Carnival Craft Beer now available Fleetwide

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Cruising craft beer lovers rejoice! On Sunday, my husband Gabe and I headed down to Miami for a special announcement from Carnival Cruise Line on board the Carnival Magic regarding their craft beer line.
In 2016, the Carnival Vista was named the first cruise ship to have a RedFrog Brewery & Pub on board (her sister ship the Horizon also has one). This is a full working brewery where they brew their beer while at sea. When I sailed the Vista in 2017, I had the opportunity to visit the brewery and try their delicious brews firsthand.
Although I am a wine drinker, there is nothing better than a frosty glass of beer on a hot day and while on a week long Vista sailing, I found myself at RedFrog Pub & Brewery daily and even bought a growler of beer! Carnivals craft beers became famous among cruising craft beer lovers. However, when you went on a ship that didn't have a RedFrog brewery on board, you weren't able to indulge in their delicious brews.
So what does the RedFrog Pub & Brewery have to do with the announcement made on the Magic? On Sunday March 17th, Carnivals three most popular craft beers will be available fleet-wide, on all 26 ships! This includes the Parched Pig Toasted Amber Ale, Parched Pig West Coast IPA and Thirsty Frog Caribbean Wheat Ale.


Not only was Carnival the first cruise line to have a brewery on board, it is also the first cruise line to keg and can their own craft beers. If you are familiar with the Florida craft brew scene, you know who Brew Hub is. The Lakeland facility will be handling the production of canning and kegging the three beers for Carnival!
So next time you are on a Carnival Cruise Line, be sure to order yourself a Parched Pig or Thirsty Frog craft beer (I am a huge fan of both the Toasted Amber and the Caribbean Wheat)! Cheers!

Thank you to Carnival for hosting us in Miami for this press announcement. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

This weekend - 30th Spring Daytona Turkey Run and Dock Dogs competition

Monday, March 18, 2019
When you think about Spring Break in Daytona Beach, a lot comes to mind (especially if you grew up in the 90's like me - hello mtv!). This weekend, things will go back in time full of classic cars and doo wop music at the 30th running of the Spring Daytona Turkey Run. This is the Spring version of their famous Fall Turkey Run.
I am sending my nieces this year so they can see the Dock Dogs, a fun new feature taking place at the Spring Turkey Run. Dock Dogs, is the world's premier aquatic canine competition. Yes you read that right! More information on these talented pups below!
Aside from talented canines, the headline of this event is classic custom cars, a massive swap meet, arts and crafts, delicious food, a beer festival and live music.

The family friendly Spring Daytona Turkey Run takes place at Daytona International Speedway from March 22nd - March 24th and is presented by White Diamond, sponsored in part by Spectrum. Admission is $10 Friday and Saturday and $5 on Sunday with free parking ((children under 11 are free). Visit www.turkeyrun.com for a full schedule.

Dock Dogs®
Kids and adults alike will have a blast at the world’s premiere aquatic canine competition. Set up inside the infield of the Daytona Speedway, dogs of all sizes will jump from a 40’ dock into a 40’ pool and compete in Big Air®, Extreme Vertical, & Speed Retrieve® competitions. Competition dates are March 23rd and March 24th.


Hops and Hoods Beer Festival
Taste test local, craft and domestic beers on Saturday, March 23rd from 12PM-4PM! Beer tasting tickets are $5 for 4 samples and $10 for 10 samples. Tickets can be purchased in advance or onsite. Advanced tickets include special Hops and Hoods parking.

Take a Kid to a Car Show
Spending quality time with a kid is the greatest gift we can give them. And sharing our appreciation for collector cars is a great way to nurture their interest in a hobby that can be enjoyed together for many years to come. The first 500 kids to enter will get a special Turkey Run gift. There will also be a Play Zone at no additional charge, including bouncy houses, an obstacle course, carnival games and more!

Annual classic car parade lap around the track
Registered show cars will enjoy a fun lap around the iconic Daytona International Speedway track on Sunday, March 24th at 2pm.

This was a sponsored post by Turkey Run. All opinions are my own.

