Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : The Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek, Kissimmee Florida

Tinsel and I (not so much my husband) love to hike and we are always looking for new adventures to go on. This weekend we finally had perfect weather and hit up the Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek > Kissimmee, Florida! This place has been on my bucket list for a while and I was so excited to finally get to check it out!

Just a 30 minute drive from the heart of Orlando, with minimum time on dirt roads this short weekend adventure was well worth the trip. Here’s the link to their website for more information!

6A1FB27E-060D-47C5-8159-E98A72661657.jpeg

We arrived at that trail around 10AM on Sunday morning and the parking lot was virtually empty. There were a few vans parked out in the lot and to our surprise there were A LOT of families with small children. If you are bringing your dog along that does not get along with children, be sure to pass on this trail. There a lot of bikes, children and families picnicking! The good news? There is not many dogs, so if your pup is like mine (not friendly with other pups) this trail is for you!

ALWAYS BE PREPARED: Even when on shorter trails it’s important to have the essentials. Interested in what kind of day pack I use for trips like these? “>Here’s the exact day pack I use on my day-ventures with this cutie. (Affiliate link). I always carry a first aid kit (for myself and Tinsel), a pop out bowel for her to drink from AND PLENTY of water! I’ll be posting a “day packing guide” later on! But you can see all of our hiking and camping adventures here.

Start off straight from the parking lot and hit up the first .8 mile loop (short I know). Make sure to take lots of breaks with your pup, the path is made of crushed shell rock and might tear up your pups feet. After the loop, keep left and follow the longer “brown” trail markings through the picking area. The brown trail will lead you to a multitude of other trails, all around 1-2 miles round trip. Pick and choose your trails, these are fully pathed. Great for biking too! There are plenty of picnicking spots along the paved path; next time we will bring a packed lunch!

9759EA0C-63AB-4F3F-A7DE-9694023CE27C.jpeg

There is a historic pioneer village in the middle of the trails (that is NOT dog friendly), but great for kids! That part of the park hours vary, so be sure to check before arriving.

We had a blast checking out all of the trails this park has to offer and you should too! Perfect for familes, safe for solo femal hikers (like myself) AND perfectly suited to bring your best fur buddy along. We hiked just under 3 miles, but we were EXHAUSTED. Next time, we plan on starting a bit earlier in the morning to avoid the heat.

384DA990-5D22-4CFE-B7DB-2A3AD30C093B


Have you checked out this trail before? I would love to hear about it in the comments below! 👇🏻👇🏻👇🏻 Thank you all for reading! Be sure to check out Tinsel & my Instagram @TheTangledTinsel to see all of our weekend adventures!

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Leu Gardens @ Art with LEGO Bricks

Looking for something fun to do this weekend with the kids? Leu Gardens is pretty much known for their incredible family friendly events – like their Dinosaur Scavenger Hunt a few months ago. But these next few months they are doing something different – Art with LEGO Bricks! So here are a few things you need to know if you are putting this on your list!


174E9338-3002-4064-8FD4-0F37916B6041.jpeg

  1. Tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for childern ages 4 through 17 and any child under 3 admission is free.
  2. Parking is always free. But if you are visiting on a Saturday or Sunday parking is a little tight. You should try to get at the garden gates at open or on a weekday
  3. Make sure to get a paper map at the front entrance. They do have an app version of the map, but cell phone signal is limited
  4. Garrdens open up at 9AM and close at 5PM (last entry is 4:30PM)
  5. Currently the Leu House Museum is closed due to hurricane damage
  6. Last but not least, this event is running now unti April 22nd
EC73F431-F715-41C2-BFAA-5E3F064AE82F
(I promise I won’t spoil ALL of the statues) The Peacock is the 1st stop on the scavnger hunt!

Take your map and follow the crowds to find each of the 13 unique LEGO brick statues. Each with an educational description of the animal(s). EDUCATIONAL FUN! The weather was so perfect this weekend (in the upper 60s) and we really could not have asked for a better afternoon.

