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Macy’s Pink Pig: Atlanta Holiday Tradition

by Desiree Miller on October 27, 2016

Patients from the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta enjoy a ride on the Macy’s Pink Pig at Macy’s Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. From its debut in the ‘50s as a children’s ride, five generations of Atlantans have ridden the Macy’s Pink Pig into the holiday season. (John Amis/AP Images for Macy's)

Patients from the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta enjoy a ride on the Macy’s Pink Pig at Macy’s Lenox Square Mall in Atlanta, on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. From its debut in the ‘50s as a children’s ride, five generations of Atlantans have ridden the Macy’s Pink Pig into the holiday season. (John Amis/AP Images for Macy’s)

There are certain things about living in Atlanta you just come to embrace: shows at the Fox, direct flights to anywhere in and out of Hartsfield Jackson Airport, and the Macy’s Pink Pig during the holidays.

It’s part of a beloved holiday tradition for several decades in Atlanta. It debuted in the ‘50’s as a children’s ride (the old version was a cart suspended in air and now hangs at the Atlanta History Center as part of the Atlanta in 50 Things Display).


Priscilla – the original Pink Pig – began as a monorail along the ceiling of Rich’s, giving children the experience of “flying over” the toy department. Later, another pig – Percival – was added and they became known as the Pink Pig monorail twins. Years later, the monorail was relocated to the roof of the department store and the “monorail twins” took passengers on rooftop rides viewing downtown Atlanta and circling the Great Tree.

In 2003, The Pink Pig was unveiled again, back on track beneath a 170-foot, 1950’s themed Pink Pig Tent at the Lenox Square Mall upper-level parking deck near Macy’s.

It’s fun and festive and completely fabulous for the under 10 set. Or, for those looking for a ride down memory lane.

It’s one of those things you did as a kid, and one of those things you will probably take your own children to do if you live in the ATL.

It’s been around so long that now, five generations of Atlantans have ridden the Pink Pig into the holidays.

But it’s more than fun. A portion of proceeds from each ride benefits Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. So far, Macy’s has donated more than $735,000 to CHOA.

The ride officially opens to the public this weekend, Saturday, October 29, 2016 and will run through January 1, 2017. Each ride costs $3 and repeat rides have a special discounted price (2 rides for $5.50, 3 rides for $7.50).

Here’s video from our ride a few years ago.


SHAKEN: Tim Tebow Tackles Life’s Hard Times in New Book

by Desiree Miller on October 25, 2016


You know him on the football field. You know him for his faith. Now, Tim Tebow wants you to know him when life has him shaken, literally. And he wants you to know it happens to all of us.

In life, there are going to be a lot of highs and lows, and eventually, everything around you will be shaking, so what will you have to hold on to?

It’s a question Tim Tebow poses in his newly released book, Shaken, and it’s something that you’ll be faced with more than once in life.

Tim Tebow knows better than many that ‘There is more to this world than money, fame and power.’ So, he asks, what is your identity?

Who are you when the chips are down?

When the going gets tough?

When everyone is finding fodder in your pain?

Do you rise above, or wallow in the misery?

Because, honestly, that’s the person who matters to me.

Of course we will all be at our best when times are great, but who you become when life doesn’t go your way shows your true character.

That is your true identity. my-hope

It doesn’t take long in the book for Tebow to share some of his disappointments. He walks us into Gillette Stadium, into the meeting with Coach Belichick, when he was cut from the Patriots the night after a big win. He explains how stunned he was, thinking he was finally safe from the cuts, hoping he was reading all the signs right, when the organization decided he was no longer a fit.

It would have been easy to get angry and let the insults fly, but instead, Tebow wished the coach all the best. He rallied around his family for support. Then found another cause to fight for, a cause off the football field.

Not that he left forever, we all know that.

But he found another place to pour his energy.

He explains that his religion guided him through. And yes, even that would have been easy to ignore at his lowest moments, but he realized his faith is too big a part of his identity.

