Run DMT

I'm a mom on the run!

Run DMT - I'm a mom on the run!

Five Things That Make a House a Home

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Lennar Tampa. The opinions shared are my own.

When my husband and I bought our first home, we were singletons making the transition into life as a couple. As a young couple, we didn’t think about building a family and how a growing family would fit, or not fit in our modest, quaint home.

After one child (never mind the three we now have fifteen years later), we quickly learned some valuable lessons which led to essential features that we now look for in a home.  Office space, functional living space, reasonably-sized bedrooms and a large kitchen that offers space for two amateur chefs who regularly entertain guests, are all basic features we now expect in a home to fit our family of five and extended family and friends.

For me, this breaks down into a nice little list.

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Five Things That Make a House a Home

 LN LS Lake1 1024x682 Five Things That Make a House a Home

1.  Location, Location, Location!

Deciding where to hang your hat starts with selecting the right homesite. Before you decide on a homesite, drive through the adjacent communities at different times of the day and on different days of the week. If you commute, time the distance to work and notice traffic patterns on the major roads to understand how it will impact your drive to work.

Also, research the schools nearby. Even if you don’t have kids at the moment, check out the neighborhood schools for when you decide to build your family. Utilize online tools such as GreatSchools.com and FL DOE to learn how the schools perform. Thankfully, the schools in our area are excellent.

We love our neighborhood, but we always toy with the idea of buying a new home.  For our next home, I would love a slightly larger floor plan and to live on a caudle sac with a conservation view relatively close to where we currently reside.

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2. Community Amenities 

As much as I would love a home with a pool, the reality of building a pool just isn’t in the cards for us financially. However, we are an active family and we love to be outdoors.  Therefore, it is important that the community we live in offers a playground, trails, tennis courts, pool and a clubhouse.

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3. Selecting the Right Floor Plan

Confession: I have no spatial awareness. I will look at a floor plan and the measurements mean nothing to me. Although online virtual tours help, I still need to walk through the home to visualize how my couch would look in the family room. Can I picture my family noshing on meals in this breakfast nook?

Having lived in two homes now, I pay close attention to how the rooms are decorated in model homes.  Is there a twin bed or full in the bedroom?  How much furniture is in the room? Can you move around in the room? Unless you can afford buying all new bedroom sets for your entire family, you need to make sure that the furniture you will move in will fit the rooms.

To help take the guesswork out of visualizing how you and your furniture will fit in a home, Lennar offers an interactive tool, the Interactive Room Planner. With a large assortment of furniture options that can adjust to specific measurements, the Interactive Room Planner beautifully helps illustrate how all your furniture and family will fit in a home.

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4. Storage

As your family grows, so will your belongings. It’s amazing how much stuff one family will accumulate.  Not to mention, there are a ridiculous amount of holiday items like Christmas trees (Yes, we have more than one.) and other miscellaneous decorations. My family and I declutter only to make more room for more stuff.

For us, a two-car garage just doesn’t fit two cars and all our storage bins, bikes a second fridge and my husband’s carpentry and automotive workshop. We need a three-car garage just to store stuff and then maybe we could actually park a car in the garage.

But three kids also means three times as many things and a family of five means five mouths to feed. Storage space inside the house is also a must! We have bundles of board games, piles of shoes and stacks of jackets and clothes.  Each child needs their own place to store their belongings. As for my husband and I, we don’t share well. Therefore, his and hers closets are a necessity in the Master Suite.

Also, with two cooks in the kitchen, we need plenty of large cabinets. For years, I have longed for a walk-in pantry to store our dry-goods, entertaining dishes, platters and small kitchen appliances.

As for the laundry room, it should have a set of cabinets to hide detergent. The laundry room should also provide plenty of space to sort dirty laundry, fold clothes as they come out of the dryer and room to hang drip-dry clothing, as well as discarded shoes and backpacks.

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5. What’s Included?

It’s the next natural question when looking for a home. Upgrades are expensive. Once you start adding in granite counters, large maple cabinets, fixtures and flooring the basic price of the home quickly starts to climb. When you start to factor in window treatments such as blinds, it can be an unforeseen cost. When upgrades and even functional items like window treatments are included, you are offered a more realistic price for a home and can avoid newspaper shades.