A965ACD2-2C2A-4EAA-9715-711D271A36FB.jpeg

The one thing that we would change? We’d pack a picnic to enjoy on the lawn. So many families brought in blankets and food to have lunch under the big oak trees and it looked delightful! We will be sure to come back again to see this event!

Leu Gardens has several free admission days coming up too, be sure to check out the dates here.


Looking for more date night ideas or family fun? Check out all of my weekend date ideas here. I would love to see pictures of your Leu Gardens finds below! Hope you all have a great weekend ahead!

04EA1345-60CF-4476-942B-CAB64C34AE95.jpeg

Continue reading “Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Leu Gardens @ Art with LEGO Bricks”

Life Hack : A look inside my private writing (and hiding) space 🧘‍♀️🧘‍♀️

My husband, Tinsel the dog and myself live a medium sized condo – we have one bedroom and one bath. Although we love living in our smaller lifestyle (Less cleaning/maintain everything), sometimes I feel like I have no “me space.” A space for me to focus on my writing and meditation. AND to also find somewhere I can show off my cacti collection 😏😏

So I set my mind to it this weekend. I wanted to create a my own zen space. I started off by collecting some floor cushions, I was lucky enough to have been given these by a friend FOR FREE! I snagged an extra shelf from our storage closet. I picked up these ADORABLE black and white printed outdoor rugs from IKEA for $15!

Aren’t these rugs freakin’ adorable?? This is my second set of these same rugs….since my little bunny nibbled on the last set 🐰. I set up a small couch with the floor cushions, added some throw pillows AND BAM! Wondering what that black fence thing is in the background? That’s my DIY bunny fence. I can easily pull it out and pin him on the patio for a little bit of fresh air and exercise. Normally he stays out here during the day, getting some much needed exercise and fresh air. I even make him cardboard box houses to play in (OK so he doesn’t look happy – trust me he just has RBF). 🤷🏻‍♀️♥️🐰

So that’s kind of it. I now have this incredible zen-like work space. Especially that I have been sick, this is my sitting space to get some much needed fresh air. OH and space for my cacti collection (see below)….now that I have a bit more space….I think it’s time for another trip to the Florida Cactus Company – Check out my article about them here.

What’s your zen space look like? Do you have a little reading nook or hiding space away from the kids? I’d like to hear about thembelow!

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Duck Doughnuts

I love doughnuts. Seriously who doesn’t? We fell in love with Duck Doughnuts on our trip to Washington D.C. You can check out that trip here.

What makes a better date then long talks over good coffee? Nothing.

We were excited to find out that Duck Doughnuts opened a location right here in Florida, so we decided to make a trip! Just about a 30 minute drive to Kissimmee from Orlando. If you are looking for you local Duck Doughnuts, here’s a link to their site.


Okay so let me lay this out – walk in and grab a menu (use this to mark on). You start off with a base cake doughnut and on basically anything you can dream of.

My fave: Lemon glaze & fresh shredded coconut

My husband’s fave: Strawberry Glaze & Oreo crumbles

We normally only do a half dozen. I’ve never, honestly, been able to eat more than two without hating myself. Oh and make sure to order a iced coffee! It’s fresh brewed and INCREDIBLE.

After handing off your menu, each doughnut is made fresh and hand made to your order.


And here they are (starting top right) Strawberry glaze with Oreo crumbs, Dark chocolate glaze with marshmallow drizzle and graham crackera, Vanilla Bean glaze with dark chocolate drizzle, lemon glaze with fresh shredded coconut, cinnamon sugar with dark chocolate and lastly dark chocolate glaze with salted Carmel drizzle 🤤🤤🤤🤤

So there it is – A perfectly delicious date idea to try out this weekend. Want to check out last weeks date idea? You can see that here! Have a great weekend 😘😘

Travel Tuesday : Remember that time? We got stuck in a blizzard at the Grand Canyon? ❄️❄️

It was late November 2016, my husband’s Mom reached out to us and wanted us to join her on vacation. We were to fly out and meet them at Vegas to spend the night, spend some time in Vegas and then hit up the Canyon later on that week.

