Kira’s Korner

Score free tickets to events in Hampton Roads via FillASeat

Kira Riley : February 21, 2013 10:51 am : Entertainment, Kira's Korner

fill a seat hampton roads

For entertainment lovers in the Hampton Roads area, I came across a unique opportunity this morning via Twitter. Thanks to a Tweet from WGNT CW 27, I was introduced to Fill A Seat Hampton Roads. If you are wondering exactly what it is and how it works, here is the explanation courtesy of their website:

FillASeat, the popular “Seat Filler” membership site currently in 15 markets, including Las Vegas, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, and Philadelphia is now…

HAMPTON ROADS PREMIER SEAT FILLER!

When entertainment venues – shows, concerts, and events here in the Hampton Roads area have tickets that haven’t sold out, they come to FillASeat to help fill their seats & pack the house!

FillASeat arranges complimentary tickets to a variety of events for its members. Offers can range from previews to opening nights to performances throughout a shows run, as well as tickets to sporting events, special community events, comedy clubs, attractions and more.

Members pay one low annual fee that entitles them to 2 or 4 seats to any available show or event throughout the duration of their membership. Annual memberships start at just $79.95. Attending just one or two shows or events will often make up for the cost of entire year’s membership.

  • No per ticket cost
  • Members’ parties are seated together
  • Online reservation system – no coupons to print or present
  • Tickets picked up at venue Box Office

Only Hampton Roads & NE North Carolina area locals, and Military stationed in the area will be granted membership.  FillASeat Hampton Roads will encompass Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Newport News, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Williamsburg.  FillASeat Hampton Roads will strive to have a variety through all cities.

Note:  FillASeat Hampton Roads’ offerings change regularly and we do NOT publicize who our entertainment partners are so that we do not impact their regular ticket sales.  This membership is not for someone looking for one particular event or front row tickets to a sold out event. It is designed for someone looking to experience a wide variety of the best that Hampton Roads has to offer – you may even discover a new theater group, venue or weekend event!

Bold/Italics mine for emphasis

 

Thanks to a great deal via Rock Solid Deals, a duet membership is only $40! (Regular price is $79.95).Not sure how long the deal will last, but I would take advantage of it while it is still available. I decided to go for it and after signing up, tickets to a few local events were available! Once I find something that interests me and I attend, I will review the process. For now, I definitely think it is something worth checking out! Remember the key is to NOT discuss the event/offers, that is a cause for cancellation of membership. Make sure you review FillASeat’s policies prior to joining to see whether or not the service is for you. While it may not work for everyone,I think it a great opportunity for those who will truly benefit from it. It’s nice to see something like this in Hampton Roads.

If you have used the service, feel free to let me know how you like it!

You can visit Fill A Seat Hampton Roads website, Twitter and Facebook Fan Page for more info and for updates.

Enjoy!

-Kira

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Paradise Found: Atlantis Resort in Bahamas

Kira Riley : February 12, 2013 11:58 am : Kira's Korner, Lifestyle, Reviews, Travel

When you envision a relaxing vacation getaway, you often imagine lush tropical foliage and pristine beaches.  Atlantis, located on Paradise Island, Bahamas, is that ideal dream vacation come to life. The expansive property is a non-stop visual feast; from the beautifully landscaped grounds to the crystal-clear sparkling water.

It is one thing to see Atlantis, online or in commercials, but to be up-close-and-personal is another experience altogether. We traveled to the resort while sailing aboard Carnival Pride from Baltimore, Maryland picture of atlantis bahamas landscape and waterfall(February 3 – 10, 2013 sailing). From the moment I stepped foot on the property, I could not stop snapping pictures. I took 94 pictures on my iPhone alone, as well as pictures on two digital cameras.  Atlantis is the definition of picture perfect; every shot I took looked like a picture out of magazine or brochure ad. It is absolutely one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited.

My family and I were excited to get started and explore all Atlantis had to offer.  After securing our wristbands, we headed out to enjoy our day. To say that the size of the property is overwhelming is an understatement. There is so much to see and do, you need a couple of days to fully enjoy it. We only had five hours, so we tried to make the best of our time while we were there. Aquaventure, the resorts state-of-the-art water park, closes at 5 p.m., so we decided to tackle that first and then head to the aquariums. Due to wanting to experience as much as we could, we decided to rotate through the pools and attractions. We started at the River Pool and wound our way back to the Grotto Pool and eventually, the Challenger Slides. After a few hours of enjoying the pools, we decided to grab a bite to eat.

