#believeitornot #imabeliever #ripleys

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There is so much to do in this town, am I right? You can visit Orlando every year and still feel like you’re just scratching the surface. I would even say that as a local resident, I feel the same way. I have lived in the Greater Orlando area for the last 4 years, but on and off for the last 16 years and just last year was the first time I ever took a swan boat ride on Lake Eola! Shocking, I know. But if you’re like me, knocking stuff off your Orlando bucket list makes you happy. So yes, that’s right, I’m about to add another must-do to your list and If you have not had the chance to visit Ripley’s on I-Drive, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, you will have so much fun!

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Few fun facts about the man himself, LeRoy Robert Ripley was born in 1890, just a boy who loved to draw. Entirely self-taught he sold his first cartoon to Life Magazine in 1908. He later dazzled his readers with odd, weird, REAL facts in his cartoons. His empire grew from cartoons, to books, to radio, to tv shows, to museums. In 1949, at 59, while Ripley was taping his 13th TV show, he fell unconscious and died 3 days later (Believe it it or not: He died on May 27th, my birthday.). Ripley traveled to 201 countries all within 35 years. Mr. Ripley was just as fascinating and as interesting as his life work and all the oddities in his collection.

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My boys did NOT want to leave! This “world” that Ripley brought to life for us, of true facts and real people was just too much fun. Real shrunken heads, standing next to the tallest man and wrangling Dinosaurs, is right up their crazy kid alley. To be honest, right up mine as well. I love books or documentaries about how this world we live in is full of wonders, people and destinations that we could never imagine exist.  I think Ripley said it best when he said, “Truth, you know, is really stranger than fiction.”

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Think outside of the box when planning your visit as well.  Walking through with my kids also gave me the idea of what a fun date night, this would be. I’m sure I missed a few fascinating facts, while herding my cattle, I mean children through the museum. So actually taking a few extra minutes to read about these odd items, would be so interesting.  Even though this was my 2nd visit to this particular Ripleys, a 3rd visit and a date night with the World’s Tallest Man doesn’t sound too bad to me.

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My fellow art lovers, you will also ooo and ahhh. There are quite a few pieces, that are unique to this Ripley’s and well, to the world. I’ve actually have had the pleasure of seeing the Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. I waited in its Disney-esque lines, worked my way through the crowd till she and I were face to face, and like everyone else in the room, I felt like I could die happy. Ripley’s Orlando has a Mona Lisa too… made of burnt toast that is. No plane tickets necessary (well, if you’re local), no crowds to maneuver through and you can still post your selfie with the Mona Lisa and die happy, well kinda sorta happy. They also have Beyonce made completely out of candy, the Last Supper made of dryer lint and Van Gogh made from nail polish! Seriously, where else can you see this stuff?

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There are so many fun photo opps that I know my social media junkies (myself included) will be in Insta-heaven. The boys and I really loved the life size wax statues of some of their most famous “freaks”, located near the end. We had a blast taking pics with them. Ok fine, I had a little more fun, I guess.

The only thing I’m sad I missed were the famous African Fertility Statues. I totally missed this. Read about them after my visit. Not that I should be touching them, since I have plenty of these little people running around but c’mon, how fun would that have been to REALLY scare my husband! So if you’re thinking of starting a family and want a fertility edge, go rub some of these statues at the Ripley’s in Orlando. But don’t delay, I hear they are going on tour to other Ripley’s Museums starting next year! Hope you can make it out soon, there really is so much more to see and if you do by chance rub one of these fertile myrtles, and it works, I would be honored if you named her after me, thanks in advance! 😉

Thanks to Ripley’s Orlando, you can purchase your discounted tickets here! Also, Florida Residents receive 50% till December 20th!

Ps. Don’t miss taking your free photo, like the one below, and email it to yourself during your visit! #ripleys

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Goodwill hunting – Back-to-School Shopping!

Someone must have heard of my love of thrift stores because I was asked by the Goodwill Industries of Central Florida to enjoy $25 for each of my boys to go on a back-to-school shopping spree at any of their several Central FL locations. Uh, I said, yes!!

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Goodwills are what they call, “one of the good ones”. They are like the Nordstrom of thrift stores. They are clean, organized and there is always a sale going on. Ha! For instance, anything marked with a certain color tag is 50% off for that day. I love that they not only have a large selection of clothes, but also toys, furniture, decor and more. I love a good deal and I never feel like I’m going to get in trouble when I get home after shopping there, hahaha!

One of the fun parts of our back-to-school shopping/thrifting experience was letting the boys do a little care-free shopping of their own. They picked out a few items that I normally would probably say no to because I’m not about to pay $25 for a Skylander/cartoon shirt. But what do ya know, there happened to be two brand new Skylander shirts in Alec and in Dean’s sizes for $3.99  and $2.99, they were happy, I was happy, everybody won! Thank you, Goodwill!


We ended up checking out the Waterford and Winter Garden locations. The Waterford location was awesome. Its a fairly new location and the store is large and open and they had a nice fitting room right off the kids department, where the boys enjoyed trying on their “Skylander” shirts. They also have quite a large book department that I will have to come back and check out on my own time and dime. The Winter Garden location is closer to home and I was able to find a few more pieces there and a nice man told me to go check out the Clermont location next, because they have better Kid clothes there, hee hee. So as you can see the people are friendly and willing to help a mother out.


So how successful was I? Well, I found 19 shirts, 4 shorts and 1 light zipper jacket. Amazing, right!!! I was pretty excited that I everything I picked was in practically new condition and from brands such as… Lacoste, The Children’s Place, Vans, American Apparel, Gymboree, Reebok, Easton, Target Brand and Osh Kosh! Overall, I am pretty thrilled with my haul and all for the price of …

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only $63!!! I still have $12 more to use, but to be honest and I’m a little overwhelmed with all the clothes I bought. Ha! But I do need a few more shorts for the boys, so I will be checking out the Clermont store next (Thanks for the tip, Mr.!!).

I also planned ahead and went through my boys entire closets before doing my #goodwillbacktoschool shopping so I was also pretty excited to be able to make a large donation of clothes, shoes and other items back to the Goodwill. Showing my boys how to donate and to care about others in their community was definitely a big bonus to all the money I saved! Supporting your local Goodwill helps your wallet and creates more local jobs in our community.

GREAT NEWS!!! Thanks to the Goodwill Industries of Central Florida I will also be doing a giveaway of $25 to one of you lucky readers! So please head on over to https://www.facebook.com/orlandomommy for you chance to win!

Read more below on how you can send your kids back to school in style – and help your community at the same time! It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4:


1.     Donate last year’s school clothes to Goodwill.
2.     Pick up some fresh threads for the upcoming school year.
3.     Keep your wallet happy by not spending a lot.
4.     Help create a job for someone in your community.

Donations (and shopping!) equal jobs … and jobs change lives!
· Donating and shopping at Goodwill funds job training and placement programs that help Central Floridians with barriers to employment. This includes people who have disabilities, those with limited work history, military veterans transitioning to civilian jobs and others.
· Every 24 pounds of donations provides one person with services that can help them find meaningful work. Last year alone, Goodwill served nearly 33,000 people in its Job Connection Centers across Central Florida!
· With convenient drop-off sites and dozens of stores in neighborhoods near you, it’s easy to make a donation … and to make a lasting impact in your community. To find a location near you, visit www.goodwillcfl.org.

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