 square foot waterpark boasts aquatic adventures for all ages including five amazing waterslides, Rip Zone surfing wave, four-story mountain water-play structure, shallow children’s pool and activity pool, lazy river, relaxing hot tubs, mega-arcade, and pub with food and a full bar.

The park’s newest attraction is The Big Couloir, an extreme body slide that’s the first of its kind in Michigan.  The ride features a launch capsule with a trapdoor that propels riders at G-force speeds up to 38 feet per second throughout the 360 degree SuperLOOP.

“The recognition that Avalanche Bay continues to receive is a testament to the great experience we offer our guests with the variety of rides and attractions, eateries, arcade, and more,” said Ed Grice, president and general manager of Boyne Mountain Resort.  “Add in the four-seasons of fun we offer at Boyne Mountain Resort, and it’s a winning combination.”

Half- and full-day waterpark passes are available from $22 to $45 and discounts are provided to resort lodging guests.  Spring Break Packages are now available starting at $197 per night for a family of four and includes lodging at Boyne Mountain and Avalanche Bay admission starting at 4pm on day of arrival. A hot and delicious breakfast buffet can be added for only $12 per person.  Ski & Splash Packages are also available with the resort planning to ski and snowboard daily through Easter Sunday, April 20, weather permitting.  For reservations, call 800.462.6963 or visit boynemountain.com.

JOY

I’m Heading to Florida to Experience Kissimmee #RockYourVacation

logoWhat you focus on expands.

I know some people out there are still wary of the law of attraction. And many people think it’s completely woo-woo. But I have been embracing the Universe and the law of attraction for over a year now and it has completely changed my life.

In January, I spent 4 days along the seashore identifying what my heart and soul desire. Since then, dreams have truly been coming true. Here is just one more beautiful example of how anyone can manifest their heart and soul’s desires.

One of the things on my desire list was TRAVEL.

A few weeks later Experience Kissimmee invited me to literally experience Kissimmee!

On Feb. 3, Experience Kissimmee launched its first video Instagram contest, Rock Your Vacation. Contestants had the chance to enter to win a VIP Kissimmee vacation to experience all the excitement, thrills and luxury this Central Florida destination has to offer (click here to watch the video my boys and I submitted).

Experience Kissimmee has now invited me to experience a taste of what the winner will enjoy.

Here is a glimpse of what I’ll be doing this week…

OMG! I’m so excited!

In the meantime, I’l stuck in Philly (different blog post) trying to get home, so I can pack for my next adventure.

xoxo

Stacey

Discloser: Experience Kissimmee will provide transportation and accommodations.

 

We Want to Rock Our Kissimmee, Florida Vacation! #RockYourVacation

My Family is Ready to Rock Our Kissimmee, Florida Vacation Like a VIPs…

Which is why we created this 15 second video and entered the “Rock Your Vacation” Instagram contest.

In our video, my boys acted out how we would rock a Central Florida vacation by highlighting a few of the things we’d do if we had the opportunity to enjoy a dream Kissimmee vacation.

As long as you have an Instagram account and a smart phone, you can enter too for a chance to win. Here’s how…

Step 1: Create a 15 second video on your Instagram account (your Instagram account must be public).

Step 2: Tag your video with the #RockYourVacation hashtag.

Step 3: Once your submission has been approved, @ExperienceKissimmee will post a comment on your Instagram video with a link. You will have to go to that link to verify your entry.

The grand prize consists of one a VIP Kissimmee Vacation, June 4 – 9, including:

  • Airfare
  • 5-night/ 6-day accommodations in a 7-bedroom house provided by All Star Vacation Homes
  • Vehicle rental for 6 days
  • Red Carpet Welcome Party sponsored by PoshAble Events
  • Gatorland Tickets
  • House of Blues Concert tickets with pre-party festivities sponsored by VillaDirect
  • Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament Tickets
  • SeaWorld Orlando theme park Tickets
  • A Private Hot Air Balloon Ride sponsored by Global Homes Resort
  • A Private airboat tour at Wild Florida Airboat Rides

The Rock Your Kissimmee Vacation contest is open until March 16.  For official rules and details, visit www.RockYourVacation.com. And for more information on all things Kissimmee, visit www.experiencekissimmee.com.

