Monday, October 12, 2015

1st Year Wedding Anniversary Dinner at Fahrenheit 555, Carnival Sunshine

September 27th 2015 marked our one year wedding anniversary. My Husband Gabe and I celebrated by going on a 5 night cruise on the Carnival Sunshine. The Sunshine was unlike any cruise I have been on (this was my 11th cruise and my husbands 1st). There were so many bars and restaurants to choose from that we only ended up eating in the main dining room once during the 5 nights!
We departed on our anniversary and chose that night to do dinner at Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse. This was an actual restaurant on the ship which you pay an up-charge of $35 per person to dine at. It had a wonderful ambiance and was the perfect setting for our one year anniversary dinner. Farenheit 555 menu was a tough one to choose from. Our server brought out a tray of beef (literally) and we chose which cut we wanted.
I noticed many of the restaurants on the ship had incredible drink specials if you dined with them on the first night out. Fahrenheit 555 happened to speak to my heart - a free bottle of red or white wine OR 50% off any bottle from their amazing wine list. Plus you could buy more and take it back with you to your room. I hit the jackpot! We selected a bottle of Le Crema Pinot Noir for our meal and brought back a few bottles to our room.

I started off with the Ahi Tuna Tartar, dices of Sashimi Grade Yellow Fin Tuna Belly. It was absolutely delicious and I devoured it. It was the perfect lite appetizer to a large meal.
Gabe started off with the Lobster Bisque with Vintage Cognac, Fleuron and Fresh Cream. He's a sucker for Lobster Bisque and this one did not disappoint.

I ordered the Surf and Turf. Sure you can always expect to find this dish during Captains Dinner but that surf and turf is nothing like this. A Maine Lobster Tail paired with Grilled Filet Mignon. I had a hard time deciding between this or the larger filet. I made the right decision because that lobster was amazing!
Gabe ordered the Grilled Prime Cowboy Steak, 18 oz. Rib Chop. It was perfectly seasoned and grilled.

For our side dishes, we chose a baked potato, sauteed mushrooms and creamy mashed potatoes. We also selected two sauces, Three and Peppercorn and Béarnaise

Although I was full, I had to order the chocolate sampler; Bittersweet Chocolate Cake, Banana Pannacotta, Tiramisu and Chocolate Marquise. I kept going back and forth as to which one I liked better. I think Chocolate Marquise won.
Gabe ordered the Caramelized Washington Apples baked in a puff pastry dome. It was the perfect ending to a perfect meal.
The night of our one year anniversary was also the night of the full Lunar Eclipse. We could see it from our balcony stateroom and we brought our bottle of wine back to the room, watched the eclipse. There was an eclipse party on board but we decided to take advantage of the balcony views. After, we headed to the Casino, where my husband found a new love for penny slots.

It was the perfect way to spend our one year wedding anniversary and I wouldn't change a single thing - except getting a photo together at dinner. Something I failed at. OOPS.

Bonjour Coureur! runDisney Paris Half Marathon Weekend Registration

Bonjour Coureur (or Hello Runner for those who don't remember High School French)! Tomorrow is the day that limited registration open for the runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend! Here is what you need to know!
Click here for the runDisney Paris Registration Link. Travel Package registration opens for the the inaugural Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon Weekend today. This is the earliest way to register for the first international runDisney race weekend. Select travel partners will offer with Disneyland® Paris or by organizing your trip via one of our travel partners. Each travel partner has been carefully hand-picked to work in partnership with Disneyland® Paris and runDisney.

Limited race-only registration (without travel packages) will open on January 12, 2016. This is how my husband and I are going to attempt to register.
runDisney Paris Race Weekend:
The inaugural race weekend in Paris will include fun kids’ races for children of all ages, a 5K course through Disneyland Paris and a scenic half-marathon course through two Disneyland Paris theme parks and the countryside villages that surround the Disney Parks.

runDisney Paris Health & Fitness Expo
Disney Events Arena®
Thursday, September 22, 2016 – 3pm-8pm
Friday, September 23 & Saturday, September 24, 2016 - 8am-8pm

runDisney Disneyland® Paris 5K
Saturday, September 24, 2016 7am

runDisney Paris Kids Races 
Saturday, September 24, 2016 From 10am

runDisney Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon
Sunday, September 25, 2016 7am

runDisney Paris Half Marathon Medal
Inaugural commemorative medals await runners at the finish line.

Castle to Chateau Challenge Medal
runDisney races go global with our first-ever country to country challenge race. Run any half marathon or greater at the Walt Disney World® Resort or the Disneyland® Resort and the Disneyland® Paris Half Marathon and earn the inaugural Castle to Chateau Challenge Commemorative Medal.

