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Try It Tuesday – #Travel Tuesday #orlandoFL #hotelpicks

This is another Travel Edition of TRY IT TUESDAY !

Caribe Royale Orlando
8101 World Center Drive, Orlando FL 32821
http://www.cariberoyale.com/

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On our last trip to Disney World, we decided to stay at Caribe Royale. This is an all-suite hotel in Orlando, FL. I chose this location because it was close to Disney, had a free shuttle, and was centrally located to restaurants. Plus, it had free parking. #winning

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We were in room 1840 which was facing the parking lot. Our view was mostly the tops of palm trees, which was fine with me. The suite was set up so when you walked in, you entered the sitting area, then the bathroom, and then bedroom. There are doors that close off each area from the rest. I liked that because it made the room seem like a mini apartment. The refrigerator and microwave were in the sitting area.

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While we had our things spread out over the whole suite, but mostly stayed in the bedroom area. It was easier that way. The bed was so comfortable and had lots of pillows.

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Side note: I got all these pictures from their website and the hotel looks exactly the same in person. That says a lot to me.

We did not use any of the amenities because the main focus of our trip was going to Disney. From what I could tell, there was a nice, large pool where guest were enjoying themselves. There were several restaurants and sitting areas that were occupied every time I passed by them.

Getting our tickets for the shuttle was easy. You have to reserve your shuttle by going to the Concierge desk at least 1 hour before the time you want to depart. The shuttle to go to Disney is free (technically it was included in the paid hotel fee). The reservation is only for the trip to Disney.

You can take any return shuttle. We reserved the 9:30am shuttle and arrived at Disney’s Transportation and Ticketing center. From there we took the monorail to Epcot and were walking through the entrance gate at 9:50. Very easy!

At the end of the day, we went to Disney Springs and decided not to return to the Disney’s Transportation and Ticketing center to catch the shuttle back to the hotel. We got a LYFT ride and it cost less than $10.

You can obtain shuttles to go to other Orlando attractions, but there is an additional fee. Honestly, taking an Uber/Lyft would probably be cheaper depending on the size of your group because the shuttle fee is PER PERSON.

TOW Final Word: Great hotel and loved the location. If you want to go to Disney, but not stay on property, this is the spot for you.

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Try It Tuesday: Daily Goodie Box #freebies @dailygoodiebox #TryItTuesday #review

I was excited to be chosen to receive another Goodie box. For October’s edition of Try It Tuesday, I am giving my honest opinions of the products that I tried.

Kicking Horse Coffee – Kick Ass Ground Coffee – I was hesitant to try this at first. I do not drink a lot of coffee and with a name like “Kick Ass coffee” I was concerned it was going to be too much for me. When I tried it, I thought it had a great flavor and was smoother than expected.

Swago – Cologne Wipes For Men – I thought it smelled okay but the Hubs was not feeling it.

Andalou Naturals – Hyaluronic DMAE Lift & Firm Cream Pods – This cream is thick and moisturizing. Even though it is thick, it did not spread heavy on my skin. I liked the feel of it. I would recommend to others.

ONA Treats – Cookies and Bars I had the maple pecan cookie bar. It was so yummy, especially for a gluten free bar. The flavor was mild and not overpowering. It was sweet but did not taste artificial. I have added this to my personal list of guilt-free snack foods.

Georgia Grinders – Creamy Peanut Butter – Since I am allergic to peanuts, I asked my friend Amy Alley to try this and report. She said, “Smooth and you can taste the natural peanut flavor. Some natural peanut butters are very oily or separate, which is so annoying, but not this one!” Thanks Amy!!!

Natralia – Eczema Body Wash & Shampoo – This body wash seemed to work well. It did not have a lot of suds and so I think I used more than I needed at times. I am used to having a heavy lather, but this did not have that.

Volo Vitamins – Energy Stickpacks – This vitamin powder dissolved easily in water. I did not enjoy the taste once mixed in water, but it was not so bad that I could not drink it. I do not like the flavor of sugar substitutes. I thought it tasted better than most comparable beverages. The plus about this is that I think I did have a boost of energy without any crash afterwards.

Prince of Peace – 100% Natural Ginger Candy – I LOVE this candy. I like ginger in general and eat ginger candy regularly. Many times, the ginger candy is very sticky and will get stuck between my teeth. I did not have that problem with this brand. I enjoyed it so much that I recommended it to a friend and she recently bought it.

Tiger Balm – Pain Relieving Patch – These are the best! I do not have much need for these, but when I do, I use Tiger Balm patches.

Goviter – Viter Energy Mints – I did not like the taste of these. I think it is because they are made with the sugar substitute. The flavor was not something that I was used to eating.

This post is full of Amazon affiliate links. Support my blog by clicking those links if you are thinking about ordering any of these products. Thanks!!!

