Saturday, March 31, 2012

Life is a Beach!

“My Precious…” We trudged up the hill to the lodge. Sweat trickled down our backs, but we knew we must go on. We shielded our eyes from the glaring light from the sun, wait, yes. We were there, we made it! The cell phone had arrived! Special thanks to Sprint for their incredibly fast service!
Back on track, we loaded up the van with the family and tossed in the dog for good measure. Off to the beach!
Even though I’m a Pisces, I don’t like the water. I like looking at the water, I just don’t care for being in the water. I do like sand though, and chocolate. And what better beach is there to visit for a chocolate lover than Cocoa Beach?
Cocoa, Florida was named after the cocoa plants in the area. With visions of a chocolate paradise in my mind, I headed east. I was a bit disappointed not to find chocolate fountains after arriving but it was a nice drive. Only took about an hour to get there, just be sure you keep some cash handy for the tolls. Cost about seven bucks round trip.
We finally found a park with public access, and lots of signs with warnings. No Dogs. Since we had a dog, this was a bit of a downer. We ventured a bit further and found a dog park entrance just off the beach. So we split our time between hanging out at the dog park with Wyatt and going to the beach.
Wyatt thinks he’s a person, and does not play well with other dogs, so we kept him on a leash. The beach crew had a much better time than Wyatt.
You could not have asked for a nicer day, the weather was perfect! About 82 degrees, the sand was warm, the water was refreshing, and the clouds were ample. I love clouds and spend a lot of time staring at them and finding shapes. This was like a cloud paradise. I think they should rename Florida the Cloud State.
Cocoa Beach has my vote for the softest sand. Kind of like a free spa get away. Your feet are getting exfoliated, you can do seaweed wraps, nature is awesome. So I plop down into the velvety sand, and enjoy the never ending breeze coming from the ocean. The blue sky was dotted with fluffy white clouds and I amused myself by taking pictures and watching the sea gulls battle.
I never realized how graceful sea gulls were. When they land, they kind of hover a bit before touching down. I bury my feet in the sand and close my eyes, as the sound of the waves push my to do list out of my head.  This was the best Birthday ever!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival March 7th – May 20th

Epcot was a big “yes” for my entire family. And what better time to visit than during the Flower and Garden Festival?
The Kids ran off to go Soarin’ while I and my Dad hit  Spaceship Earth This was my first time riding and after only a five minute wait we were back in time. Ironically, it covers how paper was first created and then books. I thought the animated figures were very realistic as they showed man’s progression through time. The slow moving ride should be fine for everyone. I did however, find the air to be stuffy, which did not help my asthma.
Back outside and into the refreshing Florida breeze! We headed over to The Land section to eat breakfast. They had a wide variety, and prices were better than I had expected. Afterwards, we rode Living with the Land. Disney was kind to let us use the fast pass lane, to accommodate my Dad’s walker. This is a boat ride expounding upon the future of farming. The nine pound lemons were a site to behold!
Then the gates open to the World Showcase!  To me, this is the best part of Epcot. To explore different places and cultures that I have only read about. Intermixed with the countries are the stunningly accurate sculptures out of flowers. The Princess couples were my favorite! I selected my favorite pics, but you can see all of them by visiting my shutterfly page.
Did I mention shopping? Epcot is the shoppers paradise! I picked up a lucky owl from Japan, and a statue of Buddha. My mother purchased an authentic Cuckoo Clock from Germany, and my father stocked up on Dragonwell tea in China.
We had lunch at Les Chefs De France in Paris. They offered a three course Meal for $23 which included French Onion soup, a choice of entrée’s and choice of dessert. I shared it with my son and we had plenty to eat. My youngest son shared the soup as well, but picked out the onions, which completely defeats the purpose of eating French onionsoup!
While you’re in France be sure to see the 18 minute film. It depicts beautiful landscapes and wonderful Castles. Plus, unlike Canada and China, this one has seats!
Epcot is humongous and requires at least two days to get through it properly, but if you have only one, don’t miss the World Showcase!
You still have time to make the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, March 7th - May 20th!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Women of Universal

The Women of Universal By Lynn Hubbard
As a family, we love the Universal theme parks, it has something to offer everyone. So, while the kids were riding the Mummy, I wandered down the street to visit the Women of Universal. Betty & Lucy.
Betty Boop was created in the 1930’s, although she’s in her eighties she still is a beauty. Betty is an icon for women. She’s feisty and funny and Universal has given her a corner spot on Broadway.

