The Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio… Chicago, IL

 

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Some of my travels have taken me to the most beautiful of places, one being Frank Lloyd Wright’s personal home found in Oak Park, IL (a suburb of Chicago). Located at 951 Chicago Avenue, it was built in 1889 in a shingle style architecture, and the man had an eye for using space as necessary but making it also a work of art to behold. One cannot enter any of his properties without a gasp of “How did he do that” or “WHY did he do that?” Maybe most of us have become immue to the imagination it takes to make these homes of wonder, or that it’s just to much time and energy to do so in the first place. This was his passion, his passion project to be more precise. Here is where he raised his children, family moments made, kisses with his beloved, and also where he would work in the Studio that was inside his home until 1909. A masterpiece, a work of art, a home.

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Tickets will cost you $20 per person for the “Home and Studio Guided Interior” Tour which is what I signed up for on Thursday, August 6th, 2020. I highly recommend for any travels during Covid times that you do your research, call ahead, and pay online- some DO NOT update their websites and you don’t need to pay for something, invest the energy into going, only to find out that it has been closed during Covid and never bothered to update their site. (Yes, it has happened to me). For now, their hours are 10 am- 3 pm, THURSDAY through SUNDAY ONLY, so plan accordingly. Children under the age of 8 are not permitted, and I am just going to assume because it’s a Museum of sorts now and little ones want to touch everything. Nothing here is behind velvet ropes or glass, you are truly walking as a guest into his home. The tour takes about 45 minutes, plus or minus a chatty person who has lots of questions OR someone who takes a ton of photos like myself.

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Due to Covid, they only allow 8 guests per tour, and that worked out wonderfully for me. I checked in under a white tent where they checked my ticket on my phone, got the small group of us together, and that’s how simple it was. Everyone stood far apart, and when we walked around I would make sure to hang back and be the last one so I had my space. Masks are required at all times, and they do have rubber mats on the floors to show you where to stand in certain rooms. I had no problem finding the home, and was able to park on the side in the neighborhood that he also designed several homes for. That area is MUCH QUIETER to park in, the main road of Chicago Avenue was VERY busy and wasn’t worth trying to park on. Also this was a beautiful suburb of Chicago, the neighborhood alone was worth the trip! After the tour, I highly recommend a walk through the gift shop (who doesn’t like a gift shop?) and grab yourself a $3 map of the area where they show you each home that he also designed-it’s really cool and I will share those photos in tomorrow’s blog post! The tour was DEFINITELY worth the money, and only took under an hour to complete ours, so it’s worth the stop to or from Chicago. Check it out and thanks for stopping by!

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The 2020 Sea World All Day Dining Deal: Part One…The Food Choices

Living the Relocated Tourist life, you discover little ways here and there to make the most out of your money, especially since I am in them 3-4 times a week. Having been a Passholder for a while, I had been curious about this “All Day Dining Deal” that they advertise all over their site and Parks. I am usually in the Parks from open to mid-afternoon, usually because I am trying to beat rush hour on the way home, so it is rare these days to do an open to close in any of the Theme Parks. An “All Day Dining Deal” for myself never seemed worth it because I usually ate breakfast at home or on the way, grabbed my lunch at the Park and then was home well in time for dinner. That being said, I thought it would be a fun blog to challenge myself to the “All Day Dining Deal.” Meaning I would eat on the hour, every hour the Park was open, to see what kind of food options, drinks, and such I could get out of the deal. Here’s the gluttonous tale…. I hope you’re hungry….said no one ever after doing this challenge.

First, I want to start off by thanking my amazing husband, Craig, who willingly agreed to do this challenge with me. Sea World was having a great offer for Passholders for the month of January, where I could bring in a friend for free. I am the Passholder of the family, so these deals are nice for me to bring in a family member on occasion without having to pay for family passes. (A nice perk if you’re thinking of becoming an Annual Passholder). So let’s state the facts first for your reference. It was a Monday, it was in January, their hours were 10-6, and it was a quiet Park. We were pretty sure there were more employees than visitors. January is typically a slow month in the Parks, so keep that in mind. These facts are important when deciding when and if you’d like to do the dining plan. Time of year means more or less people, which means more or less lines, which means more or less time to achieve this challenge in the first place. You have to get in line, then order your food, then pay for food, and then eat your food all in a span of time before the next hour was up to eat again. You’d think this would be an easy task, it wasn’t. Had we had bigger crowds with bigger lines, not only would we not have gotten so much done, but we wouldn’t have wanted to do as much because more people usually causes more stress which leads to me in my car going home as soon as possible.