As a Mommy Certified Blogger for Lennar, follow me as I discover how a Lennar Tampa community fits my criteria for making a house a home.

mommy certified Lennar Five Things That Make a House a Home 

Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

AVENGERS ASSEMBLE!

IN TAMPA!

IMAG5404 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

IMAG5427 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

Marvel Universe Live! kicked off its tour in Tampa on Tuesday night with a dress rehearsal. My family and I were fortunate enough to experience this never seen before living comic book.

This action-packed superhero ensemble includes 25 of Marvel fans favorite characters from superheroes  to super villains. With fireworks and an amazing light display, Thor begins the show with a mighty blow of his hammer shattering the Cosmic Cube before it enters the hands of evil, his brother Loki.

IMAG5405 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

To Thor’s dismay, Loki harnesses the power of the fractured pieces to embark on world domination and the ultimate destruction of Earth.  Other super villians enter the scene as the Marvel super good-doers stop Loki’s evil plan.

IMAG5410 Marvel Universe Live! {Review and Giveaway}

The super team combs the dessert, climbs the Himalayans and battles on top of the statue of Liberty to protect Earth and defeat the villains. With high-flying acrobatics and motorcycle stunts, the audience follows along on a high-speed, high-stakes adventure.

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From the fight scenes to the fireworks, my children were captivated by incredible action scenes. Even my husband and I enjoyed the show, despite the corny 1980s Saturday morning dialogue. Be prepared for sad puns and over used super speeches, however, you will look past the bad puns when you witness the pyrostunts. Marvel Universe Live! has turned up the heat on family entertainment and live performances. This is no Princess on Ice performance!

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Marvel Universe Live! will be fighting evil in Tampa until Sunday, July 13. For tickets, visit the TampaBayTimesForum.com.

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Win tickets to the Friday, July 11 evening performance in this flash giveaway.  One lucky winner will four tickets to the 7pm Friday evening performance. To enter, name your favorite Marvel Superhero.  Follow the Rafflepcopter prompts for additional entries. Flash giveaway ends Thursday, July 10 at 11:59 pm.

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Visit TampaMama and DadScribe for additional chances to win Marvel Universe Live tickets.

Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Disclosure: My family and I received one-day admission passes to Aquatica and SeaWorld in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.

I know the word “SeaWorld” may cause some people to squirm, cringe or even whisper the word like a politically incorrect slur. Even mentioning the word in a hashtag or tweet makes you a target for anti-SeaWorld cyberbullying.

SeaWorld Pelican tweet Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Pelican tweets Experience a SeaWorld Summer

I have not watched Blackfish. I simply refuse based on my continued partnership with SeaWorld.

I belong to PETA. I buy animal cruelty-free products and yet, I eat meat, wear leather shoes and enjoy zoos but I don’t like circuses. Yep, I’m a walking contradiction.

So let’s take this all for what is. I enjoy affordable Florida entertainment and basically, that’s what SeaWorld offers while educating its guests about marine life and conversation.  As I’ve said before, even if SeaWorld removed its star attraction, we would still visit the park for its message of conversation, animal rescue and rehabilitation and the incredible roller coasters and if you include, Aquatica, its outstanding water slides.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Thanks to my ongoing SeaWorld partnership, my family and I started our SeaWorld summer adventure with Aquatica .  With the recent addition of Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, we had to experience this horrifying 80 foot drop for ourselves.

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After feeling the overwhelming height of the Ihu’s Breakway Falls looming over me like a skyscraper, I decided to stick with the smaller slides at Kata’s Kookaburra Cove.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Sadly, we were just starting to get our feet wet when a typical Florida afternoon thunderstorm rolled in and we had to cut our visit short.  Though the park would reamin open, all the waterslides and pools would close due to inclement weather.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

Later that evening, we popped over to SeaWorld to experience a whole new exhibit Generation Nature LIVE. With the help of Bindi Irwin (daughter of Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter), guests discover how they can protect wildlife and their habitats.  Bindi encourages kids to be Game Changers for nature and learn now how we can help wildife.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

For the launch of this show, we came face to face with a sloth, an America Bald Eagle and a pelican.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

After the show, we had the chance to meet a few animals up close and a few of their friends in the SEA Garden.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

My youngest daughter loved the ponies.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

After our animal encounter, we enjoyed the new Shamu experience, Shamu’s Celebration: Light Up The Night. While we waited for the show to begin, we enjoyed the music and watching random guests dance on the large monitors positioned throughout the stadium.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

This all-new high-energy show features original music and production elements, as well as new killer whale behaviors.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

With stylistic lighting and colorful backdrops, Shamu Stadium transforms into a celebratory atmosphere that ends with the most amazing a fireworks finale.

