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kimmy, travel

5 reasons everyone should visit a Lantern Festival


Once you’ve seen Walt Disney Animation’s “Tangled” … you will add attending a lantern festival to your bucket list. And once you’ve seen the floating lanterns in person, you won’t cross it off your list, because once will never be enough.

Last September, we took a drive over the state line and headed to Reno, Nevada for one of these events: “The Lantern Fest.” The event was held out at a a remote dirt race track outside the city limits in Fernley and the lines to get in to park were HOURS long. We thought we’d arrive with enough time to get a snack from the food trucks and settle in before the big event, but instead we were stuck outside on a 2-lane road for 90 minutes and were a bit frantic that we might miss the entire event. But… we didn’t.


Instead we parked and walked through a very nondescript dirt parking lot…


… out to the race track.

Checking in for the event was incredibly simple with our printed tickets, and each of us got our lantern (and the extras we ordered) and s’mores kit and walked inside the venue.

From there, we settled ourselves on the far northern edge of the track -like literally SITTING on the high banks of the track – near a s’mores pit and a nice view of what was to come.


Reason 1: It’s Tangled in Real Life

Miss L insisted on bringing her Rapunzel dress to the event… and wearing it 0.2 seconds after we found our spot on the track.


Reason #2: You get to be crafty!

As we waited for the sky to darken completely, we took out the markers we had packed to decorate our lanterns.


Reason #3: MORE S’Mores!!!

And we ate s’mores. We got a kit with our tickets, but I had packed extra s’mores kits as well with our extendable metal forks. I mean… you should never leave your kit at home when you’ve got it, right?



I must admit it started to feel like forever out there in the desert as we all waited for night, but the excitement in the air was palpable. We made friends at the s’mores pit with others, danced to the music from the main stage at the center of the race track, and relaxed into what was about to happen.


Before it was time to light the lanterns, the only light came from the tiki torches that were elegantly laid out in rows. It was the tiki torches that were our key to lighting our lanterns, and there were more than enough to help everyone out.

We waited patiently for the fire marshall to give the OK (I mean… let’s not pretend that this is all super safe and lovely because there are people and vegetation that can catch fire in the middle of the desert in Nevada!)…


And then they started to rise…


And you just can’t contain the happiness in your chest at that moment. It’s just… well… MAGIC.


Reason #4: Going from dark to LIGHT

Then it was our turn to try it out!


Mr. M carefully lit our first lantern, and then held it for about 30 seconds before it built up enough hot air to lift out of his hands…


The sky was bright at this point… just completely lit up by lanterns as far as you could see up and down and all around!


We tried to track each of the lanterns as they made it up into the sky, until it was too far away from us to pick out among the hundreds above it.


Some people left about 5 minutes after the first lantern went up, but they were the real losers. While they got out of the parking lot quickly, they didn’t get to soak in all of the magic that every additional lantern created for thirty more minutes.

Because honestly, when do you cry in Tangled? Is it the first lantern she sees? Or is it when they start singing together? I start to tear up on the flash to Pascal tearing up… but the water works let loose when they sing together. And that’s definitely after 5 minutes!


So we stayed! And we kept lighting our lanterns!




And we enjoyed the magic as long as we could!


Reason #5: MAGIC!

I mean, who doesn’t need an extra helping of magic?


We finally made our exit and slowly made our way back over the Sierras and into California… and planned for our next visit to a crazy lantern festival in the desert.

Because one is definitely not enough.

I encourage everyone to try and experience this in person at some point in your life! I mean, I saw the amazing photos and videos on a friend’s Facebook page and that’s all it took to convince me to go! Two of the most popular events are the Lantern Fest, which may be coming near you this year, and the Rise Festival out in the Mojave Desert near Vegas!​ And if it isn’t in your near future, then hopefully that scene from Tangled will keep lighting up your life!


upgrading my daily routine

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by CLEAR CARE® PLUS as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.  I received financial compensation for my participation and endorsement.