The hotel staff suggested we check out the Marina Village for lunch. There were a variety of affordable restaurants to choose from, including Marina Pizzeria, where we chose to eat. The pizza slices were large and were the size of two individual large pieces of pizza for about $7. According to my family, it was delicious and well worth the price. After eating we headed back to enjoy the last part of our day.

We decided to end our time outside at the Atlantis Beach.  The white sandy beach and the gorgeous aqua-Atlantis Beach colored ocean was the perfect way to relax and unwind after an exciting day.  Before heading back to our ship, we took in The Dig. The Dig features some of the most impressive marine habitats I have ever seen.  From the large stingrays to the “Jewel Habitats” featuring beautiful and brightly colored fish, it is a true underwater wonderland.

As much as we hated to leave, we were worn out from an amazing day at Atlantis. Our only wish is that we had more time to take it all in.  We are hoping to stay at the property for a couple of days in the future to truly discover all Atlantis has to offer. But for the time we were there, it was an experience we will never forget.

If you are traveling to Nassau aboard a cruise or looking for a romantic or family getaway, I highly recommend checking out Atlantis.  There are a variety of day options available if you are a cruise ship passenger or great airfare and accommodation packages for those who wish to fly and stay. Visit http://www.atlantis.com/ for more information.

*NOTES*

  • The weather while we were there was mid-upper 70’s with a slight breeze. When the sun was out it felt great. It was a little cool with the breeze and it being overcast at times, so the water and the air was not warm enough for me. But my husband and children enjoyed the water despite the temps.
  • There was a very small pool that was heated and warm near the Mayan Temple on the side. The water felt amazing! I wouldn’t call it a hot tub or jacuzzi as there were no jets.
  • We unfortunately ran out of time and didn’t get to any of the water rides or the infamous Leap of Faith. 🙁 The Splashers kids area was closed due to being remodeled. But we hope to finish what we started on our next visit 🙂

If you have any questions or comments about Atlantis or cruising to the Bahamas, feel free to leave a message below!

You can check out more of my vacation pictures by following me on Instagram @AuriBear or Instacanvas:  http://instacanv.as/auribear
* I was provided a complimentary day pass, but the opinion given is 100% mine.
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Hot Find: Nicole by Nicole Miller Rachel Tote – $10 at J.C. Penney

Kira Riley : January 28, 2013 5:22 pm : Fashion, Kira's Korner

snakeskin rachel tote nicole by nicole millerI had to share with my fellow fashionistas my hot find of the week! It’s the snakeskin “Rachel” Tote (Fall 2012) for the Nicole by Nicole Miller line at J.C. Penney. I spotted it from across the aisle and  casually made my way over to snatch it up before my mom grabbed it, lol. It’s huge inside, has compartments, and very roomy. I love the color, due to it being neutral, I can carry it with a variety of outfits. The only thing that is missing is a magnetic closure at the top or zipper. But for only $10 (regular price $50), who cares?? Lol

I snagged this one at the Williamsburg location of J.C. Penney. This was the last one, so hopefully there are some left in other Hampton Roads J.C. Penney stores. If you find one, let me know!

BTW, they are having great sales store-wide, so make sure you check it out!

Yours in fashion,

Kira

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New partnership – Feld Family Ambassador

Kira Riley : January 28, 2013 4:43 pm : Community, Kira's Korner

I am happy to announce that I am now a Feld Family Ambassador! I have been attending Feld events since I was a child, and as a parent, it is a pleasure to take my children to Feld productions as well. As a Feld Family Ambassador,in exchange for my time and efforts in attending shows and reporting my opinion on my sites – as well as keeping you advised of the latest discount offers – Feld has provided me with complimentary tickets and opportunities to attend private Feld pre-show events. Although I receive these benefits, the opinions I provide will be 100% mine.

Due to an upcoming vacation, I unfortunately will be unable to attend Monster Jam February 8-9. 🙁 However, I look forward to bringing you coverage for Built to Amaze! when it comes to the Hampton Roads in April!

In the meantime, check out my post on Monster Jam; tickets are still available with some for only $5 for kids ages 2-12 (restrictions and fees apply). I was able to cover the DRAGONS! show last year at Hampton Coliseum for 757 Lifestyle and in case you missed it, you can check out my review here.

I look forward to bringing you honest opinions, promotion, coverage and contests for Feld events in the Hampton Roads area.