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

 Experience a SeaWorld Summer

The best way to experience a SeaWorld Summer and these amazing new shows this summer is with an all-new ticket offer, Your Day, Priced Your Way, where guests can save $15 on a ticket valid any day of the week. 

If you have a flexible schedule, you can save $30 on a weekday ticket.  Plus, planning in advance and buying tickets online allows guests the convenience of printing at home and going straight through the turnstiles. This special ticket offer is available to U.S. residents for advance purchase only at SeaWorldOrlando.com.

For more information, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. Follow SeaWorld on FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube

Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

On July 27, I turn 43 and to celebrate the occasion, I decided to share 43 gifts before my 43rd birthday. You may remember that I shared 42 gifts last year as part of a #birthdayproject, which included hosting giveaways and a variety of random acts of kindness. Like last year, I plan to complete another  #birthdayproject with #43gifts by hosting giveaways and performing small gestures to pay it forward during my birthday month.

43gifts Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

Also during the month of July leading up to my birthday, I plan to run 43 miles. With training for a marathon, it should be relatively easy to achieve. On my birthday, I plan to host a virtual run. Last year, I loved seeing all the photos of my friends from all over the globe running some miles with me and taking selfies of their sweaty smiles to celebrate my birthday. It was the best gift ever! So let’s do it all again! Who’s with me?

RSVP for my Virtual Birthday Run for Run DMT here. Run whatever you can, wherever you can on Sunday, July 27 and then upload a sweaty selfie to the event page. If you are on Instagram or Twitter, share it with the #RunDMTbdayrun.

On Saturday, I ran 12 miles with Daffodil. It’s so stinking hot here and we just want to finish the miles and not push ourselves. We just took it easy and walked about every mile for about 30 seconds. Who knew 12 miles would go so well?!

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On Sunday, I ran an easy 3 miles followed by a ½ mile swim. It felt good to be back in the pool and I couldn’t believe how quickly I finished the swim (under 6 minutes) even with months off. Since my Garmin is off being refurbished, my times are estimates based on the time I leave my house.

3.1 miles
Time 35:00
Ave Pace 11:17

Yesterday, Allana joined me at spin class. There were a lot of climbs yesterday. My legs were toast. Even Allan was sore.

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Today, started day one of my 43 miles and I just wanted to run. No sprints, I just wanted run a fast 4.3 miles, but I did throw in some ½ mile sprints for good measure.

4.3 miles
Time 42:00
Ave Pace 9:18

I had planned to do a #sexylegs workout but I ran short on time and promised to take my kids to Adventure Island, which offered me another type of #sexylegs workout climbing the Splash Attack ropes to keep up with my Little Lion Man.

Last week, I had my final evaluation for Session 1 of Body Back. I was really surprised my results. I lost 3 pounds. I dropped about 2 inches off my waist and an inch and a half off my hips. That is INCREDIBLE! Even my overall strength improved! It’s yet another example of how small changes can bring big results.

BodyBack finalevaluation Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

Tomorrow is our final Body Back class. I know Regina is going to really push us hard as a good-bye gift.

Speaking of gifts, as I mentioned before, I’m sharing 43 gifts for my birthday. So, let’s kick-off the giving with a Knuckle Lights giveaway!

These bright LED lights have been a godsend while training for marathons! You may recall me boasting about these before when I borrowed Mica’s light.

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These lights are so bright, I only use one. Even on the lowest setting (There are three settings:  high, low and blinking.), one Knuckle Light shines bright enough to illuminate a pitch black path. The light fits conformably and ergonomically across my hand and honestly, I often forget I’m wearing it. I seriously love them and I want you to enjoy them too.

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I’m giving away a pair of blue Knucke Lights. To enter, simply tell me how you will plan to use them. Will you use your blue Knuckle Lights during the wee dark early morning hours or for a night time run?