Health Updates

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
To say 2018 was a whirlwind when it comes to health is an understatement. I started the year with over $6k in my Health Savings Account. I rarely went to the Doctor and considered myself a healthy person.
2018 in Thailand before everything went crazy
In March 2018, I had my first experience with Acid Reflux which resulted in an incorrect diagnosis of GERD. I was treated for this for months, taking two daily rx that weren't working. Then the testing began. Testing is still going on to identify exactly what is happening but it is esophagus related.

In November, I worked an event in Minneapolis. I fractured my foot in a freak accident. Although I am out of my boot, I can't run until June. I was really upset and that accident combined with my esophagus issues pushed me over my out of pocket deductible.

Knowing I could see any Doctor for free through the end of December, I made multiple calls, including a long overdue Dermatologist appointment. With my high deductible plan, if you go to the Dermatologist and if any biopsies come back clear, you are charged 100% as it is seen cosmetic. Being I have a billion moles and freckles, there has never been a time when I didn't have 5+ biopsies removed.

I asked for the Nurse Practitioner to take anything and everything he saw as a warning (nothing out of pocket, why not). He took 5 spots. I got a call 2 weeks later letting me know one of them was Basal Cell Carcinoma skin cancer. This is the most common type of skin cancer, caused by sun exposure. I have a lot of family members who have had many Basal Cells removed. Every single person said "At least it isn't Melanoma".

I had the Basal Cell removed the day after Christmas and saw a different Nurse Practitioner for this procedure. She looked at my left leg and instantly asked why two spots weren't removed. "I don't like the looks of these at all". I said, take them! I got a call on January 4th from Pathology.....

Stage One Melanoma Skin Cancer. Caused from genetic mutation, not sun exposure.

While Melanoma is common, it can be deadly. I caught it at stage one so luckily it is early. However when the Doctor went in to take them out, he saw multiple other spots that are within the melanoma line which is dangerous. I go tomorrow to get 10 more spots removed. My biggest regret is not getting every mole & spot taken off me on the 26th of December when I had the chance. Now everything is out of pocket until I hit my max again. Which will be soon.....

Up until mid-January, I didn't talk about this on my social media channels. I decided to post on my personal facebook as a PSA to my friends being I live in FL and we are frequently in the sun. I had multiple comments, some of which were uneducated. One person even said "Melanoma isn't a big deal but I will be praying for you".  I ignored him.....

After posting on facebook, many of my colleagues and friends let me know that they made Dermo appt's right away. I'm trying to stay positive through all this and if anything, become an Advocate, encouraging others to make appointments. While my Basal Cell looked suspicious, my Melanoma spots looked normal! While I was writing this post, one of my closest friends growing up wrote me. I haven't talked to her much over the past few years. She wrote me to let me know she was diagnosed today with Melanoma on her left leg.

I will post my update after the next round of biopsies results come in. I keep saying, if it wasn't for fracturing my foot, I would have never known.

A Bronx Tale on Broadway - Straz Center Tampa

Friday, February 1, 2019
On Tuesday night, my husband Gabe and I went to see A Bronx Tale on Broadway at Straz Center in Tampa. It was a much needed date night out as I've been dealing with some health things that I will write about soon - along both of us being crazy busy at work. Having National Broadway shows less than 30 minutes from us is one of the things we love most about living in Tampa Bay.
A few of my co-workers raved about A Bronx Tale so we were excited to see it. Especially being it's called "Jersey Boys meets West Side Story". The second the show began, Gabe looked over at me and said "this is the intro of Jersey Boys" (we've seen Jersey Boys twice on Broadway).
Something I didn't realize ahead of seeing the show was that there was a movie adapted from the original play. A Bronx Tale was written in 1989 and during the original Off Broadway, Robert De Niro came to see the show, he took it to the big screen in 1993, where he starred in and directed the movie. A Bronx Tale was his film directorial debut and he is now the Director of this Broadway hit.
The musical takes place in the 60's, when everything was in the Bronx was all about Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth. A Bronx Tale story is about a young boy named Calogero (also known as C), who gets taken under the wing by Sonny, the neighborhood mob boss.
The story follows C as he grows up to be a teenager, having to choose the life he wanted, between his straight-arrow father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. The story took a Westside Story twist when he fell for his African-American classmate, Jane. A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty and family.
Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro and Tony® winner Jerry Zaks direct this streetwise musical – based on Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri’s story that The New York Times hails as “A Critics’ Pick! The kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry.”