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place Offers Special Winter Escape Package

Enjoy Chicago’s winter festivities with ease for as low as $119 per night including parking

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

Even though I technically live less than 3 miles from Chicago’s city limits, I still love “traveling” into the city and staying overnight in a downtown hotel. Chicago seems to transform before my eyes when I stay in a hotel in the city. There is just something magical about not having to head back to reality (dishes, laundry, you get the idea) after spending the day (or evening) in downtown Chicago.

Maybe it makes me feel like I’m in my 20’s again (back in the day when I would visit Chicago for pure 20-something fun).

Hyatt Regency McCormick Place

I was just informed that the newly expanded and renovated Hyatt Regency McCormick Place, 2233 S. Martin Luther King Drive, Chicago, Illinois, is offering a special Winter Getaway Package, valid every weekend in November and December, based upon availability.

You will receive a rate of $119 plus tax for deluxe accommodations for two in one of the hotel’s new luxurious guest rooms, along with complimentary self-parking and complimentary internet. For reservations, call 312.567.1234, and ask for the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place “Winter Getaway Package.”  

Now I just need to find someone to watch my kids for the night.

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The Holiday Inn Wants To #ChangeYourView

Holiday Inn BrandLast Thursday, my family and I were invited to reconnect with the Holiday Inn.

I use the word reconnect because for decades, the Holiday Inn was simply a happy memory for me… filled with lots of Holiday Inn family vacations. When I would think of the Holiday Inn, I would think of the 1970s.

Little did I know that the Holiday Inn was making a big splash this year with a $1 billion global re-launch.

Holiday Inn

The Holiday Inn recently launched a new campaign called Change Your View as a way to reintroduce this iconic brand to a new generation of guests who are not as familiar with the Holiday Inns of today.  They are overhauling their arrival and welcome services, guestrooms, bathrooms, and they redesigned their logo and signage.

We had an AMAZING time experiencing the re-launch of the Holiday Inn brand. First we ate and drank and took a lot of photo booth photos. Then we chilled and splashed and played in the pool and ended the night cuddling with the boys in one of the Holiday Inn’s two double bed guest rooms.

When I review a hotel, I always take my children’s enjoyment into consideration. And they were in heaven. They loved the VIP party, the pool, the shower, the beds, and of course the flat screen TV. I think they even appreciated the spectacular views from our 20th floor window.

Holiday Inn – You Changed My View!

About the Holiday Inn

With more than 1,200 hotels worldwide, the Holiday Inn is the most widely recognized lodging brand in the world. The Holiday Inn provides the services that business travelers need, while also offering a comfortable atmosphere where all people can relax and enjoy amenities such as restaurants and room service, swimming pools, fitness centers and comfortable lounges. The casual atmosphere and amenities such as meeting and on-site business facilities, and Kids Eat and Stay Free programs, demonstrates the long-standing commitment of the Holiday Inn to serving travelers and have helped to establish the brand as “America’s Favorite Hotel.”

For more information about the Holiday Inn, visit www.holidayinn.com or call 1-800-HOLIDAY. Find the Holiday Inn on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/holidayinn or Facebook www.Facebook.com/holidayinnhotels.

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Disclosure: I was invited to attend an exclusive #ChangeYouView event at the Holiday Inn. I received a complimentary room as part of this event. Opinions are 100% my own.

Our Dream Kissimmee Florida Family Vacation

Experience KissimmmeeWhen most people think of Kissimmee, Florida, they probably think of Walt Disney World.

When I think about Kissimmee, Florida I think about awe inspiring moments – moments that will last a lifetime in memories – with my children.

I think of all the “this is amazing” moments my boys would get to experience. I think of my children’s minds being open to new experiences, their hearts being open to being in each moment, and their spirits being infused with a lifetime supply of playfulness.