Day 1 of our Trip:

We landed early, around 9 and started off. We hit up each hotel along the north strip to check out the hotel lobbies (my husband and his mother BOTH are hospitality management so this was a must). We stopped to sleep at the Paris Hotel in Vegas with a view of the Bellagio Fountain! Exhausted we retired to our hotel room AFTER we check out the FANCY Taco Bell. If you haven’t heard about the craze, you can check out their site here. LET ME TELL YOU ITS AMAZING.

Those tasty starburst flavored icy’s? You can add any type of alcohol you can dream up. Who could honestly want more in life. (Orange Starburst + Rum)

ddsadsa.jpg

Day 2 of our Trip:

Next morning we checked out even more hotels and took in all of the sights. We drove further down in Vegas to Laughlin, Nevada staying at the Aquarius over night. We saw a TERRIBLE comedy show, ate at the In’N Out Burger and we saw live music on the pier. It was such an incredible night, walking along the water and hiking through the desert! (Photo below) I love Nevada! SO MUCH HIKING and we honestly could not ask for better weather.

Day 3 of our Trip:

We started driving. The actual goal this trip? I was supposed to see snow for the very first time. I’ve lived in Florida all of my life, coming for a poor family, I was never able to travel. My mother in law has been on a mission to try to fix this. (We are going on a cruise together in February to Haiti!!)

My mother-in-law drove us to the top of a mountain in Arizona (the “Snow Bowl”) filled me up with cocoa and tucked me into about five layers of clothes. She then sent me off to play in the snow. (In all honestly, I only married my husband for his mother. She’s incredible). I played in the snow and fell in love. I never though I would love the cold! BUT OMG SNOW.

We go back into our car and drove to the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon. After checking into our cabin, we walked around the rim during sunset and the snow was just starting to come down. We slept peacefully (but freezing) in our cabin and woke early the next morning. I knew from the start of the trip, I REALLY REALLY wanted to hike a part of the Bright Angel Trail. The snow was getting thicker and thicker, we loaded up on cocoa and headed down the trail. Even if you are not a hiker, step just a few feet down into the trail and you run into your first small tunnel. The trail is carved into the side of the canyon, some parts you actually walk through these small tunnels (making for a very CUTE Instagram spot)

dsdsadas.jpg

The sun started to come up, we were surrounded by wildlife and it was the most incredible experience of my life. We sat there for a while, watching the snow come down and the sun fighting to rise behind it.We turned back and decided to walk the rest of the rim near the touristy side, since the snow was so thick it was unsafe to continue hiking the trail.  We walked the entire length the South Rim, along all of the museums and cafes (just about 20-25 miles).


Exhausted. We retired at the pizza shop bar next to our cabin and re-told our adventures to my husband’s Mom. I probably will never forget this moment. Standing on a ledge, covered in snow, completely still.

This is what travel is about – having these moments where you feel grounded and small.

Day 4 of our Trip:

The next morning we woke up early again. Walked through the blizzard to the State Park’s transportation (bus service). We wanted to take the bus up on a tour of the canyon. Little to our knowledge, the bus service closed because of the snow storm and we turned back around. We ended up sitting in this small wooden cafe at the edge of the canyon sipping on home brewed coffees.

At least we got to experience one of the most rare weather occurrences in the Grand Canyon; a full blizzard. I asked to see snow and BOY did my mother in law deliver.


Later in the day we made our way back to Vegas for the night, to catch our flight the next morning. Have you ever seen Hoover Dam? WELL STOP AND SEE IT! $12 for parking and it was NEAT. Don’t pay for the tour (it’s kind of scam), instead walk around the damn and enjoy all of the sights! They do have a small cafe here as well, if you are looking for a place to stop for lunch!

What’s really neat? Walk your way to the middle and you can stand in two different time zones at once! (OK – maybe it’s not that exciting. But my husband got a kick out of it)

dsdsadsa.jpg

dsadsa.jpg

We walked the north side of the Vegas strip (another 15+ miles) and I have honestly never slept so hard in my life.

