Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dining at Scarletts Steakhouse on the Carnival Valor #CruisingCarnival

It's hard to believe my best friend Keri and I were sailing on our annual girls cruise a month ago! Every January we take a girls cruise together and this has been a tradition for 5 years. Our 2016 cruise was a 7 night cruise on board the Carnival Valor. On the third night of our cruise, we decided to eat at the ships on board restaurant, Scarlett's Steakhouse.

Scarlett's Steakhouse
If you are on a Carnival ship that offers steakhouse dining, I 110% suggest it and you do need reservations (we tried going a second time and couldn't get in). Carnival offers a wide variety of restaurant style dining on their fleets. They range in price and cuisine. The Steakhouse was a $35 charge per person and so worth it. The wine list was very impressive and on select nights, you can get half off a bottle!!
Upon sitting down, you are presented with a tray of meat. Literally - a tray of meat. You select which cut of meat you want, choices being: 9oz Filet Mignon, 18oz spice rubbed Ribeye, 18oz Grilled Cowboy, 14oz Broiled New York Strip, Double Cut Grilled Lamb Chops. There are other options as well - Surf and Turf, Broiled Maine Lobster Tail, Broiled Rosemary Infused Chicken, Maine Lobster Ravioli, or Grilled Filet of Fish.

Included in the $35 a person charge, you get starters, salads and desserts along with your choice of the entree. The starters are something you would find yourself paying $15+ at another steakhouse. The price is so worth it for the quality and quantity of food you receive. Keri and I decided to split a couple of starters.
Beef Carpaccio - Sliced raw beef tenderloin with shaved parmesan cheese and marinated mache lettuce. Keri and I are both big fans of Beef Carpaccio and this hit the spot. Interesting fact - if it weren't for my father, Keri would probably be ordering her steaks well done. As kids, when we dined out or had Keri over for dinner, my Dad would not allow her to order steaks Well done. She had to get it Medium Well and eventually she graduated to Medium and finally Medium Rare. Now she eats Beef Carpaccio which is raw. 
Ahi Tuna Tartare   - Dices of Sashimi Grade Yellow Fin Tuna Belly. This was so fresh and full of flavor. I nearly devoured it but I had to share it with Keri.

Soup (& Salad)
One of the great things about cruise ship dining is you can go outside of a pre-set menu. For instance, I did not want a salad, I wanted Lobster Bisque, but the Bisque was on the starter menu. Not a problem!
Keri ordered the Baby Leaf Spinach Salad. It came with blue cheese and warm bacon bits.
I ordered the above mentioned Lobster Bisque with Vintage Cognac. It was delicious!

Although we had a wide variety of choices, Keri and I ended up with the same thing
9 oz broiled Filet Mignon. It sliced like butter and was perfectly cooked to a medium rare. A month later, Keri is still talking about this steak.

It's hard to imagine eating dessert after all this food but how can you turn it down? We also asked if the bartender could make us an espresso martini, which was not on the menu. They made an excellent one and this drink started a trend for the rest of our cruise. Why haven't we thought of ordering this before?
I got the Cheesecake and Keri got the Chocolate sampler (bittersweet chocolate cake, banana pannacotta, tiramisu and chocolate marquise).

Overall, our dining experience at you can view Carnivals Steakhouse Menu by clicking here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

ASICS for Valentines Day

"I have no idea what I'm getting (insert significant others name here) for Valentines Day"?

We've all been there. Valentines Day used to stress me out because I never knew what to buy my husband.However this year, with the help of ASICS, I had no problem figuring out what Cupid was bringing this year. While on ASICS site, figuring out what to get him, I noticed a lot of Valentines hues!

Roses are Red. Violets are Blue. I want shoes. 

In case you are stuck trying to figure out a last minute gift for your favorite runner, I gathered a few options for you! While writing this post, I got a sudden craving for chocolate. All Cupids fault. 