“We could not be more excited about the upcoming runDisney event,’’ said Tom Wolber, President of Euro Disney S.A.S. “It will make Disneyland Paris the world’s third Disney destination to host this successful sporting series that offers a whole new running experience for the young and young-at-heart.’’

Friday, October 9, 2015

La Luce Food and Wine Weekends at Hilton Bonnet Creek

A few weeks ago, I shared a little information about Food and Wine Weekends at Bonnet Creek. Want an elevated experience while you are in town for Epcot Food and Wine Festival? Here you have it. Food and Wine Weekends is a mutli-weekend event that is taking place at Hilton Bonnet Creek and Waldorf Astoria Orlando every Friday and Saturday during Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

My husband Gabe and I had the opportunity to check out a few of the Food and Wine Weekend's experiences while on property. We had a delicious meal at La Luce, the Il Cibo Della Vita menu, where each weekend a new menu with exclusive offerings along with a wine pairing are unveiled. 
Wine Pairing: Each week, La Luce pairs three unique wines perfect for your meal. 

Soup: Roasted Pepper and Tomato Creme Fraiche. 
This was such a delicious soup that both of us finished it, and practically licked the bowl. I used a piece of delicious homemade bread to be sure not a drop was left.

Antipasti: Bruschetta; Pear, Gorgonzola Dolce, Prosciutto, Aged Balsamic
I adored this dish. Prosciutto, pear and arugula are one of my favorite combinations (amazing on pizza!). Add this to perfectly grilled bread, some gorgonzola and aged balsamic and it's pretty much perfect. 
Pizza: Grilled Zucchini, Red Onions, Sundried Tomato, Goat Cheese, Pesto
I am happy to report that the pizza at La Luce is LEGIT. The crust was a perfect combination of crispy and airy. It wasn't greasy at all. This is how Pizza is supposed to be. On a normal day, I would have never gotten Gabe to order this combo. End result: He loved it and may allow me to bring zucchini back into our diet!
Insalata: Warm Spinach Salad; Bacon, Pickled Red Onions, Wild Mushrooms, Gorgonzola DOlce, Balsamic Vinaigrette
I could smell the bacon before it hit the table. This salad was incredible. The thick sliced bacon mixed with the wild mushrooms were a perfect combo. Speaking of wild mushrooms......
La Luce gets their mushrooms shipped in daily. I have never seen a wild mushroom display like this in my life. I just sat in awe. The large mushroom on the right is called a lobster mushroom! It's a beast.
Pasta: Spaghetti alla Vongole; Roasted clams, tomato, chilies, toasted garlic, pinot grigio
This was Gabe's favorite dish of the night. The clams were not fishy at all and it had a perfect amount of spice to it. It was a very clean, light pasta dish. 
Secondi: Spedini di Pesce; Grilled Halibut Skewers, Saffron Fregola Ragu, Black Pepper Aioli
I will dream of this dish for years to come. The Saffron Fregola Ragu was unlike any pasta I have ever had. What looks like corn is actually a ragu. It was buttery, delicious and went perfect with the grilled halibut. I was so full by this time but couldn't stop eating.
Dessert: Torta di Cioccolato e budino; flourless chocolate cake with butterscotch pudding
This was such a unique dessert - La Luce's famous butterscotch pudding was inside of their famous chocolate cake. It was two desserts in one and we devoured it.

Overall we were very impressed with the dinner. As I mentioned above, Food and Wine Weekends at Bonnet Creek are the best way to elevate your Epcot Food and Wine Festival. No lines, incredible food and a better bang for your buck vs. the small plates you get at the Festival. It's a winner in my opinion!
Triple your points on weekend bookings at Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

