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Event Recap

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 Review

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Are you a fan? It’s not hard to become one after you see this movie. 

I actually watched Volume 1 by accident. My children happened to be watching the movie and I noticed they were really into it. I decided to see what the fuss was about, and quickly got sucked into the storyline. Volume 1 introduces you to the most unlikely group of people that become family because of their circumstances. 

In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, they are still together but on a new mission. One thing I enjoyed is that I laughed the entire movie. Although, they are fighting for their lives majority of the movie, they do it with such a fun sense of humor.

In Volume 2, you also get a better emotional sense of who they are. There are parts where you privy to the characters being insecure, scared, and even in love. 

One thing that was addressed was the chemistry between Chris Pratt and Zoe Saldana but they didn’t go deeply into that storyline. I honestly think that it will be played up more in Volume 3. Yes, if you stay until the end of the movies and watch the credits – you will find out what’s coming next. 

Quick, watch the trailer:

5 Things I Liked Best About Guardians of the Galaxy 2:

  • The Gold People – there are a galaxy of people that are pure gold and its visually beautiful. It stinks because they think they are better than the world but I loved looking at them. Even their eyes were gold. GuardiansVol259017343957e8
  • The action – there is no shortage of action in this movie. It’s really a fighting movie from the beginning but their fighting different battles. 
  • The message – Chris Pratt’s character’s father (Kurt Russell) comes back into his life and apparently believes he’s a God. Well, without giving away the storyline, we learn that the only God is well, GOD! GuardiansVol2590173a8ba624
  • Friendship – throughout this movie, the Guardians fight each other as friends sometimes do. You know how you bicker with your bestie! Well, no matter what the disagreement was about, friendship always prevailed. Friends like that become family. 
  • Cameos – Two big surprise cameos made the audience gasp and then burst out in laughter: Knight Rider (David Hasselhoff) & Sylvester Stallone.

Guardians of the galaxy

Do you need to see volume 1 to see volume 2? I don’t think so, but of course it’s always good to know the history of a story so I would watch it. Ultimately, this is a fun and entertaining movie. My husband and I caught it for our weekly date night outing.

Will you check it out? Thoughts?

Event Recap

A Delicious $100 Margarita for Cinco de Mayo at Flemings Steakhouse

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Thanks to The Network Niche, today’s post is sponsored by Fleming’s Steak House & Wine Bar.

Moving to Florida has really allowed me to experience some cool new things. Tonight was another fun night where my husband and I enjoyed learning and tasting something new. 

A few months back, on my big birthday 40th cruise with friends, we actually went on a Tequila tour. We learned how it was made, where it was made and the difference between top, middle and bottom shelf. What’s so funny is that I turned 40 and didn’t know what top shelf was!

I think I said that the rest of the trip, “I want TOP shelf!” 

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When I got the opportunity to attend the Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse Cinco De Mayo celebration with the chance to taste a $100 Margarita made with ultra-premium tequila from Tequila Herradura … I was all in.

I already thought I was a tequila expert because of my previous training, so this would be an opportunity for me to flex my new skills! 

What I Learned Tonight About Tequila Herradura

May 4-6, you can taste this tequila in a one-of-a-kind $100 Margarita at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. This is an ultra-premium 100% agave tequila aged for 49 months. Tequila Herradura is an international award winning tequila and the worlds’ first-ever extra-añejo tequila expression, introduced by Casa Herradura in 1995. 

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It’s describes as complex balance of the finest cooked agave, married with notes of  rich vanilla and dried fruit.

Getting tequila to perfection takes time and attention. Since 1870, Casa Herradura has been hand harvesting using only the most mature blue agave and artisanal methods, such as slow cooking the agave in traditional clay oven and using natural fermentation. 

How Can You Try It? 

Flemings wanted to elevate your Cinco de Mayo experience, so by partnering with Baccarat and Tequila Herradura they’ve created a memorable margarita experience May 4th – May 6th. 

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The $100 Margarita features premium liquor and served in a Baccarat’s uniquely designed Diamant Highball glass that guest are able to take home in their iconic red box.

Check out my quick video of this tasty margarita being made for us to try. 

If you want to check out what others are saying about this Cinco de Mayo exclusive experience, follow the hashtag on social media #FlemingsMargarita

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The Recipe

Ingredients:

2 oz. Herradura Seleccion Suprema
.5 oz. Grand Marnier Centenaire
.7 5oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz Simple Syrup

Garnish:
1/2 Rim Gold Sugar/Kosher Salt

Add liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Double strain over fresh ice in a half-rimmed Baccarat highball glass. Yum! 

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My husband and I enjoyed ourselves tonight. We experienced a new drink and I found out I have more to learn about Tequila. It was fun to celebrate Cinco de Mayo a little early as well.
 
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We left and went to the movies afterward. We made it a true date night. 
 
Location: 
4322 West Boy Scout Boulevard,
Tampa, FL 33607
Social Channels:
Instagram – @FlemingsSteakhouse
Facebook – @Flemings
Twitter – @Flemings
Event Recap Motherhood

Our Fun Day at Exploration V Children’s Museum Musical Festival

I still consider myself “new to Florida” since it’s been under a year that I’ve lived here. Besides the beautiful weather that I get to experience everyday, I love visiting new places. 

The best places to visit include things for my children, because when they are happy – it makes me happy. Saturday, I was invited out to Exploration V Children’s Museum Music Festival in Lakeland, Fl. 

My children were surprised by a visit from their best friends, so I decided to make it a girls day while my husband took the boys. I brought my daughter and friend out to let them explore . . .  and boy did they explore.

Here’s a quick fun video of a their day at Exploration V:

Exploration V is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary. It was founded in July 1991 by parent volunteers, and is located in the heart of historic downtown Lakeland, Florida. It is the only hands-on museum in Polk County dedicated to the education and cultural development of children and families.