The latest Men's ASICS on the market give runners many color options. They also had a ton of red hues.
Top Left: ASICS Gel Quantum 360 $170 Neutral
Bottom Left: ASICS Gel Quantum 180 $130 Neutral
Top Right: ASICS Nimbus 17 $150 Neutral
Bottom Right: ASICS GT 1000 4 $100 Stability

I love everything pink. The majority of my running apparel is pink and my running drawer looks like I poured a bottle of Pepto in it. You can never have too much pink in my opinion - even my golf clubs are pink!

Top Left: ASICS FuzeX $110 Neutral
Bottom Left: ASICS Gel Kayano 22 $160 Stability
Top Right: ASICS Gel Quantum 360 $170 Neutral
Bottom Right: ASICS Gel Persue 2 $110 Neutral

Street Shoes
photo from
ASICS Tiger line also has an official Valentines Shoe - The ASICS Gel Lyte III Valentines Day Pack (although not available on ASICS website). I'm not sure what Gabe would do if I bought him sneakers w/ cupids arrows on them!

However, you can get the Gel Lyte III and other Tigers in Valentines Day hues on

Left: Gel Lyte III in Red $120
Right: Gel Respector in Grey/Pink $120

Monday, February 8, 2016

Trying Carrabbas New Menu plus 20% off for you

As part of my partnership with Carrabba's Italian Grill, I received a complimentary meal for this review. As always all my opinions are my own.

Carrabba's Italian Grill is a restaurant that holds a very special place in my heart. I worked at the Daytona Beach location many years ago when I was 18 years old. My former roommate met her now husband at Carrabba's and in January of 2010, I went on my first date with my husband Gabe guessed it - Carrabba's.

Whenever I'm home visiting friends and family, we tend to go to Carrabba's for a girls night out. The food and drink are always reliable and we love the familiar atmosphere. When I heard Carrabba's changed their menu and took a contemporary approach with the New School of Italian, I was excited and a little scared at the same time.

Gabe and I had the opportunity to check out the new Carrabba's menu at the South Tampa location. If you are a Carrabba's enthusiast, you will notice a difference. There are 20 new and innovative scratch-made menu items. However, those classic dishes we all love about Carrabba's are still there. Appetizers have changed a bit and are now more contemporary (never fear, Calamari is still here). Carrabba's also offers small plates, think Italian Tapas style. Our very sweet server Emmy walked us through the new menu and made some suggestions to help our decision process.

Carrabba's New Appetizers
Carrabbas Tomato Caprese with Fresh Burrata
The first thing Emmy suggested was the Tomato Caprese with Fresh Burrata. I am a huge fan of Burrata and was very excited to see this offering on the new Carrabbas menu. I strongly suggest anyone who visits Carrabba's to order this starter without hesitation. Creamy burrata mozzarella, tomatoes, fresh basil, red onions, balsamic glaze, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil. It was the perfect starter.
Wood-Fired Italian Wings
Chicken wings at Carrbba's....huh? We thought it and I know you are currently thinking it. However, be glad they are on the menu. The Wood-Fired Italian Wings are perfectly seasoned and very crispy. They are seasoned with spicy Italian chili pepper and served with a creamy gorgonzola dipping sauce. I consider myself a chicken wing snob and I would order these again (we actually discussed ordering them to go for the Super Bowl last night!).

Carrabba's New Small Plates
Italian Lettuce Wraps
Carrabba's now offers 6 small plates under $6 and I love this new concept. Many times, my friends and I will go out for drinks at Carrabba's and want something small to snack on. Our first small plate was the Italian Lettuce Wraps with wood grilled chicken tossed with vegetables and ricotta salata in a Mediterranean lemon vinaigrette. The wraps are served over romaine lettuce, drizzled with a port wine reduction. This was my favorite small plate that we tried and I will be ordering this again and again.
Mozzarella Rustica
One item removed from the menu was Carrabba's Mozzarella sticks. This broke my heart a little as this was my favorite appetizer at Carrabba's. However, let's face it - Mozzarella sticks are a little dated so Carrabba's took a new take on an old favorite with the Mozzarella Rustica. Gabe devoured them and this was his favorite small dish of the night. Crispy bites of mozzarella and ricotta with Italian herbs and panko breadcrumbs served with Carrabba's famous marinara sauce.
Three Cheese & Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
I apologize for the fuzzy front mushroom. I got a new mirror-less camera for Christmas and it's a whole new learning curve coming from someone who had a DSLR for years! Back to the Mushrooms - Emmy suggested we try the Three-Cheese & Sausage stuffed mushrooms and I'm glad for this! These delicious mushrooms were stuffed with sausage, spinach, ricotta, romano, mozzarella and Italian breadcrumbs served over a tomato cream sauce. They were the perfect bite and not too filling.