Kira
757 Lifestyle Editor

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Tips & Tricks: Planning Our First Trip To Disney World

Kira Riley : January 3, 2013 4:40 pm : Kira's Korner, Lifestyle, Tips & Tricks, Travel

epcot walt disney world december 2013

After years of saying we were going to make the big trip to Disney World, we finally did it! It was by far one of my favorite family trips to date and I will  never  forget the entire experience. I used to wonder why everyone made such a big deal of visiting “Walt Disney World.”  It wasn’t until after I experienced everything for myself that I understood why it’s a place you must visit at least once – more if you can afford it/handle it! Here are the tips and tricks we used to make our first trip to Disney World a memorable one.

Tickets

I decided to use Undercover Tourist  for tickets based on the recommendations of other bloggers. I am very happy I did! Lila responded to a question I had about purchasing very promptly and was very polite. Picking up the tickets locally was a breeze and they were exactly what I paid for (real hard souvenir tickets, not paper vouchers). Based on my research, they also have the best pricing. I will definitely use Undercover Tourist again and I highly recommend them!

When To Go To Disney World

I made sure to do my research and prepare myself for the trip. Thanks to my husband, he also did his homework in regards of when to go. After reading the recent story of the crowds at Disney during New Year’s, there is NO WAY I would ever go during the holiday or summer season. With the amount it costs to get into the park (and travel from out of state), I want to make sure I am getting my money’s worth by experiencing and riding everything possible. Thankfully, we went at a great time of the year (December 9-12, 2013) where our longest wait time was only about an hour. We were pretty much able to ride everything we wanted to ride. The longest ride time was Toy Story Midway Mania! with 70-90 minutes and we chose to ride Tower of Terror as our last ride instead of waiting, since we had Fast Passes.** You also have to keep in mind that depending on the time of year, rides and attractions may be shut down for refurbishment.

When you decide to go may vary depending on many factors, with most families vacationing around school breaks and holidays. Due to that being the most popular time of the year, be prepared for large crowds and long wait times. If you are able to travel during low volume times when kids are still in school, go for it. I recommend this only if your children are able to afford missing the instructional time based on school district requirements, work load,  school grade/age, etc. This is a case by case basis and should be discussed as a family and with your school principal and teachers. My children are honor roll students and are great at catching up, but are also only elementary school students. As they move on to middle school and up, I will not allow them to miss unnecessary instructional time due to the work load increase and demands.

Undercover Tourist has a great calendar that is very helpful in planning when to visit Disney parks based on crowd volume.  View the Disney World Crowd Calendar.

What Disney Park Should I Visit and When?

Once you decide when you are traveling to Disney, the next hurdle is what parks to visit and on what day.  Although it is Florida, considering we went during the winter, I was not interested in visiting any water parks. (Although the weather was warm enough most days!). I also visit water parks and beaches quite frequently here at home and on other vacations, so I was more concerned with visiting Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. What parks you will visit will depend on each family’s preferences, the time of the year you are traveling, the length of your trip and your budget. *You also have to keep in mind that depending on the time of year, parks may be shut down for refurbishment.

I would advise you discuss as a family what rides and attractions are most important to your visit and prioritize based on that information. Upon checking in at the Guest Services desk our first day at Disney (Magic Kingdom), we received a great schedule that helped with planning our days at the parks based on the hours. Make sure to pick up the calendar for the week as it has the most up-to-date information with park hours, shows, etc. While there, you can also pick up your complimentary buttons to wear showcasing it’s your first visit, or if you are celebrating a birthday or anniversary.

The trusty calendar from Undercover Tourist also helps in planning what parks to visit on what days based on crowd levels. View Disney Parks Crowd Level Calendar

Navigating The Park/Planning Your Day

Since it was our first time, we had no idea where we were going or what we were doing! The My Disney Experience Mobile App was great and helped out tremendously! Not only does it have a map with GPS navigation (although it drains your phone!) it also will give you ride wait times. You can also find character greetings, FAST PASS return times and more.  It was an invaluable tool. I also utilized the schedules given to us from  guest services. I sat down and circled everything I wanted to do and we planned it by ride wait times and locations. The FAST PASS is a wonderful tool and I LOVE that it is free! When we visited Universal Studios Orlando for the first time last year during a cruise stop, we gladly paid for the Express Pass/Universal Ride Reservation System due to being on a tight schedule. Having the option for free at Disney is awesome! Bear in mind that popular attractions can run out of Fast Passes, so get them early and hit less crowded rides in the mean time.

