Tips for Visiting Disney Solo

I was provided with free theme park tickets to help facilitate this blog post. All opinions are mine alone.

Back in January when I went to Walt Disney World for the WDW Marathon I did something I had never done before. I went and explored the amusement parks, all by myself. I know what you are thinking, Disney is the land of family vacations but you can have plenty of fun going solo too.

Tips For Visiting Disney Solo | My Hot Southern Mess


Road Trip Vehicle Maintenance

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SummerCarCare #CollectiveBias

With just over a month left of school left and summer around the corner vacation plans are being made. My family has been talking about all of the possible road trips we could take. Being a large family road trips in our SUV are our preferred method of vacation travel. It is the most cost effective way for all 6 of us to travel. An added plus is we can usually bring our dogs too! Taking our cars does mean a little bit of extra work to get ready for vacation. We have to make sure vehicle maintenance is done. Nobody wants something to happen to their car while away from home. To save money this is something that we do ourselves. Road trip vehicle maintenance is pretty easy to do, seriously, even I can do it! I have even come up with a printable checklist to help you do it yourself too!

 Road Trip Vehicle Maintenance | My Hot Southern Mess


Military Life: 8 Tips For Planning a Staycation #ChevySalutes

Being a military family we often have challenges when it comes to planning vacations. With my husband’s job we cannot really plan too far in advance and to make things a little trickier he does not get to pick when he is going to take leave. Unfortunately, many times his vacation days do not line up with the time our kids have off from school. What’s a military family to do? I can tell you what we do. Our family has embraced the staycation.

A staycation is a fun and affordable way to get out and explore what is right where you live or within a few hours. In addition to discovering what was in our own backyard our staycations have taken us to the beach, mountains, national parks, amusement parks and every where in between. Whenever we move to a new duty station one of the first things we figure out once we get settled in is all the cool places we want to go visit.  The next challenge is visiting all of the places we want to go before my husband gets orders to a new duty station. Our staycations are part of how our family finds new roads to bloom where we have been planted. Discovering what is around you is key to falling in love with and loving your duty station.

8 Tips For Planning a Staycation #ChevySalutes

Here are my top 8 tips for planning a Staycation:


8. Research, Research, Research! Thanks to the internet information is at your fingertips. Check with your local visitor bureau and see what is interesting in your area. You can also request visitor guides to be sent to your home.

7. Have a family meeting. Get your entire family involved! Find out what they are interested in seeing and doing.

6. Make a list. Figure out everything you and your family want to do and write it down. Seeing everything you want to do written out can help you decide exactly where you want to go and what you want to do.

5. Set a budget. You may be staying at home but very few things in life are free. Come up with a budget of what you can spend for fuel, food, tickets and whatever other expenses you may incur.

4.Plan Your Itinerary.  Decide on dates and where you are going. Find specials and deals on local attractions. Don’t forget to check your installations Tickets and Tours office!

3. Plan for a road trip. If you are driving an hour or two away from home make sure you everything you need for your family. A car with plenty of room, snacks, your kids favorite toys, electronics and chargers make for a much smoother ride.

2. Check the weather first! Nothing is worse than planning a great outdoor adventure and then it get’s ruined by rain. Check the weather before you leave and reschedule if needed.

1. Have Fun! Above everything a staycation is time to spend time with family and relax. Let loose and have fun! There is no reason to stress while on vacation!

Summer is prime time for staycations and if you are in the market for a new car that would be perfect for your staycation road trips, Chevrolet has a great deal going on in May for Military Appreciation Month. Chevrolet is honoring those in the military with the best discount program out of any car company because Chevrolet feels those who serve deserve a great discount! Chevrolet Military Program is open to  all veterans, this includes Active Duty, Reserves and Retirees and their spouses of all branches (U.S. Air Force, Army, Navy, Marines, National Guard and Coast Guard).  An added plus is you can combine this discount with most other current incentives. For instance USAA members also receive an additional $750 private offer.

Have you ever taken a staycation? How do you find new roads when you PCS?