This is what my dream 10 day Kissimmee, Florida family vacation would look like…

Day 1, 2, and 3. For the adventurous spirit in my boys, I would start my dream Kissimmee vacation at Universal Orlando Resort. Last summer my boys and I attended a private Universal Orlando Resort breakfast…and we quickly fell in love with all of the attractions. From the Wizarding Word of Harry Potter to the Wet’n Wild water park, my boys love them all. One of the not-to-missed attractions for my boys is the new Transformers attractions and ride. This action packed ride places guests in the middle of a battle between rival characters from the film series and toy line.

Day 4. For the animal lover side of my boys, I would spend Day 4 at SeaWorld Orlando, hanging out with Shamu, birdwatching in the Pelican Preserve, riding the rides, and getting up close and personal with the dolphins.

Day 5. For the Lego obsessed side of my boys, we would go to Legoland Florida. Our first stop at Legoland will be The Quest for Chi – a new interactive family friendly water ride that allows riders to recover a stolen mystic power.

Day 6 and 7. By day 6, I think it would be time to get into nature and discover the natural beauty of Kissimmee. We’d start the day at Gatorland and spend the rest of the day exploring Kissimmee’s carefully preserved natural environment and amazing outdoor attractions. On day 7, we would zip line through the treetops of Florida EcoSafaris and then go horseback riding at Forever Florida.

Day 8. On day 8, we would keep it simple and spend the fishing on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes, include Lake Tohopekaliga.

Day 9 and 10. We would end our dream Kissimmee vacation at Walt Disney World. Starting with Pirates Adventure, which takes families on a high seas journey, we would spend two days exploring the wonderful world of Disney.

A little more about my dream Kissimmee vacation…

Downtime. My dream vacation is b-u-s-y because there’s so much to do in Kissimmee. I know, however, that I will have to schedule a lot of downtime for my family. Downtime for my family means playing in the pool and lounging by the pool. For my kids, this also means playing mini golf…and for me this means going to the spa. This also means eating a lot ice cream with lots of toppings…and priceless moments with my family.

Accommodations. My dream accommodations would be close to the attractions we were visiting. Because my dream Kissimmee vacation includes going to so many different places, I would either want to stay in a centralized resort or many different resorts. For Universal Studios, I would definitely want to stay on site. My dream accommodation would include a two bedroom suite, a heated pool, complimentary breakfast, free parking, and unique and special perks that would make our stay extra special for my boys.

Food/Eating. Since is my dream vacation, I would totally lose 10 pounds during this vacation. Hey – a girl can dream. At the least, I would not want to gain weight. We wouldn’t need fancy restaurants, we will simply need healthy yummy food that can nourish us during our action packed vacation. Ideally, we would have a mini kitchen in each hotel room and would stock it with healthy and filling breakfasts and snacks. We would find lunches that we could take with us each day, so we don’t end up eating greasy fatty junk for lunch. For dinner, I would find something light but delicious. My kids would find perfect kid happy food. And we of course would have to find the best desserts to share every night.

Family vacations are so priceless. Sure they are fun and exciting and awesome and cool. But I find the true gift is the simple reality of being together without our regular routines. The true gift is being able to simply BE together.

In-Joy-Stacey-Signature

Disclosure: Experience Kissimmee invited me to attend a White Sox game to learn more about the wonderful vacation opportunities in Kissimmee. I was not asked to write this post. Opinions are 100% my own.

Meeting the Cast of the CBS New Comedy MOM (Anna Faris + Allison Janney)

CBS MOMClick here to read my full #CBSMOM Recap.

Last week, during my Ultimate CBS Experience, I was invited to attend a Q&A session with the cast of the new CBS Comedy MOM with a handful of other parenting and lifestyle bloggers.

Gemma Baker, the co-creator and producer, graciously welcomed us to the set. She told us that she loves working on Mom because she thinks the moms on the show are real and relatable. You are not going to see moms perceived as perfect. You are going to see flawed moms…and all of the humor involved with imperfect parenting.

Anna Faris, a mom of a one year old, admitted how challenging it is to be a mom. She said…

“I knew there was going to be lot of guilt involved but I didn’t know how much guilt. And I think there’s going to be a lifetime of guilt. But, I’m loving it.”