Blue KnuckleLights Random Tuesday Thoughts About #43Gifts, the #BirthdayProject, #43miles and a Knuckle Lights Giveaway!

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RANdom Thoughts about a Bridge Run, Some Squats, Speedwork and a Coeur Sports Review

Well, I am sad to report that my Granny Garmin has officially kicked the bucket. At approximately 5:31 this morning, I simply couldn’t revive her. My Granny Garmin is no more!

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Since basically I’m running “naked” with no Garmin, I’ve decided to send her off to Garmin to be revived and refurbished one last time while I look into purchasing a 910 without a heart rate monitor since I already have one. But then, I see stuff like this and I wonder if I should leap into a Polar.

I’ve been hearing a lot about training with a heart rate monitor from my running friends. My runner friend, Flower, wrote about it here. I think it is something I should like to start doing. I can’t seem to get any faster so maybe I need to trainer smarter and slower to become faster.

I kicked off my Chicago Marathon training on Saturday with a nine mile bridge run with the Suncaost Striders. As I mentioned in yesterday’s Music Monday post, I love the challenge of the two Clearwater bridges, even though I begin to regret my decision about halfway into the run. But it’s good to step outside my comfort zone and push myself and that’s exactly what a bridge run does.

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Photo credit to the Suncoast Striders

The Suncoast Striders met at Coachman Park to begin our run with the Clearwater Memorial Causeway. Running along the bridges is so scenic and if I wasn’t cussing the heat and Granny Garmin so and painful death, I might have found some serenity.

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Photo credit to the Suncoast Striders

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We followed that path all the way into Clearwater Beach and then ran the Sand Key bridge to Sand Key park at the foot of the bridge. David set up a water stop for us outside the park. I refueled with some Vega Sport gels and water while posing for a few photos.

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Photo Credit to the Suncoast Striders

Mike is the king of selfies.

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Before setting off on the return trip to Coachman Park, I needed to use the restroom. Cassi, a new to me Strider, ran with me to the restroom in Sand Key Park and then we had a nice little getting to know you run chat leaving the park to head back over Sand Key Bridge. Once we returned to Clearwater Beach, I found myself needing the restroom again. I didn’t want this poor woman waiting on my sorry slow butt, so I old Cassi to go on without me.

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And there it was. I was all alone with about 3 miles left and one more bridge to run in the heat. ACK! Let’s just say some Striders were a little concerned and found me on the bridge. Now, I know what it feels like to be picked up in a race.

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9 miles
Ave Pace 10:30

So the run wasn’t the greatest, but at least I looked cute in my new Coeur Sport Chinese New Year Run Gear.

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When I received the outfit, I immediately loved the bright red color of the shorts and matching floral red and white tank, but it was the feel of the apparel that I really loved.

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Both the Coeur running shorts and tank are made of a silky, soft lightweight wicking material which made the outfit super comfy. I simply had to wear it for my bridge run. Who nine miles could be so comfy?!

And I looked HOT in the heat!

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Stitched inside the shorts are a built-in panty liner and two small pockets perfect for key and sport gels.

choeur pocket RANdom Thoughts about a Bridge Run, Some Squats, Speedwork and a Coeur Sports ReviewI know the running rule is to not wear something new for long runs, but I had to test it out. During long runs, I always chafe inside my thighs and under my arms. I am to report that I didn’t chafe one bit in this outfit. SCORE!

chevron shorts RANdom Thoughts about a Bridge Run, Some Squats, Speedwork and a Coeur Sports Review

Honestly, I truly heart Coeur. There are a few more run gear styles to choose from at coeursports.com. I’m also a fan of the black Chevron pattern too.

coueur RANdom Thoughts about a Bridge Run, Some Squats, Speedwork and a Coeur Sports Review

As for the rest of my training, I don’t think I looked quite as cute as I did last Saturday. Last Tuesday, I overslept and missed my speedwork and then missed Body Pump because I needed to meet my sister to begin her 40th birthday bonanza. We met for pedicures and then spent the rest of the day drinking, swimming, sunning and paddleboarding with her girlfriends.

 RANdom Thoughts about a Bridge Run, Some Squats, Speedwork and a Coeur Sports Review

Of course, we clean up for her birthday dinner too.