10 tips for Marathon Training while on a cruise #CruisingCarnival

You guys, I leave for Ireland 2 weeks from tomorrow!!! I cannot wrap my brain around the fact that the Dublin Marathon is less than 3 weeks away. My husband and I returned home on Friday after being at sea for 5 nights on board the amazing Carnival Sunshine for our 1st year anniversary trip. The Sunshine was by far the best cruise I have been on.
I have had to learn how to marathon training while traveling. Between being on the road for work and a few getaways, my training schedule had to be modified. While working, it is likely I will have dinners following work and will not get home until after a 12 hour day at work. I am not a morning person, no matter how hard I have tried. My once least favorite word, Treadmill, became my best friend.
10 tips for Marathon Training on a Cruise
  1. Create a training schedule before you depart, Print it out and bring it with you. Prior to leaving, you will be aware of your itinerary by choosing which days you will run/workout/stretch, etc. Tape this on your mirror so you see it everyday to keep yourself accountable. 
  2. Room Service: Order room service on days you are training. Set your breakfast for 45 minutes prior to your workout. The room service attendants will be sure you are served (they called my room 4x) therefor, you are sure to wake up. Speaking of room service, while you are able to order from a limited menu, they have a runners smorgasbord. My favorite: bagels and you can write in a request for peanut butter!!! Include bananas, honey and other runner happy items are available! If you bring on protein shake powder, be sure to get your milk of choice.  
  3. ALWAYS Take the stairs. Let's face it, cruises have a lot of things you can cheat on. Between boat drinks and 24-7 eats, you are likely to gain a few pounds on a cruise. The stairs will help, trust me. 
  4. Scout out the gym or running track prior to the first run. While I LOVED the Carnival Sunshine, the outdoor track ran around the kids camp section (which we were frequent visitors to, hello giant twister and Putt-Putt!). I decided to do my training on a treadmill. Thankfully Carnival has Lifesfitness machines and I ran the Grand Canyon while at sea. 
  5. Bring ziplock bags and ask your room Stewart to bring plenty of ice. If you ask nicely, they will bring a plastic bucket of ice, twice daily to your room. Make yourself ice packs after doing your training run - and reward yourself with a trip to the hot tub, with a margarita in hand :) 
  6. Schedule a Yoga class - cruises have multiple classes which you can take part of. A nice stretch at sea is a wonderful treat.
  7. If you have a long run scheduled, carb load with Italian food. If you don't see anything on the menu, ask your server if there is anything they can offer you (tell them you are training for a marathon). On the Carnival Sunshine, we were lucky enough to have an Italian Restaurant onboard. I will be sharing my review from there shortly!
  8. HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE. Carnival recently changed their beverage policy and by doing so, they will allow you to pre-purchase a 12 pack of water for $2.99 prior to boarding. We bought two cases and were sure to drink our water. 
  9. RELAX don't do it, when you want to go to it: Cruises can be overwhelming. You can overdo it and need a vacation from your vacation. Take an hour out of each day to relax, however you see fit. I am not a napper - in fact, I only nap when I am sick. However, I took a nap each day of our cruise and I finally felt relaxation. The Serenity deck on Carnival is a great option for those not wanting to sleep at sea. 
  10. Book a massage! The spa's services available on the ship are amazing. They have daily specials, especially during days at sea.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's Pinktober at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa

A lot of people think "casino" when they hear Hard Rock, but the property is so much more thank slot machines, poker and black jack. Seminole Hard Rock Tampa has amazing restaurants, fun times at the pool and my favorite hiding spot, the incredible Rock Spa, which has been known to help melt my stress away. One of the things I love most about Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is their continuous support back to the community. They are one of the largest philanthropic companies in town and I love what they are doing to support Breast Cancer Awareness: Pinktober!

Since Rock Spa is the closest Spa & Salon to my house, they are my go to for a quick fix. I recently tweaked my back/shoulder and they were able to accommodate my emergency massage appointment on a holiday weekend. Their Solid as a Rock deep tissue massage is my go-to during marathon training. They are able to target specific areas for maximum results. The therapist designs your session based on your needs.

During the month of October, Rock Spa is participating in PINKTOBER®, to help fund research for prevention and a cure for breast cancer. They are launching a new scent called Pink Moscato AND Pink champagne will also be offered with certain services such as a Signature Pedicure (Walk This Way) and a Signature Manicure (Be Good to Yourself). By the way Tampa girls, they also do blowouts and professional makeup if you were looking to get dolled up for a big event!