Carrabbas House Salad
Carrabba's made a few updates to their House salad. Still served with a creamy Parmesan dressing, the house salad now contains carrots, shredded red cabbage, sliced radish, pepperoncini and kalamata olives. I love the added crunch of the radish and the pepperoncini brings added flavor.

Carrabba's New Entrees
Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp
There are quite a few new menu items including Wood grilled Tilapia, Chianti Chicken and Cioppino to name a few. When I saw Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp on the menu, I knew there was no other choice. I have a confession to make - I love bacon but I hate bacon wrapped anything. It's hard to get the bacon crispy enough. However, replace the bacon with Prosciutto and you do not have that problem. You still get the smokiness but with an added crunch. This is why the Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp may be my favorite item on Carrabba's menu, ever (and I consider myself pretty knowledgeable in the world of Carrabba's food). The shrimp are wood-grilled, topped with lemon butter and served over orzo pasta with roasted tomatoes, kalamata olives, bell peppers, red onion and lemon. Served with the seasonal vegetable (I chose Spinach).
Tuscan Grilled Veal Chop
One of the new meat items is the Tuscan Grilled Veal Chop. It is a 14oz bone-in grilled to your choice piece of perfection. This is where I was blown away. I eat Chicken Bryan often (we make it at home!). However, I never in a million years thought about putting the Bryan topping (goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and a lemon butter sauce) on a steak. Gabe loved this dish, which came with one side of your choice. Plus it was under $25 (not including the addition for the Bryan topping). A piece of meat like this anywhere else would cost way more than $25.

Carrabba's New Desserts
Brulee Ricotta Cheesecake and Gelato
Dessert was the last thing on my mind at this point in the meal. However, a magical word got whispered to me - Brulee Cheesecake. WHAT! Carrabba's took two of my favorite desserts and made it into one. a Creme Brulee Cheesecake topped with strawberries and a port wine reduction. I was so full but somehow finished it. Gabe tried the three new flavors of Gelato, Vanilla, Chocolate Hazelnut and Raspberry Sorbetto. Each alone were great but mixed together and it was a bit of magic.

Overall I will say we truly enjoyed everything tried from the new menu and this is coming from someone who has many years experience dining at Carrabba's.

Don't forget to get your 20% off coupon for your next Carrabba's visit. This is good on your entire bill and is valid through March 6th! Click here for your Carrabba's Coupon

Road Trip Necessities with #FamilyMobile

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and Walmart Family Mobile. All opinions are mine alone. #DataAndAMovie #CollectiveBias

Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday and we leave for New Orleans 2 weeks from Thursday! I have been so busy with work that I haven't been able to focus on our trip. We finally sat down this weekend and finalized on what we will do during our 4 days in the Big Easy. My husband Gabe and I will be running the Rock n Roll New Orleans Half Marathon and we will be driving up with his parents. We live in Tampa - this means 9 hours in the car!
We do a lot of road trips and I wanted to share some tips and tricks with you on how we make 9 hours go by fast and stress-free. We will have my new Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime (**currently $99.00 on Rollback from $149.00) as our main source of navigation and entertainment.Walmart recently launched the Family Mobile PLUS plan featuring Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE data for $49.88. PLUS you get a free movie on VUDU ($7 value) every month per line - which we will watch on our tablet since it has a bigger screen.

