Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October

by Jennifer Wieland
Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad


I know summer is winding down and most of us are in back-to-school mode. Just because the summer is winding down though doesn’t mean there’s not still a chance to fit in a fall San Diego beach family vacation. Plus, I’m going to share with you how to stretch your dollar farther with five ways to save big in San Diego with kids.

Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad

San Diego is a great family vacation destination! I know when I went with my family growing up that it was one of our all time favorite trips. From the beautiful sites, great weather, the ocean and other family fun activities we all found so many things to enjoy. Now, after a trip I went on to San Diego last year for the blog I realized once again how much I love it there and want to take the kids there to enjoy too.

Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October! #KidsFreeSD #adHit the Beach

You can’t go to San Diego and not hit visit th beach! The beach is a great way to relax, unwind and have some fun with the family all while being completely free! If your like me then free is definitely in your budget! Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October! #KidsFreeSD #ad

Museum Free Days

The San Diego Museum Council invites kids to explore San Diego’s diverse museums – for Free! From October 1-31, children ages 12 and under receive free admission with a paid adult (limit 2) at more than 40 museums! Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad

Free Kids Admission at Sea World & the San Diego Zoo in October

Two of San Diego’s most popular family attractions just get better this October!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Sea World – Kids FREE Single-Day Admission, Kids FREE Dolphin & Beluga Interaction Programs, Kids Eat for FREE at Breakfast & Dine With Shamu — SeaWorld San Diego only Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad

San Diego Zoo – Maximum 10 children free per each supervising adult at the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park Valid for children 11 and under. Coupon not required for free kids entry. Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad

Travel a Scenic Route via Amtrak Train

Kids love trains and this October Amtrak is making it easy to see the sites in San Diego with free kids fares.On the Pacific Surfliner, one child ages 2-12 rides free with each adult rail fare purchased for travel to and from Oceanside, Solana Beach, Old Town San Diego and San Diego Downtown station. You can travel from San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Los Angeles, Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Irvine and San Juan Capistrano. On the train, your family can relax, enjoy the views and have a bite. And with free Wi-Fi®, connect your mobile device and get the latest Kids Free offers.

Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad

Stay at a Hotel or Resort Where Kids Eat Free

Food expenses are often one of the costliest components to a vacation. Being able to cut out some costs with hotels that offer kids eat free options is a great way to save money on food and have more funds to use on sightseeing and souvenirs.

Save Big on a San Diego Beach Family Vacation This October!#KidsFreeSD #ad

Visit the website and learn all you need to know to plan the perfect San Diego beach family vacation for your family this October!




Chicago Open Air Festival – Music, Craft Beer, Gourmet Man Food

by Jennifer Wieland
#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad
Thank you to Chicago Open Air for sponsoring today’s post!

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

Summer is a time for getting outside, enjoying beautiful weather and having fun! This weekend the first ever Chicago Open Air Festival will be taking place at Toyota Park. This is a music festival that sets itself apart from the rest by combining rocking music with craft beer and gourmet man food!

Chicago Open Air Festival Basics

Chicago Open Air will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands. The festival will also include Gourmet Man Food featuring local and regional cuisine, a craft beer village highlighting top brews from the region, other entertainment and fan experiences, and will be hosted by Jose Mangin from SiriusXM.

Who’s Going to be on Stage?

Chicago Open Air has a spectacular music lineup ready to go for the three-day music festival! The festival will take place July 15, 16 and 17 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL, just outside Chicago. Rammstein will kick off the festival weekend with a headlining performance on Friday—the group’s only 2016 U.S. performance and first Chicago show since 2012. Saturday will be headlined by Chicago’s own Disturbed, who have recently returned from a 4-year hiatus. Global rock juggernauts Slipknot will close out Chicago Open Air on Sunday.

Disturbed says, “It is long overdue that one of the greatest rock cities in the world has a festival of its own. We are honored and excited to be one of the headliners at the inaugural Open Air festival in our hometown of Chicago.”

Chicago Open Air will feature performances by over 40 bands, including Rammstein, Disturbed, Slipknot, Chevelle, Korn, Five Finger Death Punch, Ministry, Breaking Benjamin, Marilyn Manson, Of Mice & Men, and many more.