A Bronx Tale will be in Tampa through this Sunday, February 2nd. Click here for tickets!

The Rez Grill Chef Pairing Dinner with The Ravenous Pig

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
In 2011, I decided to make the move from Daytona Beach to Tampa. I found a job, which I thought was going to be temporary (7+ years later not the case at all) and over the first six months while my relocation was in process, I split time between our Orlando and Tampa offices. My first day on the job, my bosses took me for lunch at The Ravenous Pig. This was back when I lived the life of only knowing chain restaurants. The Pig quickly became my favorite Orlando restaurant and I still try to dine there whenever in town.

Why am I sharing this piece of history with you? Fast forward to December 2018. I was invited to a Chef's pairing dinner at The Rez GrillSeminole Hard Rock Tampa featuring the talented Frank Anderson, head of Culinary at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa and James Petrakis, Chef-Owner of The Ravenous Pig. This dinner featured 6 courses, 3 created by each Chef, all with a pork themed. All 6 courses were paired with wine or a cocktail.

To say I was excited for this dinner is an understatement.  Ever since Chef Frank came on board to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, I have been very impressed. I have said it once before, and will say it again - he is doing amazing things not only for Hard Rock, but also for Tampa's thriving culinary scene. The price for this pairing was $99 a person. For 6 courses prepared by some of the best Chef's in Florida, all paired with drinks - that's a GREAT deal! Here's a recap of the amazing dinner we had at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa.

FIRST COURSE:
Stracciatella Cheese | Benton’s country ham, burnt honey, pistachio powder, Rez Grill
If I can say one thing and one thing only about this dish - Dear Chef Frank, please for the love of god put this on Rez permanent menu.

SECOND COURSE:
Tete De Cochon Brulee | Beets, Joyce’s mustard, shallot, frisée, Ravenous Pig
Ironically my first meal at Ravenous Pig was a salad called the Farmer. This popular salad is changed seasonally and during that trip was the first time I was introduced to frisée.

THIRD COURSE:

Braised Pork Agnolotti | Lemon brown butter, Parmesan, sage, Rez Grill
When I first saw the menu, this was the dish I was most looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. Seriously wishing I had a plate full of those pillows.

FOURTH COURSE:
Roasted Palmetto Creek Pork Loin | Gnocchi, pumpkin, apple butter Ravenous Pig
This dish was incredible. I loved every part about it!

FIFTH COURSE:
Frito Pie | pork chili, dirty cheese, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, Rez Grill
Oh Frito Pie! You had me at hello. I actually have served a dish similar to this at an event. I love the fun play on the amazing chili, using the Frito bag as a serving component.

SIXTH COURSE:
Tahini Tres Leches | Cardamom cake, grapefruit, larded toffee, chai meringue, Ravenous Pig
This was such a unique twist on Tres Leches and had so many flavors creating magic that you would never think worked well together.

The Chef's telling guests what to expect from the evening.

Follow Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


Special thanks to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa for hosting us at Social Hour. As always, all opinions are my own.

Hot Buttered Apple Cider Recipe

Saturday, December 1, 2018
Growing up, my Dad would make homemade apple cider. It's my go to when I feel a cold coming on, nothing is more comforting than a warm glass of apple cider! We never bought store bought and it's very easy to make.

I recently received a case of delicious Envy Apples. If you haven't tried these apples yet, I strongly encourage you to do so. Envy Apples were born using natural plant-breeding methods, crossing are a cross of Braeburn with Royal Gala apples. They are slow to brown once cut and are free from GMO's. They are one of the sweeter apples I have tried and have a truly great flavor.