To me, the book is more an offer of hope than a memoir. Even Tebow explains that. Heck, he still has way too much life to live to even begin to contemplate what his memoir would look like.

But he already knows to stop searching for more.

He wants you to know that, too. He wants you to know you have purpose. There is a plan. You are loved. You are special.

More than anything, he wants you to know your circumstances do not define you. Your identity does.


If you or someone you love needs to be reminded there is a light at the end of the tunnel…a solid foundation when you feel it is shaken…this book will help. He may not be leading up a team as quarterback, but in my opinion, Tebow is winning at the game of life.

(Reader note: I was offered a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. As always, my opinion remains my own.)


Love The Walking Dead? Get to Walker Stalker Con #WSCAtlanta

by Desiree Miller on October 21, 2016

twd-cast If you are like me, and much of the rest of the world, and LOVE The Walking Dead TV series (it is the #1 TV show, after all), you really, really don’t want to miss the Walker Stalker Con.

Walker Stalker Con, or just Walker Stalker if you’re a regular attendee, like me, is a three day event that covers all things zombies—and more.

img_0302 It’s where you can get up close and personal with Rick, Daryl, and the rest of The Walking Dead characters, along with players in several other hit shows.

It falls on October 28-30 this year in Atlanta. There are other events around the country, but since most of my readers are right here, all I can say is why miss it? If you like The Walking Dead even a little bit, you will love walking the show floor of this event.


It’s like coming home. Being among your people. People who GET you and get what TWD (true fans call it that) is really about. Yeah, zombies play a central role, but it’s so not about the zombies. But I won’t get into that here.

Because honestly, if you are still reading, I know you’re a huge fan. You’re my people.

And the Walker Stalker Con in Atlanta is the mac-daddy of these Walker Stalker events. Yes, that’s because they shoot most of the series in our back yard. That means they like us best. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself.

What can you see and do at Walker Stalker?

You can meet and take photos with the actors. Yes, you’ll pay for it—you pay to get in the doors—and you pay for photo opps—but I have lived through the regret enough times to know you will kick yourself if you don’t do it.

You can buy some of the coolest gear and memorabilia around. When else do you see Norman Reedus drawn up like Jesus?

You can sit in on panels and listen to Andrew Lincoln (Rick) talk in his normal British accent, instead of the southern drawl that he uses in character.

Seriously—listen here to him at one of the previous Walker Stalker events.


It really doesn’t get better than that, does it?

If you go, know that the panel lines are LOOONG, so get there early if you want a seat.

There’s also the Walking Dead Experience—where you are pretty much dropped into a scene similar to what we see with the characters each week—fighting for their lives—and you have to see if you can survive at the end. I did this last year. Total thrill.

There’s even a ‘safe’ trick or treating day for the kids on Sunday.

There are parties and fundraisers and so much more tied into this event. And people watching. There’s some really great people watching.

You can see a whole schedule of events and buy tickets on this link:

Last year, on our way down, we bumped into people from London in the elevator. They flew all the way ‘across the pond’ for this Walker Stalker Conference. So, if you live right here in Atlanta, why wouldn’t you make the short trip in for this fun event?

It’s at the Georgia World Congress Center—10/28-30. There were some Groupon deals for tickets, so look around and you might find a coupon code still valid. I hope to see you there!




Halloween can be super fun–and not at all scary–if you choose to take the ‘friendly ghost’ approach with your celebrations and decorations, as we do each year when we ‘boo’ our neighbors.

This is a holiday tradition that dates back decades.


Never heard of it?  Well, it’s simple and fun to do.  You just put together a little goody bag of candy and/or fun for your friend or neighbor, typically with a Halloween theme, along with a paper that says they’ve been booed, giving them instructions to boo someone else, and post a sign letting others know they’ve already been booed.  This way, if you start early enough, everyone on your street ends up booed by the time Halloween rolls around. It’s fun for the kids to leave the goody bag at the door, ring the doorbell and run…it’s supposed to be anonymous–as part of the thrill.