Where does the V come from? 

Exploration V is a museum with 3 floors of interactive exhibits and programs that promote the five senses. V is the roman numeral for 5. Aaaaahhh creative!! Exhibits & programs are designed with hidden learning concepts complementing Florida Sunshine State Standards for PreK through 5th grade.

Week of the Young Child

The week of the young child promotes enhancing education through playful interactive learning experiences with art, science, wellness and education. In addition to celebration 25 years, Exploration V is also excited to announce the opening of their new Music & Sound Studio. 

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The Music Studio

The music studio ignites all areas of child development intellectual, social and emotional, motor language and overall literacy. It’s helps body and mind work together. Exposing children to music during early development help them learn the sounds and meaning of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills skills while allowing them to practice self expression. Source

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The museum has 3 floors that give the children something different to experience:

The Second Floor includes a small children’s art gallery, interactive science components and brain-teasers as well as Temporary Exhibits located in the Dreamer’s Gallery.

The First Floor features “Our Town” including exhibits that offer action-packed opportunities for learning through the basics of music appreciation, art, theatre, math, science and history.

The Lower Floor introduces children to local history and “Our World” through
“O is for Oranges, from seed to Our World”.  Pick, pack, sort and slide in this
fanciful Florida orange grove that takes visitors on a journey of discovery to Asia,
Africa, Australia and America.

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Explorations V Children’s Museum Awards & Accolades

Museum Awards

  • 2010 Golden Swan Award! Downtown Lakeland Partnership 
  • 2010 Blue Star Museum, National Endowment for the Arts 
  • 2009 Disney Shine On Award; “Helping Kids Shine” & “Ears to You” Awards in previous years 
  • 2009 “Mega Mike” featured “green” exhibit in Exhibitionist Journal published by National Assn for Museum Exhibition 
  • 2008-2010 Nickelodeon’s Parent’s Picks Award Nominee 
  • 2008 “Wacky Wednesday”, weekly cup cooking programs featured in Association of Children’s Museum’s (ACM) Good to Grow “Healthy Museums, Healthy Kids” book 
  • 2006 Lakeland “Year of the Museum” Proclamation 
  • 2003 Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) Met Life Promising Practice Award Honorable Mention 
  • 2002 United Arts of Central Florida Arts+ Award for Children’s Programs 
  • 2000 Library of Congress Local Legacy, Rep. Charles T. Canady (12th District) 

Our girls day out turned out to be great. The girls had a blast and couldn’t wait to share with their brothers all the fun things they experienced. If you are in Hillsboro Country, definitely bring your children to visit. 

One tip: Set aside half of your day because your children will not want to leave.

Event Recap Motherhood

Our First Busch Garden Experience as Floridans

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Busch Gardens is a unique family experience. It’s unique because to me, it’s a cross between a zoo and an amusement park. 

As you walk through the park, you see different animals with amazing rides:

ANIMAL ATTRACTIONS

In addition to attractions and animals, there are amazing gardens that resemble a botanical garden feature. 

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A few Sunday’s ago my family spent the entire day at Busch Gardens.

The.entire.day. 

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We really enjoyed our time there and our children had a ball. Here’s a quick video of our experience:

Food and Wine Festival

If you make it to Busch Gardens before April 30th, you will get to experience the Food & Wine Festival.

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HORTICULTURE MASTERPIECES

Marvel at larger-than-life topiaries that capture the excitement of spring throughout Busch Gardens®. Each horticulture masterpiece is a living work of art, including:

  • NEW! Darwin the Orangutan in Bird Gardens, near Kangaloom plaza
  • Spirit of Spring in Bird Gardens, near Xcursions
  • Mugambi the Lion at the park entrance, near the main tram stop
  • Topiarazzi in front of gate plaza
  • Kanburi Pit Viper in Gwazi Plaza
  • Octopus’ Garden in the lagoon outside Garden Gate Cafe
  • Commerson’s Dolphin outside Garden Gate Cafe
  • Sea Turtles outside Garden Gate Cafe
  • Elmo, Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on the Bird Gardens walkway
  • Wooloomooloo and Coogee Kangaroo and Joey in Gwazi Plaza
  • Butterfly Giants in Bird Gardens, near Sesame Street® Safari of Fun

EVENT INFO

The Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival takes place for an extended nine weekends, starting Saturday, March 4 and runs through Sunday, April 30. The event is included with any Annual Pass, Fun Card or daily admission to the park. Food and beverage is not included with park admission and is available for an extra fee. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.

13 FOOD CABINS – 65+ FINE WINES – 70+ CRAFT BREWS

Family Fun

We didn’t take part of the Food & Wine Festival because we had our children with us. However, we still enjoyed our day and made sure each child was able to have a blast. 

There is a children’s area where my 4 year old could just run and play:

KID-FRIENDLY ATTRACTIONS

There are some great attractions and shows that will add to the fun! 

ROLLER COASTERS & RIDES

SHOWS

The day was great for us because we only had to drive about 20 minutes. We’ve now been in Florida for about 8 months and our first family visit to Busch Garden as Floridians was a success. We are definitely considering getting season passes. 

If you don’t live in Florida, it’s worth a visit to Tampa! 

Event Recap

Cars 3 Tampa Event Recap and 6 Tips For Girls to Find Their Own Path To Finishing The Race

Cars 3

Have you or your children seen Cars 1 or 2? My children have and are on pins and needles for Cars 3. When I told them I was going to a local event here in Tampa for Cars 3, they screamed with joy until the big let down, “You’re not going!” 

Gasp!

I had to let them know that the event was during school hours, but I am not seeing the actual movie. That bit of information made them feel better, because they just really care about the movie. 

My husband and I used the opportunity as a day date and went to see what we can look forward to in Cars 3 that comes to theaters June 16th. 