Here’s what Allison Janney said about being on a sitcom…

“It’s what I’ve been waiting for my whole career. It’s the perfect blend of all the things I love about acting and theater and being in front of an audience. I love that we get to rehearse a little every day…but it’s fun just being on our feet and winging it. And the schedule allows you to have a life outside. On The West Wing, I had 18 hours a day.”

When asked how excited they were for premiere night, Gemma Baker and Allison Janney said…

Gemma: “I have to say the whole process has been like being pregnant. I mean it started and I wasn’t really expecting it and then it was happening. I am so excited that it’s about to be out there.”

Allison: “This is the part where we think our baby is really pretty…and now we hope that everyone else will think our baby’s pretty too.”

Anna Faris talks about the best advice mom gave her…

“My mom used to be really scared of insects, spiders, bugs, whatever. And she got some advice from an older relative who said ‘don’t pass that fear onto your children.’ And she didn’t. Now my brother and I have a fondness for all bugs which kind of freaks people out but I love that idea that she didn’t pass her fear on to us.”

"Estrogen and A Hearty Breakfast"

And this is how Allison Janney answered a question about taking on the role of Bonnie….

“I’m not afraid of Bonnie. I love how far she is [on her journey] and wish I was more like her in terms of men. She’s sort of fearless and thinks she’s the most attractive, desirable woman on the planet. It would be fun to feel that for a week. She’s fun, I love it.”

Here’s our group photo from the Q&A…

Mommy Bloggers -- Coverage of the CBS series MOM

First row: (from left to right) Laura Clark (Mom.me), Caryn Bailey (Rockin Mama), Donna Schwartz Mills (Socal Mom), Sarah Auerswald (MomsLA), Sadie Calvano (series star, MOM), Anna Faris (series star, MOM), Allison Janney (series star, MOM), Gemma Baker (co-creator and producer, MOM), Beth Feldman (Role Mommy)

Second row (from left to right): Kim Goldman (Broadscast); Jackie Morgan MacDougal (Broadscast), Laura Hoffer (Evolving Stacey’s Mom), Jenna McCarthy (JennaMcCarthy.com), Stacey Weckstein (Evolving Stacey), Joshua Berg (BizMommy), Valerie Mitchell (Sweeps4Bloggers), Jessica Hickam (She Knows), Kristin Flannery (Project You), Elizabeth Peterson (Traded My BMW for a Minivan), Kimberly Clayton Blaine (The Go To Mom), Yvonne Condes (Moms LA), Nicole Standley (Savvy Sassy Moms), Jennifer Miyagishima (Surf and Sunshine)

Click here to read my entire recap of my 4-day Ultimate #CBSMOM Experience.

Watch this Sneak Preview of Mom…

Join Me Tonight for the Premiere of Mom!

The Mom fun doesn’t end here. Tonight is the premiere of Mom (9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT). I’ll be live tweeting during the show tonight with the cast of Mom. Be sure to follow tweets from the cast…

Anna Faris: @AnnaKFaris
Allison Janney: @AllisonBJanney
Sadie Calvano: @sadiecalvano
Nate Corddry: @imnatecorddry
French Stewart: @FrenchStewart

Also follow @MOMCBS and @CBSTweet.

I hope you’ll join us.

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CBS Comedy MOM – My #CBSMom Experience

Mom CBS
Remember how I won the Ultimate CBS Experience back in August to see the CBS comedy MOM? Well last week, my mom and I flew to L.A. and truly had the Ultimate CBS Experience!

My CBS Comedy MOM Experience – What Do I Begin?

MOM CBSWhere do I begin when I win a free trip to L.A., when I receive expense money to spend, when I get VIP tickets to the hottest CBS shows, and when I get to bring my mom with me for this amazing CBS adventure?

How do I begin to put into words my last four days with my Mom?

  • Do I talk about the amazing mom/daughter quality time we had?
  • Do I talk about VIP seating and how much fun it is to be a VIP?
  • Do I talk about all of the priceless mom/daughter photos we took when we are in L.A.?
  • Do I talk about climbing Mount Hollywood with my mom? Seeing the Hollywood sign? Looking at the gorgeous views of L.A. from the Griffith Observatory?
  • Do I talk about Hotel Amarano? About how luxurious the hotel was? How we had our coffee every morning overlooking the pool? How we were living the life of luxury?

