Tag Archives: orlando

A Florida Birthday

March 22nd was my 27th birthday and I truly felt like the celebrations lasted for days and days. Jeff took me out for a great birthday dinner in Boston the Friday before, and I also visited one of my favorite bars with a ton of friends for an epic night out on Saturday. But I spent my actual birthday in Orlando, Florida with my family and Jeff.

No Florida birthday is complete without Publix cake, or a heavy dose of Lilly Pulitzer. My brother and sister gifted me a Lilly wine tote and stemless wine glasses, and my family gifted me my favorite white cake with white icing.

Continue reading

Treadmill 5K Workout and Playlist

Hi friends. Wow, where have I been, haven’t blogged since Friday! Glad you guys seemed to enjoy that post by the way. If you follow me on Twitter then you know that I’ve been moving at about a thousand MPH as per usual, attending many a delicious restaurant outing, getting in some good workouts, drinking lots of tasty coffee at Daybreak, and spending time with family and friends.

And it’s not anywhere close to ending – tomorrow night I’m going to be attending Taste of the Nation: New Haven with a new blend, Marissa of Style Cusp! I’ve honestly been dreaming of going to a Taste of the Nation event ever since I started reading blogs a few years ago and saw some of my favorite bloggers recap their local Taste of the Nation! Now I’m the blogger who will be attending and recapping – surreal!

A little something for ya today – this is the 5K treadmill workout and playlist that I used on my last day in Orlando almost two weeks ago (wow, time has flown!). The TV was unavailable in the hotel gym so I had to make do with a treadmill run with JUST music – THE HORROR! I varied my speeds to keep myself interested and put my iPhone on shuffle. This is the workout I ended up following, and the songs I chose to listen to.

You may end up completing the 5K sooner than 32 minutes (I did mine in 29:54 on this particular day I think) in which case you can cool down sooner, or just keep running to 32 minutes! I most certainly did NOT.

I wanted to use sunny colors since we have been so fortunate with the weather so far in CT this week! Give me 60’s or give me death! (Or 70’s…or 80’s…)

I like the idea of a pyramid workout because when I was running at 7.4MPH, panting my head off, I knew that in a couple minutes I’d be able to turn the speed down. I also added the burst of speed at the end because there’s nothing like reaching that 3.1 mile mark and feeling like you’re sprinting across a finish line!

Have you ever heard of Taste of the Nation events? Have you ever read about them on blogs or attended?

What’s your take on making a treadmill workout interesting – WITHOUT a TV available to you?

Do you recognize any of the songs above?

Orlando – Day Six

Time to recap the last full day of last week’s Orlando vacation (last Friday). I woke up and went to the hotel gym to do another treadmill 5K. This time I just kept the channel on Live with Kelly! the whole time. I love Kelly Ripa and have been a huge fan of Live since middle school. I remember the highlight of school breaks and summer morning was being able to watch! Of course, the version with Regis will always be my favorite.

I felt way more tired though and ran my 5K in a slower time than the day before. Still pretty good though – 29 minutes. I kept my 1% incline and Kelly and her guest host (I don’t even remember who it was) helped it go by at a pace that wasn’t too excruciatingly slow. Then I did about 30 minutes of upper body weights, one muscle group per song (chest, shoulders, bis, tris, and abs).

Took it easy by the pool the rest day of course, and wore one of my outlet purchases – a new bathing suit! I also brought a solo cup filled with cottage cheese and blueberries with me to the pool for a post-workout snack. I’m sure I got plenty of judgement because of my solo cup…little did people know I was NOT headed to the pool at 10AM with an alcoholic beverage in tow. Though I’m NOT opposed to that either.

After another fabulous poolside day, my parents and I got cleaned up and headed to happy hour! I love eating out on vacations but my parents wanted to stay in and grill since we had a kitchen in our room, so we made a deal – happy hour out, followed by seafood dinner in. Um, fine by me!

