Aladdin on Broadway — Now in South Florida

Aladdin has made its way to South Florida and is open at the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach until December 23rd. Theatre lover or not, this show has something for everyone… even the youngest theatre goer.

The Kravis Center website recommends the show for ages 6 and up.

What Can I Expect?

The most amazing lighting and costuming of any show. Now I’m not expert, but the entire show was top to bottom amazing. The high school theatre nerd in me kept wondering how they were able to fill the space to make it feel magical. It’s hard to explain how the scenery, backdrops and lighting can completely change the feel of a show and make adults and kids alike feel wonder.

The storyline follows the animated movie pretty closely with a few minor character additions, it does not change the story at all, but allows for more diversity on stage. There were also additional songs that were added, that I was told were cut from the movie version… don’t quote me on that though. You can’t believe everything you read on the internet (wink, wink).

Should I Take My Kids?

Of course! I am a huge believer in taking your kids to the theatre and this is a wonderful show to start with. Keep in mind the time the show starts. If it is an 8pm showing… consider if your kids will be able to sit still at that time of night without falling asleep. A matinee might be the way to go with younger kids.

Something I had not considered because my son is older is that some kids might not be able to see over adults in front of them. Michelle, from Modern Boca Mom, had the brilliant idea of bringing in her daughter’s booster seat from the car so she had a better view and didn’t struggle to see the action taking place.

Please note, if you have a child with sound sensitivities there are quite a few loud bangs and crashes. A few even made me jump. This is something that might startle younger ones if they are not expecting it, but with ear plugs or fair warning it might not be a problem.

Is it all – age appropriate?

If you are OK with everything that happens in the Disney animated movie, then everything will be fine. There are sword fighting scenes, but more to help with the setting and conflict. Nothing gory or scary.

My overall review is that this is a great show for date night or a family day out. It is a feel good story of an underdog that wins in the end. If you are looking for something to do while your family is in town for the holidays or a gift experience, add this to your gift list for sure!

On Your Feet – The Story of Emilio and Gloria Estefan

ON YOUR FEET! is the inspiring true story about heart, heritage and two people who believed in their talent—and each other—to become an international sensation: Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

On Your Feet! opened in 2015, at Broadway’s Marquis Theatre and closed in 2017. It is now reopen and crossing the country with a 70 city nationwide tour. I was lucky to be invited to The Kravis Center, in West Palm Beach, to see opening night.

Gaby Albo and Samuel Garnica will star as Grammy winners Gloria and Emilio Estefan in the new, non-Equity national tour of On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan, launching November 15 at West Palm Beach’s Kravis Center for the Performing Arts before visiting 70 cities nationwide. – Playbill.com

Whether you are a fan of Gloria or just a fan of the theatre, you will enjoy the upbeat and familiar songs. A score that includes such hits as “Rhythm is Gonna Get You,” “Conga,” “Get On Your Feet,” “Don’t Want To Lose You Now,” “1-2-3,” and “Coming Out of the Dark.”

Should I take my kids to On Your Feet!?

As I was watching, I wished I would have brought my oldest son (who is currently 10). It is a perfect theatre experience for younger audiences. The music and lights keep the show upbeat, even during some of the more somber moments. There were other kids in the audience bopping along to the music. I would say anyone 8 and up would be an appropriate age, just be mindful of the length of the show.

There were no moments during the performance that I thought wouldn’t be suitable, so if you are looking for a show to introduce your kids to, or involve them in a theatre night out…this is a good one. There are even moments where the actors are dancing in the aisles… that’s a fun moment no matter how old you are.

If you are considering taking your kids, start listening to some of the songs before hand, that way they are familiar with the songs on stage.

If you aren’t able to make any of the shows in West Palm, the tour finds its way back to Florida in March with quite a few stops.

If you are local to South Florida and looking for other shows that are stoping in, make sure to checkout The Kravis Center lineup for updates.

Out of the Box Advent Collections

Once the “official” officials start of holiday season begins, I usually am so crazy with plans and activities that finding a cool new advent calendar slips my mind, we forget to do a few days here and there and at the end of December I feel guilty for not adventing the right way. Does that even make sense?

Since there aren’t official rules, I figured I would start my first advent calendars with the kids in November. Still counting down toward Christmas, but before all of the other things start happening. We did our first doors last night, with nothing else going on. I feel less overwhelmed and more sure that we might just be able to get through these calendars the right way.

If you are looking for some fun and different advent collections to surprise your kids, or to do with the whole family – here are a few that I thought would be fun to try out.

If you’re a traditionalist – this chocolate one is the way to go. There are a variety to choose from, but I would of course choose the classic Mickey feel.