Betty’s favorite colors are Red, Black and Pink. The store carries unique merchandise, such as feather boas, garter belts and everything Betty. It is also a great place to pick up postcards with celebrities from the glory days of Hollywood. These include such greats as James Dean, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and many other screen legends.
Next to Betty is “Lucy-A Tribute.” Of course, there is only one Lucy, Lucille Ball. Lucille starred in many rolls but her most famous was “I Love Lucy” a sitcom from the fifties. The walk thru museum shadows her life. It has old movie projectors you can peek into, original costumes and props from her shows and movies. And if you’re up on your Lucy Trivia, you can take the quiz!
I remember my mother watching Lucy reruns on television when I was young. I believe many women can relate to Lucy. Lucy had  many big dreams and ideas. The fact that most backfired horribly did little to deter her spirit! She brought laughter to millions and I am happy she is still being honored at Universal.
This is also a great area to get Character Photos and Autographs. As we strolled down the street we ran into Betty Boop in the flesh. Marilyn Monroe was also present as was Bullwinkle, Scooby Doo, Curious George, and Lisa & Homer Simpson.
There doesn’t seem to be any set schedule for the characters. They show up at random and alternate. I’ve seen the whole troop from Madagascar show up, along with the mystery machine, driven by Shaggy of course.  Lucy and Desai are frequent visitors as well. One of the best deals is an autograph book. Every character has a unique signature and many draw pictures aswell. My favorite autograph so far is from the Egyptians in The Mummy area. When asking for an autograph they act like they have never seen a pen before, and they take a very long time to mark on the page. Wolverine is very gruff, and simply draws three slashes. Love it!
Not to be out done by Disney, Universal has their own Princesses.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A Trip To The Past: Historic Downtown Kissimmee

Reposted from:
Civil War Picture
A Trip To The Past: Historic Downtown Kissimmee By Lynn Hubbard
This year is Kissimmee’s 129th Birthday! To celebrate they held their annual Kowtown Festival. Complete with BBQ, Bass Fishing, Crafts and Cake. It was great to get out, meet a bunch of the locals, and get a free snow cone!
Rounding the corner I ran across a quaint shop Lanier’s Historic Downtown Marketplace. My mother loves antiques so we stepped inside, and back in time. This store is huge and it has everything you can imagine and somethings you can’t. With rows of furniture, collectables, and antiques piled higher than me, it was awe inspiring! We made our way to the back where I was drawn to the cowboy section. Unfortunately there were no cowboys, but a cowboy would have been right at home, sitting pretty in the saddle they had; Along with some wagon wheels, bull whips, old photographs and more! My mom drug me away, and reluctantly I moved on.
Rounding a corner I spotted a picture sitting on a chair. It called to me. I went over, picked it up and was thrust back to the Civil War. The picture is of a woman saying good bye to her love as he goes off to fight. Would make a great book! I snatched it up, and headed to the counter.
While I was checking out I met Tom Lanier, the owner’s father.  Tom was very knowledgeable and patient as I questioned him about my picture, and the town. He suggested some places for lunch and we headed down the street to find them.
Historic Kissimmee is a beautiful place. They are restoring it and when they redid the sidewalks they cemented in metal emblems with cowboy themes. Right up my alley! :-) They also have a Sculpture Contest going on until July and we passed several beautiful pieces scattered around town.
We arrived at Nature’s Table Café which is tucked into an alley with outside seating. We decided to eat inside and headed up to the counter. They have a wonderful menu with healthy choices. Soups, salads, wraps, panini sandwiches and more. Gabrielle helped us all choose something different and everyone enjoyed their meal. Plus, this is one of the few places in Florida where you can get great fresh brewed sweet tea!
You could easily spend half a day shopping and eating downtown. They have a parking deck and well marked cross walks for safety. They are within walking distance of Lake Tohopekaliga which boasts a lighthouse, a parkairboat rides and more.
If you want a break from the large crowds at the outlet stores come to Downtown Kissimmee, find some great bargains, and revisit history!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ode to Pudding

I dedicate this post to my sister Lisa who is infatuated with this pudding. 