While waiting for my parents to get ready, I caught up on work and had a snack – two pieces of rye toast topped with turkey and salsa.

It wouldn’t be vacation without another fam photoshoot.

Another my-mom-is-way-shorter-than-me pic.

I rocked another Black Friday purchase from Kohl’s (and with pleats just like the last one – told you I’m obsessed). The top is by Elle.

For our happy hour destination, I used Yelp to find Emeril’s Tchoup Chop at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando. I wanted a place with deals that didn’t end too early (these ended at 8PM), where we could enjoy our last warm night in Florida (outdoor tiki bar!), and with unique drink options. Done, done, and done!

The tiki bar was empty so we took three seats front and center. I love sitting at the bar and chatting it up with the bartender and other patrons.

We lucked out with a fantastic bartender named Deanna. She was so kind and made amazing drinks!

I inquired about the cucumber vodka I saw behind the bar, and Deanna whipped up a Cucumber Cooler for me of cucumber vodka, cucumber liquer, and ginger beer. I LOVE ginger beer in drinks – another favorite is the Dark n Stormy, which has popped up a couple times on the blog.

No, that’s not water. Nor is that a Starbucks straw.

I removed the straw (tip: this slows you down when you’re drinking so that you can savor the beverage and also accurately assess how it is affecting you) and “dug in”. Wow, this drink was perfection. So smooth and perfect for an outdoor happy hour.

My mom got a house margarita and I tried a sip. Yum! Nice and strong, not too sour or sweet. She loved it.

There was a bar bites menu too, but I was waiting til dinner.

I asked Deanna about this Soho Lychee Liquer – I had never seen that before! She let me sample a small pour of the Lychee Martini it goes into. Very yummy, but the sample was enough for me because it was a bit sweet.

And thank goodness for Foursquare – I checked in and got a free Mai Tai – which I shared with my parents, because I was feeling a bit buzzed and was also getting pretty hungry! This beverage was delicious, one of the best Mai Tais I’ve ever had (the one at Drink wins because it was on FIRE).

Gorgeous, no?

Thanks Deanna for being so awesome and making our experience at Tchoup Chop so great! By the way readers, it’s pronounced “chop chop”.

By the time we got home I was hangry. My dad got the grill fired up pretty quickly and prepared the salmon and shrimp burgers I’d gotten the day before at Whole Foods.

Salmon/shrimp burgers with yellow mustard and Russian dressing for dipping. Baked potato skin and innards with salsa.

I was SO hungry, but got full SO fast! I couldn’t even finish any of the innards of my baked potato (on the right). Bummer.

What a great last full day in Orlando – and I still had one more pool day left before we had to hop on our plane in the evening, but with no restaurant and no new workout (just another 5K and abs), I don’t plan to write a full recap of that day.

Do you have a favorite spot to go to in the warm months to have a drink outside?

Have you ever tried a seafood burger?

Did you or do you watch Live with Regis and Kelly (or just Kelly)?

Orlando – Day Five

My fifth full day in Orlando (last Thursday) followed my gym-tan-eat-tan-drink-eat-sleep routine (and trust me, I wasn’t getting sick of it) – but with another Connecticut-infused twist.

I woke up still feeling blah in the stomach area, just nauseous, but I was SOOO ready to be back at the intense cardio and decided to run a 5K on the treadmill. I was psyched to see they each had a TV but then saw that neither treadmill had a working one – bah! There was a big TV in the overall gym though, and it was empty in there (I mean, it was about 8am…) so I grabbed the remote and flipped channels while I pounded out 3.1 miles in 27 minutes! Once I started running, my nausea actually disappeared and I felt fantastic and full of energy. I like setting a distance goal as opposed to time because it motivates me to run faster – so I can get off that dreadmill faster! Works every time.

What do you know, another Connecticut friend was in Orlando when I was – Kelly! Her family are big fans of the parks (unlike mine) so most days she was Disney and Universal-ing, but she did have one pool day (well, morning) and I headed over to her hotel to join her and her mom. It was so great to hang out!