For the last four days, I have been living the dream thanks to CBS. Thank you CBS, Beth Feldman, Beth Rosen, and MJ Tam for sending me (and my mom) out to L.A. for this once-in-a-lifetime unbelievable + unforgettable experience.

Here’s my recap.

Day #1…

#CBSMOM CBS MOM ComedyOn Wednesday, September 18, my mom and I flew from Chicago out to L.A.

We then sat in typical L.A. traffic for two hours to get to our hotel in Burbank.

Once we finally arrived at our beautiful hotel, we quickly dropped off our luggage and headed straight to Warner Bros. Studios where we saw the taping of Mike and Molly.

We were in somewhat of a travel daze by the time we got to the set of Mike and Molly.

We had VIP front row seats.

One by one, the cast came out. We cheered. Then they started taping.

I’ve never seen Mike and Molly before but the episode that we watched was hilarious.

I didn’t realize how long it took to tape one episode. The taping started at 6:30 and it lasted until at least 10pm (which was 12am my time and 1am my mom’s time). After the taping, we headed back to the hotel.

Mom Confession: It was super fun being in the hotel room with no kids to put to bed.

Day #2…

#CBSMOM CBS MOM ComedyI woke up to silence. No kids wanting food or begging me to be on screen.

We leisurely walked to Starbucks across the street to pick up coffee and breakfast. Then we headed back to the hotel and ate breakfast by the pool.

Next, we walked back to Warner Bros. Studios for a VIP set visit of the new CBS comedy Mom, which also included a Q&A session with the cast.

We watched some behind-the-scenes taping of Mom with other parenting and lifestyle bloggers and had a delicious lunch.

Mommy Bloggers #CBSMOM CBS MOM ComedyNext, we actually went on to the set and had a very intimate Q&A session with Anna Faris, Allison Janney, Sadie Calvano, and producer Gemma Baker.

Mommy Bloggers #CBSMOM CBS MOM ComedyThey were all so sweet, so kind, and so down-to-earth. Click here to read all the details about my set visit and Q&A with the cast.

Mommy Bloggers  -- Coverage of the CBS series MOMAfter the Q&A, my mom and I headed over to The Burbank Studios to watch the taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. It was fun, but since we were not VIP, it required a lot of standing around and waiting before we were seated. Seeing The Tonight Show was interesting, but it definitely was not the highlight of my trip.

Get Free Tickets! - The Tonight Show with Jay Leno | NBCAfter The Tonight Show, we went to Universal CityWalk, which is an entertainment, dining and shopping destination just outside of Universal Studios. We walked around, grabbed a bite to eat, and did a little shopping.

Then we headed back to the hotel where (I am proud to say) I fell asleep early and had 12 long overdue hours of sleep.

Mom Confession: It was so great to go to bed and wake up without kids. It was amazing just having me time at the hotel.

Hotel Amarano: Boutique Burbank Hotel - Luxury LA Hotel

Day #3…

We had most of Friday free, since we didn’t have to be on the set of Mom until 5pm.

We didn’t want to do the touristy stuff, so we decided to spend the day at Griffith Park and walk part of the Mt. Hollywood trail. It was beautiful (a little overcast) but still beautiful. We were on the top of L.A. looking down into the valley and into the city.

Mt. Hollywood Trail - Griffith Park - Griffith Observatory

Then we walked back to Warner Bros. Studios for the taping of the new CBS comedy Mom. We had VIP seats again and enjoyed every minute of the taping.

Day #4…

All good things must come to an end. Saturday morning we headed to LAX and flew back to Chicago. My mom was able to stay the night in Chicago, so we went out to dinner and had game night with my boys. It was a perfect ending to my trip.

On Sunday morning I dropped off my mom at the airport and realized I was back in reality. Clothes needed to be washed, kids needed to get to soccer, launches needed to be made for Monday.

But my memories of my Ultimate CBS Experience will last forever.

Thank you again CBS for your amazing hospitality (and for gifting me this amazing trip).

Join Me Tonight for the Premiere of Mom!