I tend to gravitate toward what my kids are currently excited about. In previous years we have done Hot Wheels, Legos, PlayMobile, Grinch and Elf. Think about what your kids will be excited about and start your search there.

Hot Wheels Advent

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Advent

I also like to look for advent calendars that have toys I can incorporate into decorations in future years, or that the boys can play with. That way I don’t feel like I am “wasting” money. I know that it is about the excitement and experience, but I also want it to add on to our collection.

Polly Pocket Advent

Jurassic World Advent

As you think about an advent calendar to add to your holiday festivities this year, don’t get stressed. This is something to be fun… not another chore to add to your day. I love how excited my kids get to open each door, and I know it’s a tradition they will enjoy for years… so I absolutely love it.

It’s not just about them though… grab one for you too.

Take a look at other advent calendars that you might like here.

A Christmas Story Advent

The Office Advent

Howl -O-Scream at SeaWorld Orlando

I don’t like being scared. It makes me angry. My blood pumps and my heart races. I figure it comes down to control. I can’t control what I’m feeling or what comes next.

Actively walking into scary situations is confusing to me. You want to be scared, you don’t want to be scared. What is it?

Howl-O-Scream 2022, Sea World Orlando

We were invited to Sea World for Howl-O- Scream, and I am not one to say no to new adventures. Although I may have second guessed it…

Make time for YOUR Mammogram

I turned 40 this year. Let me say, I celebrated turning 40. There is a peace that came with it, that is hard to explain. An overwhelming feeling that I was finally in charge of life. What I was doing, where I was going, how to advocate for myself. It was all there. 

I have been aware for a while now that I am at high risk for breast cancer. It runs on both sides of my family and that’s not something that will ever change. I am aware of it, I acknowledge it and as I get older I have to be responsible for checking for it. It’s that little voice in the back of my head. I might be healthy today, but what about tomorrow? I check for myself often…but more importantly, I check for my boys. 

I was able to visit the Norma E. & Miles M. Zisson Comprehensive Breast Center of the Palm Beaches at Good Samaritan Medical Center and sat down with center manager Colleen Campbell. 

The first thing I noticed about Colleen is how friendly and warm she was, and how proud she was to show me and talk about her facility. My previous experience at imaging centers was to feel like a number. In and out as fast as they could… I was immediately struck that this center was different. It was not simply about imaging. It was about the patient as a whole person. 

Of course as women, we hear every year at our OB/GYN appointment that we should be checking ourselves for lumps and bumps…but what does that really mean? Younger me wanted to get that part of the exam over as fast as possible, but now as I’m older I have questions that I know I need to listen to the answers. I was able to ask Colleen some of those questions, that maybe you’ve been wondering too. 

1) At what age is it recommended that a woman gets a mammogram? Who should they ask to get one?      

Without a family history of breast cancer all women should start with a routine screening Mammogram at the age of 40, with a family history at the age of 35.

2) What should someone expect during their first mammogram? 

 With experienced team members a mammogram should be uncomfortable in the sense that it is considered an intimate exam, like going to the OB/GYN the first time.  If the right person is explaining and performing the procedure during the exam it helps. There is  some pressure but it should not be a painful experience at all. As a matter of fact I’ve been doing this so long that I have a lot of GYN’s that referrer their baseline mammogram patients to me personally for this very reason. It really helps to let the technologist know that this is your first mammogram.

3) If a woman doesn’t have insurance, what should they do to decrease the cost of a mammogram? 

 If you do not have insurance most facilities have cash pay prices that are very competitive, especially around Mother’s Day and October. Again, stay close to the Hospital based programs, (outpatient facilities that are associated w/ Hospitals. They offer more qualified and experienced staff. With insurance Annual Routine Mammograms are covered 100%, W/O insurance w/ offer competitive cash pay pricing. At our outpatient facilities the reading fee(radiologist) is also included.

4) If a lump is found, what is the first thing someone should do? 

Mark the area with a marker and call your doctor to make an appointment. You will need to know the date of your last period and approximately how long the lump has been there.

5) How is your facility different from others in the area? 

I would like to say our facility sets us apart because we are passionate about what we do and who we do it for. We all have a story. I chose my team based on their experience and passion and compassion. In the Breast Cancer world it’s not about the job we do, it’s about the people we do it for, our families, our community, our facility. 
I want my staff to feel satisfied every day that we do what’s right! To lay our heads down on the pillow every night and feel like you made a difference, even if it’s one person that’s all it takes. That’s why we chose the medical field, I believe it’s a path. My staff wants to work with me on my mission to help these women and their families.

A Birth Experience Like No Other – Good Samaritan Medical Center

Lily Pulitzer Birthing Suites at Good Samaritan Hospital

Looking for a completely different birthing experience for your self or someone you know? You have to take a look at the renovated Lilly Pulitzer rooms at Good Sameriatan Medical Center.