I also planned rides and character meetings around show times and the night time fireworks. It’s possible to fit (almost) everything in with the right planning.  Undercover Tourist also offers great apps to help with planning your trip to Disney as well as Universal.

Saving Money On Food At Disney

I discovered through my research that Disney allows food (that does not require heating) and drinks in the parks. Everyone behind us at the security line said they wanted hang out with my husband after seeing all the food and drinks he packed into his book bag. :D My hubby was great about making and packing lunch for everyone to munch on throughout the day. (Sandwiches, drinks, chips, apple sauce, water, juice boxes, sunflower seeds, candy, you name it!)  Over the four days at the parks, we only spent about $50 on food, buying little things like ice cream, smoothies and cotton candy/popcorn. We stayed in a condo with a kitchen so we made sure to have a nice big breakfast before hitting the park and ate dinner or a little something (if we weren’t too tired) once we got back to our place.

Lodging

While everyone would love to stay at one of the many wonderful properties offered by Disney, it may be out of your budget. We knew we needed – and wanted – a space that included a kitchen and more room than your standard hotel. We knew it would be more cost effective for us as a family. I found a travel company (Squirrel Travel) on eBay that offered a great deal for 7 days and 6 nights in a 2 BR, 2.5 bath condo at Encantada Resort. It was big, spacious and beautiful. We had an enclosed porch with a hot tub and patio set – although we were too worn out from the park to enjoy it. They also offered complimentary shuttles to the parks (we opted to rent a vehicle) and other amenities. The cost was only $400 BUT it was due to a timeshare presentation opportunity. We also received 2 SeaWorld Orlando tickets. It worked out GREAT for our family, but you may choose to go another route. But for those who love a great deal and don’t mind checking out a timeshare presentation/property for a few hours, check them or another timeshare/resort out.

However, on our next trip, we definitely want to stay at a Disney property. The Extra Magic Hours and other Disney resort benefits make it worth trying out.

Disney Clothing & Items For The Trip

I had a family friend share with me that she would purchase Disney items for her nieces at home and have them shipped to their Disney hotel ahead of their arrival. That way everything is already waiting for them and they think it came from Disney – but it’s a whole lot cheaper! While we didn’t need to go that route, I did purchase the following items to take with me.

Disney Mickey Mouse Minnie Mouse shirts

I found a variety of great Disney items online and in the following stores: Rue 21, Burlington Coat Factory, a local Thrift store (a brand New Tinker Bell sweatshirt!) and Big Lots. The cost ranged from $2 – $12.99. The Disney shirts at Rue 21 were BOGO 1/2 off, so it was even better. Forever 21 has some great Disney clothing as well.

We also found a Wal-Mart near our resort that had an amazing selection of Disney items for a great price! Key chains, mugs, shirts – you name it! While it is great saving money, sometimes you may want something that is sold exclusively at Disney or want to be able to say “I bought this at Disney World!” versus “I bought this at Wal-Mart (or somewhere else)!”  Disney did have some great deals and we did purchase  souvenirs for the kids while at the parks. I also bought a Minnie jacket for myself. It’s nice to bring a little piece of Disney home, but you don’t have to break the bank to do so.

Mouse Ears

No Disney World trip would be complete without mouse ears. I purchased official Minnie Mouse ears from The Disney Store online for only $6.99 each on sale. They are really cute!

For my son, I purchased an official Disney pair online via eBay for about $7.00.

 Disney Accessories

If I am going to wear Disney clothing, I need my jewelry and cell phone to match! I found a cute Minnie necklace and iPhone 5 Minnie Mouse cases on eBay for about $5.00. You have to coordinate! 😉

Disney Souvenir Bag for the Kids

I decided to go to Dollar Tree before our trip and get Disney items for gift bag for the kids. I wanted to at least find a mini notebook that could be used for character autographs and a reusable cup. I found the booklet and the cup, as well as a photo frame. I also put a little candy and gum to keep them happy while on the plane ride. The gum is especially important in the event of their ears popping on the plane. Not a pleasant experience! disney character signature booklet

These other resources were invaluable for me, I wanted to share them with you.

1. Undercover Tourist & Military Ticket Pricing – best pricing for Walt Disney World tickets and other Orlando-area attractions! BUT if you are Military, make sure you take advantage of the awesome offer of 4-day Disney Tickets for only $169. Visit HERE for more information.