Ode to Pudding By Lynn Hubbard
Pudding,Pudding, you Bread and Butter Pudding

Why does thee mock me so?
Your Scrumptious Crust
Your gooey center
Your succulent sauces
Call to me, with your sweet song

And I shall Listen

I was introduced to “Ger’s Bread and Butter Pudding” last year. My sister Lisa was almost giddy with anticipation as she drug me down the “Raglan Road.”
Raglan Road is an Irish restaurant located at Downtown Disney. They offer an assortment of mouthwatering recipes, but tonight; It’s all about the Pudding.
The wait to sit inside was one and a half hours, so we chose the patio which had a much shorter line and waited almost as long. Nonetheless, it was worth it!
Bread & Butter Pudding
They had a band playing and “Murphy’s Law” made you feel as if you were sitting outside a Pub in ye old Ireland. The sweet music flitted through the air and energized everyone’s tired feet. As they crooned for their Bonnie Lass we ordered our pudding and coffee.
I chose the Irish Coffee, since we were in Ireland, and let me tell you. They are very friendly with the whiskey. Perfect for pollen season!
Then came the Bread and Butter Pudding. From past experience, we ordered two to share amongst the five of us. Out comes the camera, and I have to beat back eager hands, as I try to take a picture.
There are two methods for eating bread pudding:
Lisa’s method: dig a hole in the middle and pour in the vanilla or caramel sauce or both, and then dig in!
B&B Pudding & Irish Coffee
My more delicate method: scoop out a large spoonful on your plate and drizzle with your choice of toppings.
There is no wrong way, but my way cuts on down on spoon dueling and is easier when sharing.
So we ate and ate and ate. And it beat us, we couldn’t finish it all. Alas, you cruel temptress of taste!
To top off the night, Irish dancers took the stage and gave an amazing performance.
So, if you are rambling around Downtown Disney, head over to Raglan Road to sit a spell and have a meal to tell your grandkids about!

If you would like to read more from Lynn, please visit: my website, my Blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

Follow Me To Kissimmee

Hi! I am proud to be chosen for a guest blogger spot for .
Follow my posts as I visit Florida!

There is nothing like a vacation to cleanse your soul, and refresh your spirit.
Let me start by telling you a bit about myself.  I’m Lynn Hubbard, I am a Historical Romance Author from Georgia.  I will be vacationing with my two sons, my parents and dog, Wyatt. Living in Georgia, we are just a hop, skip, and  jump from Kissimmee, so we try visit at least once a year.  Our preferred mode of travel is by car. No better way to see America than to get in the car and go.
This trip we have several things planned, and some we’ll write in as we go.
My son Michael’s favorite is Universal. Their Big Event this Spring is Mardi Gras, it will be our first time to see the parade. It only runs select days, so we will have  to wait a bit.
My son Nicholas, is into Photography, so we’ll be spending a day at the beach so he can capture the sunset.
My Parents want to see Epcot. And what better time to visit than during the Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival?
Wyatt is my parents dog. Traveling with a dog is an adventure in itself. He’s a bit disappointed, he’s not getting his Fiji water from the Hard Rock Hotel. However, I’m sure he’ll enjoy the Westgate Vacation Villas just as well.
And me: Loving history, I will be visiting the Titanic exhibit. This is the 100th Anniversary of the tragedy.
Enough for now, I’m off to pack!
Getting ready for a trip is an adventure in itself. About a week before I sit down and write out a meticulous to do list. To make sure I don’t forget anything, I keep it with me clutched in my hand as I wander around the house.
The list grows.
The days count down.
Then finally, I start to pack.
Now where did I put that list?
Why does packing takes about half an hour, but getting ready to pack takes about three days? The good thing about traveling to Kissimmee is that anything you forget, you can buy! This city is one of the few places on earth you can find a bathing suit in the middle of winter!
Driving is my preferred method of transportation, not only is it easier on the budget, but you get to spend all that family time on the way. To beat Atlanta traffic, we usually leave by 4am and hit Kissimmee around noon. That gives us a whole day to explore!
My Mom getting Juice in Florida Welcome Center

