Posts Tagged ‘Orlando’
November 5, 2013
Holy guacamole you guys. I feel like I say this a lot, but this past week has been nothing short of a whirlwind.
I’m sorry for the temporary blogging hiatus yesterday. You see, I was smack dab in the middle of “Not Growing Up” and enjoying spending as much time possible time with our friend, Barry, while he was in town from Chicago.
I guess it all started with a quick and insanely eventful three days in Florida! Putting the good food and spots we ventured out to aside (I’ll be covering some of my favorites later this week!) this post will be filled with friends and family photos. Because after all, that’s really why we went there.
After an action packed Opening Night Wednesday night and close to zero sleep, Scott and I set off for the south and arrived home in Orlando, Florida about 1:30 p.m.
We were instantly welcomed with warm weather, sunshine, and palm trees. As much as I adore experiencing the seasons and changing of the leaves up in Michigan, I do miss the feeling of calmness I get when I see palm trees.
They just scream home to me.
After lunch, we drove over to my parent’s house in Longwood to say hello to them before the craziness of our plans started.
<Enter continuous chaos!>
Scott and I came into town for a friend’s wedding but wanted to make the most of our time there by seeing as many people as we could. With only two and a half days to do it in, we most definitely lost sleep and quite possibly may have also lost our minds. But, we’re home now and are doing our best to catch up and get back to reality.
In the grand scheme of things, all of the running around and stress of coordinating was well worth it, and getting to pop into town to see people I love couldn’t have come at a better time. Below is a compilation of the highlights, which may include an unexpected (and ridiculously awesome) twist in the end. Here we go!
Friends and Family Time in Florida
Like I mentioned, we met my friend Meggan for dinner Thursday in Winter Park. She was the very first person to come visit us after we moved up north and I was excited to catch up with her over a nice dinner at Prato.
(Happy Halloween colors!)
We got home and went straight to bed ready to tackle the next few busy days of visiting. While I planned to sneak into a barre class while I was home, I completely slept past my alarm and missed it Friday morning. Bummer. Instead, my body caught up on some sleep (temporarily) and we finally made our way out the door to meet another Megan for lunch.
She also came to visit us over the summer! Must be a Meggan/Megan thing.
We spent the afternoon wandering around the city, got pedicures (yes, that “we” includes Scott!), and made it home to my parents’ house just in time to drive over to my sister’s for a family dinner. It was SO great to see her and spend time with my brother, grandmother and their families.
We also got to see Courtney, who I have known since I was two years old!
As I made my way around the house catching up with everyone, I started to realize our time together was way too short. I really wish I had at least another day with them!
While I was home, my mom booked a flight to come see us right after Christmas which made me feel a smidge better about leaving so abruptly.
Can’t wait to show her around our area in the wintertime!
Directly after dinner, we set out for an after rehearsal dinner party hosted by the bride and groom we came in town to celebrate. While I forgot to snap a picture of us all together, I did, however get the camera out for this guy.
Eh, you win some, you lose some.
After an hour of mingling, we then made our way downtown to catch the tail end of Megan’s birthday celebration!
Once again, it was wonderful to see familiar Florida faces and left the night feeling sad that our time together was cut so short.
Saturday was just plain AWESOME.
With only a few hours of sleep under our belts, Scott and I got up at sunrise to meet a group of our church friends for breakfast at 7:30 a.m. I’m a bit upset I didn’t snap a photo of us all, but it was with the same group of folks that threw us our send off party before we moved away last year!
We chatted it up for about and hour and then followed them over to our church to pop into their morning rehearsal for the Singing Christmas Trees. (Remember when I was in that show?) Once again, our time with friends was short but sweet.
We made it back over to my parents’ house with just enough time for me to drop off Scott and bring my mom along for brunch with Katie and Ashley (who were both bridesmaids in our wedding!). Since Ashley lives two hours away in St. Augustine, I was so excited to hear she could make it down for a quick visit. She recently became a mother and I was SO happy to finally meet baby Rylan in person!
