Carb Load at Harvest Bistro

Disclosure: I was provided a free meal at harvest Bistro, however all opinions are my own.

If you have been hanging around my blog long enough, you know how much I love runDisney races. A lot goes into how I “do” a race weekend, but one thing is for sure, I love to get a good meal full of carbs the night before I run. Lucky for us (and you hopefully!) Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek provides a special Carb load dinner at one of their restaurants, Harvest Bistro, every time there is a runDisney race weekend.

Carb load before your next runDisney race at Harvest Bistro at Hilton orlando Bonnet Creek hotel

I love how much they think of runners and their needs before their big race! It’s the little things, right?harvest bistro

When I ran the Star Wars challenge in April, I decided I needed to check out said menu and the chef was kind enough to make me miniature portions of all three so that I could test out all the flavors and tell you about them. (You can also order off the regular menu while you are there.)

harvest bistro

First we have the chicken meatball rigatoni. Pomodoro braised chicken meatballs with fresh basil. It was the most hearty of the three, and the chicken was delicious. The sauce and pasta were both very filling and I would definitely get this again!

harvest bistro

Next up was the fettucini carbonara. It contained sauteed pancetta with fresh green peas and roasted tomatoes. This is my favorite style of pasta, and the pancetta gave it really nice flavor. It was filling without being too heavy, and the peas gave it a nice touch as well. This was my favorite of all three!

 

harvest bistro

Lastly was the vegetarian option of whole wheat spaghetti. It was tossed with carrot walnut pesto and topped with lemon zest and parmesan. It was unique, but slightly too “herb” tasting for my liking, but that’s just a personal preference of course. I ate all three and would definitely come back!

harvest bistro

This restaurant is located downstairs, and has indoor and outdoor seating near the pool but still in a quiet and tucked away location.

harvest bistro

They open at 5:00, so you can get in plenty early and then get to bed for the race morning wake up call, fueled up and ready to run.

harvest bistro

Also, if you are looking for a place to stay during your runDisney weekend, check out this post as to why this is my hotel of choice!

harvest bistro

The meals are $18 per person, and if you want to lounge in your room and put your feet up while you eat, you can also order this special menu through in room dining!

 

4 Tips to Stay Sane and Healthy This Summer

Disclosure: This post was created by myself and sponsored by Personal Trainer Food. However all opinions are my own.

It’s that time of year again. Kids are getting out of school for summer, which would make you think things are slowing down, but often the opposite happens. Between camps and work and the pool and trying to keep our children busy, things can end up being more hectic than the school year, leaving little time for yourself, and more importantly your health. I have compiled four quick tips (you know, because you are already too busy for like, 17 tips) to help keep you sane and healthy this summer.

1.) Schedule “me” time into your day (learn to say no): We want our families to be happy, and a lot of times we equate that with busyness and activities. However, this can end up running us ragged and leaving no time for a little peace and quiet, or for a run or yoga class. Your health and well being are important, so don’t be afraid to say no to a social activity or pool play date every once in a while so that you can have some downtime yourself. I promise your kids won’t be scared for life!

4 tips for staying healthy this summer, including personal trainer food

2.) Get outside with your kids: Summertime is a great time to get outside and lead by example and show our kids the importance of being active. Thankfully in our day and age, there are some amazing ideas for fun outdoor activities on Pinterest. I have seen everything from outdoor Twister to water balloon fight ideas and more. Not only is this healthy, but can be a great bonding experience for your family.

4 tips for staying healthy this summer, including personal trainer food

3.) Wear sunscreen and sunglasses: After the bleakness of winter, if can be hard to flip the switch and remember that you are now wearing tank tops and shorts and not long sleeves and pants. Don’t skimp on the sunscreen and don’t forget to reapply, even on cloudy days. Also, be sure to protect your eyes with sunglasses or a hat, even for the kiddos. If you are in the water or sweating a lot, be sure to reapply more often than normal.

4.) Try Personal Trainer FoodEating properly is at the core of our health, and it can be so tempting to grab fast food or processed snacks when you are busy in the summer, but don’t be tempted! Especially to have a good start in the morning, you need a filling healthy breakfast to keep you going during the day. Enter Personal Trainer Food.

