I don't need new running shoes....but I want them

Thursday, May 31, 2012
I will be the first to admit that I have a shopping problem. With that said, I am not one of those girls who want to go out shopping all day to look at stuff. I like to buy new things, especially things that are on sale. This makes me happy and nothing makes me happier than a new pair of shoes.

When I started running, I never in a million years thought that I would get an obsession with running sneakers!!! Before I started running, I believe it was a good year before I wore anything that resembled a sneaker.I currently own Asics Gel Nimbus 13's and I love them. I purposely didn't look at the 14's when they came out, with full knowledge that there would probably be a pair that would put me back $140. And then Runners World named them the top shoe of 2012.....so I cracked and looked and fell in love.

I don't need them.....but I want them...... My birthday is in 3 weeks....I may  have to treat myself!


May Foodie Pen Pal Revealed!

This month's Foodie Pen Pal came from Martha at MLLrungirl. It's always interesting each month to see what I receive since I am not a picky eater and have no dietary restrictions. I generally ask for unique seasonings or marinades since I love to cook. Martha listened to my request and sent me an awesome BBQ themed basket, perfect timing for Memorial Day weekend!

Here is a shot of everything out of the box

We have never tried Popchips before but will be trading in fattening chips for these bad boys when craving salty crunchy items. They are SO GOOD. Only 120 calories, 4g of fat, 0 saturated fat & 18 carbs per serving (the whole bag has a total of 3 servings). You could eat the entire bag for around 350 calories! Not that I would eat an entire bag of chips in one sitting :) I must add, this item was "tested" by Gabe first. I luckily got to try a few chips before the bag was gone.

So when I saw the Dinosaur BBQ sauce, I was intrigued. Martha said it was from a local BBQ joint where she lived. What I did not expect was to see this restaurant on The Next Food Network Star, "NYC on the Go episode". As I am obsessed with everything Food Network, I have to say this was a special surprise. I made my famous Baby Back Ribs and used this sauce instead of Sweet Baby Rays.

Gabe thanks Martha very much for this snack. I think I may get him his own Foodie Pen Pal because every time someone sends snacks, they magically disappear. 

I haven't had the chance to try this spread out yet but can't wait to try it!

And lastly, Wegmans chicken BBQ marinade. I have to admit, I have never seen white BBQ sauce before now! I am very excited to try this out on my parents new grill when I go home this weekend! Hopefully by then they will have learned how to cook on the Infrared beast.

This month, I sent my Foodie PP, Racheal (from Running with Racheal) a Tampa influenced box. I was very happy to get Racheal, she runs & she likes all kinds of food. I felt like I was shopping for myself! Check it out!

If you are interested in becoming a foodie pen pal, contact Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean. Here is a link to the registration sheet.

The winner of the Tampa Cuban Sandwich Festival goes to....

Sunday, May 27, 2012
Congratulations to Michelle Faedo's On the Go who took the title of the Best Cuban Sandwich in Tampa!! Michelle Faedo's On the Go is one of our famous food trucks in Tampa. Before the food truck, Michelle Faedo's was a famous restaurant located on 15th Ave in Ybor.

A beautiful shot of Michelle Faedo's On the Go Cuban Sandwich, from their facebook fan page
So I bet you are wondering if I got a chance to try the award winning sandwich yesterday. NO :( In fact, I didn't get to try any of the contestants sandwiches yesterday. After I did my Saturday morning errands, I went across the street to check out the first annual Cuban Sandwich Festival. As I mentioned here, I was extremely excited to have this in my backyard. I love that this was scheduled the same time as the Ybor City Saturday market. I even saw a vendor with some beautiful organic veggies, which I will surely be checking out next week.

Back to the Sandwich Saga. So when I got to the park, the first thing I noticed was how HOT it was outside. Second, how crowded the festival was and it wasn't even noon yet. Third, the lines that wrapped around everywhere I looked. After I did a lap and checked out all the vendors (who all had very long lines), I decided I didn't want to stand in a long line by myself. I walked across the street to La Tropicana, who ironically wasn't in the festival as they claim to have the best and the original cuban sandwich in Tampa. I have to be honest, I was a little let down because it was not the best Cuban I've ever had.

Luckily, I live in this fabulous city and will be finding Michelle Faedo's sometime this week to try out this award winning sandwich.

A special thank you to Jeff Houck who posted my Food Spotting Cuban Sandwich Festival guide on his blog

We've gone Bananas, The Gorilla Challenge Orlando

Friday, May 25, 2012
I am starting to notice that I am writing more about running and upcoming races than anything else. Could it possibly be that I am turning into a legit runner!? When and how did this happen.

