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The #1 Thing I Learned From the #BlogFest Virtual PreCon!

This year’s IDEA World Fitness BlogFest will be held June 28th-July 1st in San Diego, CA.  I am super bummed that I no longer reside in sunny SoCal and will not be able to attend the festivities! Lucky for me, Idea World and Fit Approach came together to create the first ever BlogFest Virtual PreCon available through Facebook! Expert speakers shared their wisdom and enthusiasm via Facebook Live with all of us bloggers from all over the world!  Here are a few things that I learned from the virtual BlogFest special guests!

Tasha Edwards from Hip Healthy Chick (Topic: Connecting With Your Followers)

  1. Be authentic on your social media platforms.
  2. Genuinely engage with others.  Support and encourage your social media community.

Lyn Lindbergh from Couch to Active (Topic: GRIT)

  1. Live a life you love!
  2. Use GRIT to get through something you don’t like – to take you where you want to go.

Fara Rosenzweig from Fit Creative Media (Topic: SEO Tricks)

  1. Utilize Google to find key words and study your Google Analytics.
  2. Consider using Yoast for SEO.

Debrina Wright from I am Debrina: Holistic Life + Fitness Coaching (Topic: Be Unapologetically Selfish)

  1. It’s not selfish to love yourself!
  2. Practice self-care – Take yourself out on dates! Go on field trips!

Dr. Beth Brombosz from Sublimely Fit (Topic: Writing a Book)

  1. YOU can easily write a book! –> Consider Self-Publishing (check out CreateSpace).
  2. Repurpose your work – create an outline.

Courtney Bentley from Star Systemz and the Fit, Fierce and Fabulous Podcast (Topic: Podcasting)

  1. Start by being a guest speaker on another show.
  2. Use podcasting as a way to branch out from other social media forms.
  3. Be prepared: have an outline, find a quiet space, use headphones -> make your audience comfortable.

Chrissy Carroll from Snacking in Sneakers (Topic: Pinterest for Blog Growth)

  1. Pin 10-50 pins per day (50% personal content and 50% others).
  2. Use a tool such as TailWind for scheduling.
  3. Put several key words in the description.

Jenine Lopez from Gojen Befit (Topic: Make Money With Your Skills)

  1. Ask your audience what they want.
  2. Use a tiered sale system – offer an incentive.

Kim Peek from Power of Run (Topic: Craft Your Story to Inspire Others)

  1. Make a structure – include a hero, antagonist, plot twist, emotional connection, and conflict resolution.
  2. The customer/client is always the hero of the story.

Logan Kinney from High Vibe Wellness (Topic: Yoga Support)

  1. Trust that the yoga is enough. -> Yoga is more about connecting to our inner selves and less about our physical bodies.
  2. Share your real self on social media (post outtakes, props, etc.)

Dr. Heather Denniston from WELLFITandFED (Topic: Incorporating Brick and Mortar Techniques)

  1. Practice time management (balance work time with engagement time).
  2. Clock out – take 15 minutes for yourself (no phone).

Christine Parizo from Run Out of the Box (Topic: Journalism Techniques for Blogging)

  1. Prepare an outline and questions for interviewing.
  2. Content needs a purpose: educate, inform, or entertain.

Carleeh Mulholland from Healthy Socialite (Topic: Create Photo Worthy Smoothie Bowls)

  1. Add liquid ingredients, then soft ingredients – blend on low to thicken. Slice fruit super thin to stick to bowl.
  2. Solidify bowls in freezer before drizzling on butters.
  3. Lighting is everything – Use a white board for reflection. Invest in a Diva Light Ring.

And the most important thing I learned from the Virtual BlogFest??

I-N-S-P-I-R-A-T-I-O-N!

I was totally inspired watching each speaker and listening to all of their tips!  I finished the week wanting to write a book, start a podcast, grow my Pinterest, practice yoga, create a smoothie bowl, and tons of other things! I was mesmerized by the charisma of each #GirlBoss and I can’t wait to tackle some new goals! It was also a great way to engage with the #SweatPink community!