4 tips for staying healthy this summer, including personal trainer food

Talk about QUICK on the go meals, I can have a delicious (seriously tastes really good!) omelet and maple sausage cooked and ready to eat in 90 seconds! And I don’t even have to dirty up a pan or use the stove. It’s such a  time saver, but that’s not the only plus. These meals are proven to help aid in weight loss, as they are high in protein, have good carbs in them as well as healthy fats. They are flash frozen so they keep their natural flavor and freshness which is awesome.

4 tips for staying healthy this summer, including personal trainer food

Their meals also either contain very low or no gluten, and have no fillers or hidden sugars. They just show up at your doorstep, go in the freezer, and then I just grab one in the morning and throw it in the microwave. Worries about not liking some of the food? Don’t! There are seriously so. many. options. on their website, which makes it easy to mix up every week or keep the same favorites. Their prices are fair and there are no hidden fees.

Personal trainer food

A lot of times I end up staring at the fridge not feeling like or having time to cook for my family (hello that would involve going to the store, meal prepping, cook time, etc.) and now I don’t have to worry about it. I can use that extra time to go for a run, or play a game with my family so it’s a win win for everyone. They even have quick on the go snacks you can order like cheeses, nuts, and seeds. Now I have literally no excuse for eating healthy, even when I’m super busy. Give them a try this summer, and I have a feeling you will be using Personal Trainer Food even after the next school year starts!

Easy Blueberry Protein Smoothie

This post is sponsored by Wish Farms in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.

Recently I had the opportunity to go just outside of Lakeland, Florida with Wish Farms to visit their organic blueberry farm, Misty Organics, and learn more about the process of growing blueberries. We also got to see a packing plant and exactly how they go from farm to table, which was SO cool. We also ate at some delicious local restaurants who all used Wish Farms blueberries in special meals made for our group. Everything was so delicious and fun! It really got me in the mood to do more meals with blueberries. Since it’s getting HOT here in Florida I decided to create my own Blueberry protein smoothie that I could have before or after a hard workout. It’s super simple and fast to make with just a handful of ingredients. Great for busy on the go parents (or your kids, too!)

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

But first let’s back up so you can see exactly where these delicious blueberries come from. We visited Misty Organics, Wish Farm’s organic blueberry farm, and got to see the cool way they pot the blueberry plants and use tunnels to control the temperature of the plants. healthy blueberry protein smoothie

We learned that blueberries like water but don’t like to “keep their feet wet”, so the pots drain to help keep that from happening. I also learned that there are so many different varieties of blueberries. I had NO idea there was more than one. We got to taste several different varieties, and I could definitely tell a difference.

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

We also learned that NOW is the time to buy Wish Farms southeast blueberries! This covers Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

After being treated to yogurt and blueberry parfaits (of course!) we headed over to the packaging plant to see how the berries go from farm to packages to the store.

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

It was so cool to see the blueberries go up on a huge conveyor belt, get sorted by machine and by hand, and then weighed and put into packages. It truly is a very efficient process and I could have watched all day!

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

It was a great, eye opening trip that made me want to support these farmers and make even MORE things with blueberries! As a busy mom on the go I don’t have time for elaborate recipes, so this super easy smoothie recipe is not only fast to make, but you can take your smoothie with you anywhere.

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

Ingredients:

-1/2 c vanilla greek yogurt

-1/2 c Wish Farms blueberries

-1 scoop of your favorite vanilla protein power (I use Lean one)

-1/2 c unsweetened almond milk

-1-2 tbsp honey for desired sweetness

-ice cubes for desired thickness

healthy blueberry protein smoothie

Directions:

Add all items to a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

For updates, be sure to follow Wish Farms, on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube

 

5 Reasons to Visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

Disclosure: I attended a media event at EPCOT and was able to try out some of the delicious food and drinks, however I was not asked to write this post and all opinions are my own.