This year, we decided to make our boo BIG with the local At Home store.  At Home is cool for home furnishings, art work, furniture, pillows and such, but also huge for holidays. The Halloween selection is massive right now, complete with inflatables and enough decorations to create your own Haunted House if you had the desire.  We were gifted a $250 gift card by our local store to go out and boo a buddy, which we had a blast doing!



We picked up a fun inflatable, some glowing eyes for the garden, a pillow for her rocker out front, even a bunch of candy to put in our boo bag. And we surprised our fabulous neighbor with what we refer to as ‘the best boo ever’.

Of course, you don’t have to go THAT big. Smaller decorations are fun. We found funny signs and pillows for inside. Cute cat images. And lots of ghosts.


Another fun thing you can do for Halloween that’s been super popular with my pals is just to decorate the door. My daughter found this idea on Pinterest and we made it happen in about 10 minutes with about $5 in supplies (foam pieces and painters tape).  Ours was so good, another neighbor asked us to do her door, too.  The items we found at At Home would have made these really pop, so try to find ways to incorporate those, too. monster-door

Fun frights are the best kind, don’t you agree?




Six Flags over Georgia #FrightFest: Yes, It Will Scare You

by Desiree Miller on October 11, 2016



As a child, my brothers used to get a kick out of scaring me, telling me stories about the Boogie Man and jumping out from behind the next corner, and being at Six Flags Over Georgia for Fright Fest is like being surrounded by those brothers times one thousand.

It’s going to scare you. I promise. Especially if you set foot anywhere near Bloodbath Bayou or Mummy’s Curse.

Being that I’m such a scaredy-cat, I really don’t enjoy the fun that is Fright Fest, but my kids do, especially my oldest daughter, who ADORES Halloween and all the frightful fun that goes with it, so I go to see the kids have fun—even at my own expense sometimes.


We jumped at the chance to attend the media night of Fright Fest recently. The invite only included those over 13 years old, and I’m a little glad, because there’s no way my 11 year old would have been able to go and not come home with nightmares for the next month straight. That said, there are definitely younger children walking around Fright Fest.  I’m not sure how they handled the scares, though, because there really is someone jumping out at you, mostly when you least expect it, over and over. Even when you’re not in one of the haunted houses, odds are you’re walking through one of the 12 ‘scare zones’. You learn to be cautious of creepy creatures jumping out at you, but just as you think you’re safe and let your guard down, something pops up from the ground, or the corner, or the wall behind you. They call these areas scare zones, but I honestly feel like the entire park is a scare zone. Just know that going in.


Six Flags Over Georgia Fright Fest now has more than 20 haunted attractions. 20! That includes six different mazes. Want to know how many I lasted through? One. And even in that one, I admit I peed my pants a little bit… twice. Yep. It’s embarrassing to share, but I want you to understand this is for real. The scare, that is. The haunted houses are fake, of course, but your mind plays tricks on you when you’re walking through Bloodbath Bayou. I had my brave daughter walk first, because she thinks this is all amusing…meantime, I was steps behind her, praying something wouldn’t ‘get’ me. I even had her dad walk behind me. I should be safe sandwiched in the middle, right? But no, I wasn’t. So, my logic was to move fast—because the quicker I moved, the harder it was to see me coming, right? Isn’t that how the zombie stuff works? Well, no, I was still scared out of mind—my heart was literally racing—and this attraction felt endless. I can’t tell you how many bridges we crossed, or hanging flaps we had to walk through, but I can tell you something seemed to be jumping out every three seconds and my poor heart couldn’t take much more. I was so relieved to reach the end.


That also was enough for me to skip the other haunted house/maze type areas. I’m told you should not miss the Mummy’s Curse, where it’s so dark you can’t see your own hands or feet in front of you. Yeah, I pass.

The only things that didn’t really scare me were the shows.


The award-winning Dr. Fright’s Dead Man’s Party was great entertainment. Fabulous choreography and fun talent throughout. The Uprising show was harder for me to get into…it features some scary clowns and, right now, that’s a bit of a sensitive subject with me and my kiddos (and much of the rest of the country).