2. 7 Disney Money Saving Tips From NBCNews.com

3. 10 Things Most Disney World 1st Timers Don’t Know

4. Best Free Things To Do At Disney

5. Walt Disney World Official Website -Great for researching the parks, rides, FAQ, etc. You can also order a free vacation planning DVD.

6. Disney Moms Panel – Great information from the Moms Panel. Almost every question you can think of has already been asked, so research the forums for some good information.

7. Miss Morgan Designs – Adorable personalized Disney iron on transfers for a great price!

8. MouseSavers.com –  A great resource site for all things Disney and how to do it on a budget.

9. Orlando area Timeshare stay – I don’t want to disclose the company we used until we complete our trip to make sure they are worth recommending. But, I will say that we found a travel company that works with timeshare resorts to offer heavily discounted stays and park tickets in exchange for a timeshare presentation. (The company does have a 100% rating) For the amount we are paying for a week and the accommodations we are getting, it is worth it! I will share more once we return. But if you are looking to do Disney on a budget, I would look into that option.

Updated 4/30/2014

**There have been changes to the Fast Pass since our trip in December 2013. To read the latest on Disney Fast Pass+, visit here.

 


DISNEY WORLD 2013slideshows

 

You can check out more pictures and video from our Walt Disney World Trip on my Instagram and on 757 Lifestyle’s Instagram.
If you have any advice to share about Walt Disney World or want to share your Disney experience, please do so below!

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Product Review: Egg Beats Speaker for iPhones by GoTunes

Kira Riley : January 2, 2013 11:35 am : Kira's Korner, Reviews

egg beats iphone speaker docks colors and review

Product: Egg Beats by GoTunes (Compatible with iPhone 4/5)

Cost: $10 (plus $4.99 S&H)

Colors: Blue, Pink or Green

Over the Christmas holiday, I remarked to my brother about how much I enjoy listening to music on my iPhone and how I had to get rid of my Sony Audio Docking System due to the change in the charging port on the iPhone 5. So on my birthday(12/30), he surprised me with a pink Egg Beat. I had never seen or heard of it before, so I had no idea what to expect.  After he explained to me what it was and how it worked, I was excited to try it out. I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.  It’s unique design magnifies sound (10 times more sound) without the use of batteries or an adapter. Due to it’s size, it’s easy to carry with you and use wherever you go, which is great for traveling or moving from room to room. The versatile design also makes it easy to watch movies or videos by displaying the phone horizontally. It also doubles as a great stand to use for video chatting or when using speakerphone. All buttons are still accessible with the round piece on the front of the Egg designed to utilize the home button on your phone. The phone can also charge while using the Egg Beat, so there is no worry of your phone dying during use.

The phone fits snugly and securely in the Egg, with a case on. That is a plus for me, as I hate taking my case off and on. Without a case, the product still works, but it does not fit securely. If for any reason your iPhone 5 does not work with the Egg Beat, the company includes a voucher to receive a free iPhone 5 adapter to use with the Egg Beat without a case on the phone. Shipping and handling is free as well, which is a major plus.

Also included in the packaging is a tip to achieve optimal sound while using Egg Beats. I was not aware of the Equalizer presets, so it was nice to learn something new about my phone. After trying out the different presets, I definitely heard a difference in the quality of the sound. Even with the TV on in the background, the music coming from my iPhone while in the Egg Beat was loud enough to be heard over the TV, which is pretty impressive. To change EQ settings:

  • Go to settings
  • Then music
  • Select EQ (Equalizer)
  • Choose the preset based on the type of music you are listening to.

I highly recommend Egg Beats as an alternative to traditional audio docking stations that are bigger, bulky and more expensive. While this is a more cost-effective option, do not expect it to be a total replacement if you are looking for a remote-controlled device with stereo sound, like you receive from the iHome and other similar devices. I think Egg Beats is great for teens and children as well as a travel/back-up option for those who own electronic audio docking stations.

While many products that are sold on TV are available in Walmart or Walgreens, I have yet to see this in stores. As of now, you can purchase Egg Beats online via their website with a BOGO free option. https://www.geteggbeats.com/

[rating=4]

egg beats iphone speaker review

 

Feel free to share your experience with Egg Beats below!

*UPDATE*

I have seen the Egg Beats in Walgreens and thanks to reader TJ, there are also at Joann’s. But it seems to be the best deal is still purchasing online via their website.

 

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