Here’s a little snippet of our day at the Tampa Cars 3 Event:

One great addition to the Cars 3 movie is Cruz Ramirez. Cruz is the young race technician who helps Lightning McQueen get back in the race. She uses her creativity and innovation to challenge McQueen to reinvent himself.

In a roundup of other female firsts, below please find tips for girls to find their own path to finishing the race:

  • Tia Norfleet. The first black female NASCAR driver. When she was seven, Norfleet’s father, NASCAR driver Bobby Norfleet doubled the battery power of her Hot Wheels Barbie car to increase its speed and the rest is history!
  • Nancy Abu-Bonsrah Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s first neurosurgeon resident. In Johns Hopkins School of Medicine neurosurgical department’s 30 years of existence, there has never been a black woman in the program. The program only accepts two to five residents a year, so this is a major accomplishment.
  • Marley Dias. Marley Dias is the 12-year-old who founded #100BlackGirlBooks in 2016, a campaign to collect 1,000 books that have black protagonists. Her campaign far exceeded her goal, with over 4,000 books. This year, she landed her own book deal with widely acclaimed book publisher, Scholastic.
  • Viola Davis .First black women to win an Oscar, Emmy, and Tony award for acting. This Julliard trained actress is one award away from achieving EGOT status (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Emmy), in which she would need a Grammy award to complete the quartet. If she achieves this status she will join the ranks of other renowned figures in Hollywood, including Whoopi Goldberg.
  • Rachel Lindsay. The first black female lead on ABC’s “The Bachelorette.” She graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in Kinesiology and Sports Management and Marquette University for her JD. She practices insurance law in Dallas, Texas.
  • Mary-Pat Hector. A 19-year-old political science and comparative woman’s studies major at Spelman College who is running for City Council in Georgia. She has admirable and impressive experience in community organizing. Most recently, she served as the national youth director for the National Action Network which offered her the opportunity to meet former President Obama, and other leaders to social justice initiatives. She also made her mark in national politics as a youth leader for Hilary for America’s Millennial Victory Council.

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6 Tips For Girls To Find Their Own Path To Finishing The Race

  1. Find your own path – Your life is your own to control and navigate. Map out your dreams and go for it. 
  2. Use adversity as motivation – Just because everyone is going in one direction, doesn’t mean it’s the right direction for you. It’s ok to be different or the opposite of main stream. Let it fuel your fire to be the first. 
  3. Be true to you – When you are true to yourself, you will be the happiest. 
  4. If at first you don’t succeed, try again – Failure at one thing, doesn’t mean stop. It means, do it again but better next time. Learn the lesson, so you don’t repeat it. 
  5. Believe in yourself – There are times when people just won’t agree, support on be happy for you and your choices. Believe in what’s in your gut. Believe in what’s in your heart! It matters.
  6. Know that every “no” is only a “not now”—in other words, don’t take no for an answer! No is not permanent. No can mean, not today or tomorrow but maybe next year! Don’t let any NO stop you from moving forward. 

Cars 3 opens June 16th and take your children to see how Lightning McQueen has to shift somethings in order to still stand out. There are great lessons in this movie and I can’t wait to discuss them with my children. 

Event Recap

Floating Mountains at Disney? Really! Pandora 2017

“Mommy, that was not here the last time we came!” as we getting off the Rock & Roll ride in Hollywood Studios.

“Disney is always changing things up, adding new features and attractions. That’s why people come back again and again!”

When I saw the movie Avatar in 2009, it was nothing like I have never seen. The visual effects were amazing. My children recently saw the movie late 2016 and as I sat and watch their reactions to different scenes, I enjoyed looking at it through fresh eyes.

When watching Avatar, did you ever see yourself walking through the beauty of Pandora? Colors so vibrant, beautiful flowers, flying dragons and of course floating mountains. It will be a reality for you this May. 

Last month, I was invited to the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. During our visit, we learned about what’s new at Animal Kingdom for 2017. I remember during our social networking session, I walked past this amazing display. I quickly stopped and asked “What is this? Is this a new Disney World?” I promise it was that huge. 

It wasn’t a new Disney World park, but a new park addition. Disney presents Pandora: The World of Avatar

Whhhhaaaaaaatttt!! (Check out this video) 

Na’vi River Journey

Your exploration starts in the valley of Mo’ara. You actually don’t climb over the mountains but hike under them. You will also experience the Kaspavan River on a reed boad as you travel in the middle of the Mo’ara in the middle of Pandora and Na’vi culture. 

There are exotic glowing plants and animals you’ve never seen before. While riding on the boat, you’ll hear the Na’vi Shaman of Song that share the sacred bond between nature and ourselves. 

AVATAR Flight of Passage

Would you ride on the back of the mountain banshee? Do you remember that this amazing predator is on the most important and significant animals to the Na’vi? In the movie, flying on the banshee was a rite-of-passage and now, you will be able to experience the same thing. The flight of passage will take you through ancient stone arches, under floating mountains and over the lush landscape.

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DATES PLEASE!

Pandora: The World of Avatar opens May 27, 2017. Get day ticket prices HERE. 

I already know this new experience will bring out thousands of families to experience this first hand. My family and I will be the first in line. This is going to be AMAZING! I can’t wait. 

Image sources: visitpandora.com

 

 

Event Recap Motivation

23 Disney Dreamers Academy Takeaways, Nuggets & Aha Moments!

When I received the invitation to the 10th Anniversary of Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World with Steve Harvey & Essence Magazine, I was OVERJOYED! I was excited to witness history in the making for 100 teenagers & their parents.

I was excited to listen to young adults share their dreams and discover the possibilities to make them happen. I was excited to listen to entrepreneurs, executives, celebrities, and CEOs speak into their lives so when they return home, they would never be the same.

I will never be the same.