There are also rides, but we simply ran out of time to do more than Acrophobia and the Georgia Cyclone. We wanted to also do the Rage of Gargoyles Virtual Reality ride and some of the other roller coasters, but the lines were too long for the time we had left. My tip is to maybe ride those when you get into the park and save the mazes for later.



As media, we were treated to a behind the scenes tour of the makeup tents. I really hope they open this up to the general public in the future. There are some crazy-good talented makeup artists (20 of them!) getting all the cast ready for their frightful faces. They explained to us how they make the magic work, airbrushing most of the makeup on, adding prosthetics when necessary. They even made my face up like a zombie, and my daughter like a zombie survivor, and the transformation in under ten minutes is mindboggling. In fact, they did such a good job that the Six Flags security asked us to remove it while still behind the scenes. Only kids 12 and under are allowed to wear costumes into the park. And that’s good, because I can’t imagine what a nightmare it could become if older folks in costume decided to scare us, too. In fact, even the employees in costume are supposed to follow strict rules—like never touching a park attendee…and if following us in costume, to keep a three step distance. Knowing that information is about all that kept me calm during some of the biggest scares.

If you go, you have to buy Fright Fest tickets, on top of park admission tickets. However, if you buy a 2017 season pass (which costs less than the day of admission currently), the Fright Fest ticket is free, and park admission the rest of the year is free, too! That’s totally worth the investment if your heart is set on getting a scare or two at Fright Fest.



Panama City Beach, Florida: What Not to Miss (VIDEO)

October 5, 2016

Watching from shore, my toes happily sifting through the sand, it was hard not to laugh at the kids in the surf about 20 feet in front of me. Two eleven year olds and a dad. A dad who clearly found his kid mode again, attempting handstands in the water beside the girls. His form was far from perfect, but he was impressive, holding the handstand for a good two seconds, and from his grin when he was upright again, appeared to believe was worthy of an Olympic medal for […]

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Kim Kardashian West Robbery: Why You Shouldn’t Travel with Jewelry

October 3, 2016

By now, you’ve probably heard the report about Kim Kardashian West being robbed at gunpoint in Paris. According to CNN reports, men dressed as police officers robbed the reality TV star in a private apartment in Paris.  A spokeswoman for Kardashian West said the celebrity was “badly shaken but physically unharmed” following the incident. According to the report, jewelry worth millions of dollars was taken. As a travel writer, whisking my way through Paris one month and climbing mountains in Arizona the next, I can tell you my jewelry of any value typically stays […]

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Strenuous Beyond This Point: Travel Teaching Life Lessons

September 30, 2016

I’d been climbing a mountain, huffing and puffing my way around Pinnacle Peak, Arizona, for about 45 minutes when I saw the sign. Strenuous beyond this point. I laughed. Out loud. Didn’t they think the part I’d done so far was strenuous? And how much more strenuous was it going to get? There wasn’t any further explanation. So, I chose to sit down and think things over for a minute. Gazing down the trail, I could tell the going down part was going to be easy. Coming back, not so […]

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Sleep Safety Tips from @MAMbabyUSA for #BabySafetyMonth

September 7, 2016

As a new parent, my number one worry was whether my baby was still breathing each night. I think I shared that concern with most new parents–we want our babies to thrive and grow and we can help make sure that happens watching them all day–but at night, well, there’s a real fear in letting your guard down to sleep–which we all know we must do to function all day long–but, you also want to do everything you can to make sure your baby stays safe all night, too. That’s […]

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HELLO LIVE: A Recap of a Blogger Virtual Conference; Livestream, Baby!

August 29, 2016

(Note to regular readers: I know many of you aren’t as interested in the blogging side of life, but every now and then I hear that you want to get started blogging, too, so if you’re in that boat, this might be beneficial.  Others always want to know how we make money doing what we do…this will help them, too.  And bloggers, well, this is gold for you, so enjoy!) There are conferences every time you turn around in the blogging world…some big (Blogher, anyone?)…some small (ROAR 2014 will forever […]

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