Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July 19th - July 20th: Tables in Wonderland Epcot Food and Wine Preview

Saturday we headed over to Pop Century to check in and enjoy the pool before we headed to Epcot for the Food and Wine Preview dinner. It was a hot! day. 

Then it was time to head over to the dinner. We checked in early and had about an hour to wait so we headed over to Canada to enjoy the air conditioning for about half an hour and then went to see the movie. It was perfect timing since we walked right in when we got back to the event location. 
The event was located in a secret pavilion you can access between Canada and United Kingdom. 

The event was beautiful! I loved all the chandeliers and decorations. 

Here was the menu:

 Buffet Reception
Pao de Queijo (Brazilian Cheese Bread)

South Africa Bobotie with Turkey and Mushrooms - I really enjoyed this spicy quiche-like treat 

Scotland Sea Scallop with Spinach Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon - The line was 30 minutes long as we skipped it. 

Puerto Rico Sweet Corn Sorullitos with Mayo Ketchup - This was my favorite appetizer. I loved the presentation with the dropper of mayo ketchup. 

Terra “CraB’less CraB Cake”, Pepper Slaw and Cajun Remoulade featuring Gardein™ - This was the offering from the Vegan stand at Epcot food and wine. I thought the slaw and the sauce was good, but it really didn't taste much like crab. 

Farm Fresh Nueske’s Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes, Hollandaise and pickled JalapeƱos - I really liked this hash. It had a fair amount of spice because of the pickled jalapenos. 


Aulani Sunset featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum - This cocktail had a little too much pineapple for my taste. 
Paperboy Red - This is an interesting red because the "bottle" is actually a plastic bag wrapped in heavy duty cardboard. The wine wasn't my favorite - but the packaging was cool. 
The Great American Wine Company, Chardonnay - I really enjoyed this wine! 
Domaine Chandon, Brut Sparkling Blanc de Noir - The sparkling wine was terrific! 
Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale, Bold City Brewery, Jacksonville, FL - One of my favorite brown ales! 

 Plated Dinner

We moved to the large room for the plated dinner. 

Greece Course

Vegetarian Moussaka - The clove on this was far too heavy. We could only eat it when we paired it with the surprise beer of the night: MMMM Hop. Yes, it is by those famous Hanson brothers. 

Patagonia Course

Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimi Churri - This was my favorite course of hte night. Everything was delicious! 

Puerto Rico Course
“Carne Guisada con Arroz Blanco” Slow Braised Beef with Puerto Rican Grown Rice - I didn't get a photo of this dish. It was good, but could have used more sauce. 
Paired with Medalla Light Beer or Sangriiia Cocktail

Dessert Trio

Hops and Barley Fresh Baked Carrot Cake with Craisins® and Cream Cheese Icing
Refreshment Port Croissant Doughnut
Bean to the Bar Warm Drinking Chocolate
Paired with Rosa Regale

This course was fantastic! Everything was so good! Overall, we really enjoyed the dinner. The service could have been better and the pairings didn't always match up. We would definitely go again next year if they have it. 

On Sunday, we decided to stop by Two Henry's Brewing on way home. We really liked their beer at the Beer and Loathing event. 

I was impressed with all their beer. I think we'll definitely be going back there! 

July 12th - 13th: Brews and the Bells family

We decided to do a staycation this weekend. We had tickets to an event at the Tampa Theater called Beer and Loathing in Las Vegas so we booked a hotel downtown and decided to enjoy the Tampa downtown. 

The hotel is awesome. It's Le Meridian Tampa. They took a historic courthouse and turned it into a hotel. 

We loved it. We checked in and then hit the town. We saw an exhibit of young Chinese artists at the Tampa Art Museum. 

Then we stopped by a Gastropub I had heard a lot about: Anise. It has a great menu and the cocktails were very good. 

Then we did some "horsing" around at the Tampa History Center. I was very impressed by an exhibit on the Highway Men - a group of African American artists who sold art door to door during segregation. This picked up the theme from the morning's Chinese exhibit of artists who take incredible risks just to produce and share their works. 

Then it was time for the big event. We tried to dress like the movie. 

The event was so much fun. They showed Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas on the big screen and then had restaurants and breweries set up all over the lobby, in the aisles, and up in the balcony. The food and the beer was the best we've had. Our favorite food was the lamb meatball from the Birchwood Hotel in St Pete. We were really impressed by the beers from Coopertail - especially the Triple - and Two Henrys Brewing. 

On Sunday, we headed over to Orlando to meet up with the Bell family. They were staying at Fantasy World so they secured us day passes and a cabana rental to enjoy the pool, slides, and lazy river. We had a fantastic time! 

Overall, an incredible weekend! 

June 30th - July 6th Fun Times with our Niece and Nephew

For the first week in June - I headed to Indianapolis to stay with the my sister and hang out with my niece and nephew for the week. It was a lot of fun! We played puzzles, went for walks on the Monan Trail, and cooked. My nephew is such a fun baby. He just lights up when you do something that makes him laugh. We played a cute game where I would say "Tell Me a Story" and he would just babbled away! 

On Sunday, we held Conner's baptism. It was so much fun getting the whole family together.

 I especially love seeing my cousin's wife Gwen. We both thought we looked very nice so we just stood around waiting for someone to take our picture. 

Finally, Conner's Godmother did the honors. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 20th - 22nd 2014: Goo Goo Dolls, Mary Poppins and Busch Gardens

We had a fun busy weekend! On Friday night, Glenn got awesome seats at the 

Plain White Tees


Goo Goo Dolls

concert. We had a blast! All three bands were terrific!! It was so much fun being so close. 

