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An Afternoon at Bayview Park #OurLand

Growing up, I spent a ton of time outdoors. From the beach to the parks to my own back yard – I was part of the “outside” generation for sure. When I was given the opportunity to team up with MomDot Media and The Trust for Public Land to help spread the word about the new #OurLand campaign which is helping to protect public land like the places I grew up, I knew Bayview Park was the perfect place to go to talk about how important parks are to me. Bayview was such a huge part of my childhood – from watching my parents play tennis on the courts to learning how to drive in the parking lot, to sharing a first kiss down on the little pier. But I realize now how lucky I was to have a huge park like Bayview to make all of those amazing memories. In many cities, one in three residents lacks access to a park or natural area, and with America’s open spaces disappearing at a rate of 6,000 acres a day, we’re at risk of losing our most cherished outdoor escapes.

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The Trust for Public Land (http://www.tpl.org/) is an organization whose mission it is to create and protect parks and other natural places, right in your own backyard. “The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. We protect the places people care about and create close-to-home parks—particularly in and near cities, where 80% of Americans live.” You can do your part to support public land by submitting your own virtual postcard on the TPL website, telling why the outdoors are important to you. Just upload a picture or video of your favorite outdoor space on their website and share what makes that place special.

It is hard to narrow down just one reason why Bayview Park is so special to me. It has long been the meeting place for me and so many of my friends and loved ones, and carries both happy memories and bittersweet memories from growing up. Just driving down there made me think of my friend Jason who passed away just a few years ago way too soon. Jason and I spent countless afternoons there just talking and overlooking the bayou. I can not even look out over the water without thinking of him and missing him like crazy.

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Bayview was a place for first dates – and a place for break ups. It was a place to stop for pictures on the way to Prom, or a place to end the night when you just weren’t quite ready to go home. Bayview is where we always went to watch the fireworks on both New Years and Fourth of July, and a place to go to just sit and clear your head. It was a place for great festivals and a place for memorials. A place to play and a place to worship. Whether you spent the entire day or just an hour, Bayview Park was a little piece of paradise.

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Bayview Park was packed with people enjoying this beautiful day with us. Even though it was overcast, the temperatures were in the 70s with a light breeze coming off the water. Every where you looked you saw families enjoying time outdoors. There was a large family reunion going on under one picnic table – with a group of young men playing soccer while the women watched and cheered. Another picnic table was celebrating a young girls birthday decked out with Mickey Mouse decorations. At another table a photographer was photographing some parents to-be, the couple cradling the Moms growing belly. The water was full of boats and jetskis, kayaks and even a group of competitive rowers practicing. The piers were full of fisherman of all ages while the beaches were full of dogs playing in the water – chasing and retrieving sticks their owners threw. It was clear that Bayview is an important place for many of us.

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Midge and I grabbed lunch on our way and found a nice little grassy spot to enjoy our lunch overlooking the water. It has been years since I have had a picnic, and this reminded me of just how fun it can be. We laughed and talked and watched squirrels run around the tops of the trees over our heads. When we finished eating, we headed off to explore. Bayview Park is 30 acres of beauty with everything from a dog park to covered picnic tables, tennis courts, walking trails, fishing piers, and more.

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bayview picnic

The playground is awesome – with two huge jungle gyms, a full swing set and more. Midge had no problem making friends with just about everyone there. Even my Dad stopped by to enjoy some time at Bayview. It was great to spend some alone time just the three of us… well, along with a zillion other people.

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There are signs posted around the park as well telling about all of the plants and wildlife that live there. It was fun to try to find the different species from the signs. It turned in to a scavenger hunt for both of us. I am pretty certain we found everything except the Great Blue Heron. Midge insisted that we go back again soon to try and find him – which I will be happy to oblige.

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This is probably my favorite part of Bayview Park. It is so quiet and peaceful on the pier. Midge and I both got lost for a few moments just soaking in the beauty of the water. The seagulls and pelicans sit lazily on the pier and in the water, often breaking into a cackle that makes you wonder what they are laughing at. Occasionally a boat or jetski will whiz by – the driver always giving a polite wave.

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bayview park pensacola #OurLand

I can not imagine ever not having Bayview Park to go to, so I was honored to join in this campaign and share one of my all time favorite places with you. I hope you will join in this campaign with the Trust for Public Land and help to protect areas like Bayview and upload a picture of your favorite place and why it is important to you. I did.