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

What is Gourmet Man Food?

Gourmet Man Food from top Chicago restaurants and food trucks will be on hand to tempt festival goers with their delicious creations! The food selections these restaurants and trucks are going to be offering is enough to keep any music fan rocking out all weekend long!

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

Chicago Open Air will feature selections from Chicago-area favorites such as:

  • Bruges Brothers (Braised Oxtail Poutine, Currywurst, Comeback Fish and Chips)
  • Chicago Doghouse (Rattlesnake and Rabbit Sausage, Smoked Alligator Sausage, The Midway Monster Hot Dog)
  • Crème Of The Crop Food Truck (Grown Up Mac & Cheese, Strawberry Chicken Wrap, Tater Skins)
  • Dia De Los Tamales (Cuban Tamale, Spicy Black Bean and Corn Tamale, The Chicago Beef)
  • Dinky’s Donuts (Salted Caramel and Cocoa, Gingerbread, Powdered sugar, Cinnamon, Ancho Mamma’s Chile, Dinky’s “bruschetta”: a savory blend of Italian herbs and spices.)
  • International Spud Station (The Spudnik, Apollo-Mash, Nebula Chips)
  • Kuma’s Corner (Led Zeppelin Burger, Iron Maiden Burger)
  • Pizano’s (Chicago deep dish)
  • The Happy Lobster (Happy Lobster Roll, The Angry Lobster Roll, Fried Lobster Mac And Cheese Bites)
  • Yum Dum (Kimcheesy Fries, Braised Pork Belly Baos).

Additional Gourmet Man Food vendors from around the country will include:

  • Cheeze Louise (Salmon Grilled Cheese Melt or Bowl, Meat Lover’s Grilled Cheese, Fried Chicken Mac N Cheese Bowl)
  • Cravin’ Cajun (Spicy Shrimp Po-Boy, Gator Critter Fritters, The Soft Shell Crab Sandwich)
  • Master of Patties (The Brekky Burger, The Muffaletta Burger, The Beef Wellington)
  • Pie Baby Wood-Fired Pizza (Your choice of Pie Baby signature pizzas: Cheese Baby/Pep Baby/Meat Baby, Meatball Sub, Freshly prepared house salads)

Drinks Anyone?

Since music festivals are long and outdoors during the sunny days of the year it’s important to be able to grab some drinks on hand. Whether you are looking to stay hydrated, need pick me up to keeping going all weekend long or are looking for an adult beverage to loosen you up you will be able to find just what you’re looking for at Chicago Open Air.

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

  • Headbangers Beer Hall

    This unique METAL themed bar is a 100×80 dive bar experience complete with Marshall amplifiers lining the back wall, a unique jukebox playing heavy metal music, rocker pinball machines, Chicago favorite Kuma’s Corner serving their signature metal themed burgers just next door, and more that will give fans a dark, heavy metal, craft beer and cocktail experience all on site at Chicago Open Air. The Headbangers Beer Hall will feature national and regional craft beers and artist inspired beverages including: Goose Island (Chicago — 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Four Star Pils), Half Acre Beer Company (Chicago — Daisy Cutter Pale Ale, Vallejo IPA, Pony Pilsner), Iron Maiden’s TROOPER Beer, Lagunitas (Petaluma, CA — IPA, A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’), Motörhead Wine, Surly (Minneapolis — Surly Hell Lager, Surly Furious IPA), Two Brothers Brewing (Chicago — seasonals TBA), and more to be announced. Look for unique experiences throughout the weekend with members of bands at the bar, as well as former MTV Headbangers Ball host and Cathouse founder Riki Rachtman playing some of his favorite songs and guest bartending during the weekend.

  • Monster Energy Experience/Sampling

    Monster Energy will be keeping all fans fueled up and ready to rock by offering free sampling on their Monster Energy viewing deck. Enjoy Monster Energy drinks from one of the best seats in the house. Make sure to check back throughout the festival for a schedule of Monster Energy’s interactive artist experiences.
    #monsterenergy #monstermusic

  • Jack Daniel’s Experience

    “Taste of Tennessee” invites visitors to come out and tour the nation’s oldest registered distillery from outside the Jack Daniel’s Hollow. Visitors get to see (and smell) whiskey dripping slowly through charcoal and the new oak barrels used in maturing Tennessee’s finest whiskey. The Jack Daniel’s Experience is open to all fans, 21 years old and up, for tours free of charge. Stop by the Jack Daniel’s Experience for interactive engagements throughout the weekend.
    Instagram: @jackdaniels_us
    #jackdaniels #BornToMakeWhiskey

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad

Looking for Even More to Do?