It was exactly 16 weeks ago that I decided I needed to upgrade my routine. I was tired, stuck in a bit of a post-winter rut, and just doing the same thing day to day. I wasn’t getting out for those runs that I told myself I’d go on each morning. And I was skipping breakfast in favor of coffee, working through lunch, then devouring everything in sight when dinner came around.

The shake-up came from Facebook. I saw a few people talking about a new gym program opening in the neighborhood.

“Ooh! I’m so excited!” they all seemed to say. It was a female-only program… but it looked intense. The pretty people in the photos looked intense. I decided to keep scrolling.

Then an ad popped up in my Facebook feed a few days later and I noticed that a long-time friend liked the photo… and that she had belonged to a similar program for about two years.

But she’s a runner. And she’s in-shape. That’s what I told myself and closed the ad again.

Then came the final straw. A close friend told me she had done something crazy. She had signed up for this new intense gym program because she needed to do something for herself.

And that’s when I realized I needed to stop making excuses and give myself an upgrade too!

It’s been 16 weeks since I started the program: one 6-week 5/days/week session and 2 5-week 4/days/week sessions. And this upcoming Monday, I’m back to where I started 16 weeks ago with another “bootcamp” session. And I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

I’m usually not one to treat myself to little perks or upgrades… often preferring the generic brand or low-cost option among my choices. In this case, I kept thinking if I wasn’t running and working out already, then I didn’t deserve to upgrade to an actual class. In reality, I haven’t worked out this much in years thanks to the class and investing a little bit more in myself.

I’d definitely encourage everyone to invest a little extra into yourself in some way… because it really is worth it! And think of it this way, all that other skimping and saving can actually afford you these little upgrades along the way!

Speaking of upgrades, CLEAR CARE® PLUS (shout-out to my favorite contact lens solution! Love the bubbles!) is taking upgrades to the next level with the Bubble Upgrade™ Sweepstakes! From 8/10/16 to 9/6/16, a winner will be selected every Wednesday to win an upgrade experience (each valued at over $10,000), spanning categories from sports, travel, and self-improvement.


View the sweepstakes here to learn more, and discover the amazing prizes! You could win an upgrade experience worth over $10,000!

[No purchase necessary. Must be at least 18 and a resident of the 48 contiguous U.S. or D.C. Ends 9/6/16. Void where prohibited. Subject to complete Official Rules.]

I recently upgraded to  CLEAR CARE® PLUS for my contacts and I’ve been so impressed with how much better it deeps cleans the dirt and removes protein from my lenses. Let’s add that as another silly thing I should have done a long time ago! If you’re a daily contact lens wearer, I’d check it out as an upgrade option for you!

And if you’re not blind as a bat, then I hope you get a chance to upgrade something exciting or boring in your life soon!



cat & jack from target is pretty irresistable

If you haven’t heard yet (or been into your local Target store this past week), there’s a pretty new and irresitable line of clothing out for kids.

It’s called “Cat & Jack” and you can find it all at each and every Target store and online!

And from 7/24-7/30, you get $5 off every $25+ order of Cat & Jack!

Umm…. I may have already made a few purchases on my last run into Target for Gatorade and saltines (sick kiddo this weekend), so I’m not quite sure how anyone will be able to avoid it for long!

*PURCHASED* This dinosaur shirt for girls is pretty much everything! And it's only $10!*PURCHASED* Can we ever pass up an adorable Boston Terrier shirt? Especially when it's $6?!?
You know YOU want this fox pencil case!Seriously... these clothes are amazing! Encouraging kids to "make a difference everyday!" Good thing we have a Target card already!
My 1st grade teacher told my parents I'd probably end up being President some day... it didn't happen for me, but hope that some other girl wears this 'Future President' shirt and dreams and believes big too!I think Miss L and I are going to start using the phrase 'challenge accepted' more and more... I just sort of love everything about it.
I looked everywhere last year for a comfy jacket for Miss L that wasn't a hooded sweatshirt. THIS is exactly what I wanted... it's cute and comfortable!I'm a sucker for great durable skirts... and this one, with its embroidered hearts, fits the bill!


happy Mother’s Day movie

It’s a very rare Tuesday night when two moms can escape the to the movies for a girl’s night out… but that’s exactly what happened this week! I had the opportunity to see a screening of the new film, Mother’s Day, and decided that a girl date was definitely in order!

