Second Anniversary Weekend

Happy Monday, friends! Hope you had a restful weekend! Our was busy, but relaxing – the perfect combination for a memorable anniversary weekend (click here for a recap of our first anniversary)!

Friday:

Our Friday night was an early one, as we were trying to catch up on sleep following Halloween Horror Nights on Wednesday and a 9:30 p.m. showing of The Florida Project on Thursday night.

Saturday:

We were up and at ’em on Saturday morning, with Halston doing breakfast with his family and myself driving to Rifle Paper Co.‘s sidewalk sale before the crowds descended upon the shop. My haul consisted of eight miscellaneous cards, an art print for my office, a 2018 planner and candles from their new collection. Each candle is usually priced around $28, but they were $12 each at the sale! I got all but the Jardins De Paris candle – I wasn’t a huge fan of the scent.


Retail therapy was followed by a visit to the dog park with Scout, as we had to tire her out before leaving her at home because we were doing a…

SPA DAY! 

The Renaissance Hotel on Sea Harbor Drive has a $95 TravelZoo deal for the Neu Lotus Spa which included a 50-minute massage or facial, a pedicure and resort pool access.

Because our anniversary landed on a week day, Halston and I decided to wait until Saturday to use the TravelZoo deal and pamper our very tired bodies.

It is recommended guests arrive 30 minutes before their appointment, to fill out paperwork and chill out in the relaxation room. However, Halston and I rolled in about 15 minutes before our first appointment (thanks to Scout who decided to sit in every muddy puddle at the dog park and required to be rinsed off), so we hurried into the separate male and female changing areas. We were each given keys to a locker, where we found our robes, a toothbrush, razor, shower cap and comb.

Front desk.


My Padawan robe.

We then met our respective masseuses and were led to separate rooms. Once I was under the blankets, laying face down on the massage table, my massage therapist walked inside the room and began working her magic on my sore body – first my back, arms, legs, feet, abdominal area (a towel covered my chest at this point) and lastly, my neck. I began the 21 Day Fix this week and have been sore all week, so when she began massaging my calves I almost burst into tears of gratitude. Once the 50-minutes were up, she left the room, waited for me to get dressed and led me back to the relaxation room. Halston got a deep-tissue massage (additional $20) because of his tense back (must be all that studying). Once he was done, we were led to the salon area where we got our pedicures.

Big Feet McGee.


The salon carries Opi and Shellac nail polish – Shellac was an additional $20, so I opted for Opi. This was Halston’s first and last pedicure. He said he enjoyed it, but doesn’t see the point of spending money on them as he doesn’t get his toenails done like I do every month. Fair enough. I didn’t like that the salon had the pedicure chairs sitting about six feet from each other, so it felt weird to yell across the room to talk to Halston. Instead I busied myself with magazines and Halston probably scrolled through Reddit. He also took the below creeper shot of me.


Following the massage and pedicure, we headed down to the pool, where we relaxed in the water and ate a delicious lunch at Palms, the poolside restaurant and bar.

While we do not see ourselves frequenting hotel spas in the near future, it was nice to get away from it all, if only for an afternoon. Also, the experience was a lot more relaxing at a resort rather than going for a massage at a strip mall (not that we get massages often. I haven’t been since the week of our wedding and our honeymoon).

Apologies for the poor quality, hazy image. My screen shattered and I can’t take selfies.


Sunday: 

Sunday morning brought us back to Winter Park for the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, but before that, we needed to fuel up for the day at New General, a contemporary general store, coffee shop and restaurant.

I had recently seen a picture of a white bean toast on their Instagram account and was jonesing for one, however, the restaurant switches up their menu often and it was no longer available. Luckily they had delicious options like the sweet potato toast with sautéed spinach that Halston enjoyed and the grape and walnut one I devoured. We will definitely be back!


We then headed to the art festival and wandered around for a bit, looking at things we couldn’t afford. I did find a local artist who’s work I am determined to have in our future daughter’s room (no, this is not a pregnancy announcement. I’m just positive my first child, a thousand years from now, will be a girl).