  • The Music Experience

    The Music Experience features all the elements that are involved in making music in a professional band setting. The interactive exhibit features guitars, basses, amps, drums, keyboards and electronic gear that are used by today’s most popular bands. The Music Experience has autograph signings and artist interactions throughout the day. Check Facebook and Instagram for the latest info on who will be hanging out at The Music Experience.
    Instagram: @tmexp

  • Keep Golf Metal

    Keep Golf Metal is a movement that encourages festival attendees to play a 9 hole putt putt course with PGA level golf clubs provided by Rife Putters and MasterFit Custom Golf Clubs. Keep Golf Metal also has apparel that features designs that fuse the rock and golf worlds together.

  • f.y.e. Fan Experience

    f.y.e. will be hosting the ultimate fan and artist interactive experiences throughout the festival. f.y.e. is the only place at the festival to get all your favorite band’s music — and maybe even get to meet your favorite Chicago Open Air performers. Check back for updates on artist meet and greet and autograph signing sessions.
    Instagram: @officalFYEmusic

  • Dyin 2 Live / Fxck Cancer

    The F C Cancer Foundation’s mission is to fight cancer by raising awareness and to educate about early cancer detection, ultimately putting an end to late stage cancer diagnosis. The Dyin 2 Live wish granting program looks to enrich the lives of those fighting cancer by offering them an experience that will bring joy, hope, inspiration, and courage into their lives. In doing this, the program hopes it can help give the cancer fighter a chance to forget, even if it’s only for a day, what they are battling. The hope is that it can be used as a source of inspiration to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour.
    Facebook: or
    Instagram: @FxckCancer and @Dyin2LiveDreams

  • Take Me Home Animal Rescue

    Take Me Home is a not for profit, volunteer based foundation that has been saving the lives of homeless animals since 2001. Many families living in low-income areas cannot afford medical care, basic vaccinations, or spay/neuter surgeries for their companion animals. The donations raised help us to fund mobile veterinary hospitals to travel into these under-served areas to provide free spay and neuter, vaccinations, microchipping and administer medical care for animals in desperate need. Take Me Home also supports local animal charities. Come by the booth to help out our furry friends by buying a shirt, signed merchandise, and entering a raffle. Danny Wimmer, Founder, DWP, said, “DWP is proud to support various charities, giving them a national platform to promote their messages. We are particularly fond of Take Me Home, which advocates for animal adoption. I hope everyone stops by their booth and supports their fundraising efforts to help animals in need.” For more information, please visit:

#ChicagoOpenAir music festival will feature live music performances by more than 40 rock bands, #GourmetManFood and craft beers. #ad


Grab your tickets at the Chicago Open Air Festival website!

Festival doors open at 11:00 AM each day and the show ends at 11:30 PM on Friday, 11:00 PM on Saturday, and 10:00 PM on Sunday.

For more information on Chicago Open Air, visit or visit them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to check out all of the fun!



Seas the Day – Go Boating

by Jennifer Wieland
Seas the Day - Go Boating This Summer


Summer seems to always fly by in the blink of an eye! One minute you’re planning a ton of different things to do over the summer before the kids get out of school and it’s like the next minute you’re wondering how it was that you didn’t manage to get through nearly enough fun memory makers with the kids and you’re back to school shopping. This year I am planning to seas the day and taking the kids out for some boating fun!