Here are some other ways Seminole Hard Rock is helping raise money towards the fight against breast cancer:
DRINK PINK! Pink-tini's will be available throughout the month of October for $7.25 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. 2015 will mark the 8th year Seminole Hard Rock Tampa has been involved in PINKTOBER®. Last year, the property raised more than $80,000 during its PINKTOBER® program. A major component of the program will once again be Seminole Hard Rock Tampa’s $50,000 title sponsorship of the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, scheduled for Saturday, October 24, at Tampa’s Amalie Arena beginning at 9 a.m.
Throughout October, the property will participate in Hard Rock’s “Get into Bed for the Cause” program which will offer guests luxurious pink sheets, pink duvet covers, pink robes, an iconic Hard Rock PINKTOBER® pin and a signature turndown service. When guests stay in pink rooms, 25 percent of the room rate goes directly to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. Additionally, a “Pink-Tini” will be sold during the month.
Seminole Hard Rock Tampa will also be donating 100 percent of the proceeds generated from sales of limited-edition Making Strides pink sunglasses from the Rock Shop, as well as proceeds from sales of the “2015 Seminole Hard Rock Girls Calendar” during the month of October.
To further support PINKTOBER®, the property will host a wrap party which includes a benefit concert and slot tournament to be held at the Hard Rock Cafe Tampa on Friday, October 30, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. This event is open to the public. The entry fee for the slot tournament will be $10 and 50 percent of those proceeds will be donated to Making Strides Against Breast Cancer and 50 percent will be added to the prize pool. Tickets can be purchased at the Rock Shop beforehand or upon entry to the event.
Free concerts will happen every Friday during the month of Pinktober at Hard Rock Cafe. Be sure to support breast cancer research while you are there with the purchase of Pinktober merchandise at the Hard Rock Store and the Rock Shop!

Monday, October 5, 2015

National Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Run in Pink with ASICS and win shoes!

We've all had someone in our lives affected by breast cancer. My godmother has been diagnosed with stage 4 not once, not twice but three times and keeps fighting the battle. My best friends mother in law was diagnosed last year and is currently undergoing treatment. Women affected by breast cancer have one thing in common – they never stop running towards hope.
ASICS wants you to Run In Pink (Tweet to Pledge Pink!). For the month of October, ASICS America is partnering with Right Action for Women to support the fight against breast cancer.  Show how you will Run In Pink by snapping a photo or video of you in your pink apparel, running through the park with a friend, or crossing the finish line of a race in your pink ASICS - just make sure to use the hashtag #RunInPink

1. Post your Run in Pink photo on your Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #RunInPink
2. Tell ASICS why you chose to run in pink this month.
3. Follow ASICS America on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram - you just may see your pink photo on one of their accounts throughout the month of October!
4. Every Friday during the month of October, ASICS will give a lucky winner who posts with the #RunInPink hashtag a pair of shoes* from the Accelerate Hope collection, benefiting Right Action for Women.

When you have run for breast cancer awareness, share the photo below to show that you are supporting the women around you who have fought hard for their health.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

ASICS Train, Run, Selfie Photo Contest

I am guilty, you probably are too - selfie runners are everywhere. My 2014 ASICS New York City Marathon Blogger Challenge teammate Chris ended up on the front page of various media outlets after a selfie he took during last years NYC Marathon. This "selfie" was named one of CNN's Selfies of the Year, The Wall Street JournalDaily Mail, and many other places. Funny thing about this "running selfie" is that it really wasn't a selfie, he was taking a photo of runners on the bridge.
Love them or hate them, selfies are here to stay as long as we have social media. One of my favorite Selfies was also from the NYC Marathon, on top of the Brooklyn Bridge with the skyline behind me. It's a must take photo if you are a picture taker during Marathons.

ASICS wants you to snap a #selfie on your run & post on Instagram & Twitter using the hashtag #TrainRunSelfie for the chance to WIN $170 in ASICS gear! They choosing one winner a week from now through November 2nd a coupon code worth $170 at So start taking those selfies, be sure to use the hashtag #TrainRunSelfie and maybe your selfie will become as famous as Chris's.

Click here for terms and conditions 

Ninja Coffee Bar Review

I have an exciting new product to share with you! Ninja, the company known for their variety of blenders has changed home brewed coffee as you know it. Introducing The Ninja Coffee Bar. Both my husband and I are avid coffee drinkers and have no shortage of coffee and espresso machines in our house. When Ninja asked me to review their latest device, I gladly accepted and the end result was: I retired 2 of my coffee machines to make a permanent home for this bad boy.
The Ninja Coffee Bar allows you to make barista approved coffee at the convenience of your home with a technology called Thermal Flavor Extraction which delivers a better, richer tasting coffee with variable richness levels. Each selection precisely calibrates the right flavor, richness, and strength for the beverage you want to make.
Classic Brew: Hot, rich and smooth balanced flavor
Rich Brew: Bolder, robust, more intense flavor which stands up to milk, cream and flavorings
Over Ice Brew: Brews fresh, hot coffee over ice that is 2x concentrated, so it will not get watered down
Specialty Brew: The strongest option at 3x concentrated that is perfect for cappuccino, latte and flat white. Also ideal for blended drinks.
As seen on the newer Ninja Blenders, the Ninja Coffee Bar has the Auto-iQ technology. At the touch of one button, you select the size (a cup, travel mug, half carafe, full carafe) and the machine draws the right amount of water needed from it's reservoir. I can set the machine overnight to make a full carafe of coffee or select a single cup for a cappuccino when I wake up. This is an all in one machine that has a variety of options for every kind of coffee drinker.