 RANdom Thoughts about a Bridge Run, Some Squats, Speedwork and a Coeur Sports Review

The next day, I missed my Body Back workout but my sister and I went for a 5 mile run to celebrate National Running Day. I absolutely loved running along Indian Rocks Beach. I even met some new friends along the way.

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Also on National Running Day, I hosted my first Danny Did Foundation Chicago Marathon Fundraiser, which had a pretty good turnout. Stay tuned for my next fundraiser!

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The next day, I ran 6 miles in my neighborhood. Between Granny Garmin giving me grief and the heat, I was ready to throw in the towel, but I finished some hot sticky, six miles.

6 miles
Time ?
Ave Pace – I couldn’t tell you because Granny is dead.

Friday, I finally made it back to Body Back. I tend to modify the exercises by focusing on the form and movement rather than the intensity because the plyometrics stuff really hurts my feet.  I know, I’m such a tender sole. (lol I love puns!) Regardless, I’m still getting a killer workout and noticing a difference.

Later on Friday, I lifted heavy things and did like 1000 more squats at Body Pump. At least this week, my legs didn’t cry. I guess I’m getting used to a gazillion squats.

And speaking of a gazillion squats, have you been doing my #sexylegs workout?  I did them after my speedwork today since I missed my Express body Pump class. Hubby bought a new bike and he’s bike riding is messing with my workout schedule.

As for my speedwork, I had to guesstimate my 400s. Mica, Daffodil and I ran a mile warm-up, 6x400s and a mile cool down.

1 mile warm-up 10:30

Lap 1 – 2:01
Lap 2 – 1:59
Lap 3 – 2:02
Lap 4 – 2:05
Lap 5 – 2:03
Lap 6 – 1:58

1 mile cool down 10:30

Cool down. That makes me laugh. I don’t think I will come down any time soon until I arrive in Chicago this October.

Disclaimer: I received a run gear outfit from Coeur Sports as part of a Fit Approach Sweat Pink campaign. The opinions shared are my own.

How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

Much like last year, the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival was gallons of a fun. With the VIP experience, the bottomless margaritas continued to flow and the music rocked.

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

With rumors of sold out VIP tickets, the event organizers expanded this year’s event to Kiley Garden, adjacent to Curtis Hixon Waterfont Park.  There were twice as many food trucks and what felt like to me, twice as much sun. Did we travel to Tijuana and not know it?

I found my Street Surfer Food Truck friends parked on the lawn again and this time, I chose the chicken nachos which did not disappoint. ¡Los nachos de pollo eran muy delicioso!

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

All the musical acts were fantastic, however, the headliner this year featured the Latin bluesy sound of the Los Lonely Boys and they stole the show.

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 Shorty after their performance, the evening closed with a magnificent finale of fireworks over the Hillsborough River.

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

How to Fest Large 1024x1024 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

Having experienced the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival twice now, I have some tips for you to make the most of your fest.

1)      Purchase VIP tickets. – It’s absolutely, hands-down the way to fest. If you are a big drinker, you will probably spend the money on drinks anyway, so save yourself some grief and go for the VIP experience.

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

2)      Wear cool clothing, hats and shades and sun block. – You are going to sweat a lot! Ladies, wear sundresses or light shirts and shorts. Despite what TBO Scene may tell you, do not wear a romper. Good god, no! Rompers and port-o-potties do not mix well. There’s nothing worse than being completely undressed to urinate and forgetting to lock the door because you’re three sheets to the wind but you know, to each her own. ¡Arriba! ¡Arriba! ¡Ándale! ¡Ándale!

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

3)     Bring a blanket or a chair. If you don’t heed my advice about VIP, you are going to need a place to sit.

4)      Bring cash. The food trucks and most of the pouring stations take credit cards, but you’ll need cash to tip the bartenders.

5)      Sneak away for some A/C .– This year, we left for a bite and some A/C at Taps and I highly recommended. All Margarita Festival attendees receive an armband which permits you to leave and re-enter. If you can’t take the heat, get out of the fiesta!

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

6)      Assign a designated driver or book a room. Drinking and driving don’t mix. Enough said. A hotel room is way cheaper than a DUI.

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

And now you you know the best way to fest at the upcoming Summer of Rum Fest on August 16!

 How to Fest at the Tampa Bay Margarita Festival and Review

Disclosure: I was provided with a pair VIP tickets as part of a Big City Events and Tampa Bay Bloggers partnership in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.

Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

Disclosure: As part of a Tampa Bay Bloggers and Color Me Rad partnership, my daughters, friends and a handful of Run DMT fans received Color Me Rad entries in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.

My girls and I returned to the Florida State Fairgrounds with friends into tow to share this colorfully RAD time!

With traffic not cooperating on I-75, our friends arrived late; so we joined a later wave. That’s what I love about these fun runs; it’s all about a fun time rather than a finish time.

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Before our RADical start, we snapped a few before photos. The girls and I wore white (It’s a must for the full colorful effect.) and bandannas again to minimize the dust because Emmalynn and I suffer from such bad asthma.

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The “before” shot

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So we joined the 9:45 which was a special memorial wave #run4Megan and #run4colin added for the two teens recently murdered.

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Allana took off with her friends while Emmalynn and I maintained a much slower walking/running pace.

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Like a good coach, I gave Emmalynn a set distance to run to, which is how I learned to run all those years ago. Once we turned the corner around a barn, we came upon the first Color Bomb Squad, purple, Emmalynn’s favorite color.

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Emmalynn and I decided to snap selfies after every Color Bomb Squad.

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Much like last year, it was crazy hot. The sweat combines with the colored corn starch made finger-paint instantly on my body.

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IMAG1416 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1417 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

The blue Color Bomb Squad was armed with hoses and the cutest little Color Bomb Cutie. I didn’t want to leave.

IMAG1418 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1423 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1420 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1424 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

Around the halfway mark, we came upon a water station. Emmalynn and I doubled up on the bottled water and carried one with us as we ran.

IMAG1425 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1428 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

After the yellow color bomb squad, I almost cut the course short by running across the grass instead of following the cones. Emmalynn was not happy about running back to follow the course correctly but I reminded her we were almost finished. “We’d be almost done if you didn’t make us run back!” She hollered at me.

IMAG1429 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

Luckily, I distracted her with another selfie.

IMAG1432 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

When we were close to the home stretch, I made Emmalynn run to what I thought was another water station.

IMAG1434 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1437 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

As we drew closer, I realized the Color Bomb Squad was handing out color bombs! We could only grab one each, so Emmalynn and I chose pink and yellow.

IMAG1438 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1442 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

Other runners decided to lie down on the course to be rained on by Color Bombs. I loved the color explosion on the course.

IMAG1441 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1444 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

With less than a quarter mile to the finish, there was one more Color Bomb Squad to run through and one more pink selfie.

IMAG1447 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1449 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1451 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

Then, Emmalynn and I finished colorful and strong.

IMAG1455 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1453 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG1457 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

Allana was waiting at the finish line for us. Like a good big sister and running partner, she cheered and ran through the finish with us. After we ran through the finish, we posed for another seflie, of course.

IMAG1460 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

IMAG5195 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

For a full visual effect, we posed for a full body after shot, but Emerson, the race director, photo bombed our color bomb shot.

IMAG5197 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

With the absence of a finish time for this race, our goal was to look like an exploded bag of Skittles. I’d say we certainly reached a new colorful PR for Color Me Rad!

IMAG5200 Another Colorful Time! My Color Me Rad Recap

The “after” shot

The Epicurean Experience: Food – Wine – Art – Culture

The Epicurean Hotel erected in a field that was once known as Bern’s overflow parking lot. This small pie–shaped spot sandwiched between SoHo and the Selmon Crosstown Expressway now houses a luxury hotel complete with 137 rooms.

But it’s more than a hotel. The Epicurean is an experience. Complete with a stadium seating Theatre, a Bern’s Fine Wine and Spirits wine shope, the Chocolate Pi pastry shop, the Élevage Restaurant, two bars (Élevage  and The EDGE) and Spa Evangeline, the Epicurean elevates Tampa to a whole new level of food, wine, art culture.

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

Simply put, it is a foodie’s wine and dine fantasy. Bern’s vision comes to fruition beyond exquisite food and décor. Upon walking into the lobby, guests feel as though they’ve entered a sophisticated escape of food and wine elegance.

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

One step in the Epicurean and it will excite all your senses with marvelous smells and fun sights to behold. Every inch of the hotel has been carefully planned from the reclaimed wine crate paneling to the corks and herbs mounted  on the walls in the spa.