Water is a happy place for my three youngest kids! Since each of them have sensory issues it almost seems like water soothes them and they connect it with it on another level. It’s one of the few things that makes them want to put down electronics and just play like the kids that they are. They regularly swim all year, love bumper boats, the splash pad and like taking the water taxis in the city. Living in the Chicago suburbs it’s just a short drive for us to reach Lake Michigan and with my parent’s having a vacation home near Lake Delton in Wisconsin a boating trip is a must. This year I’m planning on taking the kids out boating one afternoon so that they can see the open waters and fell the wind blowing through their hair and the occasional mist of water

Seas the Day - Go Boating This Summer #DiscoverBoating

Some fun and interesting boating stats from the 2015 Discover Boating Survey conducted by Wakefield Research

  • 82% of Americans say being around water is relaxing.
  • 72% of Americans feel healthier after spending time on the water.
  • Top 5 boating activities Americans want to do this summer: Relax on a boat with friends, take a sunset cruise, go fishing, watch fireworks from a boat, and go waterskiing, wakeboarding or wakesurfing.
  • 84% of parents think their kids would be more likely to unplug on a boat trip versus a road trip.
  • 88% of American parents feel that their kids need to get more involved in outdoor activities this summer, like boating.
  • Americans rank their favorite celebrity boat mates as Taylor Swift, Jimmy Fallon, Ellen DeGeneres and Robert Downey, Jr.

Seas the Day - Go Boating This Summer #DiscoverBoating

Since I need to learn all that I can so that we have the best time on our boat outing I’m going to be visiting Discover Boating’s website. Discover Boating is a national, nonprofit program on behalf of the US recreational boating industry aimed to help people get on the water to experience the fun of boating. For those looking to get their feet wet, is an unbiased online resource packed with easy, interactive features on all things boating, including a boat selector tool, get on the water tab where you can find rentals, classes and charters, cost comparison tool, renting options, youth boating programs, education courses – even nautical lingo and how-to videos.

How are you and your family planning to make the most out of summer by enjoying the water?




St. Louis – My Five Favorite Things to Do

by Jennifer Wieland
St. Louis - My Five Favorite Things to Do #FunnestFamily


I bet for a lot of people out there St. Louis has never popped into your head as a must visit place when planning your family vacations. Not there is anything wrong with St. Louis but more often than not I think people plan trips to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Orlando when thinking about family fun. Oh sure, sometimes other locations in the United States might pop into your head but is St. Louis one of them? If it’s not it should be because St. Louis is a vacation spot that guarantees family fun with great things to do.

Living in the Chicagoland area most of my life I have been to St. Louis. It’s a pretty standard road trip that most people here do at least once. My first time was as a kid with my parents. It was so much fun and we made so many fabulous memories on that trip that I actually remember more about that trip than I do about some pricey well-known trips that we went on. I’m such a fan of St. Louis that I’m going to let you in on a little secret…. Are you ready? It’s where my husband and I went for our honeymoon. Not surprisingly to me it’s on my list of places to take the kids this summer as well.

I know what your thinking? What could possibly make St. Louis so great? St. Louis is a city that is rich in history, food and culture so it has options that will appeal to everyone in your family. 

St. Louis - My Five Favorite Things to Do #FunnestFamily

My Five Favorite Things to Do in St. Louis

Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tours & Gifts

I bet you’re thinking how is this a family thing and I bet you did this on your honeymoon. Actually we had planned on making this a stop on our honeymoon but honestly, it was our honeymoon and there just wasn’t time. Nope, this is one of my all-time favorite vacation memories from my childhood! My parents wanted to go which was odd to us as kids because neither of my parents were drinkers. We did the tour and my parents found it fascinating, my siblings and I were mildly interested… and then we saw the horses! Clydesdale horses are an awesome sight to behold and will have children and adults oohing and aahing alike. I picked out a stuffed Clydesdale horse in the gift shop and that toy spent years with me!

Meramec Caverns

The Meramec Caverns are so fascinating! The tours are interesting and educational. You’re budding geologists or kids in general will find it interesting and bring all that science stuff from school to life. With ties to the Civil War and a famous outlaw the tour is definitely a must while visiting St. Louis. The temperature is cool inside though since they are caverns so bring a jacket. 

The Cathedral Basilica

Catholic or not anyone can appreciate the beauty of architecture and one of the largest mosaic collections in the western hemisphere. The beauty, detail and design that make the heart of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis will leave you breathless. This is one of those places that anyone who is a fan of art and design will appreciate and love. 