Source: @MomsnCharge

Image source: @MomsnCharge

As a member of the media team, I was able to experience on March 9-12, 2017 the 10th Anniversary of the Disney Dreamers Academy from a different perspective. This year was special because it marks the year that 1000 students have officially went through this experience.

Amazingly, 10 Alumni (1 from each year) were brought back this year to talk about life after Disney Dreamers Academy. Not only are these young adults doing great things with their lives & the community, they are excited to pour into the lives of the current class.

Hosting Disney Dreamers Academy is a Big Deal

Steve Harvey, best selling author, comedian, national syndicated talk show, radio, & game show host has partnered with Disney Dreamers since the very beginning. He believes in the importance of dreaming big and starting early. Steve initially had a mentoring camp for boys & Disney had an idea for a Dreamers academy that they hadn’t got off the ground just yet. After meeting with each other, the Disney Dreamers Academy was born in 2008. 10 years later, upwards of 10,000 + applications are received every year (statistically, according to Jonathan Sprinkles it’s harder to get into Disney Dreamers Academy than Harvard).

Steve explained to us that if schools had a dream course in school, the dropout rate would decrease. It’s important to speak with a child every 30 days about their dreams.  

Image source: @MomsnCharge

Tracey Powell, Disney Dreamers Executive Champion explains the secret to getting accepted into the Disney Dreamers Academy is simply be able to articulate your dream.

You must be able to convey your dream and be specific.

During the 4 day event at Walt Disney World at Epcot in Lake Buena Vista, FL, I kept my pen and paper by my side. I wrote so many notes, takeaways, nuggets, aha’s, and just plain ole good stuff that I’m busting at the seems to share it with you.

Takeaways, Nuggets, and Aha Moments: 

Princeton Parker (DDA Alumni Class of 2011) shares 3 things Dreamers care about:

  1. How to broaden their perspective – not a title but a mindset
  2. Concerned about people – how they can help effect people understand the people before and after.
  3. Concerned about purpose – when purpose is not known, abuse in inevitable. 

Tevyn Cole (DDA Alumni Class 2008) shares Dream advice to the class of 2017 on how to make the best of the 4 days Disney Dreamer experience. 

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  1. Network more – utilize the time you have.
  2. Take every opportunity of everything and everyone.
  3. Get to know each other’s story.
  4. Find a mentor.
  5. Don’t limit yourself. Don’t put yourself in a box.
  6. Create your own opportunities.
  7. Your vibe attracts your tribe!
  8. Be comfortable with being you.

Jonathan Sprinkles dropped so many tweet-able nuggets, my hands stayed in tweet mode! Feel free to tweet a few out yourself.

  1. Have you ever met a hater that was doing better than you? Consider the source.
  2. Critics without credentials – pleasing people who’ve never been there will never get you there.
  3. Everyday, spend time in your dream.
  4. I don’t expect you to hear me, until you know me. You see the fruits, but let me tell you about the roots.
  5. It’s not where you start, but where you choose to finish.
  6. Never play the victim in your life story.
  7. Dreamers process things differently.
  8. If you can not see it, before you can see it – you will never see it.
  9. Your strangeness is your genius.
  10. Your dream comes in pieces.
  11. If you only focus on the what if, based on fear – you’ll never realize your dream.
  12. Keep it real, or just keep it.

One thing that was obvious, is that the all of the speakers were fully engaged with these teens. The teens asked questions, took notes & selfies! 

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This event had so many moving parts, it was hard to keep up. There was always something to do, but the cool part was that it’s Disney! Disney does everything with style and magic.

It was easy to see the magic in the eyes of these children & their parents. 

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This years commencement speaker was TJ Holmes, Good Morning America corespondent. He shared his story which gave us all a better understanding of him and why it’s important to stay the course. 

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Overall, the weekend had the best theme – follow your dreams, they are important. It could not be stressed enough. If I would have had this opportunity as a high school student, I would be an TV show host with …. let me stop. I am not sure where I would be, but I know that I would have made things happen for me a lot sooner than later.

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I hope the class of 2017 takes full advantage of the mentorship opportunities they took part in this weekend and go full force to create a personal legacy. I look forward to following their journey. 

 

Event Recap Motherhood

My First Time at SeaWorld

Living in Florida has taught me, there is no shortage of fun places to visit with your family.

As a child who grew up in FL, my husband visited SeaWorld many times. He would often share with myself and the kids his memories he had experienced there. 

Recently, I was given a couple of passes to SeaWorld. I didn’t have enough for my children so I contemplated not going. My husband secured a sitter and said, “We will take them next time! We’re going to SeaWorld.”

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From a first timers perspective, it was an enjoyable experience. When you get to the entrance, you can either buy your tickets at the gate or a machine. What a great way to beat the lines. 

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What’s Different at SeaWorld?

Roller Coasters

We rode Manta and Kraken. They’re both were fun smooth roller coasters. I didn’t feel jerked around like most roller coasters (you know, like a bobble head) but the stomach drop is real! If you like an adrenaline rush, you’ll enjoy these. On the Manta, you’re actually riding face down like your flying. So you have to secure your things in a locker because its easy for everything to fall out of your pockets. 

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We didn’t ride every coaster or see every attraction because:

  1. We were on a time crunch.
  2. We wanted to save some things to experience with the kids.

They have more rides that we didn’t catch this time:

Journey to Atlantis
Mako
Sky Tower
Paddle Boats
Wild Arctic Ride
Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin. 

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Animals

I felt like a kid seeing these Whales jump and do amazing tricks. I was ooohhhing and aaahhhing with the crowd. My husband and I agreed that when we bring our children next time, we’ll sit down in the front and get wet! My children are going to love it.

SeaWorld is all about sea life. We were blown away when we entered the penguin habitat. It was a cold 32 degrees in this area. These penguins enjoyed swimming and eating without a care in the world. 

