Apr 21, 2015

FREE Star Party (4/25/15) At The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Navigate your way through the skies this Saturday, April 25th at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. Join the Noble Planetarium staff and members of the Fort Worth Astronomical Society for this FREE monthly Star Party. 

Telescopes provided for your viewing as the party begins at dusk in the Museum's South Parking Lot. Parking is available in the lot south of Harley Street.

Apr 6, 2015

Visiting Graceland: Plan Your Trip!

* Graceland provided complimentary tickets for my visit. All opinions are my own.

I was only two years old in 1977, the year that Elvis died but his musical influence has been a part of my life since I was eight years old. My dad was actually born in Nashville, Tennessee and on a visit back to his birthplace we stopped in Memphis to visit Graceland. This was my introduction to the world of Elvis and I was hooked!

Graceland Mansion Staircase to Elvis' Private Quarters
Each year Graceland welcomes thousands of visitors from all over the world. Knowing people fly across the ocean just to visit Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee is a true testament to how popular Elvis still is today.

When I found out my best friend’s mom who passed away a couple of years ago was a HUGE Elvis fan and never had the opportunity to check off a bucket list visit to Graceland,  I knew we had to make it a girls road trip in her honor.

On a hot summer day in August we loaded up our car and began our journey from Texas to Memphis, Tennessee. With Elvis songs on our play list, we were on our way to Graceland!
As we drove down Elvis Presley Blvd and saw the gates of Graceland, we were like excited teenage girls, well, except for the fact we are totally not teenage girls anymore. Did I really just say "Totally"??

This was Elvis Week and the grounds were filled with people from all over the world there to honor the King! I was afraid of the crowds since it was Elvis Week but we quickly saw that the staff of Graceland had it all under control and it made our visit a very smooth experience.

When you first arrive at Graceland you will park on the opposite side of the street from the Graceland Mansion. This is also where you will purchase tickets (see ticket pricing at the end of this post) and have access to several gift shops, restaurants, special exhibits and a chance to see the Sirius Elvis channel broadcast booth.

Before we decided to visit the mansion, we started out with the self-guided tours that were offered as a part of our Platinum Tour ticket. The first stop was Elvis’ Automobile Museum. This exhibit will take your breath away as it showcases over 30 of Elvis’ personal vehicles and vehicles he gave to family members. It is greatly known that Elvis had a love for cars and found great joy in gifting them to friends and family.  I would love to show every car in this exhibit but that would be a lot of pictures and you really, really, really need to experience this in person. You won't be disappointed!

After touring the amazing exhibit halls across the street from Graceland, it was time for the Main Event.....The Graceland Mansion!!!  We were given an iPad intended for narration of our mansion tour and earphones as we boarded the bus that drove us through the gates of Graceland. The huge trees and expansive lush green yard were beautiful and it was then that it was like taking a big step back in time.

We unloaded from the bus and waited on the front porch steps for our tour guide to begin, all while taking in the fact that we were at Elvis' front door!!  If only he were here to greet us! As our tour began we walked through the rooms that used to be alive with Elvis and his friends playing pool, watching tv and playing music. There are many not-so hidden small staircases inside Graceland and that was a neat little surprise. Up the big white main staircase behind blue velvet curtains were Elvis' private quarters. That is one area of Graceland you will not be able to visit and I have huge respect for that.

Our tour then took us outside into the backyard and through the office where Elvis' gave his famous interview after returning home from the Army.  Next door to the office is a small room Elvis used for target practice. We learned Elvis was always up to something! Whether it was riding golf carts or even horses all over the property, he always looked to entertain. Still today, beautiful stables adorn the property with horses.

As our tour was ending I realized just how peaceful this special place was and I could see how Elvis was at home here. Upon our last leg of the tour was the Memorial Garden where Elvis and family members are buried. At that point I realized we really had honored my best friends mom with this visit to Graceland. Even though I had visited as a child, this was visit meant so much more!

Here are some helpful planning and savings tips you can use when planning your visit to Graceland ......

~ When planning your visit, be sure to check out the operating hours HERE to get the most out of your day at Graceland.

~ While there are a few cafe's on the Graceland property, you can save money when you pack your own lunch cooler. We retreated back to our car, turned up the a/c and enjoyed eating and talking about all we had seen at the exhibits thus far.

~ Receive ticket discount codes (valid during 2015) at MemphisTravel.com.  Use the discount codes HERE to purchase your tickets.

~ Pack your camera or remember to fully charge your smartphone because you will want to take a ton of pictures!! Photos are allowed all over Graceland, inside and out with the exception of flash photography.

~ Visit Graceland.....FREE!
Each operating day, visitors are offered the opportunity to walk up through the gates of Graceland and visit the Meditation Garden FREE from 7:30am - 8:30am. The Meditation Garden is where the grave sites of Elvis and members of is family are located.

Apr 1, 2015

Enter the Buddig Fun in the Sun Getaway Sweepstakes!

Are you already planning your summer vacation? How would you like to go on that vacation absolutely FREE? 

Tell Buddig where your dream destination is and they could make it become a reality. All you have to do for your chance to win is enter the Buddig Fun in the Sun Getaway Sweepstakes now thru April 30th, 2015.