Shealicious Scalp Relief #TryItTuesday #NaturalHairCare #BlackHair

Shealicious Scalp Relief
Shea butter Conditioning Treatment + avocado and rosemary oils

I bought this because it is a conditioning deep treatment to help with dry, itchy scalp. It said that it can be used for all types of hair. My hair is relaxed. Many of the products to be used on itchy scalp sometimes will strip the relaxer.

It smells so good. On the package, they say something about not eating it. I thought they were being melodramatic until I opened it.

This. Is. The. Best Smelling Conditioner!

That is saying a lot because conditioners usually smell really good. I did not want to discard the container just so that I could smell it. I felt like I was addicted to the scent. It smells delicious. It is sweet, herbal, and fresh all in one.

Once I regained my focus as to the reason why opened the container in the first place, I applied the conditioner cream as the directions instructed. After leaving it on for the allotted time, I rinsed my hair. My hair was soft and manageable.

I tried other varieties of this brand, but I always come back to the Shea butter Conditioning Treatment + avocado and rosemary oils. I feel like this is the best one for me.

TOW Final Word: This is my new favorite conditioner. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I am totally in love with the smell. I wish I could find a lotion that smelled like this. I would lather myself in it all day, every day. It smells delicious!!! Totally recommend!

This post is full of Amazon affiliate links. Support my blog by clicking those links if you are thinking about ordering any of these products. Thanks!!!

Try It Tuesday – Travel Tuesday #CostaRica #RIUGuanacaste PART II #TryItTuesday #foodie

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RIU Guanacaste – Costa Rica ♦ ♦ ♦

This is Part II of my Try It Tuesday post about RIU Guanacaste – Costa Rica.
Since I am a foodie, I had already decided to dedicate a special post to the food. I thought I was going to be waxing poetically about the yummy delectable bites that haunt my dreams. That did not happen.

I was bummed how lackluster the food was. Plus, decent hot food was not available 24-7. I know they say that food was available in the Sports Bar, but that was not even worth mentioning.

Here was the breakdown of our meals. Let me say, as someone who likes to plan their meals, I did not like the fact that the “fine dining” restaurants did not accept reservations. It was first come/first serve. We had to show up at 6pm to tell the restaurant we were coming at second seating. Ughh!

Breakfast – was the best meal of the day – bacon, fried eggs, omelet station, platanos maduros, donuts, sweet breads, croissants, smoothies


Lunch – stewed chicken or pork with steamed rice and French fries
There was a stewed gravy with chickpeas that was very tasty.

Night 1 – Buffet – grilled chicken, steamed rice
The chicken from the grill was the best part. Delicious!!! There were different salsas to try and some were super-hot. Muy picante! Whenever they are cooking on the grill outside, the food is going to be delicious. Figure out how to take a plate of that cuisine goodness to your room. You will be hungry later and you will wish you had more. This is a fact.

Night 2 – Buffet Fukoma Asian cuisine – eggrolls, chicken on a stick, stir fry pork, fried rice, fruit
The thing about eggrolls is that they need to be eaten HOT and not after sitting on a buffet for a while. Even though it is very popular, I usually do not eat Chinese food off of a buffet. There are few things worse than lukewarm Chinese food. Picture me being annoyed.

Night 3 – Tuscano Gourmet cuisine – ceviche, quinoa, roasted vegetable, rice pudding reimagined, triple chocolate cake dessert
This dinner was an improvement and closer to what I was used to eating at a RIU resort. I loved the ceviche. The quinoa was okay. The rice pudding reimagined was nothing like rice pudding. It was still tasty. And I wish everything else could have been as delicious as the triple chocolate cake. It was pretty awesome.


Night 4 – Ocatel Steakhouse – buffalo wings, shrimp kabob, grilled fish, potato wedges, roasted vegetables, apple turnover, cheesecake
The shrimp kabob was mouth-watering but the grilled fish was not as well seasoned. The potato wedges were standard like what you might get at a chain restaurant. Everything else was good but not outstanding.


****RIU restaurant hack –> I got to-go containers from the Sports bar and filled them with food from the buffet. Kept that food in the refridge in my room. Then reheated the food in the microwave in the Sports Bar when I was ready to eat. Sounds tacky, but at least I did not go to bed hungry!

TOW Final Word: Overall, I was not impressed with the cuisine. I wish they had more local flavor instead of trying to serve what they think Americans want. I don’t like to wonder if there will be decent food available for my next meal, but that is what I had to do, otherwise I would have been hungry. Their snack food offerings were pitiful. Yet another reason to choose Riu Palace. They have 24-hour room service and better food (from what I was told).