Sunday wound down with Mexican food and Halston working on his latest project – a shiplap wall in my office. I’ll make sure to keep you updated on that!


Have a great week! Make good choices! Keep on working out! 

That last sentence was mostly for me.

xx

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Fri(yay) Lovin’ #16

Another whirlwind week has come and gone!

Isn’t it funny how every week is simply the “longest week ever,” but then you blink and it is Friday morning and you’re forcing yourself to write a blog? Or is that just me?

Halston and I celebrated our second anniversary with an outing to Hunger Street Tacos. We aren’t huge fans of extravagant mid-week celebrations, so Taco Tuesday with our friends was right up our alley (plus, we’ll be celebrating over the weekend!).

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The following night we made our way to Halloween Horror Nights, Universal Resort Orlando’s annual Halloween celebration. We hadn’t been since 2013 and walking through the gates brought back so many high school memories – mostly of my stepsister and I screaming and screeching around the park, trying to avoid the Scare Zones.

Because we went on a Wednesday night, the crowd was a lot smaller and the longest line we stood in was an hour long. It is also more affordable to go on week nights. In the six and a half hours we were there, we managed to make it through five Scare Zones, seven houses, munched on fries at Richter’s Burger Company, wandered around Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley (the place was deserted for the first time in years!) and rode on Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. To answer your question, yes, our feet were throbbing toward the end of the night, but it was so worth it! I was the most afraid in Horrors of Blumhouse which included scenes from Insidious, The Purge and Sinister. Once I heard Tiny Tim’s “Tip-Toe Thru The Tulips With Me,” I knew I was a goner. I used Halston as a human shield the entire night (thank you) – he wasn’t afraid of anything except the massive scarecrow that popped out of the wall in Scarecrow: The Reaping.


And now, as we gear up for the weekend, I’ll unleash upon you another installment of Fri(yay) Lovin’ where I recap the things I’m loving this week!

The Florida Project: Set over one summer, the film follows Moonee, an adventurous 6-year-old girl and her young mother Halley, living in an extended-stay motel located along Kissimmee’s 192 tourism corridor. The movie stars Willem Dafoe as the owner of the Magic Castle Hotel, an actual property I’ve driven past thousands of times while working in Kissimmee and have never paid much attention to. Other landmarks include Orange World, the Magic Kingdom (which was filmed guerrilla-style inside the park), Magic Castle Gift Shop and Twistee Treat. The movie offers a colorful view of the underrepresented people in Kissimmee, those who haven’t come to the destination to visit a theme park, but instead live in extended-stay motels, struggling to make the rent (this is an actual, current issue we see in the area). In the movie, we see Halley, who in her own way, will do anything in her power to provide for her daughter and Moonee, who’s childlike innocence and curiosity paints a different picture to what the current circumstances actually are. The movie was raw and the ending abrupt but incredibly bittersweet – one of the best movies I’ve seen all year. The Florida Project is playing at the Enzian Theater through October 26.

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The Glass Castle: The Glass Castle is the 2005 memoir of Jeannette Walls, an American journalist. In it, she shares stories of her poverty-stricken upbringing at the hands of her alcoholic father and schizophrenic mother. From tales of sleeping in cardboard boxes, rummaging through the school’s garbage for food and her father spending their little money on fruitless pursuits, it was extremely difficult for me to root for her parents at any point in the story. It broke my heart to read her anecdotes, as no child should have to go through an upbringing like that. The book was adapted into a movie which is currently playing in select theaters – so select, it is actually playing in The Villages… yes, the active adult retirement community with an alarmingly high STD rate. Unsure if I’ll make it out there any time soon, so I’ll just have to hope the movie ends up on Netflix.