That bow. That outfit. That smile. I couldn’t stand all of the cuteness!
We spent the rest of our morning talking about life and Katie’s upcoming wedding. I can’t believe how grown up we all are already. It seems like just yesterday we were in high school figuring out how to straighten our hair.
I sure do miss them!
After wrapping things up, my mom and I stopped by the mall to pick up a pair of heels and lipstick for me to wear to the wedding later on. As soon as I got home I hopped in the shower and got ready as fast as I could. Ready, set, here comes the bride!
While I normally take more than enough photos at events, this one was different than any wedding I have ever been to. Our friend Karly was marrying someone you may happen to recognize, along with the rest of the ushers.
No I am not lying.
And I’m still freaking out about it.
As soon as we arrived, we told security we were there for a different event (the “secret code words”) and were handed off to a few different escorts until we got to just outside the reception area. We were asked to check our cell phones and cameras, and were told that we couldn’t post anything about the event anywhere.
I guess that was a small price to pay for getting to attend this event. As we made our way to get seated, I just about died when I saw Justin Timberlake appear in real life. There he was, escorting the couple in front of us to their seats… no big deal. Trying to stay calm, I couldn’t wait to see who our usher would be and may have squealed like a little girl inside when I saw it was Lance Bass.
I only had a million posters of him hanging up in my room in middle school. Since Justin was an obvious favorite of the boy band, I always had a thing for Lance instead.
He approached us and held out his arm for me to grab onto. I for sure thought I would trip or say something ridiculous, but instead kept my composure pretty well.
Just a few minutes later, it was time for the ceremony to start and I put my excitement over what just happened aside to see the beautiful bride walk down the aisle. She looked absolutely stunning and giggled a few times as she made her way towards her groom. Ah, I just love the two of them together!
The wedding was everything I pictured it being. Fabulous. I can’t share much, but I will include a few photos of the after party outside the reception area when we were allowed to get our phones back.
(Get it, Chris!)
It was truly a party and everyone had a blast into the wee hours of the morning. As exhausted as I was, we held strong and celebrated the night away with the newlyweds.
They even did a birthday shout out to him at midnight when he officially entered his forties! What an amazing way to kick off the day!
As you can imagine, the lack of sleep continued on with a wake up call of 6 a.m. for our flight home which we almost missed. A late start paired with a slow shuttle and unfortunate security check points almost did us in this time.
Luckily, we made it on just in time for last call and arrived back in Detroit with just enough time to get to the arena for a home game, followed by an outing for the birthday boy.
Now that I am home looking back at it all, we seem crazy. At least that’s what my family tells me. But you know what? We live in the moment and make the most out of every opportunity. Call us nuts, but we’re on a mission to enjoy this last year or so before things settle down a little.
Today, I’m off to get ready for another home game. Thanks for checking in and I will have more stories for you tomorrow!
May 24, 2013
It’s Friday! Who’s ready for the weekend?
<Insert squeal and arm raised high to the ceiling!>
Scott and I will be spending ours in Boston! He has a work event to attend, so we took the opportunity of already being there to stay an extra few nights and enjoy the city. I have never traveled to Massachusetts before, so I am excited to get out there and explore!
Before I get back and post about Boston, I have a LOT of covering Florida to do. Considering I spent a good two and a half weeks visiting home, I have a lot of places to talk about and even more photos to share. Where do I even begin? <Taking deep breaths> Okay, let’s take it slow and highlight one thing at a time.
Today I am excited to spotlight the time I spent taking classes and catching up at my old barre studio!
The long time blog readers already know I how much I am in love barre workouts. I took my first class back in October of 2011, and became hooked that very day.
It wasn’t long before I found myself at the studio several times a week, and eventually approached them about teaching. I had never taught any kind of group fitness class before, so I was extremely nervous, and wasn’t even sure what kind of training I would be getting myself into.