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 After spending a few short hours at the Epicurean Hotel Open House, I highly recommend stopping by for a bite to eat the Élevage Restaurant, having a drink at The EDGE or to even perusing Chocolate Pi for a salted caramel and a homemade soda. You will be blown away by the hub of activity happening in such a small space.

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

I finished off the evening with some friends on The Edge’s rooftop bar and a gorgeous sunset over the Tampa skyline as our backdrop. It was the icing on the cake which turned this foodie’s fantasy into a heavenly experience.

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

The Epicurean Hotel invited me to its open house experience. The reviews shared are my own.  For more information on the Epicurean experience or to make reservations for any of its food, wine, art or cultural events, visit epicureanhotel.com.

 The Epicurean Experience: Food   Wine   Art   Culture

#ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

Last year, I made the transition from mini-van to SUV. I loved my mini-van but with all our outdoorsy adventures of races, camping, beach trips, canoeing and trips to the North Carolina Mountains, it seemed like a SUV would fit us better. So I traded in my Odyssey, The Black Pearl for a Pilot, The Jolly Blogger. (Yes, all my vehicles have pirate-themed names. It’s a Tampa thing.)

Sadly, after driving my Pilot for nearly a year, I’m ready to trade it in. Although its ruggedness fits my family’s lifestyle, the drive didn’t fit me. It drives like a truck.

Now that may seem like a dumb statement. Of course, it drives like a truck! It’s a truck. However after driving a mini-van for over eight years, I was used to the cushioned, more car like feel of a mini-van. Plus, no matter how much I shift the seats and steering column, I cannot get comfortable in my Pilot.

The next obvious question: Didn’t you test drive the vehicle? Well, of course, I did, silly! It felt fine for the fifteen minutes I drove the vehicle along the highway.  But a year later with many, many miles (over 20,000 added on since the day we drove it off the lot), it is just too much truck and too much wasted gas for me.

I need a vehicle that can handle the miles, good on gas and FITS ME!

When I saw the commercials for the Subaru Forester 2015, I instantly fell in LOVE with the vehicle. After all that’s what the ad told me to do. But it was the family in the commercial that reminded me of my own family. New cars don’t hang onto their new car smell for very long, especially with my son’s moldy sippy cups under the seat.

Then, I saw this one. I was sold, because “They lived.”

Subaru Forester 2015 is good on gas and the safest vehicle on the road with its five-star safety rating. YES! I want it. Gimme. Gimme. Gimme.

But I had to convince my husband. He was already in agreement that the Pilot had to go, but we couldn’t agree on a vehicle. Five rows? Seven rows? What about the storage?

Then by chance, Reeves Subaru had parked a Forester on the lawn at the Spring Beer Fling. I could explore, touch, see and feel a Forester up close and in person and drool over it.  I even tweeted about it and Reeves invited me in to test drive.

 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

But this test drive wasn’t your typical fifteen minutes, so what do you think test drive. Reeves allowed me to take a 2015 Forester home for the weekend to see how the vehicle fits my lifestyle, my family but most importantly, me – THE DRIVER.

IMG 20140503 183658 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

First off, the Forester fit me perfectly! I’m petite, so I always have to move the seat as close as I can to the steering wheel without kissing the windscreen. With the Forester, I found myself seating a little further back with some lift and I could still see the road. It was amazing! When hubby adjusted the seat for his 6’2” frame, he had plenty of headroom, which is an issue for him.

IMAG4936 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

Reeves Subaru was kind enough to provide me with a top-of-the-line Forester Touring. I wasn’t used to turbo and the peppy acceleration, but man, that was FUN! I found myself passing and merging like Speed Racer all while staying within the speed limit.

There were so many incredible features and technology that I became accustomed to very quickly, like the color touch screen to access the Navigation and XM, which also displayed all the engine telemetry. I could also access the controls from my steering wheel.

The Eyesight Driver Assist was another outstanding feature. My Pilot has a small back-up camera in the corner of the rearview mirror. In addition to a full screen back-up camera, the Forester uses two cameras mounted by the rearview mirror to monitor traffic and react to conditions even before the driver.

IMAG4949 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

An alert would flash up on the dash along with a visual warning anytime I crossed the adjacent lane or came close to the shoulder of the road. The vehicle even applied the brakes automatically.