Jack Whitehall: Travels with My Father: I’ve been obsessed with Jack Whitehall since I watched him on Fresh Meat, so imagine how excited I was when I found out he had a travel documentary coming to Netflix. On the first episode, Jack explains that because he began his career at an early age, he was never able to go on a gap year, so he decides to backpack across South East Asia… with his stuffy 76-year-old father in tow as an attempt to strengthen their bond. The Odd Couple dynamic, with Jack’s thirst for adventure and Michael’s pessimism, made it a hilariously easy six episode binge-watch addition to my Netflix queue. I really hope that they continue the series and take their adventures all over the world!

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Do you have any exciting plans for the weekend? The Winter Park Autumn Art Festival is going on, as well as a Rifle Paper Company Sidewalk Sale, so I think I have my weekend planned out already!

xx

Fri(yay) Lovin’ #10

Good morning and happy Friday to you!

Don’t mind me and my joyful heart. I’m just happy I don’t have to clock in until the afternoon and that I can actually run a few errands instead of using my lunch hour to be a functioning adult.

And now, in what should’ve been a weekly tradition but I am terrible at keeping up with this blog, the latest installment of Fri(yay) Lovin’, the blog posts in which I detail a few of the things that have made me smile as of late.

Primark: Sound the alarms! There is a Primark in Boston. I repeat, there is a Primark in Boston! Actually, as of December there are two, with a third on the way AND there are also locations in Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey. Who knew?

Mecca.

For those of you who do not understand my excitement, imagine H&M and Target had a baby that was way more affordable than both those stores and it had four stories to get lost in–except the store only exists in Europe so you can’t get lost in it…

I was able to visit one of the Irish retailer’s Boston locations in Downtown Crossing last week and it changed my life.   For it being such a large store, everything was extremely tidy and easy to find. I initially only went inside searching for thick, opaque tights (got ’em! $4.50) but I came out with two pairs of pants ($14 each), a long-sleeved shirt and a blouse. Score!


The clothes run true to size, which worked out to my advantage as I didn’t try anything out at the store. I was wearing too many layers because it was freezing outside and, well… it basically came down to my laziness and unwillingness to get undressed.

The fourth floor was children’s clothing which was adorable and just as affordable! Since children grow out of their clothes so quickly, I can totally see myself shopping for $5 articles of clothing for a child who will probably not fit into those clothes in a few months.

Unfortunately, if you’re stateside and do not live in one of the states I mentioned above, you cannot shop online on their website. The retailer “is making its American debut without an e-commerce component. Moreover, the company has no plans to launch one, a spokesman said. Primark doesn’t have an online sales operation in its home market and works with a small marketing budget.”

Who wants to plan a trip to Boston with me?

Rifle Paper Co. x Keds collab: If you’ve ever been around me, you know I’m all about Rifle Paper Company–from stationary, to greeting cards, to notebooks, to my annual planner; my love for Rifle glows more than any basic white girl’s love for Lilly Pulitzer. And I would’ve posted about this last week when it was announced but I’m lazy and I don’t deserve to call myself a blogger and yadda, yadda, yadda…

Well, my dear friends, in case you haven’t heard, Rifle has collaborated with Keds to bring us a new line of floral sneakers just in time for spring! They’ve created three limited edition styles combining Anna Bond’s whimsical illustrations and Keds’s comfy, canvas sneaks.


The shoes range from $55 to $60 and they’re unfortunately already sold out (which I’m really bummed about because I forgot to pre-order mine even after I was reminded to). However, they’ll be making a comeback on March 9 at select retailers and you better believe I’ve already marked my Rifle planner to get my hand on these. I need a spring in my step!

Nujeen: One Girl’s Incredible Journey from War-torn Syria in a Wheelchair: I actually finished reading this book around the time that Trump introduced his Muslim travel ban (let’s just call it what it is/was). I saw so much hatred online, people being targeted for their religion, clothes, appearance, being told they would be deported… needless to say, my original post on this book was extremely emotional and had a few choice words so I can’t use it.


The story follows Nujeen, a teenager born with cerebral palsy who spent most of her young life confined to her wheelchair inside her family’s apartment in Aleppo. She spent her days reading and obsessing over the American soap Days of Our Lives and consequently learned how to speak English by listening to it.