Almost there!
St. Patrick’s Day and my Birthday are both sneaking up, so stay tuned for more!
I like to encourage my kids to read, so sometimes we will listen to an audio bok along the way. One of my favorite memories is pulling into the Disney parking lot. I found a great spot with a clear view of the Epcot ball. I go to turn off the car and my son says. “Can we finish listening to the chapter first?”
If you would like to read more from Lynn, please visit: my website,  my BlogFacebookTwitterGoodreads 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meet Author Laura Vosika

 Write from the Heart warmly welcomes Historical Author, Laura Vosika

Hi Laura, Congrats on your new release, The Minstrel Boy.  Please tell us about your series:
Hi, Lynn.  Thank you! 
The Blue Bells Chronicles is the story of two men, polar opposites except for their looks and love of music.  Shawn Kleiner is an arrogant, self-centered philandering musician of the twenty-first century who finds himself caught in the life of his cross-century look-alike, Niall Campbell, with the fate of medieval Scotland resting on his irresponsible, party-loving shoulders.  The devout medieval Highlander, Niall, is no happier to find himself in Shawn's modern life of ease, dealing with the fallout of the messes Shawn has left behind--a pregnant girlfriend, angry mistresses, amorous fans, and a conductor threatening to 'fire' him--as he tries to find a way back to save his people.
As their story progresses through the series, they each grow and change, influenced by one other and the unlikely friendship that springs from their original animosity.

These books give a different twist to time travel. Where do you get your ideas from?
I think it is less common to have a time travel story where two people switch places.  Blue Bells of Scotland was originally Shawn's story, but the rest grew from asking questions about what the other characters were doing while he was gone and the What if's that kept popping into my head as a result.  I'm fascinated by the way people view times and places different from what they know, and how attitudes change through the years.  It was interesting to me to see how someone from medieval times might react to what Shawn considers normal, while at the same time seeing how Shawn reacts to Niall's world and what he considers normal.  As the story progresses, they have some discussions about this.  At the same time, I think many parts of human nature, emotions, and experience never change, and this is a place where Shawn and Niall find that we're not so different underneath it all.

If you could time travel would you go to the past or the future?
Definitely the past.  I would love to witness some of the events we know of from history, or learn more details, learn the things that we don't yet know from historical records, learn more about the way people really lived and thought.
Which character do you like the most? The least?
Wow, that's a tough question.  I like most of them in different ways.  I like Niall because he's definitely more of my mindset, but Shawn is fun to write.  (Or should I say, it's fun to watch and see what he'll decide to do next?)  Yes, he's arrogant and obnoxious, but I think these characters are often fun because we all sometimes wish we could bulldoze through life doing as we please.  I also like him because, despite his many, many flaws, he is usually cheerful, makes people feel valued, and is capable of finally learning and redeeming himself.
I guess the character I'd have to say I like least is Rob.  He certainly thinks he's nicer than Shawn.  He behaves with more integrity and morality, and would never cheat on Amy, but he's an annoying, clueless sycophant who is, in his own way, as unable as Shawn to think of what anyone else wants or needs.  And it takes Rob awhile longer than Shawn to see where he needs to make changes.
What inspires you to write?
Well, I think I'm similar to many writers in that these stories and people are just there, and they really need to get out of my head.  I can't not write.
Where is your favorite place to write and why?
I'm not very particular.  My laptop goes everywhere with me, and whenever I have spare time, I write--in my music studio, at my kitchen table, in my office, living room, in my car in a parking lot or at a coffee shop or the library if I'm out and about and have time in between appointments.
You are blessed with many children, are any of them interested in writing?
Yes, I have nine children, from 22 down to 6.  At least three of them--two sons and my younger daughter--like writing.  Another draws cartoons with stories.  My older daughter writes movies with her cousin and friend, which they then film.  Most of them are big readers and all are creative in some way, if not writing, then in music or art.

A Trilogy is mentioned, do you have a date or title for the last book?
Well, it seems I've inadvertently followed in the footsteps of Douglas Adams, and my 'trilogy' now has more than three books.  So The Blue Bells Trilogy has officially been renamed The Blue Bells Chronicles.  The Minstrel Boy, Book Two, was just released.  Book Three, The Water is Wide, is scheduled for 2013.  The last two books are titled Westering Home and When the Battle is Over, and I'll be aiming for releasing one each year. 

Where can your fans find you?
I'm at and I also keep a blog, largely on medieval Scottish history, but also touching on topics in theChronicles such as time travel, music, and instruments, at