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Meal Plan

If you plan to stay at an amusement park all day, you have to eat. We decided to purchase the SeaWorld all inclusive meal plan. It was $35 and you get an entree, drink and desert EVERY HOUR! So, as you can guess – every hour we were trying a new restaurant. The food was great. It was prepared in front of you and the variety is huge.  

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Featured Event | Seven Seas Food Festival 2/11 – 5/13

Enjoy local craft beers as you discover exciting new Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian and Middle Eastern flavors. And the fun goes beyond the food with live performances from top country, rock and Latin music artist. It’s a flavor celebration at SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival.

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Come sip and sample your way around the world of international street food traditions. Enjoy local craft beers while you explore culinary marketplaces throughout the park. Surprise your taste buds as you discover exciting new Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian and Middle Eastern flavors.

And the fun goes beyond the food with live performances every Saturday from top country, rock and Latin music artists. It’s a flavor celebration at SeaWorld’s Seven Seas Food Festival. Fun has a whole new flavor. Source

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If you are in Florida or plan to make a trip here soon, SeaWorld is definitely a place to visit. They have roller coasters, great shows, great places to eat, and animal attractions. We definitely needed more time, but that only gives us a great excuse to come back soon.




Have you ever been to SeaWorld? What was your favorite attraction?

Event Recap

Life After Disney Dreamers Academy & How One Alumni Speaks Things into Existence

Disney Dreamers Alumni

Have you ever been to an event that you immediately knew, you would never leave the same way you came?

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the 10th Annual Disney Dreamers Academy in Walt Disney World. For 10 years, Disney World along with Steve Harvey & Essence Magazine have been educating 100 students with a full weekend of dream building. 

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Thousands of students apply each year, and only 100 get in. With this year being it’s 10th Anniversary, there are now 1000 students (or “Dreamers”) that have been able to benefit from this mind altering / life changing experience. 

What Happens After Disney Dreamers Academy?

Some might ask, what happens after you leave the Disney Dreamer Experience? Does it really make an impact? That question was answered for me when I met 9 Disney Dreamers Alumni. The Dreamers Academy brought back 1 Alumni from each year for the 10th year celebration. 

I was given an opportunity to sit down with a few of them and actually hear how their life was impacted by the Disney Dreamers Academy & why teens should apply. With over 100 Disney Dreamers and 10 Alumni in attendance, we were still given the opportunity to connect with a few on a deeper level. 

Like 2008 Disney Alumni Tevyn Cole, my son loves to dance. It’s in his soul. When music starts, no matter where we are, he starts moving. He recently entered a talent show at his school and placed 2nd (with a dance routine) out of 12 contestants. 10 out of 12 contestants were singers. 

When I heard about Tevyn Cole, and how after coming to Disney Dreamers in 2008, he realized his passion for dance was real. He was brave enough to pivot his career & make his dream his career.

My Mickey ears perked up and I had to speak with him. His story is something I want to share with my son and other parents who have children that have a passion for the arts. 

Disney Dreamers Tevyn

Me: Was it hard for you to say, “I want to be a dancer!” When so many students pick a engineer, doctor, lawyer or things like that? 

Tevyn: Anyone that wants to pursue the arts has to deal with that viewpoint from the outside world,  “You want to sing and dance?” You have relatives that say, pick a job that provides financial security or is more realistic. I’ve heard it all and dealt with all of those emotions. However, entertainment is the only thing I could see myself doing. You have to really be in touch with what you want to do and be passionate about it to pursue it. 

Me: How did your parents feel about your choice to purse dance as a career?

Tevyn: My parents have always been my #1 support system. Even when I had other businesses, they would drive me to my events. They are the perfect example of parents who are supportive. I am extremely lucky. I know not everyone has that. 

Me: Were you a dancer when you came to Disney Dreamers? 

Tevyn: I created T-shirts that educated people. I put black history facts on T-shirts to uplift my classmates. I was in a rural area where black history wasn’t a main focus. But when I thought long term about dedicating my life to something. I felt more connected to the arts. I still want to motivate and inspire other minorities but I wanted to go a different route. I wanted to work in an area that I am willing to pour 100% of my life into. That’s dancing and performance.

Me: I heard you mention you believe in the power of speaking what you want into the atmosphere. You even mentioned how you spoke, “I am going to Japan” and a few months later you were there. Tell me more about speaking things into existence and how it works for you.

Tevyn: I spoke being a Korean pop (KPop) background dancer into existence. I was 15 in Japan, and I loved KPop so much that I said, “I am going to be a KPop dancer.” I didn’t know how at the time. It took longer because it was a bigger goal, so when things are becoming aligned it takes a little longer behind the scenes. There are things that line up without you even knowing they are lining up.

The second thing that came into existence was my mentorship with my favorite choreographer in the world and being able to train under him for almost 2 years until his death. That was something I wanted to believe 100% it would happen, but even I was like “Whoa this is a big dream!” and it happen faster than I thought it would. It was 1 month later.

That shows me that you have to have that belief behind what you say. 

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Me: Why would someone apply to Disney Dreamers? 

Tevyn: Because they want more! There will always be people that want to settle and feel comfortable. That’s also ok if you like where you live and want to stay. There has to be people that stay, however there has to be people that go and expand. Anyone that wants something more out than life is currently giving to them, should definitely be here. Its going to be that kick-starter for you. 

Me: Are you open to mentoring 11 year old boys? (inserts laughter, but I was so serious)

Tevyn: Absolutely! I feel like when you receive you also have to give. I am completely into giving back when I can. We can Skype! 

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Here are a more Disney Dreamers Alumni & their bio’s below. These young adults are doing amazing things in their community and business.

Honestly, I felt like a slacker. 