#chevysalutes contest on instagram!

Check out the #ChevySalutes #FindNewRoads Instagram Contest that will run from May 4-17, 2015. Those that enter have the chance to win 1 of 3 prizes (1 grand prize, 2 runners up) by sharing photos or videos that show how their military family finds new roads or how we can support our military service members and their families as they find new roads. Make sure you enter, you never know your picture could be the grand prize winner!

Make sure to connect with Chevrolet on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and follow the #chevysalutes #FindNewRoads hashtags. You can also check out to learn more about Chevrolet’s military discount program during Military Appreciation Month


This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Chevrolet via MSB New Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Run-cation Packing List

Have you gone on a Run-cation? A vacation where you go run a race. Yeah, i’m sure that may sound crazy to some people but if you are into running it can be fun! I have done a couple and have a few more destination races on my dream list of half and full marathons that I want to do. If it just wasn’t for that whole money thing (why must things be so expensive!) Destination races are a ton of fun but they do take some extra planning. Since you aren’t going to be at home you need to plan ahead and pack what you are going to need in advance for your race. It sucks when you get to your destination to find out that you are missing something. When it is an extra important item like say your running shoes you could be in a bind. Most larger races have expos but when they do not or do not have what you are looking for you could be left driving in a strange town looking for a running store and hoping for the best. Making a run-cation packing list for your race day necessities is a must! After all,  “A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  Take a few moments and plan for your next runcation. It may help you more than you think to go into your run-cation organized.

Runcation Packing List | Country Girl Gourmet

Here is my Run-cation packing list:

  • ID and/or medical id
  • Cash and/or credit card
  • Any medicines
  • Flight info
  • Hotel info (if going to Disney- Magic Bands)
  • Race waiver
  • Running clothes (Dress for the weather, bring  alternate weather running clothes- just in case)
  • Costume (sparkle skirt, 1970’s tux, clown wig.. dressing up can be fun!)
  • Costume fixers – in case your costume falls apart mid-run, its helpful to have extra tape, safety pins,scissors or even a hot glue gun on you to fix costume emergencies!
  • Compression sleeves
  • Sports bra (it’s amazing how many ladies forget this!)
  • Running underwear
  • Socks
  • Running shoes (they might be important!)
  • Throwaways- sweatshirts/ sweatpants or blankets for prerace. Garbage bags work too!
  • Hat/ visor
  • Cold weather gear (hat’s and gloves)
  • Rain Poncho
  • Sunglasses
  • Flip flops or alternate pair of shoes for after race
  • Postrace clothes
  • Simple cinch bag (if not provided) for gear check
  • Group identifiers – if you’re in a group like team rundisney, or another meetup, wear identifying pieces, like a pin or badge, so other group members can find you
  • Food – It is helpful to bring foods you usually eat so something new does not upset your stomach.
  • Race fuel-gels, wafers, sports beans,chews etc.
  • Electrolyte replacement- ex. Nuun
  • Extra water/sports drinks
  • Fuel belt/ camel back/ handheld water bottle
  • Running belt/flipbelt/ spibelt
  • Phone and charger
  • Ipod and charger
  • Headphones
  • Armband for phone/ipod
  • Gps and charger
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Camera
  • Batteries
  • SD card for camera
  • Chapstick
  • Body glide / chaffing prevention
  • Vaseline/ chaffing/blister prevention
  • Kleenex or wet wipes in case porta potties are out
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Motrin/tylenol
  • Band aids, mole skin etc.
  • KT tape and medical wrap
  • Biofreeze/tiger balm, neosporin
  • Hair things, headbands, hair ties, bobby pins, clips, etc.
  • Ziploc bags (for if it rains)
  • Laptop/ iPad/ tablet
  • Chargers (Don’t forget your chargers for all of your electronics!)
  • Powerstrip (esp. if sharing a room)

*If flying Carry On race day items (running clothes and shoes)*


I hope my list helps you out! If I forgot something please let me know so I can add it to the list!