Organized Road Trip Snacks
There have been too many times where we stop at a gas station, pick up junk food that we don't even like and waste a fortune on it. That won't happen this time as I bought a super cute chevron bin from Walmart which fits in the middle section of our backseat. We will buy all of our snacks in advance, saving us time and money. Having a snack bin will help keep us organized and clutter free. Plus if you slam on breaks, your items will stay in place. Here's a space saving tip - freeze half of the bottles of water so they act as an ice pack without taking up more room.
Everything  I pack is bite sized finger foods that will not cause a mess if dropped. Here is what I am bringing on our upcoming road trip:
  • 1 bottle of water for each adult (we also start the trip with one bottle each)
  • Soda, juice, or energy drinks - chilled overnight
  • Turkey Sausage bites
  • Cheese already cubed
  • Chocolate
  • Olives snack packs
  • Crackers
  • Granola Bars
  • Empty Grocery Bags for trash that you can easily throw out at a rest stop or gas station. 
During a 9 hour road trip, you need to pre-plan your car entertainment. I have made the mistake a few times by not doing this. Agree on 2 audio books or Podcasts and be sure to download them ahead of time so they're ready to go. In December, we agreed on holding off on Serial 2 so we could listen to it on the way up.
Along with Serial, we will download a book from Audible. This will be the one item four adults have to agree on - should be a fun discussion :) There are also many road trip games you can play as a group such as Trival Pursuit. This will make the time go by faster if you need a break from the audio books.

I have used every navigation app known to man kind. I like things about each of them and dislike things about each of them. However, my go-to app while on the road is Waze. It allows you to reroute traffic jams, get current gas prices, see accidents and even police sightings.

Trip Planning
I have no idea where I would be without the app TripIt. I use it both professionally and personally. If you travel a lot, this free app will allow you to keep all your travel items secured in one place. You can also share it with others on your trip.
We prefer TripAdvisor for locating restaurants and bars. It seems to be more authentic than many of the other sites out there. One thing TripAdvisor doesn't offer is the ability to search for restaurants as seen on TV. We are big foodies and I am obsessed with Food Network and any show to do with cooking. I recently downloaded the TV Food Maps app on my phone and I am in heaven! We will have no problem at all finding a restaurant seen on TV in New Orleans. However, this year, we are breaking up the trip in Pensacola. So I typed in Pensacola and found a restaurant that was on Best Thing I Ever Ate. Looks like this will be our dinner stop night one!

One of the great features about the Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime is that it has an excellent front facing camera. While shooting in regular mode, you will get 8mp, the front facing is 5mp w/ an 85 degree angle lens. If you download Adobe Light Room

Here is a list of the apps I use on a frequent basis for travel and luckily with Walmart's Family Mobile PLUS plan, we won't stress out about data!
  • TripIt
  • TripAdvisor
  • Accuweather
  • Samsung Activity Tracker (like a fitbit)
  • PodCasts
  • Spotify for Music
  • Audible for Audio Books
  • GasBuddy
  • Kindle
  • Waze
  • TV Food Maps
What apps do you use when you travel and how often do you go on road trips?

I purchased my Samsung Galaxy GRANDprime at Walmart in Tampa on Roll Back for $99 (originally $149). The Family Mobile PLUS plan features Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE data for $49.88. PLUS you get a free movie on VUDU ($7 value) every month per line. You will also need to purchase a $25 starter kit if you are not already a Walmart Family Mobile member. All you need to set up your account is a Drivers Licence, no credit check!

**Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to or your local Walmart for current pricing.

Friday, February 5, 2016

An Evening with Meb Keflezighi And Shalane Flanagan in Tampa

Attention runners and fans of Olympians! Meb Keflezighi and Shalane Flanagan will be at Columbia Cafe at the Tampa Bay History Center on Friday, February 19th! These two amazing athletes are hosting an intimate evening and it is your chance to be up close with USA's #1 Male and Female distance runners. 

I am sadly out of town on this night or we would have been there without second thought. 100% of the revenues goes to the Advanced Prostate Cancer Collaboration at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Columbia Cafe at the Tampa Bay History Center
801 Old Water Street | Tampa, FL 33602

$100 per person (100 percent of revenues goes to the Advanced Prostate Cancer Collaboration at Moffitt Cancer Center)

RSVP: 813.229.5511 Or

Meb is the only athlete to win the New York Marathon, the Boston Marathon and an Olympic medal. He has won four NCAA championships, 22 national championships and a place on three U.S. Olympic teams. His PB for a marathon: 2:08:37, or 4.54 per mile. He relates his inspiring story in the book “Run To Overcome.”