After Kelly and her fam left the pool for Epcot, I went to a nearby Whole Foods to grab lunch. Even though I have a location in my town, I love checking out different Whole Foods for the regional differences in the food offered at the hot and cold salad bars in state to state.

Healthy foods photograph the prettiest!

Well OK, that mac n cheese looks pretty golden and beautiful too.

Amazingly fresh Florida seafood salads.

I was a cheap-o and didn’t purchase any of the above ($10.99/lb…) but the seafood lover in me was remorseful later – right Meg? 😉

Hello there!

OK, so we do NOT have fish like that in my Whole Foods. No sir. I was also on a mention for seafood or meat for the next night’s grill-out dinner (the joys of staying at a place with a kitchen and grills!) and found just what I was looking for in the Seafood Department, thanks to a very helpful employee – hello if you are reading! (I gave him my card).

Just what I was looking for! I took home two Spinach & Feta Salmon Burgers, one Wild Salmon Burger, and one Shrimp Burger. I was already looking forward to the meal, and I hadn’t even had THAT night’s dinner yet (or the day’s lunch, for that matter). Story of my life.

Um, Whole Foods has a bar?! Don’t mind if I do! This location is the only one in Florida with a bar that serves beer and wine. The wine section itself was amazing! Need proof?

I snuck in on a tasting of Concannon Conservancy Crimson & Clovera red blend (included one of my favorites, petite sirah). This wine was AMAZING, one of the best reds I’ve tried in awhile, and I was shocked at its affordable price tag. Also a fun side note on this International Woman’s Day, Concannon Vineyards hired the first professional female winemaker in 1950!

I was poured the above glass and then some, which I did not finish since I wanted to make it home alive.

Words cannot describe how excited I was to be having dinner that night at Seasons 52, a “blogger hot-spot” that I have seen on Meghann, Gina, Caitlin, and Julie’s blogs. I was rockin’ a new dress from the occasion, a Black Friday purchase (I know, it’s bad news bears when you’re wearing things for the “first time” in March and bought them in November) from Kohl’s LC Lauren Conrad Collection. You can’t see them well, but it has one of my latest obsessions, pleats!

I was blown away by our view! I had no idea Seasons 52 (we were at the ORIGINAL location, by the way!) offered gorgeous outdoor lakeside seating. Pleasant surprise!

After our little photoshoot, we finally took our seats and checked out the drink menu. It was very dark out on the patio, and my mom had to borrow a light from our waiter to read the menu! Silly mom.

I ordered the Organic Sunshine Martini: orange-infused Prairie organic vodka and agave nectar. However, it was not what I was expecting.

I chose this martini because the description made it sound like it would just be vodka made with a bit of agave, but after it arrived I could see that it had also been made with some kind of orange juice, a bummer because anytime drinks are made with juices they taste too sweet for me. Sure enough, it was too sweet, but our amazing waiter Garrett was kind enough to take it off the bill without my even asking – thank you Garrett!

Ugh, flash.

Instead of a martini, I decided to go with red wine and helped my parents out with the bottle they’d already ordered, Gascon Malbec, which was actually quite excellent! I made a joke that Gascon was an appropriate wine to drink when in Orlando, home of the creators of Gaston.

Surprisingly, Garrett had NOT heard that awful pun before!

Thankfully I didn’t have a tough time deciding on a meal because that night, a special was being offered that was made for me.

Mahi? Mediterranean? Shrimp? Tzatziki? SOLD.

Aaaand I DIED. What a fantastic dish. I’m a chronic dish modifier at restaurants and this was made for me – I did not have to order with ANY modifications. The fish was perfect, the shrimp tabouleh was perfect, the tzatziki came on the side without me even asking, and a nice surprise was included that wasn’t mentioned on the menu, olives!

