03 Sep 2014

Best Family Events in Tampa -Fall/ Holiday 2014

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It’s that time of year again when the City of Tampa puts out some AMAZING holiday and fall family fun for everyone to enjoy! My family has attend all these events in the past and LOVES them all! These are somebody the many reasons I LOVE Tampa and enjoy living in the City of Tampa!

Here are a list of upcoming events. More information can be found on the City of Tampa website.

Tampa’s Downtown On Ice
Curtis Hixon Park
November 20, 2014- January 5, 2015

SantaFest Holiday Parade
Downtown Tampa/ Curtis Hixon Park
December 6, 2014
Parade- 11am
Fest- 12pm-4pm

Tampa’sTree Lighting
Curtis Hixon Park
December 5, 2014

Screen on the Green- Water Works Park (Tampa Heights)
Movies start at 7:30
October 4, 2014- Muppets Most Wanted
October 11, 2014- Despicable Me 2
October 18, 2014- Avengers
October 25, 2014 – The Lego Movie




25 Aug 2014

This Is Five

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17 Aug 2014

Winter has Hope: A Dolphin Tale 2 Movie Review

No Comments Adventures, Family Travel, Florida, Opinion, Review, Sponsored, Tampa

Inspired by true events.

You could stay the storyline was written in the stars…


After the amazing heart-warming and true story made the movie “Dolphin Tale,” we were inspired to say the least. We were so excited to hear “Dolphin Tale 2″ would be out in 2014. Being that we aren’t in L.A., New York or Chicago and don’t have too many movies filmed in the Tampa Bay area, visiting the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) where both movies have been filmed has been a highlight for people near and far for so many reasons. People all over the world visit to see and meet Winter because they have been truly inspired by her overcoming the loss of her tale and how she hasn’t given up.

According to David Yates, the CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and executive producer of “Dolphin Tale 2,” said that in the weekend falling the release of the first movie, 10,000 emails were received that first weekend telling them how inspired they were by Winters’ story for their own personal reason. Many with stories about loosing a limb who connected with Winter right away. She couldn’t give up. Those who rescued her wouldn’t let her give up on herself. It’s a lesson that as a parent, we can use teach our kids too. You can’t give up. And in this new movie we learn that when one door closes another door opens and life is full of possibilities…another great life lesson for everyone.

Winter, the brave dolphin rescued and rehabilitated in the 2011 family hit movie, is back we continue to see him using his prosthetic tale that was at the center of the first story. My kids loved seeing all the familiar scenes inside the aquarium because we have visited several times and many even before the renovations began!

“Dolphin Tale 2″ has reunited the original cast including director Charles Martin Smith, the director of the original film, plus the entire cast of the earlier film who all say they leapt at the chance to return to Clearwater and show more of the good work that the wasn’t able to fit into the first movie. The cast includes Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd, Morhan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, Kris Kristofferson, Cozily Zuehlsdorff, Austin Stowell, Austin Highsmith and the inspirational “Soul Surfer” star and real life professional surfer who lost her arm to a tiger shark attack, Bethany Hamilton playing herself. And of course the all-star cast of animals: Winter, Rufus the pelican plus new characters Hope, played by herself, and Mandy (who is actually played by resident dolphin Nicholas) as the newly rescued dolphins, and Mavis, the Neely rescued sea turtle. And their safety and security was the only consideration, without compromise, when it came to filming the movie.

“The most important thing to us in making both movies was the cafe and well-being of the animals. The movie was secondary,” Smith affirms. With animatronics and visual effects, along with being shot in 3D vs. 2D (as the first movie was) every scene in this movie looked as real as it could. They were able to improve many filming techniques this time around both mechanically and aesthetically so the outcome would be as real as possible. End result…as real as it gets from recreating the actual events.

With so many coincidences, the sequel was just meant to be filmed. David Yates, the CEO of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and executive producer on “Dolphin Tale 2,” recounted to us that everything that unfolded when Hope was rescued was extremely coincidental and just so serendipitous. She, Hope, was an Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, about the same age as Winter when Winter was rescued, found in the same part of Florida that Winter was found by the same rescue team. In addition, one because of the passing of the long time dolphin CMA resident, Panama, Winter was in need of a new companion, and it had to be a female. You could stay the storyline was written in the stars.