At the 2008 Olympics, Shalane finished third and became the second American to win an Olympic medal in the women’s 1,000 meters. She also set a new American record in 30:22.22, shattering her own American record set earlier that year. She has been one of the U.S.’s top cross country runners for more than a decade.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

FREE Orange Theory Fitness classes this weekend in Tampa!

On Saturday February 6th and Sunday February 8th, there will be free classes offered at select Orange Theory Fitness locations in Tampa brought to you by Organic Girl
This is a great opportunity to check out Orange Theory Fitness if you have not done so already. I have MANY friends who swear by OTF and if we were in town this weekend, I guarantee you we'd be there. Not only will you get a free fitness class, Organic Girl will also have samplings of their amazing salads along with sharing healthy recipes. There is also an opportunity to win free Organic Girl greens for a month!

Saturday, February 6th
Orange Theory Fitness Carollwood - 13122 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Tampa, FL 33618
Free Classes at 7am, 8:45am, 10am and 11:15am
Sign up for Free Orange Theory Fitness Classes by clicking here

Sunday, February 7th
Orange Theory Fitness Wesley Chapel - 28210 Paseo Drive #110, Wesley Chapel, FL 33543
Free Classes at 7:30am, 8:45am, 10am and 11:15am
Sign up for Free Orange Theory Fitness Classes by clicking here

Follow along with this weekends festivites with hashtags #geturgreenon, #iloveorganicgirl, #keepburning

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Sushi at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, Rock n Raw

We love Sushi and we love Seminole Hard Rock Tampa. Yet until this past week, I would have never thought to go eat Sushi at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa.
Rock n Raw The Sushi Joint is located on the second floor of Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, next door to Fresh Harvest. It is an open dining restaurant with a sushi bar and a communal table. Along with fantastic sushi, the menu includes something for everything - Asian noodle soups, dim sum and traditional Asian dishes with a twist.

Rock n Raw menu are available for lunch and dinner and we were excited to try Rock n Raw out for lunch!
My husband Gabe and I eat sushi about once a week and were very impressed by the selection and quality of the sushi. One thing that I loved about Rock n Raw's sushi menu was that it wasn't overwhelming. Overly large sushi menu's drive me crazy and I always end up with entree envy. Not the case here! Rock n Raw offers 9 house special rolls, Maki Roll's and Sashimi.
We ended up ordering the Double Spicy Tuna Roll (spicy tuna, avocado, tempura chips, eel sauce, spicy mayo), the Maine Lobster Roll (live lobster meat, cucumber, tobiko, salmon roe), Tuna Sashami and Conch Sashami. Everything was excellent - the Double Spicy Tuna being our favorite from the lineup.
We also tried many dishes from the Rock n Raw entree menu. As I mentioned above, there was something for everything. Chef Kim came out and spoke to us about his menu and he clearly knew his stuff. We started with Thịt Heo Kho (Braised Pork Belly) served over bok choi. The flavors were incredible and this is something I will be back to order again. 
One of the small plates we tried was Bánh xếp xốt đỏ (Red Oil Dumplings). Don't let the word red oil scare you - they were full of flavor without being overly spicy. The dumplings were full of meat and this could have been an entree for me!
Cá Mú Chiên Dòn Xốt Rược Gừng (Crispy Grouper) was a stand out dish from the entree's. The batter was a perfect match to the grouper and was flavored to perfection. This dish was served with Gai Choy, a Chinese mustard green.
I'm sad this picture didn't turn out so well because it was our favorite dish. Tôm Rang Muối (Salt and Pepper Shrimp) were head on shrimp with the best flavor I have had in any shrimp dish. I could have licked the plate (I may have done that to be honest). 