We got to the Park right away at opening, again 10 am, and immediately bought the dining plan at a kiosk just inside the entrance, right next to the “Sea World” sign photo opp. (These kiosks are located throughout the Park) Since I am a Passholder, I was able to save 15% off. So for any adult, it would be $39.99 with tax, ($19.99 for children) and for me it was $33.99 with tax. They give you a wristband with a UPC Code for them to scan every time you purchase something. It was purchased at 10:09 a.m. which now was basically the green light to start eating. What is in the Dining Deal? The one that I bought gives you ONE entrée, ONE side or dessert, and ONE beverage. You can upgrade to include alcohol for $15 more- that’s ONE drink per hour. Who knew you could get lit at Sea World? Tis true! IMPORTANT NOTE- The ONLY place serving breakfast was “Seafire Inn” which is a couple right turns off the entrance. Again, you want to get the most for your purchase, so we headed there to grab breakfast first. You could get a fruit cup($3.99), choice of bakery item ($3.99), and then a drink($3.99) (fountain drink, bottled water, or milk). The total value of breakfast was roughly $13 let’s say. We recorded our time down at 10:17 a.m. and made sure to keep track of everything we were eating. Check out the next blog post about reviews of the food and the places we ate- I would’ve added it here but it would make this post about 80 pages long, aint no one got time for that! SW11

A note here, you can ask for a receipt for each transaction, but there are no prices listed on said receipt, you will want these for the time stamp on the bottom, so you know when you can get your next meal. When they say you can eat every hour, they mean it, and not a MINUTE sooner. Now drinks? They are more relaxed on those. I was told you can get as many as you want throughout the day, but I was told by another Team Member that they allow 12 beverages per visitor which equals a normal Park day’s hours are usually 12 hours. Since they were only open 8 on the day we went, she still said the system allows 12 each. So keep that in mind if you already used your meal credit for the hour but you’re dying for a bottle of water, go ahead and get it.

Next we hit up “Mango Joes” at 11:17 a.m. which was in the back corner of the Park, next to “Wild Artic.” Now being lunch time, we could get a little more creative with our choices. I wanted to pick different items at each offered location so that I could report a variety of offerings the Park has. We all get sick of chicken nuggets and fries don’t we? Here we chose the Impossible burger (which for those who don’t know what that is, it’s a plant based, vegan option)($14.99), a side summer salad($4.99), waffle fries came included with the entrée, and a Coke Zero($3.99). A total value of $25 let’s say with tax. Now just after TWO meals, we had gotten a value of $38- already $5 over what I paid into it. SW12

At 12:17, we found ourselves at “Waterway Grill” which is a brand new Restaurant back behind the newest ride “Infinity Falls.” A cleaner menu, they offered tofu, steak, and chicken, which was a nice variety to choose from. We chose the Churrasco Steak($15.99), which came with rice and beans, a large piece of carrot cake($3.99), and another Coke Zero($3.99). By the way, all meal plans come with the regular size drink, and not the 2 Liter size. Value around $25 for that meal. SW13

After saying hello to my favorite penguin crew, we dined at “Expedition Cafe” which is just outside their ride and area. We dined at 1:20 p.m. and I was super excited that they served Asian food here. We chose the Teriyaki chicken, Orange Chicken, Fried Veggies and Fried Rice combo ($15.99) with a large piece of Chocolate cake($3.99) and mixed things up a bit with a Lemonade($3.99)this round. A total value of $25 with tax. I even snagged a White Cherry(they had three flavors here) Icee ($4.99) after dinner as part of my “unlimited beverages.”SW14

At 2:20 p.m., we headed to “Captain Pete’s Island Hot Dogs” stand where we picked up a Foot Long Chili Cheese Hot Dog ($12.99), more waffle fries included, a bottle of water ($2.99), and a bag of cookies ($3.99). Total Value was roughly $21. I was excited about the cookies being in a bag, it was the first item we had received that I could take home with me, funny thing is I just remembered they were in my bag and currently eating one as I write.SW16

3:20 p.m. came fast, so we headed to “Voyagers” which is a BBQ Smokehouse. We got the Rib Platter which was 3 Ribs, a quarter Chicken, smoked sausage, waffle fries, and a dinner roll ($18.99). Also was a piece of cherry cheesecake ($3.99) and a Sprite ($3.99). A value roughly of $28.SW17

Since there was a large line at the last one, our time was bumped to 4:30 p.m. for the next gluttonous adventure. We headed to “Spice Mill” where we got the Bacon Cheeseburger with all the fixings ($13.49), a side of Potato Salad ($3.99) and TWO bottles of water ($2.99 each) (because again I could get as many as they’d let me). Total value was $24.SW9

5:30 p.m. came and we could see the end in sight….all I could think about is how much pepto I was going to have to take to counter act the battle that was about to happen in my digestive tract. We ended where we started, “Seafire Inn” where they now were serving dinner. We chose the Grilled Chicken Wrap ($12.99), piece of Chocolate Cake ($3.99) and another Coke Zero ($3.99) to end the day. Total value of this meal, $22 with tax.SW18