Endangered Wolf Center

There are zoos all over this country and while they interesting and educational the Endangered Wolf Center in St. Louis focuses on specific species of animals form around the world that are facing extinction. They strive to help preserve and grow the numbers for these animals and to educate the world about them. With the ability to “adopt” a wolf or a pack it’s a great way to teach kids about endangered animals and to let them help save a species.

The Gateway Arch

Driving to St. Louis from Chicago as a kid I remember how excited I was when my siblings and I kept asking are we there yet, are we there yet every so often to have my parents point to the Gateway Arch from across the river and say yes. Seeing the Gateway Arch from there was absolutely amazing but then we went there and I remember standing below and looking up with my mouth hanging open. Then it got even better! We went up into the arch! This is definitely a must and with its 50th anniversary they’ve been working on making it even better!

Enter the #FunnestFamily Contest

Now are you ready for some St. Louis fun with your family? How about a chance to win a St. Louis getaway with your family? Then it’s time for you to enter the #FunnestFamily Contest! Your family could win a weekend of nonstop fun in St. Louis. To Enter, share your family’s funnest picture or video with #FunnestFamily on Instagram, Twitter or the Explore St. Louis Facebook page. Contest ends 6/30/16. One entry per person. For more information on prizing, view the official rules and regulations.



Captain Obvious is Running for President

by Jennifer Wieland
Captain Obvious is Running for President with the support of


Whoa! Wait a minute! There’s a presidential race going on? It’s full of controversy and colorful characters? One being Captain Obvious as he literally runs for president through all 50 states? Wow! Talk about pounding the pavement! 

Captain Obvious is Running for President with the support of

With all of the pomp and circumstance, the video clips being shred all over social media and the outlandish headlines from political debates it’s nice to know that Captain Obvious is taking the simple approach and simply using his two feet to run for President. You can follow his efforts and watch all of the hard work he’s putting into his campaign on the “Captain Obvious Runs For President” site. He’ll be providing satirical commentary on what has already proven to be an “interesting” election year.

Captain Obvious is Running for President with the support of is fully supporting Captain Obvious during his state-to-state race because they believe in the simplicity of his race as much as he does – and since he’ll need a place to sleep at night they are providing him a place to rest his sweaty head. They’re not stopping there though. They will also be providing him with running shoes, socks, shorts and everything else he needs to keep him going on his long run.

Captain Obvious is Running for President with the support of

Photo courtesy of

Get Gear and Donate to Great Charities!

When you visit the “Captain Obvious Runs For President” site you can find come funny stuff to buy to show your support but you can also make a donation. No, these donations won’t be to a politicians campaign chest. These donations will be made to wonderful charities that do amazing work throughout the entire country. 

Captain Obvious is Running for President with the support of

Photo courtesy of

For some daily funny in your life and to follow Captain Obvious on his run for the presidency you are definitely going to want to follow him on Twitter!

Captain Obvious is Running for President with the support of

That’s a fine salute you have there Captain Obvious and we salute you and on your attempt to make this year’s presidential race funnier and more lighthearted! 



Discover the Carefree Side of Florida

by Jennifer Wieland
Discover the Carefree Side of Florida


I don’t know about you but I am tired of the cold and I know I miss seeing sunshine more than anything! Living in the Chicago suburbs means my winters are often spent with gray, dreary looking skies, no warmth and definitely no beach to lounge at unless I want to freeze to a chair. I know that I am ready to discover the carefree side of Florida at one of the newest Carefree Communities, Ocean Breeze Resort. Whether you are looking to buy a vacation home, rent one for a little rest and relaxation or just need a site for your RV, then Ocean Breeze Resort is the place for you! 

Discover the Carefree Side of Florida

Pursue your passions and discover new ones along the way at the new Ocean Breeze Resort. Guests and residents alike get to enjoy exclusive access to a world of social activities, classes, outdoor recreation, and planned outings. Whether you want to join a group for morning coffee, enjoy an afternoon round of golf, join a club or enter a cooking contest there is something for everyone to enjoy!

Best places to retire in florida (objb)-5a17babf

At-home comforts that make life comfortable all while enjoying some fun in the sun can now be had at Ocean Breeze Resort. It is a much desired location near Jensen Beach. Located on 45 acres of intra-coastal waterway on the Treasure Coast and just a quarter-mile away from downtown, our one-of-a-kind community offers you new home plans that are thoughtfully designed, with beautifully decorated and furnished open interiors, covered porches, two-story stilt home options and breathtaking views. Ocean Breeze Resort is ideally located between Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach. You can easily visit more Florida vacation hot spots like Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa Bay by driving 90 minutes – 3 hours. 