This was the year I took off dancing in the NBA, so I took my extra time as motivation to leave my serving job and focus on teaching and blogging full-time.
To make a long story short, it took a few months of patience, hard work, and pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but I did it!
By January of 2012, I started teaching my own classes and was on the schedule five and sometimes six days a week. I woke up with the early risers to teach 6 a.m. classes three times a week, and spent the other days popping in at different times in the afternoon or evening. It was a tricky schedule, but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.
When I found out we were moving last August, my heart broke a little. I was ready for Scott and I to embark on a new adventure and get settled into a new life, but I wasn’t quite ready to give up teaching barre.
I loved my students, I loved my studios (by this time we grew to two locations!), and I absolutely loved my time at Barre 54.
I will never forget the feeling I had walking up the stairs as an employee for the first time, knowing I was going to be teaching and helping others reach their fitness goals.
I will never forget the feeling I had after my classes were over for the day, when the studio seemed so calm and serene.
I never forget how fantastic it was to show up to work and spend my day in workout clothes!
After a quick trip to Jacksonville, I made it a point to visit my home studio and take class the first opportunity I got.
Back to the Barre
I arrived for my first class back considerably early. I wanted time to catch up with some familiar faces and check out the new merchandise.
The very first thing I noticed were these Shashi mesh barre socks!
Barre (and yoga) socks all have gripped bottoms, but these stand out by having a cooling mesh top. I loved the idea, and appreciated the extra ventilation mid-way through class.
For those of you who are new to the blog and are not familiar with what the heck barre is, here is a quick description, first shared here by yours truly:
“Barre is a fitness solution sent from God that works out every muscle group in your body using fundamentals of ballet, yoga, & Pilates. Barre strengthens, tones, lifts your muscles, and leaves you feeling like you just spent hours at the gym. It’s a fun, high-energy workout and produces quick results to those who frequent classes regularly.”
A bit dramatic, but completely true statements. For a full behind-the-scenes inside look at the studio and workout method, watch this video of Meghann with Meals and Miles attending her first Barre 54 class!
Not just a walk in the park, my friends.
As expected, I got a fantastic workout and left class with burning legs and and a shaky core. Thanks for re-introducing me to the barre burn, Amanda!
Amanda was one of two people who trained me, and I miss her and the rest of the barre 54 staff dearly. We spent at least a few days a week working together, and every Wednesday we had a lunch date between classes.
Since the studio is walking distance of Park Avenue (<- a must see shopping and restaurant spot for those visiting Orlando!), we always took advantage of it and enjoyed an afternoon walk outside.
(Winter Park Rose Garden)
It was so great to catch up with her and revisit my old stomping grounds.
While in town, I wanted to come back and take as many classes as I could fit in. When I wasn’t running outside with my mom, I called the studio to see what class I could get into.
It took about three classes to not “struggle and shake” as I like to phrase it to new students, and by the end of my two weeks I was back in top barre shape again.
The company produces t-shirts, tanks, necklaces, and workout gear made just for women who like to workout and look cute doing it. I love it, and got several compliments on this Rock What You Got tank!
My trips back to the barre certainly were wonderful. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get a tad sad when I left the doors for the last time.
I often get asked if I will start teaching barre up north, and my answer is always, “maybe one day.” I have taken classes at Pure Elements and X-Tend Barre, which are both about 30-40 minutes away from where I live. While I am still dancing (I am planning on one more season!) I am putting the thought of teaching on the back burner, to spend my days focusing on dancing and blogging instead.
Until next time, b54!
Questions of the Day
• Have you ever tried any variation of the barre workout?
• What is your favorite kind of hour long workout class?
Barre is obviously a favorite of mine. After that, I also enjoy any kind of cardio-intense class like kickboxing or spinning. I also enjoy group power classes that require weights, but I am dying to try CrossFit. I heard it’s unbelievably challenging and am looking forward to taking a class at FitBloggin’ next month!