When I opened the case of apples, I instantly knew I wanted to make my Dad's homemade apple cider. While making it, I had a sudden craving for hot buttered rum. Hot buttered rum is made with apple cider and you can make this warm comforting drink with or without rum.  My husband was stunned that I made this drink from scratch.

Hot Buttered Apple Cider
Ingredients
½ gallon homemade apple cider (recipe below)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup unsalted butter
Cinnamon sticks & apple slices for garnish
Spiked option – add 1 shot of rum per 8oz cider

Directions
1. If you are making this right after you made the cider, use the same pot and the cider should already be simmering. You will need to measure out ½ gallon (8 cups) from what you made. Otherwise, bring 8 cups of cider to a simmer in a large stockpot
2. Add butter, cinnamon, nutmeg
3. Stir until all the butter is melted and continue to simmer while frequently stirring for 5-10 minutes 4. Taste to see if you need to add additional sweetener (brown sugar or whole cane sugar will work, I add a tablespoon at a time until desired sweet level has been reached)
5. Pour 8oz into a cup and add a whole cinnamon stick and apple slice for garnish
* If you want to make this hot buttered rum, add 1 shot of spiced rum for every 8oz

Homemade Apple Cider
Ingredients:
12 medium Envy Apples, cored and quartered
2 oranges, quartered (leave the skin on)
4 whole cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon whole cloves
16 cups Filtered water
1/2 cup brown sugar

Directions
1. Add apples, oranges and spices into a large stockpot
2. Turn to high heat until you reach a simmer. Reduce to medium low and cover for 2 hours
3. Mash the apples and oranges using a wooden spoon against the side of the pot to release flavor. Let simmer for another 30 minutes.
4. Strain the juice 3 times into a pitcher, removing solids and pulp (I used a cheesecloth)
5. Add brown sugar to the pitcher with the strained juice

Envy Apples Event in Tampa!
I will be one of a few select Tampa bloggers at a Envy Apples Publix Aprons Cooking School at the Shoppes of Citrus Park and we will be showcasing our recipes. The free event is from 5:30 -7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec 5. All guests at the event will be treated to free samples of Envy apples. Guests will receive copies of the recipes, and a gift bag of holiday surprises (while supplies last)

Aprons Cooking School is located on the second floor of the Publix store - Shoppes at Citrus Park, 7835 Gunn Hwy in Tampa. The phone number is (813) 926-6664. The event is free and open to the public. Reservations are not required.

Envy Apples $200 Williams Sonoma Giveaway
Envy Apples wants to teach you how to create the perfect Charcuterie board. Now through 12/31, you can enter to win one of fifteen $200 gift certificates to Williams Sonoma and a case of Envy Apples! After you enter the contest, you will receive a free download for a step-by-step guide helping you create the perfect spread.  Click here to enter!

This post was sponsored by Envy Apples through my partnership with Tampa Bay Bloggers.

Council Oak at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Introduces Social Hour

Monday, November 26, 2018
My husband Gabe and I were invited to experience the newly launched Social Hour menu at Council Oak inside of Seminole Hard Rock Tampa. Social Hour at Council Oak is their version of Happy Hour and they are offering signature drinks and bites 7 days a week from 4pm-6pm (!!!) in their Lounge.
Council Oak is our favorite restaurant in Tampa. It is fine dining so we don't get to visit very often. Having options under $20 at Council Oak is a fantastic deal and their menu variety on the Social Hour is very impressive. Reduced pricing on food and drink while listening to live music is a perfect night out. Everything we tried was excellent. My favorite signature bite was the Grilled Brioche & Mushroom Toast and Gabe's favorite was the Grilled Beef Tenderloin.