So again with estimation of tax, for the $33.99 that I had spent for ONE dining, all day, plan, the TOTAL value you COULD get in one EIGHT hour day is $183!!!! Now, let’s be realistic. Who is going to eat EIGHT meals during a Park day? Between rides and shows, you can barely sit for one, maybe two meals. The point though is that if you do your research, you can find the best value for that plan, and also you can get those beverages any time you like. Bottled water any time is a HUGE commodity in the Florida heat, so that alone with your meals is well worth the dining plan. NOW if you or your family are light eaters, I would say it’s not worth it. Split some meals up and save the cash. I split every single meal with my husband all day long – ONE plan- and we were STILL stuffed to the gills!!

Check out my next post about my review on the food we ate and the places we ate for this Challenge HERE. I hope you found this informative and that it helps YOU out on your next adventure to Sea World, Orlando!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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How We Did Washington D.C.

rsz_img_3226Over the last two road trips I traversed, I was blessed to be able too visit Washington D.C. on each.  I fell in love with the history, the patriotism, and the overall city.  I was truly hooked.  So when Craig and I discussed what we could travel too before our next chapter, we decided on D.C. so that he and Emily could experience it for themselves. Thus the planning began.  And since all I have done since 2011 is move across the County 4 times with my family and no real vacation with them, it was exciting to plan a joint venture together.

D.C. isn’t Disney….obviously…but I hadn’t planned anything like it since my move and Mickey trips. So I decided to make a list of everything I had enjoyed, and everything I hadn’t done yet. Then I had Craig and Emily each make their lists and that was the base of the planning.  I had been fortunate enough to have a dear friend live near DC that I had been driven in and out both trips, so doing it on our own was going to be a challenge.  There is so much information out there, like a Disney vacation, that it did become overwhelming. I didn’t know what areas were safe, or the best play to stay or heck even whether to use LYFT or UBER.  So, here’s the real of it – we winged most of it.

If you want to do things like the Holocaust Museum, the Capital, the White House, and specialty Museums, tickets need to be reserved/purchased well before you head there. We planned around 60 days out, and I mean REAL planning, and we lost out on getting into several places because the tickets were already sold out.  Some places you can check the day of your touring to see if tickets are available, as some are offered the day of.  I am sure this is more of a summer issue, as this is the busiest time. So pick your week, book the tickets, and then work around those times.  Those times are in stone so you can find what is located near those places and tour them each day in blocks, so you aren’t running across town wasting time and energy.

So this is what worked out for us, we had our locked in times for certain things and then just toured around that.  For transportation, we parked at Arlington every day and walked in and took LYFT back to the car.  It was easier doing this because you stay out of the busier traffic from the city in this area, on and off the highway nearby, and the parking was reasonably priced. A LYFT ride back to Arlington from the Mall area usually was around $8-$10- well worth it when it feels like your feet are about to fall off.

We did a week in DC and it was plenty of time. Spending 2-3 hours per Smithsonian, we took our time. The popular Natural and American History ones were over run with school groups, so it was difficult to really enjoy those, whereas the African-American, Art, and others were quieter and you could actually read and enjoy the calmness. The Spy Museum took about 3 hours and was worth EVERY PENNY!  We filled a backpack every day full of snacks and drinks, something you will want to do if you are out and about touring for 6-7 straight days. Bottled water and drinks are available in most gift shops and food trucks, but there are “Dollar Guys” on most corners who are selling bottled water and Gatorade for $1.  We went that route when our drinks were gone, or we tried to save our bottles and refill them at drinking fountains.  Food trucks offer a large variety of foods, and we found they were mostly there on the weekends only. Many offered samples, so ask to try something if you aren’t sure.

I don’t think there really is a “bad way” to do D.C. I think there is so much to see that you truly do need a plan so that you don’t miss anything, but we did so much more than we had hoped.  It is set up in a way that on your way (by foot) you come across something else, and so on.  I HIGHLY recommend walking it (if possible) because you just get to feel the city so much more.  One of my favorite days was walking Constitution Avenue on my own and just enjoying the sights and sounds.  My favorite building by far was the Library of Congress- soooo beautiful- like being in a Castle.  I can’t say anything was really a negative, as much as a disappointment was that the reflection pool was being cleaned so it was empty and the National Cathedral had a commencement so they only gave us certain angles to see it.  Stick to the Avenues to stay in the shade, walking around the bottom of the Washington Monument is awesome the first time, but it is incredibly hot and in zero shade of anything to walk past more than once. Scooters and bikes are left all around the Mall to use to get around as well- we didn’t use them.  LYFT worked 3 out of 4 rides. The last ride she got lost taking us back to Arlington and winding up near the Pentagon, so we are disputing the charges since we were about a mile from Arlington and a ride of about $8 wound up being $22 because SHE got lost.  Seems shady so we shall see what happens with that dispute. One driver actually told us she doesn’t know the city at all…. WHY would you tell your riders this? She was super kind and did wind up getting us where we needed to go, but I was shocked she said it.