5 reasons to visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival this spring at Walt Disney World Resort

Every spring, Epcot is blanketed in gorgeous flowers, topiary figures and gardens, and is peppered with delicious food and drink booths. It’s one of my favorite times of year to visit Walt Disney World, and the weather is the best at this time of year, too. Every year EPCOT seems to outdo itself and this year’s festival is definitely one you won’t want to miss. I could go on and on about why, but I have condensed it down to the top five reasons to visit the EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival this year. Check it out:

 

1.) Flowers: This one is kind of a given, but if you love nature and the beauty that surrounds us every day, you will love seeing EPCOT decked out in bursts of color and some of your favorite characters in plant and flower form. Emma Kate loved spotting her favorites like Daisy, and the clear blue sky gave us a beautiful backdrop. I love spring in Walt Disney World! These fun characters can be found all over the park as well as gorgeous gardens, even one with butterflies!

2) Merchandise: Who doesn’t love a good Disney souvenir am I right? Not only is there a ton of new merchandise out just for the festival, but you can even buy these adorable gift cards to put on your wrist as you walk around the “world” sampling food and drink, and purchasing that new garden statue or cute light up purple rose cup.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

The mouse ears pictures below are sure to be a hit! I just love the detailing.

EPCOT International Flower and Garden Festival

This is one of two magic bands available during the festival. Any collectors dream come true.

 

 

3.) Play area for kids: I have a very active three and a half year old, but happen to be a very tired mommy. I love the special play area for kids, not only because it keeps my child busy and exploring, but because it has chairs, and umbrellas, for tired walking feet. Double win for our family! This play are can be found on the right on your way into World Showcase.

 

4.) Garden Rocks concert series: Music lovers listen up! During the festival there will be over a dozen musical acts at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00 pm on the Garden Rocks stage. There will be some old “familiar” faces as well as some new ones!

 

5.) Food: Not to be missed are the outdoor kitchens, which is my favorite part. There are over a dozen stops that open at 11:00 am daily. Check out the Disney Website for a list of all the kitchens and menu items. Below are some of my personal favorites.

 

  • Maple Popcorn Shake with Crown Royal Maple Whisky and
  • Griddled Maple Pound Cake with Warm Peach Compote and Sweet Corn Gelato

  • Beef Brisket Burnt Ends and Smoked Pork Belly Slider with Garlic Sausage, Chorizo, Cheddar Fondue and House-made Pickle

  • Toasted Pretzel Bread topped with Black Forest Ham and Melted Gruyère Cheese. (I had two of these!)

There were so many other delicious things to eat and drink but I just wanted to share my absolute MUST HAVES. I would love to know your favorites! So be sure to get to EPCOT as soon as you can. Don’t wait, because the festival will only be around until May 28th, 2018.

 

Occidental Grand Cozumel All Inclusive

Disclosure: We were given a discount on our day passes to Occidental Grand through Resort For A Day, however all opinions are my own.

Bobby and I have been to Cozumel numerous times while on cruise ships, and we wanted to go somewhere we had never gone before. I started doing some research on ResortForADay.com as we love a good all inclusive, and I stumbled on Occidental Grand, which is a resort, but the offer day passes for cruise ship passengers. It looked like the perfect place to spend the day. We purchased our passes quickly and easily on the website, brought our print out conformation with us on the ship, and waited for our day in Cozumel.

The resort is very private. We took a taxi there and it was about a ten minute ride. There is a guard at the gate, as well as lush tropical landscaping. The open air lobby was beautiful, (I wish we had more time to just wander around), and we checked in and were given directions to the beach and pools.

You have a to walk a little ways to get to the beach, but the walk is gorgeous and totally worth it. We passed different buildings that house guests, as well as sculptures, plants, and fountains.

We met several new friends along the way. I have no idea what these guys are but there were adorable and not skiddish.

We followed the Caribbean music and made it to a gorgeous pool and beach area where there were towels, clean bathrooms, plenty of chairs, and an open bar.

You could also get a beach cabana massage for an additional fee.

These cabana beds were first come first serve. They were up off the beach but we ended up in one in the afternoon where we snoozed for a few minutes before heading back to the ship.