Disney Dreamers Academy Alumni:

2008 | Tevyn Cole attended Disney Dreamers Academy at 15 years old. During the program, Tevyn discovered his true passion was dance and has since traveled the world pursuing that dream. Today, Tevyn works as a choreographer and dance teacher in Hollywood. He has choreographed and danced in music videos for artists including Alicia Keys, Zendaya and rising pop artist Ellise as well as for major brands and events including CBS and L.A. Fashion Week.

2009 | Derrick Elliott came to Disney Dreamers Academy with the dream of achieving a military career. Due to that hard work, Derrick achieved the rank of Captain in the United States Army. Today, he works for the government and continues to dream big with the goal to one day be the Chief Justice on the United States Supreme Court.

2010 | Ebony Johnson began college as a speech and hearing major, but realized it wasn’t her passion. Recalling the lessons she learned at Disney Dreamers Academy about following your dreams and talents. Today, as a college graduate, she is turning the baking business she started as a teen into a full-time career, selling her sweet treats online to local customers as she prepares to open Soul Sweet Bakery in Charleston, S.C.

2011 | Princeton Parker first came to Disney Dreamers Academy with an unmistakable talent for public speaking. During the program, however, he saw firsthand how that talent could be used to motivate and help others. It wasn’t long until he was using that very gift at Disney Dreamers Academy. In 2012, he was selected as a program ambassador and in 2014 became the only Dreamer to join the Disney Dreamers Academy Speakers Resource Group, where he helps select the new class of Dreamers and serves as a program host and inspirational speaker during the event. Today, Princeton is a graduate from the University of Southern California with a degree in communications and works for the Walt Disney Company full-time as a stage manager at Disneyland.

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2012 | Cathleen Daly is currently in her senior year of college at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, majoring in communications. Disney Dreamers Academy opened her eyes to the world of possibilities and showed her its okay to explore different passions. The pursuit of her dreams has led her to a wide variety of experiences including interning for Senator John McCain’s re-election campaign, co-hosting a television show, running her own blog and volunteering with her adoption agency, Chinese Children Adoption International, to visit orphanages in China. 

2012 | Taylor Carter While at Disney Dreamers Academy, Taylor made connections that helped show her the path she needed to follow to achieve her dream of being a singer and actor. Through those connections, she sang with pop star Jordin Sparks, met the cast of Broadway’s Porgy and Bess and opened for R&B artist Mario. She is now following the lessons she learned from those professionals as she records her first album, “Motion Picture,” and recently released her first single, “Big City.” This year she will be featured in a PBS special and performs regularly as a singer and an actress in Chicago. Taylor passes on the lessons she learned at Disney Dreamers Academy to the next generation as a teacher at performing arts camps in her hometown.

2013 | Kayla Jackson is currently attending Rutgers University, and was recently named one of the college’s 250 most influential students in its “250 for 250” series. At Disney Dreamers Academy, Kayla learned that failure is merely a learning opportunity on the path of realizing one’s dreams. She is now working on her third business since the program. She was fortunate to sell her first company before graduating high school, but she hadn’t experienced entrepreneurial success since then. She is now using the lessons from her second business to lead her to success on her newest effort. Her new company, PeduL, is a crowd-funding platform where students can run fundraising campaigns to help finance their higher education expenses. In addition, her go-for-it attitude has allowed her to secure partnerships and mentorship opportunities with Richard Branson, two NBA Champions, Forbes, the Huffington Post and the editor-in-chief of ESSENCE Magazine.

2014 | Pavlina Osta learned the importance of networking and finding mentors during her time at Disney Dreamers Academy. Using those networking skills, Pavlina landed an opportunity to live and work in New York City as a radio host and producer. She is now a producer for the radio broadcast group Salem Media and with radio shows hosted by celebrities Mike Gallagher and Joe Piscopo. Pavlina continues to host her own nationally syndicated radio show, The Pavlina Show.

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 2015 | Sanah Jivani went into Disney Dreamers Academy unsure if she would be able to successfully manage her organization while also attending college. At Disney Dreamers Academy, she acquired the confidence and tools to grow and promote her non-profit self-esteem movement, Natural Day, while also receiving a higher education. In November 2015, Sanah gave a TEDxYouth Talk called “Imperfect and Proud,” and today, Natural Day, which encourages people to celebrate their natural and unique beauty, has expanded to 61 schools in 28 countries.

2016 | N’Naserri Carew-Johnson was motivated to initiate the change she felt her community desperately needed. Using the knowledge and inspiration she gained during the program, N’Naserri has launched two charitable programs since she attended Disney Dreamers Academy just one year ago. Last summer, after losing two friends to suicide, N’Naserri sought action and launched Strength Over Society, which performs community service projects and provides a safe space for young people to discuss social issues. Her other organization, Friends’ Birth Connection, links members with children in shelters and orphanages who share their birthday and sends party supplies, to help them celebrate.

Please come back soon because I will be sharing more interviews on a few more Disney Dreamers Alumni and other stories about how lives are changed because of this experience.  

Event Recap Motherhood

8 Amazing Experiences on My First Disney Cruise

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Have you ever been on a cruise before? What about a Disney cruise? I can tell you right now, that they are two very different experiences.

My first cruise was actually my honeymoon trip. It was a 7-day adventure with 3 stops in 3 different countries. Over the last 13 years, I’ve cruised 5 more times but our dream was to always do a Disney Cruise. 

Last week, I was given the opportunity with Disney Social Media Moms to experience their first Land and Sea Adventure. It’s an invitation only conference, and this year for the first time we spent 2 days at the Disney Resort Port Orleans and 3 days at sea on the Disney Wonder.

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Please come back soon because I have more to tell you about what’s new at Disney for 2017, but right now I just can’t hold back my excitement for the Disney cruise.

One thing I have come to learn about Disney, is that they don’t do anything halfway. It’s done in excellence, or not at all. 

As I think back to my experience, here are 8 things that no matter what I say – you will have to experience them for yourself.