When things began to get more and more violent she made the trek to safety in Germany where her brother lived, accompanied/pushed along by her sister Nasrine.

Together they covered over 3,500 miles by rubber dinghy, walking and being smuggled to safety. She made international headlines because no one had seen someone so young journey to asylum on a wheelchair before.


The story is moving and it hit international headlines. John Oliver a.k.a. The Voice Of Reason actually had the stars from Days pay tribute to Nujeen and they even had a small plot line about the refugee crisis.

It is a short, easy read, but it is deeply moving. If you were a fan of I Am Malala, check it out. I encourage those who think “illegals” want to come into our country to bomb it or take over our jobs (massive eye roll from me) to check it out. Nujeen’ harrowing journey to safety does not convey any of that–she just wanted the chance to grow up and have a normal life.

Enjoy your weekend! Is anyone checking out the Downtown Food & Wine Fest at Lake Eola?

xx

Fri(yay) Lovin’ #8

Howdy, y’all! 


This morning I’m coming to you live from Cowboy Christmas and the National Finals Rodeo at the Las Vegas Convention Center and I might be the only person in attendance who does not own a pair of cowboy boots. I hope my Banana Republic fringe boots don’t give me away this weekend.

I can’t wait to share more about this trip with you, but for now, I’m leaving you with Fri(yay) Lovin‘. 

Rifle Paper Co. brought back their beautiful planner collection this year, but instead of having the 17-month spiral planner with two design options, they now have the classic 17-month spiral planner with four designs, the large 17-month planner with two designs and the small 12-month book cloth hardcover agenda.

The planner I bought for the 2016 calendar year.
The planners have dividers for different sections including important dates, notes, a monthly calendar, the actual months divided into weeks with tons of writing space, contacts and a pocket folder.

Ready for 2017.
If you’re unfamiliar with Rifle Paper Co.’s little Hannibal Square – Winter Park shop, read up on it here. I’m obsessed with their greeting cards, notebooks, planners (obvs!) and phone cases!

Finally, Netflix gave in to our demands–to be able to download movies and watch them on the go on iOS and Andoid phones and tablets at no extra cost (for now)! I have a feeling that once they see how popular this new feature is they’ll have a change of heart and increase the monthly fee, but for now, we celebrate!


Everything is not available for download yet, but they do have a good amount of movies and television shows on the list. I downloaded Ocho Apellidos Catalanes (the sequel to Ocho Apellidos Vascos) to watch during my Southwest flight to LV (since they don’t have in-flight entertainment centers like JetBlue) and it only took a couple of minutes.


In order to download more than one movie or show, you’ll need to have space available on your phone. I don’t, so I can only download one at a time.


And last but not least, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child‘s (yes, again) two-part play is making the leap from London to Broadway, expected to open in 2018!

Currently, a few theaters in New York have been vying to lure the show to their venues because it has been so popular across the pond.

I’ve grown up in the Harry Potter universe, reading the books as a child and now the play into adulthood so the play coming stateside means so much to me, not to mention that it would be much more financially attainable than traveling all the way to London (although it is somewhere where I would love to visit–once I can afford thousands of dollars in flights). After ready the play, I’m really excited to see how they portray the spells and traveling with the Time Turner Necklace. I’m sure I’ll be blown away and I can’t wait!

Well, I’m off to don my sweet Wrangler National Finals Rodeo western shirt (don’t worry, I’ll be sharing pictures soon for your viewing and laughing pleasure) and talk to people for three days straight with a sore throat. Yay, me!

Anything fun that I’m missing this weekend? 

xx

CycleBar & Fitlife Foods

In my never-ending quest to find a work out regime that I can actually stick to (and not hurt myself in), I visited CycleBar, Winter Park’s newest indoor cycling studio.

The cycling studio just opened its doors on South Orlando Avenue and offered 60 free classes to the public — that is over 2,700 rides! I attended a 50 minute class co-hosted by Yelp Orlando with two friends, completely unsure of what to expect.