Council Oak Social Hour Signature Bites

GRILLED BRIOCHE & MUSHROOM TOAST 13
Truffle Crème Fraîche, Manchego Cheese, Pickled Shallots, Mirco Chive

FRIED GREEN TOMATO CAPRESE STACK 13
Burrata Crème, Cilantro-Spinach Pesto, Roasted Red Pepper Jam

GRILLED BEEF TENDERLOIN SKEWERS 17
Blended Herb Chimichurri, Crispy Shallots

COUNCIL OAK MEATBALL 15
House Marinara, Toasted Baguette, Parmigiano Reggiano

BBQ KUROBUTA PORK BELLY 15
Sweet Kimchi Glaze, Parsnip Chips, Cucumber Slaw

SKUNA BAY SALMON TARTARE 15
Three Citrus Dressing, Pickled Red Onions, Citrus Crème Fraîche, Crispy Potato Skin

There are a variety of wines and craft cocktails on the Social Hour menu at a reduced price. The wines will vary over time. Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is known for their cocktails, so it wouldn't surprise me to see those change up! Gabe and I tried the Cucmber Gimlet and the Perfect Americano. The Cucumber Gimlet was delicious and very easy to drink.

$10  Social Hour Cocktails

CUCUMBER GIMLET
Effen Cucumber Vodka, Elderflower, Pear Nectar, Lemon Juice, Sparkling Wine

PERFECT AMERICANO
Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Tattersall Orange Crema, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth

APRICOT NEGRONI
Luxardo Apricot, Opihr Gin, Cynar, Lemon Juice

You can keep up with all the happenings at Council Oak online. If you haven't been to Hard Rock in a while, I suggest a visit. They recently opened up another wing that is non-smoking and the construction is moving along fast.

Follow Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Online | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Special thanks to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa for hosting us at Social Hour. As always, all opinions are my own.

45th Annual Daytona Turkey Run Ticket Giveaway #turkeyrodrun

Saturday, November 17, 2018
When I think back to Thanksgiving memories and traditions, one thing besides turkey's stick out - going to the Turkey Run in Daytona Beach to work with my best friend Keri. It was probably the most amount of fun I've ever had while working.
Thanks to a family connection at the Turkey Run (from age 15-22), Keri and I we were given keys to a golf cart and rode around selling donuts and coffee to the multiple vendors in the massive swap meet. We were our own boss for the weekend, purchasing the donuts with our own money and deciding which hours we wanted to work hard vs. which hours we wanted to chase boys.
Keri and her Dad Gene
I learned more about cars than most teenage girls could imagine by watching people trade and haggle at the Swap Meet. Every year, we purchased Christmas presents for Keri's Dad with our earnings. Along with the swap meet, the Turkey Run car show features more than 6,000 vintage, classic and custom, muscle cars, race cars and trucks on display and for sale. To this day, Keri's Dad is still restoring cars and selling them at the Turkey Run!
Photo Rights Turkey Run
This year the Turkey Run is turning 45 and like me, it has grown up a bit since we last met!! This family friendly event is the largest combined car show and swap meet in the U.S. It's a four-day show that kicks off at 8 a.m. Thanksgiving day through Sunday, November 25th at the World Famous Daytona International Speedway. This year, the annual event is offering a lot of exciting new features in 2018 including a Hops & Hoods Craft Beer Festival.
Photo Rights Turkey Run
A few things guests can look forward to this year at the 45th Daytona Turkey Run:
  • THE BATMOBILE!!!! Headlining the 45th Daytona Turkey Run is a fun, supersized event showcasing the original Batcopter N3079G from the Batman TV series. The 1966 Batmobile and 1966 Batcycle will also be on display
  • Virtual Reality Simulations - Mecum Auctions Mobile Experience. Experience first-hand what it feels like to be in the middle of a fast-paced Mecum auction through simulations and hands on activities
  • CRAFT BEER! Enjoy the Hops & Hoods Craft Beer Festival. Keep the party going and sample more than 120 different craft beers from 48 different breweries. Saturday, Nov. 24th from 12pm-4pm. Samples are 4 for $5 or 10 for $10 and can be purchased in advance at www.turkeyrun.com or inside the show. Must be 21 years of age
  • Little Gobbler’s Play Zone. Kids will have a blast in bounce houses, an obstacle course, inflatable games and more. All Play Zone activities are free of charge
  • Artisan Alley with fashion and art and a full midway of delicious food vendors
  • 6,000 vintage, classic and custom, muscle cars, race cars and trucks on display and for sale
  • A massive swap meet where vendors can sell and trade hard-to-find auto parts and accessories
Photo rights Turkey Run
The 45th Daytona Turkey Run is presented by White Diamond and is sponsored in part by Mecum Auctions and Spectrum. Admission is $15 Thursday through Saturday and $10 on Sunday with free parking. Children under 11 are free. Show hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Free parking is available at the Daytona Speedway all four days.
Photo rights Turkey Run
I want to share my Thanksgiving memories with a reader! I am giving away a pair of Turkey Rod Run tickets (valued at $15 each) on Instagram. Head over to my Instagram page to enter! Happy Thanksgiving week!