May 15, 2013
Happy Hump Day!
This week’s What I Ate Wednesday is coming to you from Orlando because, yes… I am still here. Today is very a very exciting one because I am going to pick Scott up from the airport later this evening. He is quite the jet setter this month, flying in from Spain and out of Detroit to be with me in Orlando this weekend. (Twenty extra bonus brownie points for you, Mr. Hesington!)
Last week, I shared what I eat on vacation. Of course, this trip is a little different than a “normal” vacation, because I have the convenience of staying with my family to sneak in some home cooked meals.
Regardless, my main point of sharing with you is to offer tips and advice on how to keep an every day healthy eating lifestyle part of whatever you do and wherever you go!
In my last WIAW post, I talked about how important it is to keep up your regular eating habits if you are gone from home for an extended period of time. Of course, we ALL have our cheat meals and days, and it IS vacation… so know that an indulgence every once in a while is not going to kill you. I am not afraid to participate in in pizza nights or happy hour two-for-ones, but at the same time, I always eat with moderation and an overall plan of attack in mind.
• Dessert at dinner? Sure! Maybe I will skip a midnight snack if I am still out and about.
• Heavy breakfast? Maybe I will have a light lunch.
• Heavy dinner and/or drinks? Maybe I will have a lighter breakfast the next morning.
See how easy?
All of this planning has the end goal of maintaining your healthy lifestyle you work hard to keep at home alive!
Today’s post highlights everything I ate last Saturday: before and after a five mile run, an afternoon at home, and a dinner out with friends before my 10 Year High School Reunion.
After eating a light dinner Friday night, I knew I needed something to fuel my morning run with my mom around the neighborhood. I don’t like to eat too much before running, and found this Quest Protein Bar to be the perfect amount of protein and carbs to get me energized.
Pictured is the Cinnamon Roll flavor (so dreamy) I previously tried at my home, but they have all been equally amazing so far. (Stay tuned for a full review of these coming tomorrow!)
After our run, we cooled off with a lot of water and worked up an appetite for breakfast/brunch. My mother might be an even bigger health nut than I am, and suggested we cook some egg whites using my grandmother’s fresh kale from the garden. Umm… okay!
In just a few minutes, we shared a egg white, kale, and feta cheese omelet with a small side of sliced tomatoes (also from her garden) and strawberries.
Lunch came quickly after a few hours of house cleaning, and after perusing the refrigerator I made us what turned out to be a pretty darn good veggie sandwich.
We had just enough salad leftovers from the night before (too small to make a salad, but too yummy to throw away!) to have some serious greens, so I decided to roll with it and make something veggie.
I grabbed a whole wheat deli then, then layered a slice of Swiss cheese and heated it up in the microwave for fifteen seconds. Next came the leftover salad that included romaine, green peppers, tomatoes, carrots, and yellow peppers.
Wanting some light protein, I sliced up a hard boiled egg and placed it atop a kalamata olive spread on the top.
Smushed together, it was a little bit of a mess, but nothing less than the bomb.
Still hungry, I finished it off with a cup of Stonyfield Organic Super Fruits Greek yogurt.
After lunch, I hopped in the shower and started getting ready for what turned out to be a great night. I went to the reunion with a few of my girlfriends, and we planned to grab dinner on the way.
Dinner – Infusion Tea, College Park
I have never claimed to by any kind of vegetarian or vegan, but that does not mean that I cannot eat full vegan meals every now and then. I actually LOVE the taste of everything vegan I have tried, and if there is ever a choice to substitute gluten-free or non-dairy ingredients to my meals, I go for it.
My friend Katie started listing off a few places we could go to and as soon as she said Infusion Tea the decision had been made. I adore that place!
I have only been a few times, and it is usually with girlfriends. I still haven’t sold Scott on the occasional vegan eating concept, but I really feel like he might have enjoyed this round.
