Tuesday, January 24, 2012


Since the football season officially ended, I have been ecstatic to enjoy some more time with my sweetie and wouldn't you know? When not coaching of course we are watching some sports! Good thing I love football, baseball and basketball as much as he does. :)

Last week we were very lucky to be given tickets to watch the UCF vs. Memphis Basketball game and we had a blast. Guess who else was at the game? Michael Jordan! (One of his sons plays for UCF). We sat like 5 yards from him and I might have watched him as much as I did the actual game. For someone who played basketball, loves to watch it, is originally from Illinois and who's favorite number happens to be 23 (and 3, I have two favs)... let's just say it was pretty awesome.

To top the awesome night off... The Knights Won! The fans rushed the court, which was also pretty awesome to see first-hand.

All in all, it was a fantastic date night with the man of my dreams (Jonathon, not MJ!).

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy Monday

Did you have a wonderful weekend? Have a case of the Mondays this morning? Me too, but don't worry, January is almost officially over. Isn't January a little bit like the whole year's Monday? I feel like the year really can be enjoyed once we are out of January. Why? Well, next up is Valentine's Day, then our anniversary, then everyone we knows birthdays in March, J's birthday in April, mine in May, and then BAM its summer. Baby-steps people.

Anyhow, I know SOMEONE who had a great weekend: Senior Teensy.

We finally went to the dog park on Sunday to play in the beautiful 70 degree sunny weather for almost two hours. My little man was in dog heaven. As you can see from this photo, our dog park is... unique. It is basically a swirling vortex of water, mud and muck. You might get why our trips have become more and more infrequent. Anyhow, AFTER the dog park was when the "true" fun began. It was seriously like the pink ring around the bathtub in the Cat in the Hat.

The more I tried to get Teeny mud-free, the more the house turned into a disaster zone. Yes, the park has a hose and yes, I used it prior to bringing him home. It just wasn't enough; the muck was EVERYWHERE. I ended up vacuuming and cleaning the car and the house and I washed more towels, blankets, rugs, and my own clothes than I have in like a month. At the end of the day, I had a very happy dog and a very clean dog, house and car... so of course it was all worth it.

What'd your weekend look like?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Photo Field Trip

The first Monday of every month the Harry P. Leu Gardens offer free admission to their botanical gardens and recently I took them up on their offer for a little photography field trip.

My wonderful husband and I have been saving up for a (long long) while for a new computer but he very sweetly allowed me to blow a big chunk of our computer stash on a new camera when they went on sale this past Black Friday. He knew how important photography used to be to me and how I have put this part of my life on the way back burner for long enough. He is truly one in a bajillion. Thank you sweet baby!

My field trip to Harry P. Leu was my way of jumping back in the saddle. I said it has been a while now, didn't I?! Anyhow, I am really enjoying playing around with my new cam. I had a very zen, very relaxing, very fun time working on my plants and wildlife shots at the gardens and I was really happy with how the photos turned out. The highlights:

Isn't it so Florida suthawn at the Leu?! Next up for my photography adventures, PEOPLE! You ready for your close-up friends?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Meal a Day Deals

Lately I have been hearing a lot about EMealz and Menu for the Week type companies and I am intrigued. Have you all heard about these services?

Basically you sign up for an email service and these companies send you daily recipes and grocery lists. Some (EMealz) even scour your local grocery store ads and send you a weeks worth of recipes that use the sale items at your local market. You save money and have something other than chicken and veggies every night. As part of my "be more zen" resolution for the year, I have started cooking a fresh dinner for my handsome husband and I every night and it has been great for our together time, wallets and tummies but we are quickly running out of favorite recipes.

I am pretty picky about what kind of food I put in this bod of mine (is it organic? is it made of cheese? is it fried?) so I'm not sure if these recipe cards would be ideal for me but I like the idea of getting daily food inspiration. I get good ideas from blogs, Real Simple, Food & Wine, and I have also started following several recipe twitter accounts too.

Have any of you tried these services? DailyCandy was offering half off on one such service through Menu for the Week today and EMealz has a sample menu from Whole Foods available here. There are definitely coupon codes available online if you are signing up for these too, fyi.

Any other suggestions for mixing it up at dinner time?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

HoliDisney Adventures

Prior to Christmas our good friends and Disney insiders Jamie and TJ (who tearfully moved to Pittsburgh recently) returned to O-Town for a weekend and took us on a tour of the Disney hotel holiday decorations. It was something we have wanted to do as long as we have lived here in Orlando and it did not disappoint. In fact, it was AWESOME.

Behold, the lobby of the Grand Floridian in all it's Christmas splendor:

Regularly, the Grand Floridian is one of the most beautiful hotels I have ever been in, but the Victorian themed hotel is even more stunning when decorated for the holidays with garlands, lights, a giant xmas tree and a life-size gingerbread house. Our happy friends and us:

Yes, we bought a gingerbread shingle from the gingerbread house and it was glorious.

After touring the Grand Floridian, stopping for a drink at the bar, listening to the live band and of course, enjoying our gingerbread we headed outside to watch fireworks over the boat dock that takes hotel guests to the theme parks. I'm pretty proud of this photo if I'm being honest with you:


Next stop was the rustic and cozy Wilderness Lodge with one of the most ginormous trees I have ever seen.

There may have been more Disney bars and more drinking, but mostly there were good friends and conversation. COME BACK FRIENDS!!!

Another Disney trip J and I took pre-Christmas was our romp to Celebration, Florida: Disney's planned community. We went last year as well to cruise around looking at the super duper over the top festive light displays that homeowners put up. But beyond the lights, they also make it snow in Celebration. Out of the sky. In Florida. Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Yes, it's really soap but it is pretty fun too. They play music, have fake ice skating, horse drawn carriages and a train that circles the town for the kiddies as well. Of course we had to get our obligatory shot with the Christmas tree!

While it might not get cold enough to bundle up and build snowmen, Orlando still has some pretty fantastic Christmas fun to be had if you know where to look. Living near Disney has been a pretty great perk to living here. More on our Christmas adventures to come soon!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Well Hello, 2012

Hi Friends,

Welcome to a brand new year! I've been away traveling, visiting family, attending a wedding, celebrating life with my sweet husband, hanging out with Teensy and taking as many photos as I can. Photos of all of that to come. I have also been working working working working, which they say is a good thing that I should be grateful for, so let's just leave it at that. A few highlights from the last few weeks:

I'm not super big on New Year's Resolutions but I have made just one change that I am hoping to stick with... I'm trying to be more zen.

With a few small adjustments this has worked out well so far. The adjustments mostly include only doing as much as I can, doing what I want to do instead of what is "the right choice," reading more, cooking more, and working out more, but in a zen way. All of that has added up to not feeling stressed out to the max so far this year and it's a good feeling.

Have you made any promises to yourself for 2012?