Discover the Carefree Side of Florida


Discover the Carefree Side of Florida
Ocean Breeze Resort is a master planned community and it’s expected to fill quickly. If you are interested in learning more about how you can rent a vacation cottage, an RV site, or own a home call (772) 334-2494 or visit the Ocean Breeze Resort website for more information.

Don’t miss out on this fabulous deal they have available right now!

For a limited time, get up to $100 in credit at a local restaurant when you book your stay at Carefree!

Reserve a rental for a week and receive a $100 gift card to Peters Steakhouse in Jensen Beach.
*Weekly Rental rates start at $900/week


Reserve an RV site for a week and receive a $50 gift card to Peters Steakhouse in Jensen Beach.
*Weekly RV rates start at $394/week. Waterfront $428/week

A 5-minute walk from Ocean Breeze Resort, Peters Steakhouse is a Treasure Coast favorite. Upscale yet homey, it’s an intimate steakhouse offering a classic American menu plus beer & wine.




Rosemont| It’s All Here

by Jennifer Wieland
MB Financial Park fun for the whole family! #Rosemont #MBFInancialPark #ItsAllHere
I was part of a media event invited to experience all that Rosemont has to offer visitors. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Just northwest of Chicago is the town of Rosemont and it just so happens to be neighbors with O’Hare International Airport, one of the largest airports in the world. Rosemont sees guests from all over the world and locals as well. As a result they have strived to turn Rosemont into a place with something to entertain and delight everyone and they have achieved it with great success because it’s all here in Rosemont. The town is now celebrating its 60th birthday and it is home to the MB Financial Park, which is home to 13 venues featuring international cuisine, nightlife, live music and comedy, state-of-the-art film and bowling venues and so much more. Across the street from that is Fashion Outlets of Chicago. This indoor outlet mall houses high-end stores and amenities along with a stunning contemporary art collection. Rosemont is also home to Loews Chicago O’Hare, a gorgeous, world-class hotel.

MB Financial Park fun for the whole family! #Rosemont #MBFInancialPark #ItsAllHere

The Loews Chicago O’Hare is a decadent and contemporary hotel. What sets it apart from its competitors is the vast display of art throughout the first floor of the building. After speaking with the general manager, I learned that this specific Loews hotel has a n agreement with a local art studio. The hotel displays and advertises the art for sale from the art studio. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement since the artists get exposure to their work and the hotel improves its aesthetics. 

Loews Chicago O'Hare - #Rosemont It's All Here! #VisitRosemont #LoewsHotels

One of the great restaurants in MB FInancial Park is Hofbräuhaus Chicago. This classic Bavarian bier hall brings more than 400 years of beer brewing and dining expertise to the Chicagoland area. The German themed restaurant is home to a German micro-brewery and beer hall. Guests are offered in-house brewed beers along with a huge selection of both domestic and imported beer options.


Hoftbrauhaus Chicago Image by Leigh Loftus Copyright 2013 Leigh Loftus

Hoftbrauhaus Chicago
Image by Leigh Loftus
Copyright 2013 Leigh Loftus

The restaurant flies in its pretzels from a bakery overseas and then bakes them fresh for each order. The staff is outfitted in fun German based Oktoberfest garments and the restaurant and staff provide for a lively outing full of genuine German cheer. 

Hofbrauhaus Chicago - Rosemont, It's all here! #MBFinancialPark #Hofbrauhaus #visitRosemont

Hoftbrauhaus Chicago
Image by Leigh Loftus
Copyright 2013 Leigh Loftus

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago is a shopping mecca that draws in locals and world travelers alike. From whimsical candy shops to high-end clothing stores this two-story mall will thrill and delight everyone. With more than 130 outlet stores there will be something there for everyone.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago #Rosemont #FOCShopping

It’s convenient indoor parking garage helps protect visitors from the elements. The artwork throughout the mall is eye-catching and a delight of form and color.Fashion Outlets of Chicago #Rosemont #FOCShopping

For more information on these and the numerous other dining, hotel and entertainment options that Rosemont has to offer visit



A Frighteningly Good Time at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest

by Jennifer Wieland


I was invited to an event at Six Flags Great America but all thoughts and opinions in this post are 100% my own.