Exhausted. We caught our flight back home and have been relieving the trip ever since. Overall we walked close to 50 miles, we had tons of blisters, but honestly it was the most incredible trip of my life. Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon before? I’d love to see your photos below!

To end this: here’s a cute picture of a friend I made on my trip. OH! And if you are looking for a more recent #TRIPINSPIRATION check out my weekend in D.C here or our trip to Gatlinburg! Happy Thursday!! dsdssdsad.jpg

Travel Tuesday : Eight States in Three Days 

I know I’m not alone on this, but sometimes I just get that need to jump in the car and drive, that yearning for adventure, the need to see something different.

Near the beginning of June I got that “Let’s just go” feeling. Of course My husband, Andrew, and I cannot take off work for more than a day so we had just a three day weekend to make this happen.

I packed just one suit case for my husband and I, we stuffed our cooler into the trunk and filled up the car with gas! The plan? Driving from Orlando, Florida to Indianapolis, Indiana in just three days/two nights.

(I LOVE road trips if you couldn’t tell)

Saturday morning we left at 5:00AM from Orlando, Florida headed towards Atlanta, Georgia. Just about an eight hour drive, our first stop was downtown Atlanta. We strolled around Central Park, refilled our Starbucks cups and jumped back into the car. Atlanta is beautiful, but it was our first stop and we were anxious to get back on the road!


Next stop Nashville, Tennessee! What we didn’t plan for? Actually checking the community website before visiting. We planned to walk around Nashville during the CMA (Country Music Awards) festival. The town was PACKED. We found a few secluded parks and decided to only stay a few hours in order to make the last stretch to Kentucky.

Bowling Green, Kentucky is the quintessential small, southern town filled with cobble streets and small cafes. Why Bowling Green? Kentucky was the perfect stop before reaching Indianapolis and a five start hotel on a weekend cost us under $100 for a night (can’t go wrong with that!).



After a good nights rest we started driving towards Indianapolis (of course stopping to refill our coffee cups along the way – I don’t have a problem 😉). The drive to Indianapolis is LONG, there isn’t much to look at and it seems to go on FOREVER (about a four hour drive). We ended up stopping for lunch along the way, packing sandwiches and chips is a road trip standard for us. Not to mention – currently McDonalds has drinks for $1! Fill up on unsweet tea and keep drivin’.


We finally made it to Indianapolis just after lunch! We strolled along White River State Park over looking downtown Indianapolis, we drove over enormous bridges and marveled at the city’s architecture. Indianapolis will defiantly be on our list to see again next summer.


Headed to out next stop on Sunday afternoon – St. Louis, Missouri. Seeing the Gateway Arch was on my bucket list, so this was a huge deal for me! Another four hour drive we finally made it to St.Louis to see the Arch. They just refurbished the area to include a beautiful walkway and a brand new dog park.


Tinsel and I loved strolling around cobble streets;we could not have asked for better weather.


If you are in Missouri,you have to stop to see Lafayette Park. A breath taking neighborhood of perfectly lined town homes and a quite park. Take a stroll downtown or stand mouth-open like I did, day dreaming of living in this neighborhood.


Our last stop on Sunday was to find somewhere to stay for the night, closer to Memphis, Tennessee.

My #1 suggestion for road trips – the Stay the Night app for iPhone. This searches your area for hotels that are looking to fill their rooms for the night for a discounted rate. It’s perfect for road trips, when you are done driving, turn on the app and it will hook you up with the best deal at your location. (They also have a filter for dog friendly hotels!)

The first hotel that popped up for us – Elvis’s Guest house right on his property in Memphis. $125 for the night in a five star hotel. The last leg of our second day – just over two hours and our hotel was just what we needed to refresh us. The hotel was RIGHT ON Elvis’s property and our room overlooked his estate. A beautiful room, with a rain shower and deluxe bed (heaven).


Our very last day, Monday morning. We started early, well rested from the night before, around 5:00AM. We started off strolling along The Mississippi River. We loved Memphis, but after all of this driving we were starting to get a little home sick and WE WERE WAY SICK OF MEAT SANDWICHES.