CBS MOMThe Mom fun doesn’t end here. Tonight is the premiere of Mom (9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT). I’ll be live tweeting during the show tonight with the cast of Mom. Be sure to follow tweets from the cast…

Anna Faris: @AnnaKFaris
Allison Janney: @AllisonBJanney
Sadie Calvano: @sadiecalvano
Nate Corddry: @imnatecorddry
French Stewart: @FrenchStewart

Also follow @MOMCBS and @CBSTweet.

I hope you’ll join us.

In-Joy-Stacey-Signature

 

 

http://www.cbs.com/shows/mom/

I Won the Ultimate CBS Experience! #CBSmom

Mom Confessions, A Trip to California, CBS, Oh My!

#CBSmom CBS Mom Confession
Have you ever publicly shared your best (or worst) mom confession? You know what I’m talking about…the things you have done as a mom that you would only tell your best friend…and that you would NEVER want shared on the playground.

Well my mom confessions were blasted out on Twitter (and I’m going to share them with you here too). Try not to judge.

Here’s the story….

During the week of BlogHer13, I was invited by MJ Tam, Beth Rosen, and Beth Feldman to an exclusive #CBSMOM cocktail party at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago in celebration of the new CBS comedy Mom.

When I walked into the party, there was a camera crew waiting to record my best Mom Confession on camera.

I think I started sweating.

I took a deep breathe, faced the camera, and confessed: When my youngest son was 3 years old, I would dangle his Elmo over the garbage can and threaten to throw Elmo out if he continued to misbehave.

#CBSmom CBS Mom Confession

Yeah – it wasn’t my proudest mom moment…and he’ll need therapy one day because I threatened to kill his Elmo.

I was nervous to reveal my mom confession, but I did it. It was over I could go in and enjoy the party.

Little did I know, I was going to be asked to share more of my mom confessions…but this time on Twitter.

And this time there was going to be a prize for the best mom confession.

I didn’t know if I could possibly share more confessions on Twitter for all my followers to read.

But then they announced the Grand Prize, which was an ultimate CBS experience for two. The winner would fly to L.A. to see a taping of the new CBS comedy Mom.

#CBSmom CBS Mom Confession

OMG. I really wanted to win.

I was having a great time at the party, loved the sneak peak of the new CBS comedy MOM, and truly enjoyed seeing so many of my favorite blogging friends.

And then I was hit with some mom confession inspiration.

And once one confession surfaced, the flood gates opened. I suddenly remembered all of these confessions that I didn’t want anyone to know about.

I took a big gulp and contemplated if I was really going to share them…on Twitter for the world to see.

If you know me, you know I love facing fear head on. I love living on the edge and exposing my true self (even when it’s scary)…

So I quietly walked to the back corner of the room and reflected on all of the things I have done wrong as a mom over the past 10 years. That’s when I realized I had so many confessions that I didn’t even know where to start.

And then I started to tweet.

Oy Vey.

In true Stacey spirit, I first tweeted this:

CBS MOM Confession
And I shared 3 mom confessions…

CBS Mom ConfessionAnd then…

It was finally time for MJ and Beth to announce the Grand Prize winner.

I secretly had to admit to myself that my mom confessions were pretty funny. But I was surrounded by intelligent, witty, hilarious bloggers. I didn’t think I had a chance.

And then I heard “The winner of the ultimate CBS experience is Stacey Weckstein”.

OMG!

I couldn’t believe it! I think I was in shock. I went onstage but all I can really remember after that was throwing my arms up in joy!

#CBSmom CBS Mom Confession

I’m so over the moon excited!

My winning mom confession was: Before I go out, I breathe in my son’s face so he can approve the smell or send me back brushing. #Issues #CBSmom

Thank you MJ, Beth, and Beth for inviting me to your #CBSMOM party and for appreciating my humor.

And thank you CBS for offering this amazing prize and for creating this hilarious new comedy.

Watch out for updates in September as I blog and tweet live from CBS!

In-Joy-Stacey-Signature

P.S. Since I’m talking about mom confessions, I must confess…my kids are totally downstairs watching TV as I write this blog post.