Thank you Fit Approach and Idea World for providing a virtual opportunity to attend such an amazing event!

Guess what?! You can check out all of the speakers on the Fit Approach Facebook page and score some inspiration for yourself!

Did you attend the Virtual BlogFest Pre-Con? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

~SM

*I am an ambassador for #SweatPink, however this is not a sponsored post. 🙂

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8 Things to Do at the CupNoodles Museum!

In case you weren’t aware, there is a museum in Yokohama, Japan all about CupNoodles.  Yes, like the 25 cent instant noodles you heat up in the microwave. Those noodles. Whole museum.

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So you might be thinking, “What could I possible do at a CupNoodles museum?  What on earth would I learn?!” Well, I’m here to tell you why you should visit this museum during your next trip to Japan!

  • There’s a park inside!  Much like many shopping centers and museums in Japan, there is a place for the kiddos to play.  It’s a giant area that’s made to look like the noodle manufacturing warehouse.  There are slides and climbing and some interactive activities.  It’s 300 yen for 30 minutes of play time and kids have to be at least 3 years old to enter.  You will have to either book your time slot online or as soon as you get there.  They also have lockers to store your items (the instructions to use them are entirely in Japanese) and no photos are allowed inside this particular area (although I saw someone with a legit camcorder) so keep that in mind!
  • Make your own Noodles!  Head over to the factory to make your very own CupNoodles! At first, it looks like an overwhelming cluster of people, but Japan is a very methodical place and there is a system for everything. 🙂

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First, you pay 300 yen for your cup and then you are assigned a table to color your cup. And don’t forget to snag your hat SWAG from the Noodles Park!

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Once you’re done coloring, you can go get your cup filled with noodles and pick your toppings!

Then you take your cup over to be sealed and shrink-wrapped!

Then put your creation in a special bag, fill it with air, and tie some string around it for transportation purposes.  Like I said, there is a system for everything!

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  • Walls of Noodles!  There is whole room within the museum where packages and cups of noodles line the walls.  You can see how the noodles and packaging have changed throughout the years.  It’s surprisingly displayed in a beautiful and artsy way!
  • See a movie! Stop by the theater to watch an animated movie discussing the history of Momofuku Ando (the CupNoodles creator).  The movie is in Japanese, but you will be given a headset that translates the audio into English.  The movie is actually very interesting, so I would not skip this exhibit!

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  • Momofuku’s Shed! – After the movie head out the back door to tour a replica of Momofuku’s very own work shed.  This is where Chicken Ramen, which is the first instant ramen, was created. You won’t believe how small it is!
  • Interactive Art! – Along some of the walls, there is interactive art that further explains Momofuku Ando’s actions and thoughts behind his inventions. This is also great for the kids!

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More fun quotes and art! “Rather than a lone cedar, it is better to nurture a whole forest. No one has a monopoly on ideas.” ~Momofuku Ando

  • Eat Noodles and Shop! After roaming through the art exhibits, you can head up to the Noodles Bazaar and sample noodles from the around the world.  Then, you can check out the museum shop or more photo props on your way out!
  • Get Inspired!  My favorite thing about the CupNoodles Museum was the inspiration!  Momofuku Ando was all about thinking outside the box and sharing ideas with others rather than keeping everything to himself.  He was also very determined and persistent even during rough times.  Coming into this museum, I thought I was just gonna learn about the history of instant noodles, but I left totally inspired and with a different perspective on life!  I definitely recommend checking it out!

Museum logistics:

  1. Parking – There is a small parking garage under the museum, but it’s a little pricey so the train may be a better choice.
  2. Hours/Admission – 10:00-18:00 and 500 yen per person. Check the website for special closings.
  3. Location – The museum is located in Yokohama – close to other tourist attractions like the Landmark Tower and Cosmo World.  You could spend a couple of hours here and then easily hit up some other Yokohoma hot spots!

