Take a Staycation in Downtown Tampa

Tampa Streetcar

If you live in the Tampa Bay area, have you ever truly explored the downtown area?  We live in Palm Harbor and only come downtown for sporting events and shows.  When Embassy Suites Downtown Tampa invited us to spend a few nights with them I was really excited to check out parts of town that we usually just drive past on the way to an event.  It was really nice not having to worry about transportation and travel expenses to go on vacastaycation.  We spent 3 days and 2 nights downtown and we could have easily spent an entire week to see everything. The Embassy Suites is located adjacent to Amalie Arena and the Tampa Convention Center, overlooking the Bay.  It would be a great place to stay the night if you didn't want to drive home after a concert or hockey game.  On our first night we were lucky enough to be downtown during the final game of the Stanley Cup Finals and walked across the street to the Bolts watch party inside Amalie Arena.  We would never have driven 45 minutes to ... [ Read More ]

Parenting Isn’t Always Easy, Neither is Marriage


Sponsored post. Tonight I'm wiping up the tears and putting on my game face for the next seven weeks.  Last week my husband got a job offer that will require him to be out of town for the next seven weeks to train for the new position; leaving me to hold down the fort at home.  I'd like to say that I'm excited about this new job, but in reality I'm scared. His new job will require him to travel...a lot! Earlier in our marriage, I was the one who had to travel upwards of 60 days out of the year.  I look back at those years and wonder how it was so easy for him.  I don't ever remember him complaining that I had to leave, or worrying about getting our toddler off to school AND make it to work on time.  He just....managed.  Part of me really enjoyed traveling and getting to see new parts of the country; but the reality was I spent most of my time alone in airports and hotels. Right now we share most of the joys of parenting.  He's able to help get the kids to and from ... [ Read More ]

Best of 2014 on The Eco Chic

It's hard to believe that another year has almost ended and we're about to welcome 2015 in just a few more days! It's been a great year personally.  My blog continues to thrive and has me looking forward to some changes in the coming year. I find myself blogging more and more about life, family, traveling, and hobbies rather than eco-friendly living.  I hope you'll stay with me and share our families journey through life and I promise to still bring you some green living related posts. It's interesting to look back at the stats for the blog and see which posts were read most.  Many of my older content (from 2010-current) still brings in many of you; but I wanted to share with you my top 10 posts from 2014!  I left off the giveaway posts since those aren't really worth re-reading. My top post of 2014 is one I'm quite proud of.  As I continue to educate and share tips on cloth diapering (even though we haven't cloth diapered in several years), I felt it was important to share with you ... [ Read More ]

Sea World’s Christmas Celebration 2015

Sea World Christmas Celebration

This past weekend we were invited to Sea World's Christmas Celebration to get a glimpse behind the scenes and to learn more about the special Christmas performances going on around the park.  Unlike some of the other area theme parks, Sea World includes their Christmas performances with your regular park admission.  Plus, kids get in FREE through the end of December with a paying adult. Sea World will always hold a special place in my heart and the Christmas spirit just enhances that love of the park and the work they do to help preserve our natural world. I found myself a little teary eyed during some of the performances.  Even if you only go for a few hours, here is my list of 5 things you don't want to miss at Sea World in December. 1. Polar Express - Sea World has once again transformed the polar exhibit into a train ride on the Polar Express that takes you to the North Pole to meet Santa Clause.  The experience is based off the popular Christmas movie, the Polar Express. ... [ Read More ]

Fun Things To Do at TradeWinds Island Resort With Kids

Fun Things To Do at TradeWinds Island Resort With Kids

If you're looking for a fun place to take your kids for a fun filled day (or week) on the beach, consider visiting St. Pete Beach and the TradeWinds Island Resort.  The weather is still warm in Florida this Fall and the water is still warm enough to swim.  My daughter and I were invited to spend a day at TradeWinds earlier this summer and I'm ready to go back! I hold a special place in my heart for St. Pete Beach. When I was growing up, my Grandmother lived one block from TradeWinds and I spent a lot of time as a child playing in the Gulf of Mexico. I remember vividly walking down to the beach with our arms full of sand toys.  I remember vividly how she used to sit on the beach for hours reading her books.  I remember vividly walking down the street to Larry's Ice Cream.  I used to love picking out a new souvenir at the little shop in front of her complex.  I still get a little teary eyed when I drive past the complex where she used to live (she died when I was in high ... [ Read More ]