While I have mentioned in the past that I am not one who likes to get dirty or muddy in races (more power to the mudders!), I am all about some massive competition. When I heard about the Orlando Gorilla Challenge which supports Habitat for Humanity Orlando, I instantly alerted my North Highland Orlando office. We decided to sign up with at least two teams, a competitive team and a fun team (you know which one I am captain of!).

The Gorilla Challenge is a race that will test your power with hidden clues around Orlando and test your body with crazy obstacles. It is an Amazing Race / Fear Factor style event which encourages teams to cress in crazy costumes. We will start at Hard Rock Universal and receive our first set of clues from the MC. The clues point in different directions within a 3-5 mile radius. Once you get to the location, you receive another slip with instructions on what to do next. It can be anything simple from taking a photo to singing in public to putting a puzzle together to doing a gross challenge.

Check out the Sample Clues!

I am super excited to get my colleagues out there, dressed like crazy people and try to win one portion of this race. I may also do the Tampa race, depending on how this one goes.

Click here to sign up and start a team. Also - not sure how long this will last but I got a coupon code from a friend on facebook, which takes the cost of the race from $45 to $18 - so if you sign up for Orlando's race, try to use it at checkout. The code is iloveorlando.


Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre at Disney Hollywood Studios

Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Mom and I took a day off of work to hit up Disney. We ended up at Hollywood Studios and guess what Central Florida - the summer season has officially hit us! At one point during the day, Toy Story Mania was at a 90+ minute wait. We made the best of the crowd and the heat by going to shows and visiting attractions we wouldn't normally go to.

What I wasn't expecting was walking to Sci-Fi Dine In Theater to fine NO wait and get into a car booth immediately upon our arrival. I have been to the Disney parks countless times, and I am a season pass holder. I have never gotten into Sci-Fi without being told they were on an hour wait.

We walked in and literally were time warped back to a year prior to my existence. The drive in theater days. I do know I am getting up there in age as I was complaining that it was too dark in there to read the menu.

Then I saw it. I was done for. The All American Picnic Burger. A flame-broiled Angus Burger Patty topped with Grilled Hot Dog. Seriously, did I have to go there? Yes sir I did but I split it with my Mom, my partner in crime. It was good. Would I get it again, probably not. It was more of the experience (yes....experience) of eating a hamburger topped with a  hot dog.
All American Picnic Burger - Angus Burger topped with a grilled hot dog, Sauerkraut, and Sautéed Onions drizzled with Ketchup, Mustard, and crowned with a Pickle Spear
One thing I do encourage anyone visiting Sci-Fi is to try the BLT Soup! It is honestly the best Tomato soup I have ever had.
BLT Soup - A creamy Tomato-Basil Soup topped with an Herb Crouton, Shredded Lettuce, and Bacon
Drinks Drinks Drinks
Mom got the Magical Star Cocktail, which was very sweet
Magical Star - X-Fusion Organic Mango and Passion Fruit Liqueur, Parrot Bay Coconut Rum, Pineapple Juice,
I got the Comet Cocktail which was pretty much a long island w/ cranberry juice & I will be ordering this again.
Comet Cocktail: Rum, Vodka, Gin, Tequila, and Sweet-and-Sour topped off with Cranberry Juice
I would definitely suggest the Sci-Fi Dine In to anyone visiting Hollywood Studios. Just make your reservations in advance. We got really lucky the day we dined. The food was not higher priced that anywhere else in the park. It is inside, which means A/C. It is a fun experience for both kids and adults. I was overall very impressed!
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater on Urbanspoon

Tampa's Cuban Sandwich Festival in Ybor City!

Friday, May 18, 2012
Gabe and I moved to Ybor city almost a year ago. We live in a cute condo, 2 blocks from 7th Ave. Close enough to walk down to the amazing restaurants and festivals that Ybor City is known for, yet far enough to stay away if you don't want to deal with the crowds at night. I LOVE living in Ybor.

One of the first things I fell in love with in this amazing city is the Cuban Sandwich. I must also add one of the first things we noticed was that it seemed EVERY restaurant in Tampa that serves the Cuban has "The Worlds Best" Cuban Sandwich. Too add onto that, last month, Tampa and Miami engaged in a culinary smackdown over the Cuban. Miami claims it is theirs, but it is historically Tampa's. And now it is now officially ours. The Cuban Sandwich is now the official sandwich of Tampa.

With all this madness over the Cuban, I was very excited to hear about what is taking place next weekend, a Cuban Sandwich Festival! Where else would you have it other than historical Ybor city. Whoever takes the prize home will officially have the worlds best Cuban sandwich! If you can't make it out on Saturday, you can always try to make this gem at home thanks to Food Network.
40 restaurants are getting together on Saturday, May 26th for Tampa’s first Cuban Sandwich Festival at the Ybor City Saturday Market from 10:30am-4:30pm. Ybor City Streets will be closed in honor of the Tampa Cuban Sandwich. This free FREE event is presented by Latin Times Media.