Per usual, I asked about their specialty teas of the day but ended up going with my favorite Chai blend. They bring it to your table and let you decide how long the bag seeps to control it’s strength. Pretty neat!
For dinner, I ordered the Tempeh Taco Salad.
I had never tried tempeh before this place, and I am giving you my honest word when I say it is AMAZING! Similar to the consistency of a veggie burger, I would describe it somewhere in the middle between a patty and a tofu square. Just like tofu, it is made with soy and provides protein.
This gluten-free salad was delicious and featured seasoned tempeh, black beans, cucumbers, tomatoes on organic field greens with mild salsa and crispy organic corn tortilla chips, and a house-made chipotle ranch.
The three of us then went on to split a vegan red velvet cake.
It was pretty dreamy!
Of course, I ordered a few drinks at the reunion that are not pictured.
Biggest tip on adult beverages I can ever share with you! Vodka/soda water with a twist of lemon or lime. If you need something sweeter, introduce yourself to flavored vodka. Simple drinks like this usually range under 100 calories, and the water or soda water keeps you hydrated.
Off to meet a few friends for lunch then head to the airport!
• If you liked this WIAW post, head on over to Peas & Crayons to check out plenty others, or even link your own!
• Also, you can always find my latest What I Ate Wednesday posts by exploring the “WIAW” tag on the right hand sidebar.
May 13, 2013
Hey, hey everyone! Did this weekend fly by for anybody else?
I am over here downing my coffee, trying to finish up some things before a lunch date today. The weekend was packed with a lot of fun and catching up, which had me sleep an extra hour this morning. Oops!
The first thing I need to address is that I attended my 10 Year High School Reunion! What a whirlwind. That followed by Mother’s Day, produced plenty of stories to share with you today.
Ready friends? Go!
I could not think of a better way to start off my reunion day than another run around our neighborhood lake with my mom. From our side, you can actually see my old high school campus if you look hard enough.
It was a HOT five Florida miles, but we pushed through it and enjoyed the kick-start to the weekend.
(Water bottles and I become great friends down here.)
After allowing a considerable amount of time to cool off and eat a healthy breakfast (coming to you as part of this week’s WIAW!), I worked up another sweat with mom by helping her clean the house. It was her weekend after all.
Before I knew it, it was time to hop in the shower and get ready for a fun night.
My 10 Year High School Reunion
Oh boy… the 10 Year Reunion (dun dun dunnn).
Some people loathe the idea, while others fill with excitement and anticipation to see their friends and frenemies ten years after graduation. I was somewhere in the middle.
Some of you longer HWG readers might remember me sharing my thoughts surrounding the reunion in my 1 Year ’til my 10 Year post last year. Nothing has really changed!
I was not overly excited, nor was I dreading it. High school was just high school, and it was neither an awesome or bad experience for me to revisit. I guess you could say I was more of the “college bloomer” who loved every second of those school years instead.
With Scott currently half way across the world, I decided to go with a few of my girlfriends from high school and make a night of it. We started by meeting at Katie’s house (who also happened to be my college roommate!) and when we were ready, we headed out for dinner at one of my favorite Vegan restaurants in town: Infusion Tea in College Park.
I will share more of what I ate with you later this week (again, for WIAW). What I can tell you now is it was delicious and the place is just as adorable as I remember it since my last visit seven months ago. And guys… don’t worry, I spotted a few men enjoying dinner as well.
Just about the time a small wind storm picked up, it was time to drive downtown and walk into our reunion.
I am still not quite sure how I got elected to become involved, but I guess you could say the entire planning of our reunion ultimately fell on two people: our Vice President of our class (Hi, Nancy!), and me.
After a few struggles and venue disappointments, we took it upon ourselves to hold the reunion at a very casual, laid back, cost-effective (FREE if we had the numbers) environment. After much debate, we settled on Monkey Bar, located in Wall Street Plaza downtown.