So next time you are in Yokohama, check out the CupNoodles Museum and score some knowledge and inspiration!

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~SM

13 Surprising Things About Sanrio Puroland (Hello Kitty Land)

In case you didn’t know there is a magical place tucked in the little town of Tama – located within Tokyo, Japan.  It’s where a special lady lives with all of her best friends!  Her name?  Hello Kitty!  And yes she is a lady and not a cat.  Make sure you tell your friends that,  I get the feeling she doesn’t like being referred to as a cat.  😉  She lives in a castle called “Sanrio Puroland” although many people refer to it as “Hello Kitty Land”.

You might be familiar with Sanrio, they have locations all over the world and you can’t miss them – they are small, but colorful and bright stores. They sell lots of stationary, school supplies, and accessories as well as stuffed animals and apparel. We took our kids here during Thanksgiving week to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and I was pretty excited to go as well since I loved going to the Sanrio store when I was a kid.  So here are a few things I learned about our adventure!

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  • Take the train.  It’s a fairly easy train ride and the park is only a 5 minute walk from the Tama train station.  You even get to walk down Hello Kitty Street. 🙂

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  • Buy your tickets beforehand.  I got our tickets on GoVoyagin – it’s like the Groupon of Japan.  We ended up paying $19.50 for each adult and my daughter. Kids under 3 were free. You don’t even have to print anything, you can just show the barcodes right on your phone. If you plan to go frequently or want to purchase a Puropass (like a FastPass), then you may want to get your tickets from the park’s website.  Keep in mind, the price increases for weekend and holiday visits.

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  • It’s indoors.   One thing that might really surprise you is that the entire theme park is indoors!  I think this is pretty awesome since the weather conditions aren’t always great here in Japan.  You don’t have to worry about your kids being too hot or too cold and you can leave the ponchos at home. 🙂

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  • It’s kind of small.  Since the entire park is inside, you can imagine that this place isn’t all that big.  It’s four stories high but doesn’t really have a huge circumference and there’s an escalator and elevator.  But the steps are kind of built into the enchantment of the place so my kids loved going up and down the stairs.  They do have a large stroller parking area and locker rentals so you don’t have to lug around your bags and coats.
  • The details are amazing!  No Hello Kitty detail was left behind here.  You will see prints of Hello Kitty and her friends all over this place – down to the wallpaper and the vending machines!
  • Even the food is themed!  There are a few cafes/restaurants located throughout the park.  They serve all types of Japanese cuisine as well as French fries, pastries, and ice cream.  But you will see that Hello Kitty has made her mark on the food (and snacks), too!
  • There are rides.  Even though everything is indoors, there are a couple of rides within the park.  One is a boat ride that takes you through a land of mechanical characters and the other is a little car ride where you take photos in different themed rooms.  We had to wait about 25 minutes for each of these, but the PuroPass will get you in faster in case you’re in a time crunch.
  • There’s an arcade.  If you need a break from the rides or want to play some games, there’s a spot for that.  The park has an arcade area with a small carousel and little 100 yen arcade style rides.

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  • There are plenty of opportunities for character meet-and-greets.  If your little ones aren’t afraid of giant and crazy costumes, then they will love the characters at Hello Kitty Land!