My mom got the same dish and she was a bit bummed that the olives weren’t called out on the menu because she HATES them, but she picked them out and I finished them off for her. Before her meal, she got the Organic Baby Spinach Salad: sliced pears, feta, and toasted pine nuts on spinach. She couldn’t stop raving about it! My dad loved his meal too – despite the fact that it came with lots of veggies. Eat up Dad, they’re good for you!

We were too full for dessert so I did not try any of the famous Mini Indulgences that everyone raves about, but next time I will have to! What a great last dinner out in Florida.

Have you ever been to Seasons 52? If not, have you already heard about it thanks to the “blog world”?

Do you run on treadmills for distance or for time?

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever seen at a Whole Foods?

Orlando – (Leap) Day Four

Another day of vacation (Wednesday), another trip to the hotel gym. The treadmills were full, and I was not a fan of those ellipticals (I prefer the Precor brand), so I got my cardio on with a series of dynamic lunges, squats, and ab moves in which I used a 10-lb dumbbell a lot like I would use a kettlebell. I was even called out by a nice fellow gym-goer as a “kettlebeller” – that made me feel good! We had a good conversation about workouts, running in Vibrams, and YouTube fitness gurus. I could have those kinds of conversations forever!

Puke-inducing pink ensemble #sorrynotsorry

I was feeling well enough to go for it at Starbucks and get my usual grande nonfat iced coffee with cinnamon powder. Mmm, not much different than the decaf Americano, but definitely an improvement.

Morning workouts are the best on vacation, because then I can proceed to move as little as possible alllllll day 😉

Unfortunately Grannan and George headed back home that afternoon, but that also meant a more unique dinner destination, and one the Greek-food-lover in me was SO excited for – Taverna Opa!

What a lively place! The Greeks know how to party, and I think it’s great. Belly dancers rotate throughout the restaurant, patrons dance on tables, and slips of white paper (traditionally, they would be dollar bills, but Taverna Opa can’t go giving away money!) fall from the ceiling.

I made sure to select a Greek wine. Our waiter assured me that any red I chose from that part of the menu would be very dry and full-bodied, so I chose the Agros Merlot, even though it was specificed as medium-bodied.

I wish I’d listened to the menu – the wine was a bit too light for me. It was pretty good, but not what I was hoping for. I was also disappointed when it came served in a regular glass – maybe this is how wine is served in Greece? If so, I respect the authenticity of the restaurant, but I really prefer to drink wine out of a wine glass, even if that seems like something silly.

My mom ordered half a carafe of a different red, and the carafes were certainly unique-looking too!

We received the freshest hummus I’ve ever tasted, ground right at our table, and freshly baked pita. Even my dad, who NEVER eats hummus, loved it!

My go-to order at any Greek restaurant, because I hate making decisions regarding all the amazing choices I’m always faced with, is an appetizer sampler platter (or two). I stuck to one that evening, the Cold Pikilia platter of tzatziki (yogurt dill dip), tarama (caviar dip), melitzanosalata (eggplant dip), dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), and olives.

I was so proud of my dad – I convinced him to try a stuffed grape leaf, and after a hesitant first bite, he immediately gobbled up the rest. Finally, my parents were seeing the reason why I’m in love with Greek food!

In an effort to get some veg into my day, I also ordered a side of tomato and cucumber slices for dipping. Perfect!

The padre continued trying different foods and ordered the Moussaka (I corrected his pronunciation before he ordered :D) and loved it! He called it the “Greek Shepherd’s Pie”. I had a bite and man, oh man, it was tasty. And HUGE! It’s impossible for me to leave a Greek place not-stuffed, and my parents experienced that same phenomenon. Half of the moussaka became his breakfast the next morning.

Another satisfactory meal in Orlando! This time I was definitely too full for dessert, so I went home and essentially passed out immediately. Wild and crazy 9:30PM vacation bed time for the win!

Have you ever tried an ethnic cuisine that you were nervous to sample? How did it turn out?