IMAG4952 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

Another feature that this mom on the run loved was the Rear Lift Gate which I could operate with just one push of a button on the key fob, on the dashboard or on even on the hatch. When I’m loaded down with groceries and pushing a stroller, one push of button to open the hatch is fantastic! The hatch had plenty of storage for a mom on the run…

IMAG4945 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

IMAG4940 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

IMAG4958 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

but unfortunately the backseat was a little tight for my three kids, one still in a full car seat.  There is no third row option with the Forester.

IMAG4943 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

And speaking of key fobs, this little Forester had a fancy Keyless Access and Start. I had all the features of a high-end luxury car in the suburban mom price range.

Next to cool engineering and mechanics under the hood of incredible vehicle, the Dual Climate Control made my hubby smile. We could each adjust to the temperature to our own liking.

But what I truly loved the most was the DRIVE. It drove like a car with all the cool SUV specs. My husband called the Forester “a driver’s car”. And that’s no lie! This runner found the right ride in a Forester.

IMAG4964 #ARunnersDrive with Reeves and the Subaru Forester

Run DMT and Reeves are partnering up to showcase Reeves’ extensive line of luxury vehicles. Over the next few months, I will test drive a variety of vehicles and share my review of the ride and how it fits my mom on the run lifestyle. Follow #ARunnersDrive #DriveReeves on Twitter and Instagram along with @ReevesTampa, @denisermt and @run_dmt for updates, tweets and photos.

If you are in the market for a new vehicle, visit Reeves Import Motor Cars online to view their complete inventory of new and used vehicles available.

Disney on Ice – Let’s Celebrate {Review}

Disclaimer: My family and I received tickets for Disney on Ice: Let’s Celebrate in exchange for my honest review. The opinions shared are my own.

As my almost nine year old daughter delicately teeters on the edge of life between princesses and pre-teen, my almost four year old boy is entering the Toy Story age.  My almost thirteen year old thinks she is too cool for Disney, but once she witnessed the joy on her siblings’ faces, she learned to love the magic of Disney on a whole new level.

IMAG5029 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

Once again, Feld Entertainment delivered the magic of Disney to Tampa with its most recent production company tour,  Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate! As each enchanting character skated across the stage, it was as though we were watching our favorite Disney movies come to life.

From the villains you love to hate to the Disney Princesses to your favorite classic Disney and Pixar characters, they all shared the ice.  As the show unfolds, we learn that Mickey and Minnie and the clubhouse gang want to plan a celebration like no other and the first scene opens with Alice and the Mad Hatter suggesting A Very Merry Unbirthday Tea Party.

IMAG5036 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5040 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

An impromptu tea party leads to Mickey Mouse cleaning up the mess as the beloved Sorcerer Mickey and his dancing mops. However, not much cleaning is needed when the dirtiest, scariest and spookiest character plan a Halloween party led my Jack the Pumpkin King and the villains.

IMAG5046 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5050 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5051 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

A few of Mickey’s friends dressed as ghosts chase them off and the place is polished over for the princesses.  As Minnie searches for her true love prince with the help of Fairy Godmother, all the princesses (Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan, Cinderella, Tiana, and Belle) skate to their own soundtrack with their princes in numerous  routines until intermission. For a princess finale, they all skate to “That’s How You Know” from Enchanted.

IMAG5053 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5076 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}


After intermission, the celebration leads us Hawaii for a luau with Lilo and Stitch complete with a ring fire and my favorite song, “Hawaiian Rollercoaster Ride”.

IMAG5082 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5083 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}


We travel the world a bit and revisit a few of the princesses again.

IMAG5095 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

Shortly, the toys were back in town for a wrap up party in time for Christmas Winter Wonderland.

IMAG5109 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5105 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5113 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

Throughout the entire production, my kids were mesmerized by the lights, the fireworks and the performers that skated flawlessly. I loved that there a little something for all different Disney fans. The production wasn’t entirely princesses and it wasn’t all classic Disney. It was a good mix of the Disney magic and a show of three of my kids enjoyed.

IMAG5102 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

IMAG5116 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

Disney on Ice Celebrate Logo 1024x717 Disney on Ice   Lets Celebrate {Review}

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