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  • Catch the parade.  There are a few shows that happen throughout the day.  You’ll want to pick up a show guide at the front, but make sure to watch the parade!  They will start roping off areas (just like they do at Disney) long before the start of the parade, so make sure you grab your seat early.  They also sell light up wands for 1500 yen and your kids WILL want one so they can interact with the performance.  Since we were there the day after Thanksgiving, the show was Christmas themed and it was a mix of Japanese and English songs.
  • She’s worth the wait.  You will have the opportunity to meet Hello Kitty herself!  She has her own wing of the castle and it’s extra magical!  We waited about 30 minutes, but I did see the wait times increase at times.  You can also skip the line with the PuroPass.  Once it’s your turn, you are ushered into her special house.  There are lots of photo props and interactive areas – and it’s beautiful!  Then you wait in another short line to actually meet her.  You have the option to purchase a rose for 500 yen to give her during your meeting.  In exchange she will give you a gift as well.  We didn’t purchase this option so I’m not sure exactly what the gift was although it appeared to be a small notebook of some sort.  Also, this was the only spot where personal photography was not allowed.  We bought our Hello Kitty photo with the frame for 1600 yen.
  • There’s SWAG!  If you are celebrating a special occasion, head to the Information Desk when you first enter the park.  They will give you a card that you wear around your neck with your name and celebration date.  Then when you walk around, everyone will give you a sticker for your card and in our case, wish my daughter a Happy Birthday.  It really made her day extra special!  They even gave one to my son so he wouldn’t feel left out.  Instead of ‘Happy Birthday’, his occasion was ‘First Visit’.

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  • Everyone is super friendly!  Okay, maybe this isn’t surprising since it is Japan and all.  But everyone was very friendly – not just the employees, but the people in the park too.  It’s a pretty crowded and busy place, but anytime my son had a meltdown or fell (he falls a lot) – someone would stop and check on him.  Also, everyone that worked there spoke enough English to communicate basic instructions which made things a lot easier.

Overall, we really enjoyed our day at Hello Kitty Land!  If you plan to go, check the park schedule because it does close fairly early so you’ll want to give yourself enough time to explore everything.  And if you don’t have kids, don’t let that stop you from visiting this little gem.  We saw a lot of couples there without children and they looked even more excited than the kids we encountered.  🙂

Have you been to Sanrio Puroland?  What did you think?  Would you go if you had the chance?

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I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

4 Ways to Get Involved With the Honolulu Marathon!

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

The Honolulu Marathon is coming up on December 10th,  and I have great news!!  There’s still time to get involved!  Here a few ways for you to get in on the action!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org
  • RUN!  There are 3 chances to run during the Honolulu Marathon weekend – The Kalakaua Merrie Mile is on December 9th in Waikiki.  Participate in this one mile fun run and then head over for a fun beach party and concert!  All ages welcome!  The Start to Park 10k is on December 10th and has the same start time and location of the Honolulu Marathon.  This is perfect for those who want to get a taste of the marathon course, but aren’t quite ready to run 26.2 miles.  The Honolulu Marathon – Then there’s the main event on December 10th.  It’s the fourth largest marathon in the United States and is commonly referred to as “26.2 miles in Paradise”.  Who doesn’t want to run in PARADISE?! ***Fun Fact: Last year, there were over 33,000 entrants and over 14,000 of them were from Japan!

 

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

 

  • Expo!  The expo will be held on December 7th, 8th, and 9th at the Hawaii Convention Center and is free and open to anyone!  You can register for any of the running events here at the expo, so it’s not too late to run any of the races! But if you aren’t up to running, then just enjoy roaming the expo and checking out all of the fun vendors!  You may even score some samples and swag!  You can also check out the vendor list and their booth locations here.
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photo courtesy of honolulumarathonexpo.com

  • Witness Greatness!  After everyone has run the Kalakaua Merrie Mile, you can cheer on all of the elite runners!  This is your chance to see Olympians from all over the world in action!  Check out who all will be running in the Elite Field here, including the current marathon world record holder, Dennis Kimetto    Also, be on the lookout for two-time Olympian, Nick Symmonds as he has announced that his final professional race will be this year’s Honolulu Marathon!
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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

  • Tracking!  Even if you can’t make the event, you can still track your friends, family, or favorite racers!  You can follow the live results and watchlist page or you can download the event app!  Create a watchlist of all of the participants you are tracking and then see their progress as they cross each timing mat.

 

What do you think is the most interesting part of the Honolulu Marathon?!  Will you be participating this year?