Orlando – Day Three

Time for another Orlando recap – full day number three of the trip, Tuesday! The next day I awoke feeling a bit less stellar than I had the day before, much to my disappointment. I still went to the hotel gym and did an easy 1.5 miles on the elliptical, taking it slow with higher resistance, and then did abs and body-weight leg work. I wasn’t too satisfied but felt nauseous.

I ordered a Starbucks decaf iced Americano, with barely any milk again, and spent another day by the pool with my parents and grandparents, reading through many magazines. Don’t worry, I wore my sunscreen! I also hydrated like a mad woman and felt better the more I sat on my butt all day – funny how that happens 😉

For dinner that night, we went to one of the chain restaurants I enjoy, Longhorn Steakhouse. It’s my grandpa, George’s, favorite!

I pulled a classic Caitlin and ordered off the “Interesting Reds” section of the wine list. Our waitress was nice enough to let me sample their newest red, the Genesis Meritage of Columbia Valley, before I committed to ordering a full glass.

Yum-my! I was totally impressed by this blend and definitely followed up my sample with a glass! It also paired well with my meal.

I continued the seafood trend and ordered the LongHorn Salmon, a change from my usual Longhorn seafood choice, Grilled Fresh Rainbow Trout. I didn’t change my side choices though – my usual baked potato with salsa and asparagus.

The bourbon marinade was fantastic and the 7oz. portion of salmon was the perfect size, since I knew I’d be finishing George’s chop steak for him. The LongHorn “Chopper”, as my family affectionately calls it, is SO GOOD.

THE CHOPPER (it’s under there somewhere).

My dad’s also continued his dinner trend of seafood soup! And just like me, he was completely satisfied.

It was so great to be hanging out with him again – I missed him while he was away for a couple of weeks before our vacation, on travel for business in Singapore and Japan!

Have you ever been to a Longhorn Steakhouse?

Orlando – Day Two

I woke up on the Monday of our vacation feeling good, and I was so excited and grateful! To play it safe, I did my favorite yoga video on Hulu, YogaWorks Body Slim. I was sweating by the end and also felt relaxed and stretched-out. I headed to Starbucks and, continuing the play-it-safe plan, opted for an iced decaf Americano with the teeniest splash of skim to protect my still-sensitive stomach.

The pool wasn’t crowded at all and we scoped out some excellent seats. I sat back and enjoyed the warm weather with my magazines, and also had my beloved Chick-fil-A chargrilled chicken sandwich with extra pickles for lunch, with no stomach issues.

My Grannan and George (grandparents) arrived mid-afternoon too, and I was so excited to see them! We all remained poolside til late afternoon. 

I continued to feel better, no doubt thanks to how cautious I was being and all the water I was chugging. I’d found out that one of my former co-workers from UConn, Matt, was staying at a nearby Embassy Suites with his mom – AND they have free happy hour every night! He invited me to be his guest, so I took my grandparents’ car over to see him.

I had a couple nibbles of chips, and that classy plastic mostly-empty cup you see there was formerly filled with red sangria. It was extremely – juicy. But what can I expect during a cheap happy hour?! I planned to have a more unique libation at dinner anyway! The best part was meeting up with Matt after not having seen him in so long, and also finally getting to meet his mom, who I heard plenty about while we worked together at UConn Dining Services.

I met my parents and grandparents at a restaurant with a Caitlin-approved food/drink menu – and bonus points, our hotel gave us a coupon for it!

Interesting outdoor seating "booths", complete with space heaters.

The new-ish restaurant, Atlantic Cove, featured a menu of traditional meat and seafood plates, sushi, and unique Asian-fusion dishes. Our waitress, Alexa, was an absolute SWEETHEART. She seemed a bit new and nervous, but was so respectful and accommodating! I was very impressed.

Talk about a drink menu! My choice jumped out at me the second I saw it.