Trust for Public Land #OurLand

lynseysig

*This post is part of a sponsored campaign through MomDot Media. All images and ideas are 100% my own.


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Universal Orlando CityWalk

What do you get when you put some of the best restaurants next to the best night clubs connected to the best theme park? You get Universal Orlando’s CityWalk – THE place to go for amazing Nightlife at Universal Orlando.

Universal CityWalk

Every day that I was in Orlando for the FacingFearsTogether trip I spent some time at CityWalk – whether it was to grab a bite to eat, do some shopping for the girls, or have a couple several lot of cocktails. Though CityWalk is family friendly by day – sporting a cool putt putt golf arena and movie theater – at night it goes to the adults with live bands, killer night clubs and great restaurants. Our first night there Mickey and I dined at Margaritaville where you absolutely must try the friend cheese curds dipped in ranch dressing. Yes, I totally abandoned Whole30 for this little indulgence – and it was amazing. We then went to Pat O’Briens and watched the dueling pianos for a while. And you know – to sample the cocktails… just to make sure they were safe for everyone… we are thoughtful like that.

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Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Theme Park

The whole time I was walking through the Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando I was wondering what the heck I had gotten myself in to. I am such a scaredy cat – I send The Teen to movies with Mike when I am worried they might be scary. Yes, she is 15 and less of a coward than her mother. Don’t judge. I think pretty much the only thing that helped me make it through (besides the death grip I had on Mickey’s right arm while I was nestled in between Summer’s shoulder blades) was the promise of a full day at Universal Orlando Islands of Adventure Theme Park the next day.

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I haven’t been to Universal in years… like… since Back to the Future ride was still cool. (Didn’t I say no judging? Stopit.) And man have things changed. Now, I of course got to scope out a few things while I was walking through Halloween Horror Nights, but since you know that it was seldom that I actually had my eyes OPEN it felt like the first time. I was super excited to ride the Hollywood Rip Ride RockIt – their newest roller coaster that lets you jam out to your favorite tunes while zooming through the air at 65 miles an hour. I chose Evanescence “Bring Me To Life” for my song – HOLYWOW. The tune is timed *perfectly* with the coaster – it was absolutely amazing. I could have ridden that one over and over and over. It was as incredible as it sounds – times a thousand.

 Universal Orlando Resorts UOR

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Universal Orlando Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Now that things have finally settled down (read:  I can sleep again without visions from Halloween Horror Nights seeping in to my dreams) I am excited to tell you about all of the other amazing stuff I did when I joined the Two Traveling Moms and a handful of other friends for the #FacingFearsTogether event. The first – and maybe most awesome – was the resort where we stayed. The Cabana Bay Beach Resort is Universal Orlando’s newest hotel – and by far the coolest one I have ever stayed in.

From the moment you pull on the to Cabana Bay Beach Resort’s property, you are propelled back in to the 1950’s and 60’s – from the architecture to the music playing to the hotel staff uniform. Even the sign out front boasts “Cool Air” and ” Color TV”… how cool is that?! Inside the front doors you will find a huge open concept with a great seating area and cute little bar nestled in the corner. The center of the lobby boasts a huge atrium of palm trees. I was waiting for a Jetson’s robot to round the corner.

Check in was quick and easy and then we were off to our rooms. I had no idea what to expect when we opened the doors – but I loved it. Suddenly I felt like I had fallen on to the set of MadMen and I was determined to find Don Draper. I have some ummm… suggestions for his advertising.

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Halloween Horror Nights 2014 #HHN24

I am a chicken. I mean, a big one. I am the girl that spooks herself in dark windows, jumps at stuff on tv, and will nearly kill herself to get to the remote to change the channel when scary movie trailers play. But when my friends Toni and Mellisa from Two Traveling Moms put together the #FacingFearsTogether event for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, I jumped at the chance to go. I mean, the best way to overcome your fears is to face them, right? That ‘s what I tell my Divas in my direct sales coaching – and I should practice what I preach. So I signed up, was accepted… and promptly began panicking.

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Named “Nation’s Best Halloween Event” for seven consecutive years by Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Awards, Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando puts you up close and personal with some of the most terrifying sights you will ever see. There are eight horror houses including The Walking Dead, Alien versus Predator, Dracula Untold, and more, plus several “Scare Zones” throughout the park. There are some places that are safe that you can walk around without fear (read: the only places I actually breathed) and even two shows that were my favorite part of the whole event.

Halloween Horror Nights 24

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