Add a little serendipity, some fate and lots of Hope to the mix, and you’ll end up with this wonderful movie about how things that happen in life, sometimes are just meant to be.

To say my kids and I loved the movie is an understatement. It was moving, touching, inspirational and meaningful. It sparked great conversations of life lessons on the way home.


It was also wonderful to hear about how the first movie has truly made such an impact on the educational outreach all around the world for the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. With average yearly attendance up from 78,000 people in 2006 to 750,000 after the film came out, I can only believe that more will follow the pilgrimage to come to Clearwater and meet Winter themselves. Their mission of Rescue, Rehabilitate and, when possible, Return the animals that come to them into their care to the wild, has also expanded to adding one word… Inspire.

The Dolphin Tale 2 movie will open in theaters nationwide on September 12.

To see Winter, visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Clearwater, Florida or visit SeeWinter.com to see here online.


Winter and Hope.


Winter and Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.


Mia and Shelby photographed with David Yates, CEO of the Clearwter Marine Aquarium and executive producer of “Dolphin Tale 2.”

14 Aug 2014

I Love That I’m Not Alone

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I was sad to hear about Robin Williams death for a number of reasons. I believe depression itself is masked by many people in so many ways. And also can come on to anyone during any point in their life. I wrote this piece earlier this year and didn’t share but I think it’s a good time to share. It’s a scary dark place to be, kind of like being stranded on an island alone, but many never let on that they are or were there. I’m hoping that when others read they too will know they are not alone. Prayers and love to those who are struggling and to those who are now helping others get better.


I love that I’m not alone on this while Mom-thing. It’s something that I feel that because I have personally been in the trenches, the actual trenches of motherhood, and to some of the deepest dark depths, I could relate to another mother, and maybe make her feel like she is not alone either should she find herself there.

I find comfort on my crazy days when I am almost in tears, that I’m brought to laughter by friends whom I haven’t spoken to in years, but via a comment that can have me feeling like they get it. They get that this crazy life is non-stop and always one crazy story after another and they get it. I love to read about them. I think that’s why Moms ( females) make up the higher percentage of social media users and blog readers. We love to read stories we can relate to.

It’s not empathy that we are after, it’s comfort, really. Knowing that we aren’t alone and that someone else gets us makes us more connected to each other as persons. Husband, boyfriends, etc… They are all wonderful, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the Moms who keep me afloat and remind me of how wonderful being a Mom can be. Sometimes being a Mom is everything we ever dreamed it would be. Sometimes…it’s not anything like we ever imagined. Moms understand.

Some of my fondest memories of this time in my life are of the Moms I call friends who are in this with me. I’m in it with them too. It’s not a war, but experiences like this will only be for a short while. Each stage of our children’s childhood brings with it unique challenges that I have no idea how to fucking handle. I look to those that have been there for advice and I idolize those who have been there and survived. I need help. It’s not always easy to say. And sometimes we don’t ask. And sometimes we just need to give the help to someone else, even if they don’t ask. A simple gesture might make another’s day, and maybe you’ll never know that what you just did, will live with them forever in their memory of this magical and almost mythical time of Motherhood.

I have felt alone before. It’s not a good feeling. It’s actually really sad to feel alone when you are, but you’re really not. And it’s something very real. But no one talks about it. You might with close friends. But not many. Not open. You hide it. Make everything seem ok. Back away from the people who love you. Stay quiet. The highs are high. The lows are low. And it’s hard to climb out of that darkness.

I recently learned about an organization and event called “Climb out of the Darkness” held on the longest day of the year, the first day of summer…an effort to shine the most light on this cause…postpartum depression. Their mission is powerful. It’s bringing together lots of Mothers who want to tell other Mothers that they are not alone. If it helps one person share their story with another, than that’s enough. Because when you are in the darkness, and don’t know why, and don’t know where to turn, you don’t know what to do, that’s when you need help.

This past year, on June 21st, the longest day of the year, millions of people climbed for others to know that they aren’t alone. I love knowing that I’m not alone. We are not alone. And that is a good feeling.