The Basil Martini, made with Belvedere Red, vermouth, and infused basil, was just what I was hoping for and more. It was so amazingly smooth, tasted like spiked pesto, and was certainly worth its money in terms of strength! I have to admit that I sloshed a bit of this beauty on myself at the end there.

Yay Dad!!

We were served some pretty tasty bread with olive oil and herbs, which I definitely prefer to butter.

I knew I wanted to get my fill of seafood on this trip, but I could NOT for the life of me decide on which fish I wanted, and whether or not I wanted it cedar-planked or blackened! I quickly took to Twitter to ask my go-to foodie followers for advice, and though I went with the votes for blackened, I opted for a fish I hadn’t had in a while, snapper.

My dad ordered seafood soup, one of his favorite things to get before our vacation dinners, a Lobster & Crab Bisque, and he loved it. The bowl was cool too!

He also ordered his fish blackened, but chose grouper. Unfortunately the kitchen goofed and served it grilled instead, but he didn’t say anything, because it was still excellent.

My meal was amazing too! I got asparagus on the side and devoured my pineapple mango salsa, as well as my dad’s. I also picked at my grandpa’s crabcakes and my mom’s baked potato skin.

I still had room for dessert once we got back to the hotel, so I savored a tiny treat I’d picked up the night before at TooJay’s, one of their famous mini black and white cookies. I didn’t have one during my December Florida trip, so it was a necessity!

I went to sleep content and grateful to be feeling better. Until the next day’s trip recap!

Which of the fish options on the menu would you have chosen? How about the preparation method?

Have you ever had a classic black and white cookie from a deli? The ones from Starbucks don’t count! 😉

Orlando Premium Outlets Get the Best of Me

Oh my goodness. By far the best outlet mall I have ever been to, the Orlando Premium Outlets totally blew my mind on full day #1 (Sunday) of this trip, when I was still feeling super under the weather. I was determined to not waste a SINGLE day in Orlando though. If I couldn’t enjoy premium eats, I could at least enjoy premium shops!

FAVE purchase of day.

JUST KIDDING about the above. This was a serious for-sale dress at the Papaya Outlet. Would make a great slutty college girl Halloween costume. Hey, I’m not judging. I’ve been there…

Junior year, 2010.


Purchased the above two necklaces at Charlotte Russe, 2 for $10 and then got 15% off for having a college ID, score!

Two more necklaces from Ann Taylor Loftbuy one, get one 50% off. They look kind of weird all folded up in their cellophane bags, but I like how the cashier placed them in there and stapled the bags shut, so I’m keeping them there until I can unpack them at home.

Lighting makes this J. Crew dress look more coral, but it’s actually bubblegum pink and has one of those exposed zippers in the back. I tried to find a more telling photo online but couldn’t!

This necklace was only $5 and J. Crew has a student discount too!

Ahhhh Vera Bradley outlet!!! I used the opportunity to purchase several Vera items I’ve always wanted but haven’t been able to justify purchasing – another notebook for school, sticky notes in assorted sizes, a calculator for my desk at work, and a luggage tag. The outlet prices were an additional 20% off!

As if I need any more shoes, right? I got some Toms look-alikes at Pac Sun, because I am in love with the ones I got in Boston but too cheap to pay $54 for another pair. I am more in love, though, with the pair on the right that I got at Journey’s. I have been wanting black and white 20’s-inspired shoes for awhile and am so happy to have found some that were reasonably priced – and I got 15% off from a coupon!

At Pac Sun I also got the above cloth leopard-print tank dress. It’s so comfortable and such a simple cut. The design also has a cute criss-cross back that’s unexpected if you just look at the dress from the front! I like the leopard print – I can even dress it down if needed with a black cardigan. I’m also excited about the bikini I got because I’ve always wanted one with a “sculpted” triangle top!