We signed waivers, checked in on iPads and were given our cycling shoes. You are required to wear these because the clips on the bottom attach to the pedals on the bike. Shoes, water bottles, wipes, hair ties, ear plugs and lockers are always included with the price.

image courtesy of Yelp Orlando

image courtesy of Yelp Orlando
You are able to choose your bike when you sign up for class online and your results are automatically sent to your email inbox once you’ve completed the workout. We positioned ourselves in the back of the room (classic) and awaited an instructor to adjust our seats. The studio was dark, with a spotlight on Jessica, the instructor. She explained that the two screens in the front would show our progress and compare it to everyone else’s in class — I now had the added pressure of knowing how much slower I was compared to Becky With The Good Hair next to me.

It was dark inside but the lights changed as our workouts became more rigorous i.e. red for “climbing,” blue for going “downhill” and pitch black to “hide my shame.” My fat, lazy body could barely get off the bike once Jessica began yelling at us to go from first to second position and then to third and I eagerly awaited for the moment in which we could slow down and work out our arms with the weighted bar on our bikes.

I survived. Sweaty, smiling and shaking from head to toe, but I survived.

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Not super impressive, but hey… I tried.
Looking like three hot messes in search for food, my friends and I stumbled upon Fitlife Foods, a Tampa based shop that offers healthy, prepared meals for people on the go. The business has healthy prepared snacks, breakfast, lunch and dinner options that come in three sizes — small, medium and large. Store pickup and home delivery are available.


I decided on Korean Beef (small) and Shrimp & ‘Grits’ (small) — quinoa in place of grits, which is delightful as I hate grits!


Both meals were quite delicious! I did add a bit of soy sauce to the Korean beef meal in order to add a little bit of flavoring to it but both were satisfying and I wasn’t as hungry as I imagined I would be after eating them. I did, however, feel extremely guilty at the thought of spending money on something I could easily make myself. And I say this as I gently move aside a copy of Edible Orlando which I mistakenly thought would inspire me to whip up something tasty in the kitchen, so let’s be real. I can’t cook and I’ll probably be back, Fitlife Foods.

Did anyone get the chance to check out CycleBar? There is a free 30 minute lesson for first time riders. I suggest you check it out!

xx

Fri(yay) Lovin’ #6

I think we can all agree that trying to pencil in some much needed “girl time” is hard once you become an adult so when you’re able to squeeze in not one but two entire evenings to catch up with friends, your heart basically explodes.


It’s been a busy week for me, between work events (click here for SeaWorld announcement), impromptu gatherings, a random photoshoot that will probably not launch my modeling career and getting ready for the inevitable departure of my boss today — I’m basically riding a rollercoaster of emotions.

#bestbossever

But it is Friday and my heart is happy so we can get back to our regularly scheduled Fri(yay) Lovin’ post in which I share the things that made me smile this week!

Parabo Press:

A few weeks ago I was scrolling around the “Explore” tab on Instagram and came across Parabo Press. They are a photo printing service for “design-minded photo takers.” Once you give them permission on the app, they can pull images from your social media accounts or your phone’s photo album and you can create calendars, square prints, glass prints, engineer prints and more on elegant matte paper. They currently have a special deal going on for square prints (check their Instagram bio) — 20 free prints, just pay for shipping — which is guaranteed to get you hooked on their service!

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Some of my Instagram pictures coming to life!

Dead Lizard Brewing Co.:

We grab a drink at our local brewery quite often and have never really thought to visit another one until last weekend when we found a $35 Groupon that included four flights, a souvenir cup and a brewery tour of Dead Lizard Brewing Co. so we called up our friends and headed out.

The brewery is located inside a warehouse near the Mall at Millenia and it is owned by husband-and-wife duo Richard and Patricia Dine. The story of how the name came to be is simple: the owner saw two dead lizards on his porch and the rest is history.