Recently my family and I were invited to attend a behind the scenes look at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest. My two youngest boys have wanted to go to this for years now. They love all things that scare the bejeezus out of me. I am not known for loving anything of the spooky variety. I chalk it up to being a nervous Nelly who also grew up across the street from a famously haunted cemetery. I was game for this though since it was bright and early in the morning and we were getting a chance to see what went into making it all a frighteningly good time at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest. 

Fright Fest

While both of my boys that went with me are into zombies it was fun for them to see all of the people made up for the various areas of the park. The costume work that goes into making Fright Fest so much fun is amazing! They costume area holds over 250 costumes for the cast and crew scare the guests. The makeup trailer boasts 25 makeup artists on staff to take the cast and crew from average Johns and Janes to something that looks like it just escaped a horror movie set. 

A Frighteningly Good Time at Six Flags Great America #FrightFest #NoMercy

We were even given the chance to have ourselves made over into a monster from one of the many talented makeup artists. The boys were a bit leery of that but I went for it. I asked to be made into a zombie. It was amazing how quickly they were able to take me from regular old sweets eating me to a moaning, brain munching fiend. 

A Frighteningly Good Time at Six Flags Great America #FrightFest #NoMercy

This year there is a new haunted house and it is called The Gates of Hell. I wish I could report on this but as the boys and I entered and the doors closed behind us, they decided it really wasn’t necessary. In other words, we all chickened out in my group. 

A Frighteningly Good Time at Six Flags Great America #FrightFest #NoMercy

There was one ride open and it was one of the roller coasters, Vertical Velocity. To many people, like my 11-year-old, going on a roller coaster is one of the most frightening things anyone can do. My 8-year-old though has been dying to go in this particular roller coaster. Lucky, for him he finally hit that lucky height of 54″ and was able to ride on it. I rode with him on it and the wonderful folks at Six Flags were kind enough to record him on it. Watch below to see one of Jackson’s roller coaster adventures.  

If you enjoyed that video of Jackson’s Roller Coaster adventures then check out another one below from earlier this year at Six Flags Great America.


For more information on the frighteningly, good fun at Six Flags Great America Fright Fest be sure to check out their website



Fashion Outlets of Chicago – A Girl’s Shopping Dream

by Jennifer Wieland
Fashion Outlets of Chicago - A Girl's Shopping Dream



I recently got an invite to come and check out the Fashion Outlets of Chicago, an award-winning 530,000 square-foot shopping center that’s complete with 130 designer outlets, an eye-catching contemporary art collection and high-end amenities that will leave you asking where has this shopping experience been all of my life?

Fashion Outlets of Chicago - A Girl's Shopping Dream

Walking in there is no dull and drab decorations that are standard fare at most shopping outlets. There are bright, bold and vivid displays of color and pattern found throughout to grab your attention and take your trip from just shopping to an extended visual feast. Fashion Outlets of Chicago Children's Wing

The shopping has something for everyone. From kid’s stores to high-end retailers you will find just what you are looking for at great prices. The layout of Fashion Outlets of Chicago is also unique in that they took families into consideration. Busy parents can make shopping easier by parking by and entering the mall at the children’s wing. That’s right, they have a children’s wing that has family friendly retailers that include the Disney Outlet, Oshkosh B-gosh, Stride Rite and the Gymboree Outlet to name a few. This way families can pop in and get what they need for the kids without having to trudge through an entire mall to go to a handful of stores.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago Food Court

Another advantage to the children’s wing is that it is right next to the food court. The food court is a bright and clean area that is inviting and filled with a good selection of food options. Chicago Burger Company, Chicken Now, China Max, DJ’s Taco Bar, Freshii, Haagen-Dazs, Little Tokyo, Maoz Vegetarian, Sbarro, South Philly Steak and Fries and Wetzel’s Pretzels round out the food fare in the food court. The food court also houses a family-friendly area in the back where kids can ride on some coin operated ride on machines. 

