Friday, September 5, 2014

Winter has Hope #DolphinTale2

As part of an exciting Dolphin Tale 2 weekend, my family and I visited the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home of Winter the dolphin and star of Dolphin Tale and Dolphin Tale 2.  The Clearwater Marine Aquarium's CEO, David Yates, explained the CMA's mission to rescue, rehabilitate and, when possible, release injured animals back to their environment.  David told us about the amazing story of a baby dolphin's rescue which coincidentally happened during the evening wrap party for Dolphin Tale.  Many of the cast and crew were there to witness baby Hope being carried to the pool where CMA staff was waiting to care for her.  Harry Connick, Jr. recalls, "Everybody was oohing and aahing because she was just so adorable, never thinking that what we were watching would, in time, prompt a completely new storyline that would bring us back together."

My boys loved seeing Winter and Hope playing together but they weren't the only rescued animals at the CMA.  They also had sea turtles, otters, rays and pelicans.  All of these animals have been rescued and rehabilitated but can't be released back into the wild.

In Dolphin Tale 2, Sawyer, played by Nathan Gamble, and Hazel, played by Cozi Zuehlsdorff, have grown up.  No longer young kids, they gained more independence and responsibilities and are faced with making some tough decisions.  Harry Connick, Jr. is back as Dr. Clay Haskett and Hazel's father.  He also adjusts to having a teenage daughter who wants to make her own decisions as part of the CMA team in Dolphin Tale 2.

 Both Dolphin Tale movies show perseverance against impossible odds.  I was amazed at how much Winter, a dolphin without a tale, has touched so many lives of those living with disabilities. Bethany Hamilton had a role in Dolphin Tale 2.  My boys knew right away that she was the surfer who survived a shark attack because we'd seen Soul Surfer and Bethany's incredible story of survival.  It's heartwarming that Winter and Hope are a huge inspiration to so many!

Dolphin Tale 2 is in theaters on September 12!  Find out more about Dolphin Tale 2 on Facebook or Twitter.  Visit Winter and Hope at the CMA in Clearwater, FL.

Disclaimer: My family and I were granted entry to the CMA and a showing of Dolphin Tale 2 as part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers.  All opinions are my own.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Summer of Rum Festival Preview

The 2014 Summer of Rum Festival is this weekend on Saturday, August 16 from 2:00pm - 11:00pm at The Cuban Club in Ybor City.

How to Fest:

VIP Experience $95 advance/$125 at the door if available - The VIP Rum Experience gives you access to the VIP Tent at the main patio and a bonus 1 Rum Tasting Pass (see details below). Enjoy UNLIMITED RUM DRINKS in the VIP Tent from the VIP bar. The VIP Tent will feature prime views to the main stage, decorated tent/shade area, bars to serve VIP ticket holders only, some seating area, and a cooled air-mist system (NOT air conditioning). Go inside the Cuban Club to cool off and enjoy the Island Rum Tasting Party!

As a bonus, the VIP Rum Experience will include 1 Rum Tasting Pass good for 5 tastes at the Island Rum Tasting. Includes a collectible Summer of Rum Shot Glass. Additional Rum Tasting Pass can be purchased. Rum tasting is open from 2pm to 6pm ONLY! No refunds/cash value for unused passes.

General Admission $20 advance/$25 at the door if available - GA Admission gives you access to the Summer of Rum with all day re-entry privileges. Enjoy live entertainment on our main-stage, each of the unique rum zones, rum shacks, games, and more while you sip on delicious rum drinks. Once inside, rum drinks are available for purchase.

This year's entertainment includes Jimmy Stowe and the Stowaways, Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, I-Resolution, UNRB, Impulse World Beat, and Jahfari Band.

For more information visit Summer of Rum or on Facebook.

Leave a comment here or on Chrissy is Loving Life if you want to win a pair of GA tickets for the Summer of Rum Festival on Aug 16th.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Running Ramblings and Race Ragz Review

Only 10 weeks until the Chicago Marathon!  I'm really excited about this race.  Not only do I get to visit my cousin Erin and her hubby Alex, but I'm hoping to PR in the cooler Chicago weather after training in the Florida heat.  My current marathon PR is 4:49 from the A1A Marathon. I'm aiming for closer to a 4:30 finish time in Chicago.

Here are my runs and average paces for the second half of July.  To finish a marathon in 4:30, my average pace needs to be 10:18 for the entire 26.2 miles. 

Date Miles Duration Avg Pace Type/Run
7/26/2014 14 2:29:04 10:38 long
7/24/2014 6 0:55:11 9:11 tempo
7/22/2014 5.02 0:46:10 9:12 intervals
7/19/2014 12 2:00:40 10:03 long
7/15/2014 5 0:45:17 9:02 tempo
7/12/2014 15.2 2:31:16 9:57 long

Saturday's 14 mile run was tough because I didn't eat enough carbs on Friday. I realized that about half way through the run when I was starving and already running out of steam. Mental note for later.

On Thursday's tempo run, I ran in my new Race Ragz custom made dry fit shirt. I received lots of compliments.  Everyone loved my new shirt with our running group's logo on front! Suncoast Striders Rule!

After 6 very humid and sweaty miles

My Race Ragz offers custom made dry performance shirts made for runners by runners.  I created my one of a kind personalized performance shirt using my own logo on the front and one of Race Ragz's pre-loaded images on the back.  They have 1000+ pre-loaded images/sayings for you to use on your custom shirt.