I don’t know if we will ever go back, as we have some big things coming up next year, but I am happy we had this family trip together, although we missed our Kyra very much.  I highly recommend a visit!RoadTripLogo

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Distracted Parent at the Parks

rsz_img_e6378Recently on a trip to the Parks, I was waiting in line at Slinky Dog with the family.  As we all know, the culmination of tired guests at the end of a long day, can make those lines seem even longer. I GET IT.  But that being said, I watched as a couple were in deep discussion over a map or kissing, whatever, as their small children of probably 5 years old, played around my family and I behind them… at first it’s cute. You tell yourself that kids will be kids and let them have their fun.  Then they step on you….they don’t mean it so you try to keep your cool and again convince yourselves that these little humans don’t realize they can be jerks.  But as I watched the parents, time and time again over the next 90 minute wait we had, my blood began to boil.  If you say something, you’re the bad guy.  PLUS you get the added bonus of waiting in line with the people you just asked to stop for however long and that’s just as uncomfortable. At one point we had moved forward a good ten feet and their kids were playing on the poles and Mom and Dad didn’t even notice they were a good 4 parties behind them. Nothing. It wasn’t until the kids ran up to join them that they even looked down.

I get it folks, people want to celebrate with their kids in this happy place.  But you know what doesn’t make it happy anymore? When I constantly have to watch your child for you because you are too distracted.  Parenting is rough, many of us have been through it or are still in the trenches. And yes, it does take a Village. Here’s an example of when I was more than happy to help. I have found that the parade environment, at Disney especially, can be a very toxic place. The reason is that EVERYONE feels entitled to see, have the perfect spot, and it doesn’t matter who around them has to deal with it.  I have sat hours beforehand to get a perfect picture or that “just right” experience and I don’t mind standing to let little ones sit or stand in front of me.  When parents ASK ME I have totally ok with it- as long as the kids are going to sit still and I am not having to babysit. But when parents decide to SHOVE their little human in front of me and yell “Its just a child, it’s just a child” I truthfully want to shout back at the parent “It’s my foot, it’s just my foot.” Read into that how you want.  I was sitting on Main Street with the family on a vacation back in the day and a stroller came behind us, parked, and the child’s ice cream dripped down my back.  Nothing like getting my spot early only to have to deal with a sticky backside and parents who didn’t care as I looked back at them with “the look.”  Or holding a place for hours on end just to be made to feel like you’re a bad human because you got there first and did the time and they can’t believe they can’t just walk up and sit in your spot. Oh and on a side not, for Pete’s sake if you need to put your child up on your shoulders to see, stand in the BACK.

What people get wrong about the Parks is that they are for EVERYONE. Not just families, not just the single rider, and certainly not just for the kids- EVERYBODY. So it just takes a little time and respect to watch your kids in line, say sorry when your kid does something to a stranger, and please don’t play it off when they do and think “It’s just my kid being a kid.”  Most people, like myself, will give the benefit of the doubt repeatedly because we don’t want to come off looking like jerks either.  We want your kids and your family to have a GREAT time, just be aware that you’re not the only one enjoying the magic.

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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What’s In a Name?

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For those who don’t know our story, back in 2009, Craig and I were on our nightly walk when we not only came up with the name “The Relocated Tourist”, but also our mantra and life statement, which is “Going from what if, to why not?” Still love that to this day. I can’t even begin to tell you how much that has applied to our lives.

When I started blogging that 9 years ago, I was thirsty to share with the World what information we had collected for our big move to Florida. There wasn’t anything out there that talked about “REAL” life here, and that concerned us both.  Thus a building of a beautiful community of friends that I have had since that launch day, oh so long ago, that I wish I had realized that I didn’t have to stay in the box that I had created for myself back then.

People will tell you if you want the numbers, stay on target. Focus on what you want to talk about and go with that subject in mind.  But I have learned that I have lots I want to talk about and share with people, and I am definitely not “normal.”  The reason I LOVED the name of my blog was for the fact that I could talk about travel, relocation, Disney, Universal, Sea World, Florida, Wisconsin, road trips, life mishaps, etc… and why I hope that when the day comes that this isn’t all about Mickey and Main Street that you STILL follow along my adventures.

I can guarantee you we will relocate again down the road…but for now, the magic of Disney, the frustrations of Florida, and all of my road trip goodness will hopefully keep you tucked in at night.  Stay tuned!

Donations for Content

Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00