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

 

 

6 Tips for LEGOLAND Brick-or-Treat!

If you are looking for some Halloween fun with the kiddos this season, then you may want to check out Brick-or-Treat party nights at LEGOLAND California and Florida!  We attended the party last year in California and the kids really enjoyed it!  It may seem a little overwhelming if you’ve never been before, so here are a few things you will want to know before you party the night away!


The Brick-or-Treat event requires a separate admission ticket.  You can purchase a ticket online beforehand (in case the event sells out for the night…it happens) or you can purchase one at the gate.  We took our chances and bought our Brick-or-Treat tickets at the gate (we already had LEGOLAND tickets).  This year’s tickets are $59 for the party alone or $79 for a full day plus the party.  Note: they do actually check the wristbands and if you don’t have one you will be directed away from the park.

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Get there early!  The party starts around 5pm, but you’ll want to get there earlier in the day to eat, ride rides, and rest a little before things get poppin’.  Once 5 o’clock rolls around, the park gets pretty packed and lines will get longer so plan accordingly.  Then the fun characters come out!

Bring your costume!  Brick-or-Treat isn’t just for little boys and ghouls! Mummies and Daddies can dress up in their favorite costumes too!  And get creative because there will be a costume contest!  Even the Legos dress up! 😉

Bring your dancing shoes!  There will be a couple of different dance parties throughout the night, so make sure you attend so you can show off your Monster Mash moves!  And don’t forget to enjoy the pretty lights!

Get a treat bag or bring your own!  There will be treat stations throughout the park so make sure you have a bag for all the loot!  They do give them out at the park, but you could bring your own as well! Some stations have longer lines than others, so just be prepared to wait a little in some spots.

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There will be SWAG!  In addition to treat stations, there will be opportunities to complete missions and score Limited Pop Badges!  Speaking of SWAG!  Let’s check it out!

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Lots of fun stuff!  And the kids were more than satisfied!

Would I attend this event again?  Absolutely!  Yes, you pay a little more to get in, but I think that it’s completely worth it!  There are shows, parades, special treats, and more! And the kids will love all of the fun decorations and pumpkins!

Brick-or-Treat party nights is open every Saturday evening in October so get your tickets soon!

You can find all of the event details here!

Have you attended a Brick-or-Treat party night?  What was your favorite part?

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

 

3 Reasons Why You Should Run the Honolulu Marathon!

I’ve read before that something like less than one percent of the population has actually completed a marathon. You can Google it if you’re a stats person.  Less than one percent though.  Let that sink in for a second.  So either those people are pretty admirable or pretty crazy, it really depends on how you look at it.  I am not part of that group…yet.  I think one day I’d like to run a marathon, but then I flashback to pulling myself over the finish line of a few half marathons and second guess myself.  But, after learning about the Honolulu Marathon I’ve decided that I may need to add this to my bucket list of races!  And here are a few reasons why:

Scenery!  I think this is a pretty obvious one given that it’s Hawaii and all.  The course goes through downtown Honolulu, through Waikiki, and up and around Diamond Head. Also it’s in December, so the weather will be perfect!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

Swag!  Swag for this event includes: commemorative shirt, finisher medal, post race festival, malasadas (yum!!), and breathtaking scenery!

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photo courtesy of honolulumarathon.org

And the number 1 reason you will want to run this marathon??  No qualifying times! No entry limits!  Walkers welcome!  That’s right!  This race is for EVERYONE over the age of 7!  First timers, marathon vets, everyone!  Now you might be thinking, “Wow, this race must be super crowded since they accept basically everyone.”  Well, it is.  I asked a two-time finisher of this event and she confirmed that yes, it is crowded.  However, she also added that it’s VERY organized and well worth the experience.  She also added that the malasadas were pretty amazing. 🙂

Have you booked your flight yet?  😉  Well here are some key event details:

Date: December 10th, 2017

Location: Ala Moana Boulevard/Queen St., Honolulu, Hawaii

Start time: 5am – that’s not a typo…but no course limits, remember?