Included in our day pass along with the open bar was a buffet lunch. It wasn’t spectacular food, but it was decent quality and there was plenty to go around with lots of variety, as well as soft serve ice cream which was a great way to end the meal.

The views at lunch did not suck.

occidental grand

We spent most of our day reading and lounging steps from the beautiful clear water, only getting up to go back to the bar!

While children are allowed at this resort, I only saw about four of them. They did have a staff member at the pool playing games with them which I thought was nice, but if coming for the day keep in mind it was mainly adults and there were no big water inflatable toys like at some of the other all inclusive beaches. We had the opportunity to speak to a couple of people who were staying at the resort and found out it was their fourth time they love the resort so much!

occidental grand

Hearing this made us want to come back and stay, as the grounds are beautiful and we found the beach area very quiet and serene. They also had an adults only pool but it is not on the beach. (below). The property was very well maintained and the staff was friendly. The only negative was the drinks were not super strong unless you specifically asked the bar tender to make it that way. My first drink was very bland and watered down, but the next one was good.

Check out this info from the Resort for a Day website:

The All Inclusive Experience: 
Your Cozumel Resort For a Day Pass includes lunch and snacks! Enjoy lunch from 12 pm – 4:30 at the Beach Club, which offers an international thematic buffet with a spectacular ocean views. Getting thirsty? Cool down with your drink of choice; unlimited alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages are included in this Cozumel shore excursion. Bars open at 10am. Resort For a Day cruise guests are welcome to arrive as early as 9:00am and stay up till 5:00pm. (These times are always local Cozumel times).
Getting There:
Transfers are not included, taxi service is readily available both at the cruise pier and at the resort for your return. We recommend heading back to the cruise ship 2 hours prior to your scheduled departure. Here are easy transfer tips based on your arrival pier:

  • Punta Langosta: 20 min tax ride, about US $18 for 1-4 guests.
  • International Pier: 8-10 min tax ride, about US $8 for 1-4 guests.
  • Puerta Maya: 8-10 min tax ride, about US $8 for 1-4 guests.

We would go back again on an adults only trip, I really enjoyed our day at the Occidental Grand!

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I sailed on the Carnival Vista as a guest of Carnival, and ate a complimentary meal at Fahrenheit 555. However, all opinions are my own. 

The Carnival Vista has so many things to do and so many delicious places to eat. Bobby and I wanted to be sure to discover as many of them as possible, so we were really excited to have the opportunity to eat at Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse the first night of our cruise. (Side note: if you dine there the first night, you get a free bottle of house wine or 50% off any bottle! And they have a very extensive wine list.)

Fahrenheit 555 on the Carnival Vista is a Steahouse with a small fee. It's a gorgeous place to dine for dinner with amazing food, steak, and seafood! Try it on your next cruise.

The decor inside the restaurant is elegant but also not too over the top. We found the atmosphere to be very relaxing and modern.

We were seated right away (reservations highly encouraged) and were introduced to our friendly server. We ordered our bottle of wine and had the menu explained to us. We couldn’t wait to eat!

We enjoyed just hanging out and talking while waiting for our food. There are lots of tables for two for couples which I really liked, and you don’t see that much on cruise ships.

It took awhile to figure out what I wanted to order because it all looked so delicious! Everyone can order an appetizer, entree, and dessert, so make sure you save room.

For appetizers we ended up getting salads, and then I had the baked onion soup while Bobby had the ahi tuna tartare. The soup hit the spot but didn’t fill me up too much (hello, I wanted to be able to enjoy my steak!) and Bobby loved the presentation of his appetizer. As the food was brought out, it was all explained to use which was a nice touch.

For our entrees, I had the filet mignon, and Bobby had the surf and turf. Both were delicious and tender, I would definitely get mine again. It was a generous size, and I couldn’t even finish it.

For dessert I got chocolate (who is surprised) and it was rich but amazing, and Bobby got what I remember as an apple pie in a cute little skillet. We may or may not have licked the plates clean!

I really liked that they didn’t rush us through our meal, and our dinner was nice and leisurely. The steakhouse was an amazing way to start off our cruise, and totally worth it for the small up charge you pay to eat here. Fahrenheit 555 gets an A+ in my book and I can’t wait to go back!