1. The Greeting – getting on the ship was very easy. If you have all of your paperwork and/or documents ready, you’re good to go. As you walk down the long walk-way to enter the ship, you’re greeted by a crew member who ask your name.

Honestly, inside I wondered why does she want to know our last name, we already registered! Out of nowhere, we walked into this beautiful ship and we heard over the loud speaker, “Disney Wonder, please welcome The Knighten Family!” 

Everyone started to scream and clap. I felt like they were expecting us. It’s such a great way to start off your vacation. 

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2. The Decor – When you first walk onto the Disney Wonder, your neck may start to hurt. You will not be able to stop looking up and around at the amazing decor. It felt like I was in a fancy hotel. The entire ship is simply art in motion, with no detail left out.

3. Kids Clubs – Not only did my children not want to leave the kids club, I wondered if I could stay and play awhile. They have different clubs for different ages and don’t close until midnight. Club Odyssey was a 6 room kids adventure. Each room was different, equipped with tablets, games, slides and more.

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My 11 year old found his new tribe in Club Edge. It was for tween & teens ages 11-14 which made him feel like a “big boy” with independence. He didn’t want to spend any more time with us after he experienced Edge on day 1. 

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4. Shows – Each night on the cruise we experienced a show after dinner in the Walt Disney Theatre. The 3 shows were:

  • The Golden Mickeys – all the big Disney Stars come out to welcome you with great singing and story telling.
  • Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic – a young girl learns to make her dream come true if she just believes, as she revisits her favorite Disney movies at the same time.
  • Frozen, A Musical Spectacular  an amazing re-enactment of the movie. You will be singing along and experience a big COLD surprise at end! 

5. Restaurants– On most cruises you eat at the same place every night. On the Disney Wonder, each night we dined at a new place on the ship, but always had our same staff. We are a family of 5, and dined with another (same) family of 5 each night & became fast friends!

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  • Tiana’s Place – If you ever seen Princess & the Frog, you definitely get that New Orleans feel. It’s a live band playing & singing while you eat. Princess Tiana visits each table and has a big party in the middle of dinner. You will find yourself dancing around the dining room toward the end of the night. disney_wonder_bernettastyle
  • Tritons (Pirate Night) was a tad bit upscale. It was pirate night so we were all dressed up in our pirate attire. 
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  • Animator’s Palace – the most amazing themed restaurant I’ve ever experienced. It cost 4 million to actually create. The entire restaurant is black and white with portraits all over of the Disney Characters as pencil sketches that come to life while you eat. AP

6 .The Adult Area– that’s right, Disney Cruises are not just for children. I saw many children-less couples enjoying the perks of the Adult Only area. This included it’s own pool, hot tub, sun bathing area, restaurant, beach area, and club! It’s a beautiful transition because the decor goes from fun to mature. 

7. Castaway Cay(pronounced KEY) – We learned that a CAY is an island 3 miles or less. It’s pronounced KEY because it’s Spanish for Small Island. Castaway Cay is Disney’s Private Island in the Bahamas.  Disney’s Castaway Cay was recognized as the Best Cruise Line Private Island in Cruise Critics Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards.

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The island had fun things to do for children – the clubs came to the island too! Restaurants in the island were ready to serve! We even did an excursion on a glass water bottom boat and fed the fish in the ocean. 

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8. Picture Kiosk – Inside of going to a deck and standing around trying to find your picture on a wall in between hundreds of others, Disney has a Kiosk location where all your pictures are digitally housed! AMAZING! You scan your key card and your pictures appear. This way they save money by not having to print paper when people don’t buy their pictures. GENIUS! 

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Here are a few things that made a great difference for me (attention to detail)

1. Clean, super clean: With flu season being a top priority nationwide, Disney made sure we washed our hands before entering the buffet area. There was an actual hand washing station. In other areas on the ship, staff gave you wipes for your hands as you entered a restaurant. Even the kids club had a state of the art hand washing machine that did all the washing. I would love to have that in my house. With a ship that has over 3,000 guest, its important to keep the germ spreading to a minimum.

2. The Staff – every single staff we came across treated us like Royalty. They remembered our names and spoke to us daily like we were old friends. By the end of the cruise, you feel like you really are friends! 

3. Food/Drink – there were great food choices on the ship, as well as gluten free if you so desired. There were also around the clock room service, ice cream, hot dogs, hamburgers, pizza, gyros & chicken tenders. They had their own smoothie shop that made healthy juices! 

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4. Our room – Cruise rooms are not necessarily the biggest spaces. On our cruise, they made sure our children each had their own bed when it was time to sleep. However, during the day, they made it look like a suite.  

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They also got creative on the infamous towel decor and used something different than a white towel. Disney, I tell ya!! Can you guess what this is? A snake.

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If you like to cruise and have never experienced a Disney Cruise, you have to put one on your list.

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They have 4 boats:

  1. Disney Wonder
  2. Fantasy
  3. Dream
  4. Magic

Pick one and enjoy a grand experience! 

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Event Recap Travel

3 Reasons Why it’s Perfectly Fine to Experience Disney Without My Children

Would you ever consider going to the Disney Parks without your children? 

OMG! Did I just ask that? 

Yes, my husband and I enjoyed a day date at Epcot last week and it was amazing. 

Now of course, children love Disney and all the magic that it creates. However, adults love Disney just as much and being alone walking around Epcot with him allowed me to experience Epcot in a new way. 

3 Reasons Why it’s Perfectly Fine to Experience Disney Without My Children

Friday, my husband and I attended the very first Epcot International Festival of the Arts. It’s the ultimate cultural celebration from January 13th – February 20, 2017. It’s only held on the weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday). Being able to experience it on the 1st day made me feel special.

I was able to taste food, experience seminars, and see a great Disney Broadway show with my husband at the America Gardens Theatre stage without my children. I felt like a big kid!