Fashion Outlets of Chicago Sweet Treats

Regular food court fare not going to cut it? Do you need something sweeter or with a jolt of caffeine to see you through an in-depth shopping trip? Never fear, Fashion Outlets of Chicago has you covered with three candy stores. Lindt Chocolates, Godiva Chocolatier and Lolli and Pops can cater to any sweet tooth you may have. If caffeine is your thing you can grab a drink at Starbucks or the only Lindt Bar in the country. That’s right cover your sweet tooth and your need for caffeine with a drink made with Lindt Truffles. Fashion Outlets of Chicago Concierge Service

The Fashion Outlets of Chicago takes customer service to a whole new level with their Concierge Services. No basic customer service here. No, they go above and beyond by making restaurant reservations, checking coats and their “Text Concierge” program which allows shoppers to text representatives questions. Since the Fashion Outlets of Chicago is right by O’Hare airport visitors who are on a layover can pass the time shopping and dining. Through a partnership with Go Airport Express you can access shuttles between the airport’s terminals and Fashion Outlets of Chicago. The shuttles also work to transport the center’s shoppers to and from downtown Chicago hotels. TSA-certified BAGS Inc. has partnered with Fashion Outlets of Chicago so that travelers have luggage held, print out boarding passes and even get your bags checked for your flight on site at the center. Did you just fly in from overseas and want to kick off your trip by doing some shopping or grabbing a bite? No problem there, international travelers can use the currency exchange and translation services. 

Ready to do some fall shopping or maybe you need a girl’s day out. Then visit the Fashion Outlets of Chicago website for more information on stores, hours and services or use the “Text Concierge” service and ask a representative any questions you may have at 847-957-4600.



Universal Orlando Theme Parks are One Wild Ride

by Jennifer Wieland
Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando




A couple of weeks ago I was invited to Universal Orlando Theme Parks along with ten other bloggers for a girl’s getaway weekend. While we were there we were treated to a VIP tour of both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. I have always been a big fan of fun, fast, exhilarating rides that leave you breathless and eager for more. Both Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure do not disappoint! Both Universal Orlando theme parks are one wild ride!

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

Universal Orlando Resort has two separate theme parks – Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Both parks are full of fun and adventures that your family will not want to miss.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

The Universal Studios Florida park boasts the impressive rides and attractions that include Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, Twister… Ride It Out, Revenge of the Mummy, Men In Black Alien Attack, Springfield, E.T. Adventure, Terminator 2: 3-D, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D and Shrek 4-D.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

One of my favorite attractions was Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. It is a fun and family friendly ride that will take you on an adventure with Gru, Margo, Edith, Agnes and of course those lovable minions.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

I am a roller coaster junkie and was super excited to get to go on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit! It was so much fun and my butt rarely touched the seat which is one of my measures of a good roller coaster. I really liked that when you get seated that you get to pick a music genre and then select a song from a display on your lap bar. The music you picked then plays while zipping around on the coaster.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is equally just as much fun. Here you can go on such rides and attractions as Jurassic Park River Adventure, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripshaw Falls, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges, The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, The Incredible Hulk Coaster, The Cat in the Hat, The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride and Poseideon’s Fury. My favorite ride in this park is and has always been The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

I know what some of you are thinking at this point. She hasn’t mentioned any of the Harry Potter stuff. Well there is a reason for that. I believe that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, Hogsmeade and the Hogwarts Express need to be talked about all by themselves. I am not what you would call a Harry Potter fan. I have seen most of the movies. I have never read one of the books. I liked the movies that I did see and found the story interesting but was never one of the cult followers. That has now changed. I am now a Harry Potter convert who is planning to read the books to her kids and watch all of the movies after.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

Walking through the streets of Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade are like taking a little trip out of reality and into the land of magic and mystery where anything is possible and with the right spell it can happen. From being able to sample your first Butterbeer, to letting your wand pick you at Ollivanders Wand Shop or your first trip on the Hogwarts Express you will not want to miss this.

Universal Orlando Resort #UORGirlsGetaway #UniversalOrlando

If you are looking for a little fun and adventure on your next vacation then Universal Orlando theme parks are something that you don’t want to miss. Click on the links for more information on Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and  Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade.




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