*Open to US residents 18 years and older.  See official rules HERE.  

Mar 31, 2015

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Blu-Ray DVD Giveaway + Fun Interactive App! Ends (4/12)

The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies has arrived on Blu-Ray and I'm giving you a chance to win your very own copy!
* This prize has been provided by Warner Home Video.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies" brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.

The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies Interactive App
• Are you Brave like Bilbo? Take the quiz to find out if you have the bravery it takes to journey through Middle Earth! 
• Mouse over the Interactive Map to learn fun facts about Middle-Earth. 
• Watch the official trailer & click the box art to bring the film home today!

Special Behind The Scenes Look At New Zealand

Are you ready to win your very own copy yet?  

All you have to do is enter below!!!

Mar 26, 2015

Spring Guide to Texas Bluebonnet Trails 2015!

Nothing says “Welcome Spring” like the appearance of the majestic Bluebonnet in Texas. Soon fields and roadsides will be dotted with this beautiful state flower and it will be time to snap those traditional family pictures. Bluebonnets usually begin to show up in early March but are known to peak around the third week in April. Ahh….I can smell the bluebonnets now!

There are many places in the great state of Texas where you can spot bluebonnets in all their glory but here is a little fact.... they don’t bloom all over Texas. Actually you will find the bluebonnet in only about 35% of the state.

To help you on your hunt to find the perfect bluebonnet trail, I have gathered a list of locations for you to check out along with a few tips to help keep our bluebonnets save and beautiful.

Bluebonnet Season Etiquette:
You are encouraged to take photos among the bluebonnets but there is proper etiquette to be followed. First, don’t trample the flowers. You want to get in among the flowers and snap that beautiful photo but don’t run around and trample the delicate flowers. If they die in this manner, they will not go to seed thus failing to return next year.  Although not against the law to pick (shhh…don’t tell the kids!) it also prevents the flower from being able to go to seed and return for it’s annual visit.

Where to Go…...
Ennis Bluebonnet Trails – April 1st – 30th
Ennis is located southeast of Dallas in Ellis County and has been designated by the State Legislature as the "Official Texas Bluebonnet Trail" as well as the "Official Bluebonnet City of Texas".  Ennis is home to the oldest bluebonnet trails in the state.  You will be delighted with over 40 miles of mapped trails to discover. Gas up the car and head to Ennis with this Bluebonnet Trail Map.

Austin may be best known for keeping things "Weird" but it is also a city that plays host to some of the prettiest bluebonnet landscapes around. HERE you will find a guide to the best places to see Bluebonnets in the Austin area. 
Texas Hill Country 
Probably one of the most popular areas to find an abundance of bluebonnets along scenic highways and byways is the Texas Hill Country.  Get a map to find the most popular areas in the Hill Country HERE.  
Washington County 
Brenham, Independence, Chappell Hill, and  Washington on the Brazos State Park are all located within Washington county. Here are links to help you find the best bluebonnet sightings in these areas. 

Brenham Bluebonnets (p.s. enjoy some famous Blue Bell ice-cream while your there!)

Chappell Hill ~  51st Annual Bluebonnet Festival (April 11th - 12th)

Washington On The Brazos ~ Area information. 

Mar 20, 2015

Win FREE Chocolate Covered Strawberries from Driscoll's Berries!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries!  Those could just possibly be the sweetest three words ever spoken! My family has a true love for Driscoll's Berries of all kinds but when they are covered in chocolate, well that takes our love to a whole new level!

Now you have the opportunity to try and win  Driscoll's Chocolate Covered Strawberries of your own. All you have to do is ENTER the Sweepstakes from March 16th - May 11th (once per day) and you could take away these great prizes.....

~ $100 in Chocolate
~ All-in-One Double Broiler
~ 10 piece Dipping Set
~ FREE Berries for a Year!

~ $100 in Driscoll's Berries

See official rules for more information.

Mar 14, 2015

MAIN ST. Fort Worth Arts Festival VIP Getaway Package ~ Enter To Win!

One of Fort Worth's the most exciting events that draws thousands of visitors every year is the MAIN ST. Arts Festival. For 2015 it will take place April 9-12. During this four day celebration you will have the opportunity to see thousands of fine artists, dancers, performance artists, musicians, exhibitors, and even food vendors. 

What I love about this event is it is family friendly with arts and crafts areas geared toward all ages. Oh, and don't forget, admission is FREE!! Of course you will want to bring your wallet because you are almost sure to find something you can't live without. 

You can even register now to win a Fort Worth Main Street Arts Festival VIP Getaway Package from the Fort Worth Convention and Visitors Bureau that includes..... 

~  Two Nights at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel for Friday, 4/10/15 - Sunday,4/12/15. (Some restrictions may apply)
~ VIP Skybox Passes for 2 for Friday night and Saturday night: includes 2 free drinks each evening as well as a full buffet dinner hosted by Capital Grille.
~ $50 food and beverage coupons.
~ Two free commemorative Main St. Arts Festival t-shirts.
~ $50 of Art Purchase Gift Certificates, good for any art purchase at any participating artist.

~ $50 Gift Certificate to Cantina Laredo Fort Worth
~ $100 Shopping Gift Card

Enter HERE now thru April 1st 2015.  Good Luck!