Winter Has Hope #DolphinTale2

Senior trainer Abby with Winter and Hope

Did you know that Dolphin Tale 2 the movie is coming out September 12th?  I had the honor to be invited to a press junket this weekend in Tampa.  I'm still waiting for someone to wake me up and tell me it was all a dream. We started the weekend with a family trip to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium for a behind the scenes tour of the facility.  During the tour, David Yates (CEO of the aquarium) sat down with us to tell us the story of Winter, Hope, and the Dolphin Tale movies.  We also got to talk with one of the senior dolphin trainers, Abby Stone.  Both of these individuals shared with us why Winter and Hope are inspirational to so many people and how the aquarium continues to work in the local community to protect the wildlife. David started by sharing with us that the aquarium has actually been around since the early 70's in it's current location.  Did you know that the aquarium use to be a waste water treatment facility?  The primary mission of the aquarium has always been ... [ Read More ]

Type-A Parent Conference Atlanta 2014

As a blogger, one of the most exhilarating and inspiring things to do is attend a blogging conference.  Over the past 5 years I've been to several including a few BlogHers, Blissdom, Mom 2.0, and Type-A.  Each one is different but I always take away something special from these events. Why should you attend a blogging conference? If you are serious about treating your blog like a business, it's a good idea to attend a conference.  You'll learn some very valuable lessons about how to turn your blog into a business AND get paid for it.  Each conference has different areas of blogging that they focus on in their sessions. This year at Type-A there are some pretty exciting sessions.  I'm especially interested in 1) The Hybrid Life - Juggling Blogging and Marketing Careers, 2) Stop Being Scared of Video, 3) Freelance Writing, and 4) Instagram.  There are 3 days full of sessions, keynotes, panels, and receptions. Another reason to attend a blog conference is to connect with ... [ Read More ]

Best Summer Ever!

We started this summer with a plan, I even made an official Summer Bucket List with a few things each of us wanted to do this summer.  I was looking back over my Instagram account this afternoon with my youngest and I'm so excited about how much fun we had this summer.  I'm not writing this to brag or gloat over all the cool things we've done, but rather for me to look back over the best summer ever! It's really hard for me to believe that our 10 week summer is already coming to an end.  I've been a little emotional all day thinking about it.  This was the first summer that I didn't stick my kids in summer camp most of the summer while I worked.  I decided that, as much fun as they have at camp, I really wanted to be part of their summer too.  I have an amazing boss and a flexible job that allows me to sneak away from time-to-time to make memories with my family.  I've paid for that fun by staying up past midnight many nights completing projects, but it's been so worth ... [ Read More ]

Tips for Tubing the Ichetucknee River with Kids

Tips for Tubing the Ichetucknee River with kids

Every year our family joins 5-6 other families for our annual trip to Ichetucknee Springs State Park to go tubing down the Ichetucknee River.  This is our 4th year that we've taken this trip and each year we learn a few more tips to make it more fun for the kids (and adults). Ichetucknee Springs is a State Park in North Florida near the Georgia line.  It's about a 2-3 hour drive north for us from Tampa so it's not a bad weekend trip.  You could make it a day trip depending on how early you wanted to get started in the morning but we turn it into a weekend getaway.  The springs are part of the Suwannee River Valley and feed through some of the oldest and most natural parts of Florida.  The temperature in the springs is an ice cold 72 degrees year-round making it a perfect adventure for those balmy Florida summer days. Since the river is protected and managed by the Florida State Parks there are some rules (and tips) you need to be aware of before you go. 1. Tubing season ... [ Read More ]

Busch Gardens All-Day Dining Deal

Tips for Using the Busch Gardens All-Day Dining Deal

Do you usually take advantage of dining plans when you go to theme parks?  This past weekend while at Busch Gardens we decided to see if it was worth the price. Yes, there is a price associated with the all-day dining deal at Busch Gardens.  For adults, the price is $32.99 and for kids (ages 3-9) the price is $16.99.  If you are a passholder you can get a discount on the dining deals.  That may seem like a lot of money on top of the price of admission and parking, but I'll explain why it's a good deal! What's included in the all-day dining deal?  Each person in your party who pays for the dining deal will receive a wrist band.  With that wrist band you'll receive 1 entree, 1 side or dessert, and 1 fountain drink, tea or water on each trip through the line.  You can essentially eat and drink all day for one low price.  You are welcome to go through the line and just order a drink or just order a dessert.  You don't have to get everything each time you go through the line.  Most ... [ Read More ]