On Saturday, the Tampa Theater had a Mary Poppins Sing A Long showing. The theater is beautiful. They even have an organ player. 

On Saturday night, Busch Gardens had a special event for passholders so we headed over. A lot of the animals were out plus we saw a behind the scenes lecture on how they do the ice show. It was a lot of fun. 
I met a sloth. 

And a super cute owl.

Sunday, we had our first official Resort Sunday by the pool.

June 13th - 15th 2014: Father's Day in Indianapolis

We headed up to Indianapolis for Father's Day to visit my Mom and Dad and my sister and her family. We had a blast! I walked my niece to the park as she "rode her bike": 

Swinging went a little faster once we got there.

As I took this picture, my niece accidentally kicked me and thought it was the funniest thing in the whole world. So later that day when she asked to go to the Park, I asked her what she wanted to do there,she said: "I am going to swing and kick you!" What a fun new game! 

We had my cousin and his family over for a barbecue Saturday afternoon. It was a lot of fun. My nephew is getting pretty cute and vocal and I love watching my niece with him. 

It was great being able to see everyone! 

May 24 - 26: Laurie, Kate, Rays and Disney

For Memorial weekend, Glenn's sister Laurie and her roommate Kate came to visit and see the Red Sox play the Rays. It was so much having them and introducing them to Tropicana Field. 

The game was crazy! Red Sox scored 5 runs in the first inning, but then ended up losing in extra innings. We left at the top of the 13th inning. It was just too painful to watch! 

On Sunday, we headed over to Disney since Laurie and Kate were staying there for the week. We had cocktails at Narcoosee's right on the water. It's a great bar with fantastic mint juleps. A huge rainstorm hit while we were there and the power went out. Then we met Kate and Laurie for dinner at Citrico's. The food and service were great! 
This fish dish was very good! The highlight of the meal was the soft shell crab appetizer and charcuterie plate - both of which I did take a picture of. 

Glenn had the pork loin which was very very good. It's the best pork I have tasted in the restaurant. 
After dinner, we headed back to Narcoosee's to watch the fireworks:

On Memorial Day, we had breakfast at Olivia's Cafe at the Old Key West Resort. I love the grits and shrimp and avocado omelet. And Glenn had his first smoothie. 

Then we headed over to Universal Studios to get a sneak peak at the new Harry Potter world and ride our favorite rides. 

A fantastic weekend! 

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five things I have learned in five years of marriage

In the big picture of marriages, I am still a rookie, but I have been amazed at how marriage has changed improved me over the last 5 years. Here's the five things I've learned in the last five years of marriage:

Celebrating marriage on our honeymoon in Maine 2009

1. It's better to be married than it is to be right. This took me a while to get the hang of it. I wanted so much to be right! I was right! I know all the right things!  It was imperative that I correct my husband for everything - how to load the dishwasher, the correct pronunciation of a word, the right way to drive, the right way to make the bed, etc. Things have been a lot smoother since I now just let it go unless it's going to negatively impact someone else. Sure - it means swallowing my tongue sometimes, but it's worth it. And spoiler alert - it turns out I am actually not always right. 

One of our many beer fest outings - 2010

2. I have to say what I mean and trust that my husband is doing the same. In the early years, we spent a lot of time reacting to what we thought the other person wanted - not what the person was actually saying. 

"Do you want to have pizza for dinner?"
"Are you really sure? Would you rather have chicken?I know you like chicken."
Pizza is fine. 
"Do you not like chicken? I thought you liked chicken." 
I like chicken. We can have chicken if you want. 
"What do YOU want?" 

You can imagine how exhausting this is.  We finally figured out that if I always say exactly what I mean and he says exactly what he means. Then we can short cut all the guessing. This means I have to trust he is saying what he means and he actually has to say what means. It also means I have to say what I need. After a hell of a day at work, I drove home thinking how amazing it would be if I walked in to dinner made, a glass of wine and a hot bubble bath. Then I started getting angry that Glenn wasn't the "type of guy" who would just think of that on his own. And then I realized by "type of guy" I must have meant psychic mind reader. So I texted him my request for dinner, wine and a bath and it was awesome. 

Enjoying the view of the Mediterranean Sea in Turkey 2011

3. The good words have to far FAR outweigh the bad words.  I can very bitchy. I can be short and pouty and grouchy and a lot of other unpleasant things. Because of this, I have to be very careful that I am pleasant and appreciative a lot more often than I am unpleasant so that the unpleasantness is an exception. This way my husband can easily attribute my unpleasant behavior to the fact I am tired/hungry/moody rather than an indicator that I don't love or appreciate him. In real life, this looks like a lot of pleases, thank yous,  You're the best!, I am so happy to be married to you, etc. Words matter. The bad words leave a sting so my husband needs a shield of the good words to deflect the impact.

Inside a Cathedral Fig in Cairns, Australia 2012 

4. Never ever say anything about my husband that I haven't said to my husband. It's not fair and it's not nice. I don't complain about my husband. Sure, I'll tell a funny story or share an example of a time he drove me crazy. But only after we have talked about it and can laugh about it. Every Facebook post about him is cleared with him first. (In fact, I showed him this post.) 

At a waterfall in Dominica 2013

5. It's the small stuff - not the grand gestures. When a holiday pops up, many people will ask what I "got" or how we are celebrating. I sincerely say every day is a holiday so we don't need a special occasion to celebrate. My husband makes my coffee every morning. He washes every dish. He gets up with me when I have to travel to help myself together. It's pretty awesome. I'm so lucky to be married to him. 

On our friends/family cruise 2014