Ann Taylor was having a BIG sale, 40% off everything in the store, and my madre was kind enough to buy me the clothes I picked out there for my birthday (March 22). I love the above sweater and the gold buttons adorning it, and the tank is so cute and simple. Until it warms up, I can wear it under sweaters. I also am a bit obsessed with the 3/4-sleeve dress on the right. If I wear a tan or black cami underneath, I can wear it to work, and the longer sleeves mean I won’t be freezing my butt off like I always am in dresses. This will be paired with heels – obviously 🙂

I really like the prints that Ann Taylor comes out with every season. I have always been a fan of prints over solids (though there’s a time and place for everything!) and now that I have the above three tops, my next mission is to find some of the amazing colored ankle-length pants that have been all over the fashion mags lately.


Drumroll please, my biggest and most ridiculous/spontaneous purchase of the day – and ever.

I am a watch addict, so strolling into Fossil on a whim (I originally was headed to Auntie Anne’s, but alas, the damn line was out the door) was probably a big mistake. I immediately spotted several watches I’d had my eye on for awhile. Okay that’s a lie, two of them I’ve had my eye on, one I just saw and became enchanted by it. It reminded me of, oddly enough, birthday cake.

Do you see what I mean? That teal face (it’s more green in “real life light”), those colorful rhinestones. This is a total birthday watch!

My sister got the above watch for Christmas, and I was instantly jealous. Now I can say I have my own!

I saw the above watch, brown with a rose-gold stripe, online several months ago. I fell in love! It was even more beautiful in person.

Yes…I bought all three watches. AHHH. I was so afraid that the salespeople were judging me – ha! I was nervously chatting with the girl who helped me try on the watches, trying to make sure that there were people out there who had bought more than three at once before to calm myself. I am never this spontaneous and I don’t do things like this often…and I’m pretty excited about my watches…but it’s safe to say I won’t be going shopping again for awhile.

So all this shopping definitely cheered me up a bit, but I still went into the evening feeling sick, especially after being on my feet at the outlets for about four hours straight! My dad and I picked up takeout from TooJay’s and I was able to eat some of it (see above).

What’s the most spontaneous purchase you have ever made? What do you think of my purchases? What’s the best outlet mall you’ve ever been to?

Vacation Days Turned Sick Days

I have the worst luck, huh? Less than two weeks after getting over a stomach virus, I was hit with another one upon waking Saturday (yesterday) morning. I felt iffy, yet was experiencing no actual symptoms, so I still went to the gym and completed 30 minutes of HIIT on the StepMill. Looking back this was probably a bad call – I should have let myself rest. I wasn’t very hungry all day but managed a tiny breakfast and lunch. Luckily I was still doing OK on the plane ride to Orlando. However, my luck ended there.

This certainly LOOKS lucky – amazing dinner cooked by my dad. The place we’re staying is a timeshare so it’s more a condo than a hotel room. I was actually feeling very hungry for this dinner and it tasted fantastic to me. So fantastic that I ate myself silly!

Baked potato with salsa in the skin, medium to medium-rare filet mignon, and veggies dipped in Publix garlic hummus. Went back for more steak and also a turkey burger in spicy yellow mustard.

It all tasted so delicious, but I felt way too full afterward. I took a water bottle and went to sleep. And woke up a couple hours later in SO much pain, lots of stomach cramping, my body was VERY mad at me. I shouldn’t have let my guard down! But I did and I spent all day Sunday (today) feeling pretty darn crummy. Twitter was a lifesaver as usual – thanks to all who wished me well and gave me advice on how to tame my tummy!

Picked some of this good stuff up. Includes ginger!

I was way more cautious  and though I had a couple of moments of meh feelings, I am feeling better tonight, OK enough to VERY slowly eat some rye bread and turkey pastrami from TooJay’s, a Florida go-to. I refuse to miss out on this trip! I also had WAY too much success at the Orlando Premium Outlets, by far the best outlet mall I’ve ever been to (upon recommendation from the lovely J of J’s Everyday Fashion), which cheered me up. I will be sharing my purchases soon!