To see the full menu, click here.

*Please note there is a $35 per person charge to dine in their restaurant, but it is well worth it! To check out my post where I talk about the regular dining room option, click here.

Sandals Ochi Beach

Disclosure: We were provided with two free day passes to the resort, however all opinions on Sandals Ochi Beach are my own.

Back in November when I sailed on the Carnival Vista, one of our stops was to Jamaica. I knew they had a Sandals resort there, and so I was really excited to spend the day exploring, in hopes of coming back for longer one day. The weather was dreary, but we still had a great time and I learned a lot about Sandals Ochi Beach resort!

This place has a beach club, 11 bars, and 16(!!) restaurants. You can take the shuttle to the other side of the road for more fun. Tranquil, lush gardens and quiet relaxing places to read or just enjoy your surroundings. This place has something for everyone!

Of course when you stay at Sandals Ochi you get top notch service such as free wifi, free airport transfers, unlimited land and water sports, unlimited wines and premium spirits, unlimited fine dining, golf, and access to the beach club where there are so many activities going on all day and into the night.

We were given a tour when we arrived, and this place is HUGE. I don’t think if I stayed for a month I could do all the things there are to do. So for those worried about getting bored at an all inclusive, that’s definitely not an issue here!

I loved the laid back atmosphere of the resort. No one was in a hurry, everyone was happy and relaxed, and it was so peaceful. The first thing we did was enjoy a breakfast buffet overlooking the ocean. I was handed a mimosa, and thought “I can get used to this!”

We enjoyed out food and the excellent customer service from the staff before heading to the pool to relax and enjoy some drinks. We ended up at the Beach Club area and at the swim up pool bar (so nice) where they will make you pretty much anything you want. I had a great time trying different drinks I normally wouldn’t order, and listening to the music as we looked out at the water.

Everyone was so friendly and we enjoyed chatting with other couples from all over the place. Some have been back several times which speaks very highly of Sandals Ochi Beach. Before we knew it, it was lunch time, so we headed back to the buffet area (there were other options as well) and enjoyed another meal overlooking the water, and I tried the drink of the day which was delicious.

After lunch I spent some time exploring the grounds and taking photos. I still didn’t have time to even take photos of everything!

I was jealous of everyone who got to stay there overnight when we had to go back to the ship.

I definitely would love to come back here, or try out another Sandals property, and actually be an overnight guest and experience more the resorts have to offer. I would also love a sunny day (haha).

If you are considering an all inclusive, I highly recommend Sandals Ochi Beach. There is something for everyone, and there are even direct flights from many airports. They have accommodations for all budgets, and activities and experiences you won’t soon forget. I know I was just there for a few hours, but I know I won’t forget the fun we had in Jamaica.

sandals ochi beach

Pppssst: If you are sailing here on a cruise ship, they offer a limited amount of day passes, which is what we had, so you can go check out the resort for yourself!

Sandals ochi beach

 

Better Body Jump Start FREE Email Challenge

2018 is upon us, as is the time we all make goals or resolutions for the new year. Let me ask you a question. How many goals do you ever actually keep? Let me make it a little easier…how many do you keep for at least a month? That number is hopefully higher, but the sad truth is that so many of us have GREAT intentions, but then fall off the wagon because we have no support or accountability, or we just plain don’t know where to start.

I want you to be successful in 2018, and actually stick with something. I realized 2 things: 1.) Changes can and need to be SMALL if we want to really make them stick, and 2.) it truly does take a village. I don’t know about you but when I’m working out with a group, I push harder than when left to my own devices. So I figure in health in general, if we are left to fend for ourselves, we may be likely to cheat, skip, and give up all together.

 

I want to put an END to excuses and an END to goals that never get met. That’s why I created the Better Body Jump Start 7 Day Email Challenge. This is a completely FREE challenge. When you sign up, you will get 7 days worth of emails in your inbox, one each day, with ACTIONABLE tips, motivation, ideas, and calls to action to get you going.