The package I received for review included:
Ninja Coffee Bar Brewer
Glass Carafe
Intelligent Warming Plate
Removable Water Reservoir with Auto-Metering
Easy Fill Brew Basket
Programmable Brew Timer
Ninja Easy Frother
Double Sided Scoop
40 Recipe Inspiration Guide
5 Year Warranty

Here are a few of the specialty drinks you can make with the Ninja Coffee Maker:
Creme de Caramel Coffee
Creamy Blueberry Coffee (my husbands favorite)
Flat White (whoop!!!)
Pumpkin Spice Late (#PSL)
Thai Iced Coffee
Coffee Martini

The only negative thing about this machine is I will likely end up losing my gold status at Starbucks.

Sofia Vergara partnered up with Ninja and she talks about her journey to recapture the smooth, rich flavor of the coffee she grew up enjoying in Colombia. Check out the video below to how the Ninja Coffee Bar™ has helped her do just that.

Girls Night in with ANEW Wine

I moved to Tampa from Daytona Beach in 2011. I was born and raised in Dyatona and have had the same group of friends, some going all the way back to Elementary school. Whenever I visit home, one of my favorite ways to spend time with friends is catching up over wine.
I recently hosted an at home wine and cheese party with a few of my best friends. We enjoyed ANEW wine out of Washington paired with a variety of cheese and Charcuterie. ANEW is buy one get one free this week at Publix (as seen on 10/4/2015) - right now a perfect time to stock up in this wine, meant for those who live an active lifestyle.
I purchased all of the meats and cheeses for this party at Trader Joe's. If you are lucky enough to live by one, absolutely utilize them for parties as they have the best prices and unique, hard to find cheese. It's always a good idea to have a wide assortment for your guests to choose from.
To make the night a little more special, we had a masseuse who gave each of us 20 minute chair massages and each guest took home a tote bag full of ANEW wines goodies. This night in was an amazing way to catch up with friends while relaxing over wine and cheese.
How to build the perfect Cheese and Charcuterie Board:
Truffle Pate (or another pate if your store doesn't carry this)

Goat Cheese
Truffle Italian Cheese (or another Italian Cheese)
Freshly shaved Parmesan

Figs (seasonal)
Roasted Garlic
Baguette toast points
Washington's ANEW wines added a refreshing Pinot Grigio and a flavorful Rose to its varietal line-up earlier this year. ANEW wines are produced by my friends at Chateau Ste. Michelle and are available nationwide at the suggested retail price of $12. ANEW wines are made to compliment your active lifestyle.

“We introduced the Pinot Grigio and Rosé to create a select range of wines meant to be enjoyed on their own or easily paired with many dishes,” says winemaker David Rosenthal. “The ANEW wines have a vibrancy of fruit and a brightness and freshness on the palate that is characteristic of our growing region. Washington’s combination of climate, soil and location produce wines for ANEW that are fruit forward, refreshing and have a unique style of their own.”

The 2014 ANEW Pinot Grigio is sourced from the coolest sites of Washington’s Yakima Valley and offers bright characteristics of Asian pear, melon, and a touch of tropical fruit. This Pinot Grigio is light and flavorful on the palate with beautifully balanced natural acidity, and is delightful on its own or with food. It pairs well with light seafood, cream-based dishes, or a simple cheese and fruit plate.

The 2014 ANEW Rosé is a crisp, vibrant and dry style Rosé, made with a blend of Syrah and Sangiovese that gives the wine a lovely rose color and creates beautiful aromas of strawberry, fresh watermelon and peach. This is a versatile and flavorful wine that would be a great match for light pasta or rice dishes, grilled fish, and a wide array of cheeses.

The ANEW wines are presented in a sleek, custom-molded bottle with a modern stylized floral label and the ease and convenience of a screw cap closure.

For more information on ANEW wines, visit

Click here for the ANEW Rose Video Tasting Notes

Click here for the ANEW Pinot Grigio Video Tasting Notes

About ANEW Wines
Launched in 2013, ANEW features a Riesling, Pinot Grigio and Rosé from Washington state. The wines offer bright fruit forward character balanced with crisp natural acidity. ANEW wines are crafted by Chateau Ste. Michelle, Washington’s founding winery. ANEW wines are distributed nationally with a suggested retail price of $12.