To read more about Postpartum Progress and how they help Mothers with postpartum depression and so much more, visit their official site here

12 Aug 2014

Easy International Travel: Visit Puerto Rico with Kids

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I love international travel. It’s amazing to visit new countries, experience new cultures and soak in the beauty of the world just by visiting some place new. International travel with children is something new to me. If you are wanting to test run international travel, I recommend visiting Puerto Rico. Being that Puerto Rico is a common wealth of the United States, you do not need a passport, different currency and there really is no language barrier upon arrival.  On an island about the size of Connecticut, you have the freedom to  soak up island life, explore, set sail or take flight to some place new. In a few short hours on a non-stop flight from the continental US, you will touch down in sunny San Juan and be on your way to paradise, minus all the hassles of international travel.





All photos taken with iPhone 5c by Marisa Langford at El Conquistador Resort.

This is the first in a series of posts/ reviews that will be published on Trekaroo Blog. To read more about travel with kids to Puerto Rico come with me on my adventures via Trekaroo!

04 Aug 2014

Four Seasons Orlando Opens in Walt Disney World

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On August 1, in Orlando, Florida, Disney World opens the Four Seasons Orlando. Come take a look at this new hotel and all the magic that Disney World has to offer families. Make your family vacation that much more memorable!


















30 Jul 2014

Definitely Meant To Be

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Two years ago, I couldn’t wait to have my last baby. I was sure that it would be the last one…definitely sure. They say you’ll know when your ready to say, enough is enough. This was it.

I was definitely ready to move on to the next chapter in my own life. No more babies meant… well, I’m still not sure what that means. But I knew for sure I never wanted to be pregnant again.

I weighed in at 190 pounds on day 273 of this 4th pregnancy. With her foot in my ribs, my feet swollen like sausages, my “over this” attitude and the many battle scars that I will take to my grave, I couldn’t get to the hospital to get this show on the road.

But a few hours later, I laid my eyes upon a small child that I would do anything for. Safe in my husbands arms, was this tiny baby that was given to us for some reason. She would be the last baby to complete our family.

Two years have gone by and I definitely know that she was meant to be here. My biggest lesson learned from Abby will always be patience. We have all learned to slow down, smell the roses along the way and that nothing lasts forever. Abby Gene was definitely meant to be here and I’m so happy she’s ours.





28 Jul 2014

Free Tampa Lowry Park Zoo Admission for Active Military in August

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Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo is celebrating August — Family Fun Month — with a sizzling summer offer of free weekday admission for members of the U.S. military (active duty, retirees and veterans) and Florida-based first responders.* The month-long opportunity is the first of its kind for the Tampa Zoo, one of the Sunshine State’s top cultural attractions and a world-class family destination.

For more information and to register as an official first responder, visit the official Lowry Park Zoo website!

20 Jul 2014

A Little Life in Pictures: Tips for Better Pictures on Social Media

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Happy Sunday! I enjoy taking pictures, especially of my kids. It’s not an unknown thing as most of the time I’m the one snapping away. So it’s not surprising I have over 5,000 photos on my phone. So why not share! I obviously have enough to go around. And if I don’t, what good do they do just sitting on my computer. Maybe they will make someone else’s day.

Ameture Photo Tip:

All of my pictures are taken on an iPhone 5s. If you want better pictures, consider using a photo editor on your phone. I LOVE Fotor. Once edited, share on your social networks! Guaranteed you’ll love your photos.

And if you want to edit online, PicMonkey is da BOMB! You can thank me later!

xo~ Marisa

PS…Do you use a photo editor? If so, which one and why?! I’m always into learning new tricks too!











12 Jul 2014

Just One Person

No Comments Lifestyle, Parenting, Personal

Do you know the power of one? One voice. One friend. One person helping you out when you most need it. Almost ten years ago, I wrote my first blog post. I started using social media (before that was really even a word) to start a stream of pictures that my parents could easily access anytime they wanted to see their first grandchild. I didn’t know that that other people would read my posts, see what we were up to or connect with me because they found someone who might be able to help.

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