 

 

Remember, little changes add up to BIG things, so don’t discredit the small shifts you make in your schedule, habits, and life. I KNOW you can do this, and I want to help you prove to yourself that you can.

The emails may only go on for 7 days, but I CHALLENGE you to keep up the thins I discuss all the way through the month of January. At the end of January if you don’t feel stronger, healthier, more energizes, and better about yourself, then you can stop. BUT, if you do the things I talk about, then I know you will feel amazing and want to keep going!

All you have to do is click this link to sign up (make sure you confirm your subscription when it hits your inbox, and be sure to check your spam!) Please email me with any questions, I’m happy to help any way I can.

Let’s make 2018 the year you become the best version of yourself. To get you really thinking about your goals and what you want out of 2018, I decided to share with you something that I actually started a couple weeks ago but was nervous to share out loud, but I am letting go of fear and taking action in my life.

I started a podcast! It just so happens that my very first episode is all about goal setting. I encourage you to listen to it if you are on the fence about the challenge (it has nothing to do with the challenge itself) or if you are telling yourself NOT to make goals because they never happen for you. After you click the link, check out the December 18th episode. I hope you enjoy, and then will join in the email challenge.

 

My 7 Favorite Things About the Carnival Vista

Disclosure: I sailed for free on the Carnival Vista, however all opinions are my own.

I have been on several cruises, and really enjoy being out on the water, and having the ability to visit several destinations in one trip. Another things I really enjoy about cruises is exploring what basically amounts to a floating city.

As soon as I heard about Carnival’s newest ship, the Vista, I couldn’t wait to get on her and explore. After spending six nights on this beauty, I came up with seven of my favorite (there were many more though!) things about the ship to share with you.

1.) Anytime Dining: There are some days when you are out in a port, having a blast, and you just aren’t ready to go back to the ship to make your early dining time. Never fear, anytime dining is here! Just show up at the podium on the ship when you are ready to eat, and you are given a ticket and sent down to the dining room when your table is ready. We always ate between 6:00-7:00, and never had to wait. We could take our time getting dressed, no rushing around, and no stress. It was a great way to enjoy dinner and we loved the option! You could even request a certain server or section if you wanted to do so.

2.) Fahrenheit 55 Steakhouse: I have heard people rave about this restaurant, so I was pumped to try it out on our first night. (Bonus: if you dine there the first night you get a FREE bottle of house wine, or 50% off any bottle of wine!) It’s beautifully decorated, the staff was amazing, the food is plentiful, and it’s a very peaceful relaxed place. It was a top notch experience I recommend to everyone who sails. If you are looking for a fun “date night” or a little extra pampering with delicious food, don’t miss this one.

3.) Friendly Staff: With anything in life, dealing with staff anywhere you go can be hit or miss. It can be especially frustrating when you are going to be dealing with the same people over and over again, like on a cruise. I was SO pleasantly surprised with the staff, and in particular our stateroom hostess. She showed up the day we got on the ship and introduced herself to us, asked if we needed anything (I asked for an extra blanket which was delivered immediately) and she also noticed that we had a cord running across the floor for my husbands fan. She didn’t want us to trip so she brought an extension cord and taped it down to the floor for us. Seriously above and beyond, she could have just not done anything. We always had ice in our room, and I loved coming back at night to the turn down service and a fun towel animal. She always spoke to us when we saw her int he hallway, and was just generally a sweet pleasant person (as were all the staff we encountered!)

 4.) Cloud 9 Spa: We were fortunate to be in a spa stateroom on the ship, so our room was literally a hope skip and a jump from the Cloud 9 spa. We really enjoyed using the thermal suite, the heated tile lounge chairs, and we also visited the gym numerous times and found it to be spacious with lots of equipment. While we did not get any spa services while on board, there was a huge menu to choose from and always something going on.

Carnival Vista

5.) Serenity Adults Only Area: Aaahhh. Now you are speaking my language. Our room happened to also be super close to the adults only area which has two hot tubs, a bar, salad bar, and lots of comfy lounge chairs and what amounts to some private clam shell bed complete with throw pillows. This was a great, quiet escape form the hustle and bustle of the main parts of the ship, and we spent part of a port day and literally all day of our last sea day on this deck. If you want to nap or read a good book, this is definitely the place to do it. A couple of things to note though: The salad bar is only open on sea days, and the “clam shell beds” I mentioned (pictured below) get scooped up VERY quickly on sea days. I went out at 7:45 am to snag one and it was the last one, but totally worth it!