Follow the Turkey Rod Run online! Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website

Halloween In New Orleans

Tuesday, October 30, 2018
My husband and I have been fortunate to visit New Orleans over 15 times since 2012 (I stopped counting after 15 visits). We've been in NOLA for every season and for multiple holidays. When we first decided to have a destination wedding in New Orleans, we wanted it to be during Halloween weekend in New Orleans, until we realized it's the most popular weekend to get married there and prices were sky rocket high.

In 2016, we visited New Orleans the week before Halloween and attended the Boo's Krewe Parade. While there, we saw the city decorated for our favorite holiday. However, we had no idea what to expect while in town last week which happened to fall during the same time as Voodoo Fest.

If you find yourself in New Orleans during the weeks leading up to Halloween, here are some suggestions on must see's!

Skeleton House on St. Charles Ave
Take the St. Charles Street car up to State Street and you will find yourself in the middle of one of the most creative and humorous Halloween display's you will ever see. This mansion located at 6000 St Charles Ave, has displays that change over the years. I have to wonder what their Christmas decorations look like, or how large their storage shed must be.



Ghost Manor on Magazine St.
Plan on visiting Ghost Manor located at 2502 Magazine Stat after sundown to witness one of the coolest light displays you will ever see. We took the St. Charles Street car back down towards downtown and got off at the 3rd St. and walked a 1/2 mile over to Magazine. The 2018 display showcased 4 skeletons who are choreographed (dancing, singing, etc) to a variety of songs. We were fortunate enough to see them preform Thriller. In between the skeleton acts, there are light shows in the windows. I honestly could have watched this house all night.


French Quarter Halloween Decor
All throughout French Quarter you will find houses decorated to the max. The weekend leading up to Halloween, you will find people dressed in Halloween costumes all through the Quarter. It was like a multi-day citywide Halloween party.



Halloween Friday Lunches
A variety of classic New Orleans restaurants host Halloween themed luncheons on the Friday leading up to the holiday. We scored a table for 2 at the iconic Galatoire's for their annual Yelloween party. I wasn't prepared for what we experienced, nor am I able to fully describe it. Let's put it like this - the who is who from New Orleans come in well before opening time to decorate their tables. I am talking full themes and costumes to match. Our server told us the attendees typically spend all afternoon at Yelloween, sipping on Vueve Cliquot by the bottle or glass (they sponsor Yelloween). Since it was just the two of us, we decided to dress up in classy skeleton apparel. We stayed in this get up all day - and couldn't walk 5 feet without someone stopping Gabe about his suit.


Voodoo Fest
We didn't get a chance to attend Voodoo Fest as we flew home Saturday. However, the city was in full swing when we departed. Next years festival will go from November 1-3 and Halloween falls on a Thursday. We already have plans on coming back next year and experiencing it all. The 2018 festival  was a variety of music - from Mumford and Sons to Marilyn Manson. They'll be announcing the lineup soon for next year!
photo from voodoo fest facebook
Krewe of Boo Parade
The weekend before Voodoo fest is a family friendly motorized parade called Krewe of Boo. As mentioned, we attended in 2016. It was really cool to see. However, coming from Tampa given the size of our Guavaween parade, I was a bit underwhelmed. Looks like we can beat NOLA at one parade!

We absolutely loved spending time in NOLA during Halloween time and I would suggest it to all the fellow Halloween lovers out there!
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