So, my friend C and I escaped from our houses at 5:30pm, went out to enjoy some Mongolian BBQ (yum!) and snuck into the theater just in time for the screening to start! It certainly didn’t hurt that Tuesday is some magical ½-price popcorn day at Regal Theaters… a fact that my popcorn-obsessed self REALLY didn’t need to know… so we got some of that and some Junior Mints and settled down in the back row of the theater to watch.

And over the next two hours, we laughed/cried/tried not to cry/smiled and genuinely enjoyed watching some of our favorites (Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts will never do me wrong) portray Moms in all shapes and sizes on the big screen. And when I walked out, I definitely felt proud to be labeled “Mom” and included in the crazy mess that is life.

When I got home later that night (you know… after Miss L’s bedtime!), I found a big green ProFlowers box on my doorstep. And when I opened it up, I found this gorgeous Mother’s Day movie bouquet flower arrangement and vase based on the film. So I guess I get the opportunity to celebrate our special Mom’s Day from now all the way up until the real day on May 8th!

Needless to say, I had quite a lovely Tuesday night with a movie night out with a friend and fresh flowers to share in my house! It made me realize just how it is truly the little things that lift you up and change the normal humdrum Monday-Friday work week into something special… and that I should probably schedule those in more often on the calendar!

Why don’t you look in your calendar and see what little escape you can make this next week to treat yourself (especially Moms!)… or if that isn’t in the cards, maybe just grab an extra bouquet of flowers at your Farmers Market or grocery store to treat yourself. I swear you’ll instantly feel special and it’s definitely going to get a big smile out of you!

Happy (early) Mother’s Day everyone!


still more to migraine than meets the eye

I created this post as part of a campaign by Teva Pharmaceuticals. I received an American Express gift card for participating.

Two weeks ago, I took a sick day in the middle of the week. And as I was writing an email to my boss to explain my absence, I felt myself hesitate when I typed out “I’m suffering from a migraine…” because I didn’t know if that would be seen as a legitimate excuse. You never really know what people think when they hear the word “migraine,” but my assumption is usually that they play it off as just a bad headache and a weak excuse for calling in sick. But as I’ve explained before, a sick day with a migraine really is so much more than just a headache.

Here’s just how that morning went:


I woke up and got out of bed, but was walking through those first few minutes in a complete haze.

Maybe I just need to hop in the shower?

Ten minutes later, after barely remembering to wash out the conditioner, I realize that something might be up.

Walk into the closet. The urge to select the softest shirt and the comfiest skirt overwhelm me.


Is it allergies? Walk downstairs and try treating that.

Get breakfast for Miss L. Get breakfast for Lincoln. Have zero urge for any coffee and definitely no interest in food.



Look in the mirror at my scrunched up face. Realize that it’s not scrunched up at all. But I look tired. And it’s hard to focus.

Write the “I’m sick” email to my boss.  And go get out my migraine bag of tricks and cross my fingers that you can keep the light and noise sensitivity and nausea at bay.

Each time that an unexpected migraine hits, I have a little set of motions I go through and definitely my bag of tricks. I think about what might have caused it, and then, based on that, what I can do to keep its effects at a minimum. If you don’t have a set routine down, here are some tips for you to keep in mind the next time you suffer from a migraine:

  • Keep a migraine diary to record your daily activities and identify patterns
    in what preceded a migraine.

  • Make note of what potentially triggers your migraine; avoiding these things
    may lessen the frequency and/or severity of your migraine.

  • In addition to your doctor-prescribed treatment create a migraine “kit” to
    prepare for a sudden attack. For example, sunglasses can help with light
    sensitivity, and a plastic bag or basin may be necessary if any nausea or
    vomiting occurs.

For more information and to find out how there’s #MoreToMigraine that everyone should know, visit