Carnival Vista

6.) Ship Water: I know this sounds bizarre, but I CAN’T be the only person who has thought about this, so I had to add it in to my favorites. Confession, I’m really weird about water. Like, really weird. I do not like lukewarm water or water the has a taste. I have been on other cruise lines and at restaurants where the tap water tastes awful, and so I was super nervous about being dehydrated during the cruise. So much in fact, that we ordered THREE cases of water to be delivered to our room so we wouldn’t die of thirst (dramatic, I know.) It ended up being a totally unfounded fear because the water on the ship tasted delicious and we only ended up using one case of water (for port days).

7.) Hand Washing: My husband and I are a bit of germaphobes (hey, we have a very germ-y three year old so it’s a necessity). I have heard awful stories of sickness sweeping through cruise ships and I for one did not want to be sick on my vacation. We boarded armed with hand sanitizer and Lysol spray. I found one of my favorite ship things in buffet. Not only do they have hand sanitizing stations everywhere, but they had hand washing stations. You just put your hands in the holes, not touching anything, and water and soap sprays out and washes your hands for you. It takes about 15 seconds, but it’s pretty cool and made me feel super clean. Kudos to Carnival for having different options and for keeping everyone safe from the spread of germs!

Carnival Vista

The Carnival Vista has so many great things about it that it was hard to narrow down to just seven, so be sure to check it out for yourself and find your favorites!

Clearwater Uncorked 2017 Review

Disclosure: I attended the festival free of charge, however all opinions are my own.

The Clearwater Beach Uncorked festival takes place right on the beach next to Clearwater’s famous Pier 60. It’s a fabulous time to enjoy amazing food, drinks, and weather (December in central Florida is the best!) I had the opportunity to attend the festival for the first time, and it did not disappoint. 

Bobby and I checked in and were given media passes as well as some goodies before meeting up for a special presentation. The weather was PERFECT and I couldn’t wait to see all the fun things this day would bring.

The way the festival works is there are general admission passes and VIP passes for purchase. VIP’s get access to the tasting village at noon, while everyone else waits until 1:00. VIP’s also had access to an outdoor lounge by the pool at the Wyndham across the street. The lounge was open from 1:00-5:00, and the tasting village was open until 4:00. Media got to sneak in early before the madness and take some photos and here all about chocolates and desserts.

We toasted to the festival with the most adorable bottles of champagne.

And were treated to the most delicious chocolates I have ever tasted from Norman Love. (My favorite was the almond and chocolate one, I’m trying to figure out how to get my hands on more as we speak!)

We also heard from Norman himself.

Cake pops were also had by all (red velvet was delicious!)

After the dessert indulgence, it was time for us to work backwards and start tasting all the food and beverages in the tent.

There were so many options we really didn’t know where to start! Everyone was so friendly and answered all of our questions.

When I saw someone handing these bad boys out, I was so pumped. What a perfect invention! It was hard to eat and hold your drink at the same time, so, problem solved!

After awhile we decided to head over to the outdoor VIP lounge at the Wyndham across the street.

Patron popsicles? Yes please! I may have had more than one…

Again, so many options, and generous portions and as many seconds (or thirds) as you wanted!

Again, the weather was so perfect and the location was on point, and we couldn’t have asked for a better day with great food and great (and some new!) friends.

My only wish would be that it was open longer! I didn’t get a chance to visit all the booths because there were just too many and we only had four hours. I vote for opening an hour early next year. That would be my only criticism. 🙂

If you have the chance to go to Clearwater Uncorked next year, I would highly recommend it, totally worth the money. I have gone to a lot of events in the short year I have been in Tampa, but this one is near, if not at the top of the list!

To see more photos from the event search hashtags #UncorkedWeekend and #CLBU17. Fair warning, it will make you hungry!