Our very last day, we wanted to see Alabama on the way back to Florida.

My #2  for road trips – download the Gas Buddy app on the iPhone. Open it up while you are on the highway and it will give you the best price for gas in your area.


Our VERY last stop was in Georgia. Providence Canyon State Par has been sitting on my summer bucket list for years and we finally got to visit. The State Park is well known as the “Mini Grand Canyon.”


Just as we’re standing at the edge,  a short walk from the parking lot, it started to downpour. This Canyon took my breath away, as it started to rain the deep orange rock started to change color to this beautiful rusty orange. We stayed right there in the rain to enjoy it, reluctant to get back into the car.

Another five hours and we were finally home in Orlando. Soaked to the core, covered in red clay but this trip was worth it. We saw eight new states, 12 cities and made memories to last a life time.

It never takes much to travel, just the willingness to get yourself out there. Overall for this weekend we WOULD have spent around $800 on gas, hotels and food.

BUT we saved on hotels by booking the day of, we saved on gas by using an app and we saved on food by packing our cooler. What we actually spent? Just under $400.

Pack up your car. Take your dog. And get out there to see something new!

Exploring the Orlando Neighborhood : Hiking Wekiva Springs State Park, Florida

Now that you have heard my complaints about Wekvia Springs State park. Let me now tell you about hiking in Wekvia Springs State Park, two words “I’M OBSESSED.” Over the last month I have hiked a little over thirty miles in the Wekvia Springs State Park with my dog Tinsel. This is one of the most incredible Florida State Parks that I have ever hiked, which was very surprising, since I despised canoeing to Wekvia Springs.

73781C3B-D74A-4F05-B858-8F966943A382

There is a $6 entrance fee into the park per car and it is well worth the price. Make a left on the main road after checking in and drive all the way down to the parking lot next to the equestrian hiking trail loop. The drive takes about 5-10 minutes, because it loops in and out of the forest. To your left and right you can see vast views of Florida plains. Several mornings I have encountered deer walking across the road. Park in the small hikers loop past the restrooms and get ready for the hike of your life!

250FC5C3-D130-4784-B891-14527A3DC39F

Now unpack your gear, leash up your pup and let’s get going! Starting off on the Equestrian Trail head I followed the large 8 mile loop around Wekvia Springs. For those of you with pups that might be nervous or fearful of dogs/people there are seldom times when I have actually ran into another hiker on the trail. During my hikes I have seen bald eagles, fox squirrels and deer just to name a few. Now the terrain on the trail is just sand, which can be hard to trek in, just be warned you will be sore tomorrow!

0D757D93-F18E-44DA-91C8-3B01B687170D

Wild flowers, sweeping views and huge oak trees cover the trail. Here you can see coopers hawks, bald eagles, fox squirrels and deer. Always make sure you get to a hike as early as possible, the later in the day means more hikers have been on the trail possibly scaring off wildlife (not to mention the weather is better). For the experienced hikers, after finishing the 8 mile loop you can head straight for another 5 miles of trails that still loop around to the parking lot. The longest hike I have done in this State Park was for a little over 12 miles and I was EXHAUSTED.

FB149FA3-A27D-4E0E-8C2D-E7A6B7082B9B

A side note for Florida Locals, there is an app called “Meetup.” For those of you who would like to hike with a tour guide, a group or find hikers with dogs this app will introduce you to tons of like minded, wanderlust people in Florida! The app will introduce you to local festivals, hikes and even overnight backpacking trips! Hikers are about the nicest people you will encounter, so never hesitate to ask questions when you see one on the trail! They might have some great advice! On a second hiking trip in Wekvia with my friend Andrea and Tinsel, we ran into a group of hikers (20 or so) with about five other dogs. I was surprised to see anyone on the trail at all, let alone this group of hikers. They meet up every other week with their dogs and hike 13+ miles at Wekvia Springs State Park. The app is definitely a go-to for me, to meet up with other hikers and dog walkers.