We had an incredible lunch at Rock n Raw and will return without a doubt.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Carnival Valor - Post Race Brunch #CruisingCarnival

Hi friends! I cannot believe it's been three weeks since my best friend Keri and I were cruising on the Carnival Valor. Our first night on the ship was an early night since we boarded the Valor a few hours after finishing the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. We both woke up STARVING. Luckily for us, it was a day at sea which means SEA DAY BRUNCH!
Sea Day Brunch is a sit down meal that is served on days at sea. There is no additional charge (unless you want adult beverages or specialty coffees). The Valor's Sea Day Brunch was located in the Washington Dining Room and both times we had brunch on the ship, we got our same servers as dinner. I've said it once and I will say it again, we loved the wait staff on the Valor.
Carnival Valor Washington Dining Room
Typically, Keri and I would skip on bread service and use those calories towards extra mimosas, however the day after running 13.1 miles, we were famished. After receiving the bread service on Sea Day Brunch, we may never skip bread service again. Croissants, Pastries, Muffins...oh those muffins. We found ourselves fighting over them.
When it came time for entree's, we were torn. The great thing about dining on cruise ships, if you're stuck between two entree's, you can order both. No one will judge you! I started off with the steak-n-eggs, a filet mignon topped with two eggs, grilled tomato and home fries. I added sausage and french fries because I was hungry and wanted everything on the Sea Day Brunch Menu.
We also got an order of chocolate chip pancakes to split.
Both days we had brunch, Keri ordered the same thing, an omelet. This particular one was spinach, cheese and bacon. She also got a side of bacon and homefries. You can also request to get egg whites. Aside from Sea Day Brunch, Carnival Valor also has multiple omelet stations throughout the ship.
On our second Sea Day brunch, I ordered Huevos Rancheros, two eggs (I had mine poached vs. fried) on top of chicken quesadilla, manchego cheese and multiple dipping sauces. This was my favorite Sea Day Brunch dish to date.
There are many items you can choose from on Carnival's Sea Day Brunch - pork chops, eggs benedict, french toast topped with cereal (fruit loop french toast!), fried chicken mac and cheese - you name it! Oh and we cannot leave out the beverages. We had a few going at once.
Sea Day Brunch is the perfect way to start out your day at Sea.  With full bellies, we headed to the pool deck to watch the Carnival Mixologist Contest, where three cruise guests compete to have a drink named after them on the entire cruise. I entered but was not selected to be one of the three. That's ok, after seeing this, I was perfectly happy not being on stage! So much fun though (PS that guy didn't win).

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Announces Partnership With Gasparilla Music Foundation

Exciting news out of Seminole Hard Rock Tampa! A partnership was announced today between the property and Tampa's signature music festival, Gasparilla Music Foundation. Activites will be going on all month including sales of limited edition Gasparilla Music Festival earbuds, a Foundation Benefit, Charity Slot Tournament and a Kickoff Party! All the details are below!
Limited Edition Earbuds
The property will be selling customized limited edition earbuds in its retail shops for $10 with 100 percent of the proceeds generated going to the charity. Gasparilla Music Foundation memorabilia will also be on sale generating additional funds for the organization.
Gasparilla Music Foundation Benefit
To further support the charity, Hard Rock Cafe will host a FREE Gasparilla Music Foundation Benefit Event on Saturday, February 27, from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. This event is open to the public and will feature a charity slot tournament, red carpet ceremony, benefit concert and check presentation of funds raised for the month is open to the public.

Gasparilla Music Foundation Charity Slot Tournament
The slot tournament has an entry fee of $10 and 50 percent of those proceeds will be donated to the charity and 50 percent to the prize pool. Tickets can be purchased at the Rock Shop or upon entry of the event.

Gasparilla Music Festival Kickoff Party
Hard Rock Cafe will be the site for a special Kickoff Party on Friday, March 11, for the Gasparilla Music Festival which is scheduled for March 12-13 in Curtis Hixon Riverfront Park and Kiley Garden Park and will feature musical acts from a wide variety of genres on several stages and cuisine from the region’s top restaurants.

During the Festival
During the festival, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa will be the host of the various VIP sections and will also supply various team members to volunteer at the event. Tickets for the festival can be purchased via
As part of its mission to support and promote music and education, the Gasparilla Music Foundation (which was founded in 2011) is involved in several initiatives throughout the year including providing scholarships and instruments to music students.