We weren’t able to go on the tour because you have to reserve your spot ahead of time, but we did get to enjoy the environment and beers! I had the Key Lime Cream-Sic-Ale, the Orange Cream-Sic-Ale, the Trippy Pippy’s Red Dred Ale and a stout, which I was surprised I actually enjoyed because I am not a fan of any stout.

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The brewery has a menu of appetizers and small bites or you can just walk outside to one of the many food trucks that frequent the brewery’s parking lot.

Party Flavors Custom Cakes:

Our anniversary is coming up in ten days and we are looking forward to eating our weight in cake after our visit to Discovery Cove. We chose Party Flavors Custom Cakes for our wedding and instead of having to keep cake in our fridge for a year, Party Flavors actually bakes you a simple cake on your anniversary — you just have to give them a week’s notice and the flavor you’d like! For the wedding we couldn’t decide what flavor we wanted so each tier was different: Lemon, Strawberry, Amaretto and Bailey’s. We decided on Amaretto for our anniversary cake which is actually their most popular flavor. The staff is extremely helpful and easy to work with and the cakes are pretty much thebomb.com so I highly recommend them.

Is anyone checking out the new CycleBar in Winter Park over the weekend? I’ll be there on Sunday afternoon and Monday evening, ready to die on a stationary!

xx

Ringing in the New Year at the Alfond Inn

Happy New Year and may your first day back at work go smoothly!

Since I already took my two weeks vacation earlier this year, I was one of the few poor suckers who got stuck at the office for two weeks. There are upsides to being the only one in the office… While all my coworkers will be digging through 14 days worth of emails, I’ll be over in my cubicle like:

How was your Christmas break? Halston and I survived our first Christmas as a married couple and enjoyed our time together with friends and family.

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Some moments in life require a Selfie Stick but I am too proud to admit it.

We rang in the new year at The Alfond Inn‘s New Year Gala. Located right next to the Winter Park Library, this 112-room boutique hotel boasts a full service restaurant and bar, pool, fitness center and it is minutes from Park Avenue. If you haven’t been there before, make sure you visit during your next after-brunch stroll!

This is the second time the hotel hosts this event, but the year before we were at the Orlando Museum of Art’s Brilliant at 90s bash.

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I love getting dressed up and attending fancy New Year’s celebrations and as long as there isn’t a kid tying me down, I don’t mind spending a little bit more for a fun night.

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I’ll have to write a letter to NY & Co. because this dress was a steal!

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From the moment we walked in, we had a feeling that we would be one of the younger couples at the event. Lucky for us, we are usually in bed by 9:00 p.m. and suffer from aches and pains so we could easily relate to the older crowd attending. Okay, the guests weren’t that old…

Food: Delicious smells greeted us upon entering the hotel’s atrium. There were different stations set up with sushi, steak, antipasto, dessert and more. I hit up the sushi station about three times – no regrets (hey, last meal of the year. Go big or go home).

Drinks: There were two full liquor bars set up for the event and it only got busy around 11:30 p.m. Champagne was passed around right before midnight.

Music: The Buzzcatz were the entertainment for the night and they did not disappoint! This local live band played everything from classic Sinatra to Motown to Top 40. I closed my eyes during their “What A Wonderful World” and could almost picture Louis Armstrong crooning into the mic.

The best part about the music was that young and old could all connect with the songs. Also, old people give no damns on the dance floor. We saw everything from professional ballroom dancers to a mom in a fur coat breaking it down. And since Halston is all elbows while dancing and I’m all butt, we felt right at home. Jab, jab, bump, bump.

Next door to our ballroom, the Alfond was hosting a second event for a younger crowd (a.k.a. my age group) so I popped my head in for a sec. Everyone seemed to be too self-conscious to dance. Typical youths.

All in all, it was a great night and a wonderful start to the year!

Where did you ring in the New Year? Did anyone check out Kristin Chenoweth performance at the Dr. Phillips Center or attend the Enzian’s James Bond party? 

xx

 

This post originally appeared on HypeOrlando.