Our hotel room is also gorgeous! Again, more like a condo, kitchen included. That’s how we’ve been able to stay in for a couple of nights – and no one is fighting over TVs that’s for sure! Here are some pics for you all – gotta run 🙂 I’m gonna read my amazing book and hit the hay in a few. Here’s hoping I wake up feeling better!

My room, will be sharing with grandparents for a couple evenings.

My bathroom, the wallpaper is cute!

Despite the fact that we have a washer/dryer room, I did NOT pack light.

Living room and dining area.

Clearly the rents don't plan to use their jacuzzi for anything other than a suitcase stand.

What’s the best hotel room you’ve ever stayed in?

Have you ever gotten sick right before or during a vacation?

Rambling and Photos

Hey guys. I feel like I haven’t done a really good, this-is-me-writing-what’s-on-my-mind post since last week. Probably why I’m having the urge to just write whatever is on my mind! But I also have photos from my trip to Boston a few weekends back that  I never got to share – I ducked into Barrington Coffee Roasters quickly so my friend Ken of Pete & Gerry’s Eggs could grab a coffee, and was impressed by the cafe’s use of space and simplistic, clean decor. I had to take photos and really want to show them to you all, so I’m going to borrow a tactic one of my favorite bloggers, Danielle, uses and just disperse the pictures of the coffee shop throughout my rambling (hence this post’s title).

So what’s up with me on this Hump Day? Well, I’ve been having great workouts lately. This past weekend included a Grammys-themed spin class, tough StepMill HIIT session, and some leg work. Monday I got out of work on time to attend my favorite high-intensity Step class, and yesterday was an active rest day in which I utilized a My Yoga Online trial membership (ended today – sad :() and completed a 40 minute video called Grounding Yoga Flo that was really the perfect mix of flow and quad-burning poses in the beginning, followed by relaxing balance and twist poses (like eagle – I LOVE that one, so fun to try and stay stable) til the end.


Work has been going well – last week was pretty busy but that made it fly by. This week things have slowed down and I’m glad, though at times finding myself looking for more to do. I probably just jinxed myself…

…but even if I did, no big deal, because next week is my first official big-girl-job vacation and I am leaving this Saturday afternoon for ORLANDO! Despite the fact that we have been blessed with the warmest winter since the year I moved here (2001-2002 winter), I am still so ready to fly South and also see my grandma and grandpa. I have already done a TON of restaurant research for my trip and my parents and grandparents are ready to let me plan all of our evenings – I have impressed them in the past with my restaurant choices, and I’m always in charge of picking places during trips!

I definitely want to get my shop on in Orlando, and Jeanette of J’s Everyday Fashion was kind enough to provide me with the Top 5 Places to Shop in Orlando. I pretty much want to hit up every. single. one. but don’t know if that will be possible! My priorities, in that case, are on the Premium Outlets (hello, deals) and Park Avenue in Winter Park (because I want to eat at a BUNCH of places there too). Downtown Disney is probably happening anyway – I love walking around there with my parents!

Just writing this has gotten me even MORE excited for vacation, if that’s possible. I cannot wait to lay by the pool reading magazines each day. I ADORE magazines and I have a huge stockpile of them that I’m packing, because reading a magazine inside in the winter sucks, so I save them all for outdoor reading. Does anyone else do this?

I’m off – I feel like I’ve sufficiently rambled and photo-shared enough for one post. Not sure what will be on my workout agenda tonight, depends on when I get out of work (either Interval Training class or Spin), but either way it’s gonna get me sweaty and leave me feeling awesome.  I also have to share with you guys the FANTASTIC dinner I had last night (which ended with a complimentary dessert) at one of CT’s only vegetarian restaurants, It’s Only Natural in Middletown, CT. I’ll get on it!

What do you think of the decor of Barrington Coffee Roasters?

What was your best recent workout?

Have you ever been to Orlando? Do you LIVE in Orlando? Shopping/restaurant recs are welcome!