A few of the 40 competitors for Best Cuban Sandwich include: Alessi Bakery, Mata Monchies, Mr. Empanada , La Teresita, Stone Soup Company, Gaspar’s Grotto, Franks & Subs, Cacciatore Brothers, Danny’s All American Grill, Cafe Masaryktown and the Floridian!

This is a family event and there will be a kid zone, including clowns (keep them away from me please), jumpers, face painting, and more. Live music will be provided by Hansel of Hansel y Raul in addition to other live performers. Judges for the competition include Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, Tampa Chief of Police Jane Castor, Richard Gonzmart of the Columbia Restaurant, and more.

Tower of Terror 10 miler course

Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Run Disney has posted the course to the inaugural Tower of Terror 10 miler on Sept. 30th. This will be our biggest race to date!134 days to go - time to step up the training. According to Run Disney - The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ 10-Miler is a nighttime road race that will end in the shadows of The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Your run into the fifth dimension will also take you to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex before returning to Disney's Hollywood Studios where the course will feature the Lights, Motors, Action™ Extreme Stunt Show, then turn down New York Street, wind past the Sorcerer's Hat and return you to an unforgettable finish at The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™.


4 Rivers Smokehouse - Winter Park

Saturday, May 12, 2012
A few things you may not know about me - I am a true Southern girl at heart. I love the word y'all and make the best mac and cheese you will ever try. So when I was introduced to 4 Rivers Smokehouse in Winter Park, I fell in love. Any place that has side dishes of collard greens and bacon wrapped jalapenos is one that will make me swoon.

Did I mention they have Cheerwine in the soda fountain?? 

Messy Pig
Heaping pile of pulled pork between 2 layers of slaw, pickles & jalapenos then smothered with 4R sauce.
Messy Pig close up
If pulled pork with slaw and jalepeno's isn't your thing, the original is really good
The Hot Beef Brisket Sandwich is another winning choice
Collard Greens just like Mom and Grandma makes

It's always a tossup for me with 4 Rivers side dishes.  Between the mac and cheese, fried pickles, green beans, cornbread, etc. The smoked stuffed and wrapped jalepenos is one of my go to favorites.

Finish your meal off with one of their many homemade desserts - of course I went for the Red Velvet

4Rivers Smokehouse on Urbanspoon

The Color Run - Orlando

Thursday, May 10, 2012
I ran across this race called The Color Run. I am not one for getting dirty, but it looks like tons of fun. Although the race is coming to Tampa on 12/15, Gabe will be graduating on that day with his masters. SO - we will be doing the race in Orlando on 12/2! The Color Run is a one of a kind experience that is less about speed and more about enjoying a color crazy day with your friends and family. The Color Run is about toeing the line with participants of all different speeds, ages, shapes, and sizes. Everyone from Olympic athletes to casual morning walkers will cover most enjoyable 3 miles of real estate you’ve traveled in a VERY long time. You will love this Color 5k of fun! Just imagine looking like this after the race!!

Expedition Everest Challenge 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Whew this weekend came and went! It took forever to get here, but Expedition Everest Challenge 2012 has been conquered by team "Motley Cruella deVil". Gabe wasn't too happy with the name selection, but this is what he gets for giving no input! The weeks up to the race were a little rough. We are training after work since this was a night race, and also to get us ready for the Tower of Terror 10 miler in September (also a night race). Running after work in FL is NOT fun. In fact, it is close to brutality. I can't imagine what July and August will be like.

We were bib #1905. Since it was a 5k, I am guessing they placed us in the time frame that we signed up for the race. We ended up in Coral #5 with a start time of 24 minutes after Coral #1. Mile 1 was a ton of weaving in between walkers. Our first obstacle was a hay bale run. I turned into a crazy competitive hot mess so I didn't get a chance to take photos. I am hoping Bright Room got some!!

Here is a very light pre-race photo (note to self: while skirts and knee highs are cute, they are not race friendly. NEVER AGAIN with the socks!).

Once we got through the park, the crowds were really tough to run through. When we got to mile 2 at the turn around point, we found ourselves with obstacle #2 - a tire run. Y'all that know me, know of my very clumbsy nature. I can proudly say I made it all the way through without tripping, until the last tire, which almost made me eat cement. Luckily I caught my footing! The really cool thing about mile 1-2 is you have runners coming and going from the turn around. We cheered each other on and it really inspired you to keep going. 