Scott had hosted a party here a few years ago, and I knew it was the perfect welcoming and non-committal place to hold ours. Nancy put together a Facebook Event page, and I posted all of the details and information on a blog page that passed as “our class website.”
When telling my parents about our plans, they couldn’t believe how unstructured everything was. No embarrassing photos? No speeches? No slide show? No sit down dinner?
Our reunion had a “come anytime to hang out with old friends” type of feel, which allowed anyone with any price and time budget to join the party. Not quite the reunion we all picture, but it totally worked.
I was one of the first to show up with my friends, and it was fun to keep turning my head to whoever walked through the door next. Luckily, there were name tags to help those of us who are awful at names and better with faces (ME).
We had a few balloons set up, the name tags, and a “Brantley Soda” drink special. That was pretty much it!
After talking to a few spouses who also recently had their high school reunions, it turns out that our type of casual planning is not that out of the ordinary these days.
Everyone seemed to have a great time mingling around, and I would say the night was a great success.
As I expected, almost everyone looks and acts exactly the same as they did in high school. Of course there were a few surprises, and it made me smile when I saw a few of the once less than popular folks show up looking amazing. I love that!
See you in another ten, Class of ’03!
I am so glad I was able to be home for Mother’s Day. Since moving up north, Scott and I have both missed opportunities we once had to hang with family during holidays, so I am soaking every minute of being down here in.
I had already planned on spending the night with my girlfriends, and started the morning going to Scott and I’s home church with Katie. It was so good to be back and hear Pastor Dave preach. I made sure to stay a little longer and say hi to him, and he was excited to see me and ask about Scott’s whereabouts.
After church, Katie brought me home and it was time to celebrate my mother! Unfortunately, on my way there I found out that we would not be seeing my sister since my nephew woke up with a horrible flu-like stomach bug.
We felt awful, and ended up putting together a care package of food, pie, and flowers to send over to her.
Today also happens to be my sister’s birthday, and we wanted to make sure she knew we were thinking about her. Happy Birthday, Trish!
As we loaded the car up, I was really looking forward for a drive in my mom’s convertible. Until I moved up north, I really took the sunshine and warm afternoons for granted. Yesterday’s drive over and back was a little hot, but so great.
On the way, we made sure to stop for one of my favorite frozen treats I haven’t gotten since I moved away… a 7-Eleven slurpee. If you have one around you, look for the Pina Colada flavor. It tastes like you’re just at the beach!
We made a quick drop off, exchanged some presents, and headed right back home for a barbeque lunch.
We had pulled chicken with sweet peppers (BBQ sauce is not pictured), homemade baked beans, potato salad, edamame, and watermelon, and I for sure went back for seconds.
To top it all off, we cut into my grandmother’s homemade lemon meringue pie. Growing up, I craved her home made pie crusts and this one did not disappoint. With fresh lemons picked from her garden here, the refreshing and lemon-y taste was out of this world!
Before sunset, we took my parent’s puppy out to play in the backyard. Let me formally introduce you guys to Magic!
He is a full-bred Picardy Shepherd, also known as a Berger Picard, and is quite the handful weighing in at eighty pounds of all puppy.
This is one of his calmer moments, but I assure you he is a bundle of fun to play with! My brother and dad spent a good hour chasing him around the backyard, getting him all rallied up.
It was hilarious!
Just like most play times, it was all fun and games until someone’s toy ends up in the trees. Sorry, Mr. Mag!
He is just over a year old, and is slowly working his way into my heart. Being around him makes me miss our Roadie, but it is nice to have him here to soften the blow.
Whether you were at home or away from family, I hope you had a wonderful weekend. If you were lucky enough to be around your mother, or any mother-type of yours I hope you made her feel appreciated!
Wishing all of the mothers out there a very special Mother’s
Questions of the Day
• Have you attended or do you plan on attending any of your High School Reunions?
• If you have been to one, was it more formal or casual? Do tell any fun stories!