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  1. Hold Hands More – I’ve been married for 13 years and my husband still loves to hold my hand in public and shower me with kisses. However, when we are with our kids for some reason, they want to hold our hands and be in the middle of us. Walking around Epcot alone, allowed us to feel like we were on a date. We didn’t have to worry about saying, “Leave your sister alone!” “Don’t touch that!” or “I’m sorry, excuse him he’s only 3!” We were able to enjoy us & still experience magic.
  2. Ride all the rides – When you go to Disney, with a big family, and you have a young child, everyone isn’t going to be able to ride everything. There have been many times my husband and I have taken turns, with our older two children while one of us stayed back with the baby. In addition, sometimes one of my children may have been too short and we would have to sit that one out. At the Epcot Festival of Arts we were able to experience attractions without restrictions and learn about new cultures without explanations. 
  3. Wine & Spirits – The International Festival of Arts is the ultimate cultural celebration of food, art and entertainment. This includes a wide array of adult beverages ranging from wines to beer from all over the world. We were able to taste a few of these delicious spirits such as the Classic Sidecar with Chocolate Twist & Deconstructed Breakfast Twining Apple Chia Tea with Cream Bourbon and Candied Bacon. I personally don’t drink alcohol in front of my children, so this would have been a treat I would have missed out on if they were there. 

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3 Great Things the International Festival of Arts offers?

I think this festival was the perfect date for us for two reasons: 1) My in-laws watched my children, so I had a peace of mind that my children were fine. 2) We were at Epcot from 10am – 7 ish and we were able to take our time to experience the International Festival of Arts without being rushed in any form.

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  1.  Great Food – There are 7 Food Studios around the park with some of the fanciest selections at affordable prices. They’re so creatively decorated, you almost don’t want to eat them because it’s a work of art. 
  2. Concerts – What would Disney be without memorable songs that get us all emotionally charged up? During the festival, there are nightly concerts with artist who have been on Broadway. There are 3 shows a night (5:00 pm, 6:45pm, & 8pm) on the America Gardens Theatre Stage. We attended the show with Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland, from the original Broadway Mary Poppins and Tarzan. I’ve actually never heard of these artist, but left in amazement. Ashley sang the best version of Frozen’s, “Let it Go”, I’ve ever heard. 
  3. Art – There is some form of art everywhere you look. There are places around the park where you can purchase Disney art or Disney inspired art. I was also able to get a peek at an artist actually painting on the sidewalks. It’s like seeing a masterpiece being made in front of your very own eyes. They are starting out with 30 original pieces of art and adding new pieces daily. There were also a gallery of work by Disney Legends, Mary Blair and Herbert Ryman displayed in the Odyssey restaurant. 

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All in all, you’re truly immersed in the best visual, culinary, and performing arts – a global masterpiece!

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To learn more and buy tickets to the event, visit their website HERE. If you want to see what people are enjoying the most about the festival, check out #ArtfulEpcot on Instagram! 




Event Recap

Ghost Returns Locked Up! Power Season 4

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If you know me, you know that I love me some POWER! I Love it. I’ve been a fan since the first episode.

I was even fortunate to meet James “Ghost” St. Patrick, Mr. Omari Hardwick in the flesh at the season 2 premiere in Atlanta.

Can’t you see the girl’s gush in my eyes …

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Anyway, did you see season 3? OMG, it was nothing short of awesome. Every show left you on the edge for the next week. After the show would go off, my favorite part would be talking to the other fans in the POWER Fan Group on FB about our theories! People are really involved in this show.

In season 3, you definitely saw more of James trying to be less of Ghost but at the same time, having to do Ghost-like things for the sake of his family & first true love, Angela.

It’s something about those first loves. Sometimes it’s hard to let go … especially when the feeling is mutual, as you can see with Jamie & Angela.

Power fans, how do you feel about the Ghost, Tasha & Angela storyline? He loved his wife & children of course, but he is in love with Angela. He always was in love with her. Although its not real life, it makes me wonder, do you stay in a marriage for the sake of the kids or do you leave like Ghost (for your own happiness) and still try to parent? Most people stay.

It’s also his love for Angela, that is making him desire to go legit. Unfortunately, there are too many odds against him.

POWER Season 4 is Coming

Starz announced today that production has begun in and around New York, for the upcoming fourth season of the STARZ Original hit series, “Power.”

The fourth season will include ten episodes of the one-hour scripted drama and return Summer 2017 on STARZ.

“Power” Season Three is the most-watched STARZ original series ever, with a record of 7.1M viewers of “Power” across all platforms and counting. The #1 original STARZ drama also ranked #1 among all weekend cable programs for African American viewers this season.

The new season will pick up on the heels of James “Ghost” St. Patrick’s highly publicized arrest by his ex-girlfriend, Assistant U.S. Attorney Angela Valdes, for the murder of FBI Agent Greg Knox—a crime he did not commit. Ghost can’t outrun his past choices and mounting enemies this season, which threaten his freedom and his family’s safety at every turn. His fight for redemption brings him face-to-face with the Feds, the media, new allies, and old foes. But the biggest obstacle for Ghost remains himself and his internal struggle between the man he wants to be and the one he really is.

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“Power” is a visionary drama that straddles the glamorous Manhattan lifestyles of the rich and infamous and the underworld of the international drug trade. The cast is led by Omari Hardwick as drug kingpin and nightclub impresario James “Ghost” St. Patrick, Joseph Sikora, as his brother in arms in the drug business, Tommy Egan; Naturi Naughton plays James’ fierce, loyal wife Tasha St. Patrick and Lela Loren as his first love Assistant U.S. Attorney, Angela Valdes.

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I hate that we always have to wait a full year for the season to return, but it’s been worth it every season. I can’t wait to see how James “Ghost” St. Patrick, life will be turned around in jail and what new revelations he has about life and love.

Are you a POWER fan?