The end of the 5k was a ground crawl. I know there is a name for this, but I cannot think of it. I ran around it, Gabe did it. I don't like getting dirty. We finished the 5k in 34:17. Not great, but good for our first team 5k. Our goal for next years race is under 30:00. 

We received our first clue card upon completing the 5k:

I solved that in the matter of 1 second. The clue is a clock - the letters are your numbers on the agenda. It spells out Cheer. Ran to the front of the park, to the Oasis section to find "Springs: to receive our second clue card. At this point, Gabe let me know he needed to use the restroom, where I barked at him "ARE YOU SERIOUS?? THERE'S NO TIME TO PEE!!!" I got a few chuckles from others around me. I have a serious problem with my competitive spirit (even while knowing we had zero chance to place).

Received our second clue card:
Again, pretty easy, just criss-cross the letters to spell out The Solution is Muscular (muscular is your key word). Ran to Camp Minnie-Mickey to find Chip and at this point, the 5k run and the scavenger hunt have been mixed in together. Talk about a lot of people in one spot.

Found Chip and got clue card #3:
This one we struggled a little with. We decided after sitting for 60 seconds, not solving the clue, that we should head to Africa. No one around us knew the answer. All of a sudden, it was like the game of telephone, all the runners telling each other that it is the letter that comes after the period (the clue says take a rest period from time to time, because it's what comes after the period that is important). Calmness - you can tell from my writing I wasn't exactly calm.

We received clue card #4:
This one was solved as quickly as the first 2. "dont be afraid" - I guessed it was the taller ropes, which it was....spelled out Course. Onto Asia for the final clue

Final Clue Card #5
Disney Disney Disney - NO one around us could get this without the help of your staff!There is a hidden number in the flag (5). We couldn't see the number in the dark, even with the help of the flashlight. Luckily after sitting there for 5 min, we got assistance and saw that you take the 5th letter of each answer, which spells out "RUNS". We ran to the finish line. We ended up placing 340th of 1,122 co-ed teams, placing us in the top 35%. Our goal was to be in the top 50%, so we exceeded our expectations! I will run this again and strongly encourage anyone who can make it out to do so as well. 

And since it is all about the medals:

And a nice shot of Rn Disney medals - The 2011 Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Goofy Medal, Disney World Half, Disney World Marathon and hidden is the Princess Half

I will trade you zombies for a princess crown

Monday, May 7, 2012

Last year, after Keri completed the Disney Princess Half Marathon, I made a promise to myself that I would be a princess in 2013. I had automatically assumed that she would be running it with me. The other day, we were talking about the Disney World Marathon weekend in January and that she would love to run the Disney World Half Marathon. She told me she would do either of them, whichever I prefered. I thought to myself, if I can get Gabe to run the princess with me, I will run the Disney World Half Marathon with Keri.

 I sat on this thought for a while. How to present this to him, how to talk him into running the "Princess" race with me. Then it came to me! I will do the Run For Your Lives 5k in Orlando with him! Um. Yeah. Mud (I hate getting dirty), zombies, killer clowns (HATE CLOWNS), wall climbs, potential broken ankles, arms and god knows what else. You get life flags that you have to wear through the race and the zombies one job is to take your flags. So on top of all the obstacles, you are getting chased. I will say, if a zombie clown comes for me, I will probably take first place at the finish line!

I found a Run for your Lives discount code for Orlando, to save $5 off of the entry fee - ORLA001. Not sure how long this will work though.

So this girl just traded a zombie for a princess.

Zombie: Princess:

Tonga Tonga Tonga!

Sunday, May 6, 2012
Boy oh boy. Last night we ran the Expedition Everest Challenge at Animal Kingdom, which I will be blogging about later. Right now, all I want to talk about is Tonga Toast. For 5+ years now, my Mom has been gushing about banana and cinnamon stuffed French Toast at Disney. She couldn't recall what restaurant it was at and finally, I had to figure it out for myself.

Thank goodness for Google or we would have never found what is our now go to breakfast place while visiting the Mouse. Kona Cafe is located in the Polynesian Resort. Luckily, I got to split 2 breakfasts with Gabe, as I would have never ordered Mom's must have Tonga Toast on my own (I don't have a sweet tooth). I was ecstatic when I saw they had a pulled pork eggs Benedict on the menu called Somoan. Two things this girl loves: poached eggs and pulled pork. Not so much in that order, but boy do they work well together. If you get the chance to go to Kona, definitely get two things off the menu and split them with your dining pal. Make sure one of those items is the Tonga Toast. It is worth it, and coming from Miss I hate anything with syrup, this means a lot.

Proudly introducing the Tonga Toast at Polynesian Resort Kona Cafe:
the inside
The Somoan
Wasabi Bloody Mary
French Press Coffee
Kona Café on Urbanspoon
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