Try It Tuesday – Travel Tuesday #CostaRica #RIUGuanacaste Part I #TryItTuesday

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This month’s Try It Tuesday is again Travel Tuesday!

For our annual trip, we decided to go somewhere different for vacation: Costa Rica. We like staying at RIU when we travel in the Caribbean, so we booked our room at RIU Guanacaste.

RIU Guanacaste – Costa Rica ♦ ♦ ♦

Room ♦♦♦
The room was okay. We had an ocean view room on the 5th floor . We were in room 5060- close to the main elevator in the lobby. The bed was extra firm. We asked for a pillow top for the mattress but they did not have any available. There was no room service. The bar was restocked every other day. The room was cleaned every other day. When I needed extra towels and washcloths, it took several requests and phone calls to get it (was not a language barrier because I asked in English and Spanish). It took them a long time to do everything.


Bar Service ♦♦♦
Bar service was okay earlier in the day. I found the servers to be friendly. But as it got later in the day, there were less and less friendly servers. They took your order, gave you your drink, and that was it. No smile. No conversation. They were not trying to put on a show at all. I got the impression that a lot of them did not enjoy their job.
Also, I found the drinks were consistently weak unless you asked for double shots. I am not trying to get drunk, but I want something stronger than fruit punch or watered down juice.

Shows/Activities ♦♦♦
For the shows, I give them an “E” for effort. I could tell that the dancers were trying their best but I think they needed better choreographers. For the pool activities, they had several fun events at the pool. However, the fun was overshadowed by the fact that all these children were all over the place, getting in the way.
In the Sports Bar, we enjoyed playing pool. We wanted to play foosball, but it was always occupied. We could not play ping pong because the ball was cracked (I suspect one of the kids did it). There were a lot of children running around, even at midnight. I did not think I was THAT PERSON (you know the one that hates kids) but I was a little frustrated that there were no adult only spaces.

Food ♦♦♦
The food was mediocre. I usually love coming to Riu resorts because the food is amazing. We arrived on a Friday at lunch time. We could barely find anything appetizing to eat. I wish they had more of local food instead of trying to cook American food. It seemed that they thought Americans only like hot dogs, hamburgers, and nacho chips. But the hamburgers were overcooked, the hot dog weiners were pitiful, and the nacho chips were a weird texture. Even the cheese dip was watery, like they were trying to make their last case of Velveeta last all month. (more on the food in another post)

Beach ♦♦♦
The sand on the beach was a darker color, not white like in the Caribbean. This is because of the volcanic ash in the area. If you are not prepared, you might think that the sand was dirty.
There is no bar service on the beach. The locals sell coconuts and mangos but they are not pushy sales people. The one guy I saw with coconuts was standing by a tree like he was waiting for people to approach him.
There were a few RIU personnel that helped drag beach chairs to where you wanted to sit, but there were not enough people to help everyone. Pretty much, if you were a lady, you were helped. If you were a guy, you had to get your own chair.
Tourist TIP: If you want a massage, there are usually locals on the beach offering massages for $39 USD. Their massage tables are a short walk through the woods (not as sketchy as it might seem). I received THE best deep tissue massage from a lady who looked like she was 7 months pregnant. Yea, I was surprised too. I think her name was Jocelyn.


Water Sports ♦♦♦♦
Snorkeling was great! There were plenty of fish to see. My friend also recommends the dive instructor if you want to get your PADI certified SCUBA license. He said it was a great experience.

Excursion Tours ♦♦♦
There are many different excursions to choose from. If you want a short trip, you can pay $15/pp for roundtrip transportation via the water taxi to Coco Beach. What I was not expecting was the fact that to board the boat, you have to walk into the ocean and climb aboard. I thought they should have had a port or something. Good thing I was wearing shorts and flip flops.
Tourist TIP: You can get better rates on the excursion tours ($35 – $200 prices negotiable) from local agencies on the beach than inside the resort. We took the Tour to Miravalles (cost between $90-130pp/depending on how many going)

Disco ♦♦♦♦
The best part about resort was the disco. I had so much fun. The best night was Saturday after 11pm. The DJ knew how to keep everyone on the dance floor. The only negative about the disco was that the drinks were not included. That was not too much of an issue for me. After all that dancing, all I wanted was water.

TOW Final Word: RIU Guanacaste was okay. It was not exactly bottom of the barrel when it comes to accommodations, but if you can afford to spend the extra $$, stay at the RIU Palace Guanacaste. The service, food, and accommodations are a lot better. It is worth it. I told our travel agent that we wanted to stay at the RIU Palace and she told me we were booked there (but that’s another story). Once we got there, it was going to be too much of a hassle to change resorts. If I had to do it over, I would have changed at check-in like I thought about doing.

Stay tuned for RUI REVIEW PART II which is all about the FOOD