Price: $185-$265 (Military and dependents – $85)

Bonus: Use code “BIBRAVEHNL” to save 20%

Not ready for a marathon just yet?  There is also a 10k and fun run option.

So if you are looking for a RaceCation or a Christmas present to yourself, the Honolulu Marathon is where it’s at!

Didn’t qualify for Boston this year?  Cheer up!  You will qualify for Honolulu! 😉

Hopefully, I will make it to this event one day.  But until then, I’ll just dream about it…sigh…

Have you run the Honolulu Marathon before?  I’d love to hear about your experience!

I’m off to review the next event!

Aloha!

~SM

“Disclaimer: I’m promoting the Honolulu Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

 

Champagne Wishes and White Wine Dreams (A day in Temecula)

Maybe you’re a wine connoisseur or maybe you’re a wine newbie, either way…at some point you may be interested in attending a wine tasting.  And if you’re like me, you might be a little bit clueless about wine tasting and what to expect.  Earlier this year,  I had the pleasure of going on a wine tasting tour in Temecula, CA with a group of friends.  I was a little nervous at first because I don’t know a whole lot about wine, but it turned out to be a wonderful and memorable experience!  Here’s a little bit about my trip to wine country and maybe it will help you get a better idea for what to expect on your future wine tasting!

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The first perk of this trip was that our group was able to take a Limo Bus to Temecula from San Diego courtesy of First Command Financial, Inc.  If you’re going with a group,  I highly recommend taking a bus, taxi, Uber, etc. OR make sure you have a designated driver so that you can enjoy all the wine you want without worrying about the logistics of getting home.  Bottom Line – have a plan, be responsible.  The best part of taking a bus is that you can drink on the way! Yay!  We had mimosas and bagels on the way up (again, courtesy of First Command Financial, Inc.) and it made the trip extra fantastic!

Our first stop was Ponte Winery!

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Wine tasting turned about to be way easier than I imagined!  You just walk in, pay for your tastings, and taste away!  It’s $20 for 6 tastings and you can split these with a friend if you aren’t ready for all 6 (which is what I did since I knew we were going to more wineries).  And if you just wanna come for the atmosphere, you can also order a coffee and check out the beautiful gift shop.  Then you can head outside to enjoy the scenery or grab some lunch at the restaurant! And bonus: you get to keep the glass!

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Next, we headed over to Wilson Creek Winery.  This winery is also $20 for the tasting room and keepsake glass, but again you can split it with a friend.

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Wilson Creek offers a great selection of white and Moscato wines and they are also known for their wine slushies!  Yes, that’s a thing and yes, it’s as amazing as it sounds! 🙂

Another awesome thing about Wilson Creek is that it’s a family friendly winery!  They have a playground for kids, live music, an outside bar, a restaurant, and lots of room for the kids to play and run!  They also had a nice gift shop and plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy!  We stopped here to eat lunch courtesy of Jersey Mike’s and of course, First Command Financial, Inc.

Wilson Creek turned out to be my favorite winery because they make Almond Champagne and it’s fabulous!  🙂

Our last stop was Callaway Winery and the price is $10-$25 depending on if you want to do a tour with your tasting.

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This seemed like a smaller tasting room than the others, but it also had the most interesting scenery.  They even have wine stations which are like little wine vending machines!

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You can also enjoy a meal at their restaurant or visit their unique gift shop.  The views were especially spectacular…I could have stayed here all day!

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Seriously, all day…

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Overall,  I had an amazing experience visiting wine country!  Even if wine isn’t your jam,  I would recommend going to Temecula just for the atmosphere and breathtaking views.

Not only did I enjoy my wine…I enjoyed my SWAG, too!

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And of course…wine is always better with friends! 😉

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Have you been to a wine tasting?  What was your experience like?  I’d love to hear!

I’m off to review the next event!

~SM

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