Good Samaritan Medical Center is partnering with iconic resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, creating the ultimate Palm Beach experience with the design of its new Lilly Pulitzer Birthing Suites and family waiting room.

The two VIP suites are redesigned with the signature Lilly Pulitzer aesthetic, to give new moms and their families a joyful and luxurious feel when they deliver their babies. The suites art and design elements have all been donated by Lilly Pulitzer.

The rooms have been fully renovated with bedding and window coverings in Lilly Pulitzer print fabrics along with coordinating decor.

Between the waterfront views, concierge service and VIP food and beverage menu this truly is a completely unique and special experience. The stress and pressure of a standard hospital stay are taken away and families are at the center of the whole experience. Mom and baby also receive matching Lilly Pulitzer swaddle sets – how sweet is that!

To schedule a tour or to make a reservation, please visit

https://www.goodsamaritanmc.com/services/obstetrics

Fresh Bruschetta – A Crowd Pleasing Appetizer

For years, one of my favorite go to snacks has been bruschetta. There are so many different ways it can be made, but the one I love best takes only a few minutes, has fresh ingredients and fills your house with amazingly yummy smells.

Now the great thing about this recipe is that you can customize it with the ingredients that you love. The freshest ones available to you. If you ask me, there can never be enough onion and garlic, but I know that’s not everyones favorite, so make a few different varieties.

One thing that doesn’t change though is a quality olive oil. There are hundreds of varieties of olive oil, and we are loving this Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Flavor Your Life. The higher quality oil you use, the better the flavors come out in any recipe.

The Flavor Your Life campaign aims to educate North American consumers about authentic extra virgin olive oil from Europe. Flavor Your Life is empowering consumers by educating them about the rich history and delicious properties that these oils display—and sharing the delicious extra virgin olive oil culinary culture that’s been harvested in Europe for generations.

The best part of this, is that you are making this from the heart, so there are no exact measurements. Handfuls of fresh tomatoes, a bunch of basil, grated cheese of choice, finely chopped onions and garlic… and of course extra virgin olive oil to incorporate all of it together.

We used a food processor for this, but a blender works or simply chopping all of your ingredients together too. Now some bruschetta is much chunkier than this, and it is complete based on preference. I enjoy mine like a spread, that I can add more cheese and tomatoes on to. Each bite is a little different. Sometimes I want more basil, other times more tomato.

Most of the time this never makes it onto a plate. The family going around as I make different batches and we eat it off of the cutting board. Dip it, spread it, eat it off of the spoon. Just enjoy it.

Finding recipes and meals that use fresh foods make me feel like I’m making better choices for myself and my family.

Of course, find your favorite bread and enjoy. Don’t worry so much about the rules of cooking…and focus more on your favorite flavors.

Spend the Holidays at Fantasy World Resort – Kissimmee- Florida Snow and Ice Skating

Fantasy World Resort pool.

One of the best things about spending the holidays in Florida is that you can really experience multiple seasons in one day. My family and I recently spent the weekend at Fantasy World Resort in Kissimmee, Florida and went from ice skating and drinking hot chocolate to relaxing in the pool. The best of both worlds.

Ice Skating at Fantasy World Resort

We have stayed with Fantasy World Resort a few times now, and each time there is something new to experience. The staff really does feel like family now, and during our entire stay they do whatever they can to keep the kids entertained. That means parents can actually relax for a bit, which means the world this time of year.

Check out all of the fun from my Instagram stories on property here.

This year, along with the ice skating and tons of Florida snow, they added fun photo ops. If you know me, you know I love a fun photo location.

There are four different to choose from, including this one from The Christmas Story. Which happens to be one of Billiam’s favorites. I personally loved the large tree and twinkle lights, but I’m a classy kinda gal. Hehe.

Photo backdrops at Fantasy World Resort

Fantasy World Resort goes all out for my favorite holidays: here is a post about their Halloween activities too!

As the property has grown, there really is no reason to leave throughout your stay. Each time we go, there are new activities to explore. Mini golf, volleyball, basketball… the lazy river and water slides.

Plus, they are pet friendly, with a dog park too!

Poolside cotton candy at Fantasy World Resort

Pool games, cotton candy, teddy bear building, pool side tie dye. Only a few of the activities they offer, and each hour there are more surprises. Let’s not forget trivia, which is my personal favorite.

Living Room at Fantasy World Resort

No matter what your plans are for the holiday season, make sure to include a stay at Fantasy World Resort. You may just want to make it a tradition (like we do).

No time to go until after the holidays? No worries…their Winter fun is available until January 2nd. 2022.