I ordered the women's synergy race tank in size medium.  It fit true to size.  This shirt was a thin, soft dry fit material.  It was very comfortable to run in with no chaffing issues after 6 miles.  It also did not ride up on my hips as I ran...always a plus for me!  The ordering process was very easy including uploading my own image for the front of my shirt.  I recommend My Race Ragz for any custom running shirt needs.

Now one lucky reader gets to win their own Race Ragz custom running shirt (up to $46 value)!  Enter below through Rafflecopter. Contest ends Aug 6, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was given a $46 credit to create and order my own shirt from My Race Ragz.  All opinions are my own.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Run for Your Lives!

After running the Disney Marathon in January, the A1A Marathon in February and a couple of halves, I needed a little break from running.  I think for me, I also needed a break from the early mornings...I am not a morning person.  I was lazy and enjoyed it!  But eventually, I missed the running and my running buddies.

It's strange how quickly I lost my speed (which is relative to me and not runners that are actually fast) and amazing how quickly I regained that speed.

I started running regularly again at the end of April.  For me that consisted of 2-3 days a week.  Here are my Garmin stats from dailymile over the past couple of months.

    Miles  Duration     Pace
7/10/2014 6.02 0:55:44 9:15
7/9/2014 6 0:46:37 9:19
7/6/2014 10.01 1:49:37 10:57
7/3/2014 5 0:48:38 9:43
6/28/2014 12 2:01:55 10:09
6/26/2014 6 0:56:16 9:22
6/21/2014 10 1:38:39 9:51
6/19/2014 4.75 0:45:33 9:35
6/17/2014 3.2 0:33:30 10:27
6/14/2014 10.01 1:50:44 11:04
6/5/2014 4.37 0:40:54 9:21
5/31/2014 10 1:41:48 10:10
5/29/2014 5.31 0:54:23 10:14
5/24/2014 8.05 1:27:57 10:55
5/22/2014 5.5 0:50:32 9:11
5/20/2014 2.02 0:27:15 13:30
5/20/2014 1.01 0:11:02 10:56
5/17/2014 8.25 1:21:36 9:53
5/13/2014 3.02 0:33:31 11:05
5/10/2014 6 0:57:33 9:35
5/8/2014 5.22 0:49:35 9:29
4/26/2014 5 0:51:55 10:22
4/24/2014 3.36 0:33:29 9:57
4/19/2014 5.2 0:54:54 10:33

I'm happy with how my 5.5 - 6 mile tempo run pace improved nicely.  Even my longer run pace has improved.  My regular running routine is intervals on Tuesdays, tempo run on Thursdays and long run on Saturdays.

I'm back into training mode with LONG runs to prepare for the Chicago Marathon in October (my 5th marathon). After that, I'm running the Rock-N-Roll Savannah Half Marathon in early November and the Space Coast Half Marathon in late November.  My goal is for a half marathon PR under 2 hours. My current half PR is 2:06.

All of this summer training in the hot and humid Florida weather has got to make me faster when the cooler weather hits in fall....or for the zombie apocalypse (my hubby and I are watching The Walking Dead Marathon that was on AMC).
Are you training for any races, new PR goals, or zombie apocalypse?


Monday, June 23, 2014

Music Monday [Count On Me]

I'm back for Music Monday!

The song I chose this week has been on my mind the past month.  Each year, the 5th grade graduating class at my boys' elementary school selects their class song.  Having subbed 5th grade a couple of times at the end of May before school let out, I talked with them about this year's class song and songs from past years.

Honestly, I didn't like the song the kids picked this year because it had rap sections which made it hard for the kids to sing along to.

I fondly remembered the class song when Jared graduated from 5th grade two years ago.  All of Jared's classmates sang their song, Count On Me, on the bus to their 5th grade fieldtrip.  Knowing it was their class song, with all of them singing together just for the joy of singing, brought tears to my eyes.

Now Bruno Mars's song is in a Hyundai commercial so I've heard it more often lately.

I think this was the perfect song for graduating 5th graders that were moving on to different middle school.

Count On Me by Bruno Mars


Friday, June 13, 2014

Homemade Shake & Make Ice Cream

Here's a fun summer activity for the kids...Homemade Ice Cream!  This recipe doesn't require an ice cream machine, just some good old fashioned shaking.  Growing up, our family had an ice cream machine with a hand crank.  I remember loving that soft, homemade ice cream.  This shake and make ice cream isn't quite the same but certainly easier, cheaper and fun for the kids.

This is a great summer treat.  My boys enjoyed making their own ice cream.


Ingredients in the quart bags

Let the shaking begin!

We all decided to make chocolate ice cream by adding chocolate syrup to the milk before we started the shaking.

Shake & Make Ice Cream

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1 Tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 6 Tbsp rock salt
  • 1 quart sized ziploc bag
  • 1 gallon sized ziploc bag

  1. Pour the milk, sugar, vanilla, and cream into the quart ziploc bag and seal tight.  
  2. Fill the gallon ziploc bag half full of ice.  Add the rock salt
  3. Place the sealed quart bag into the gallon bag of ice/salt and seal.
  4. Shake the gallon bag for 5-7 minutes
  5. Open the quart bag and enjoy your ice cream
*Add chocolate or strawberry syrup before you shake to make flavored ice cream

Recipe by Chrissy @ Loving Life

Little ones might want to wear winter gloves while shaking the bag because hands get cold!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

CANE Vodka and Sunshine Moonshine

So many people these days are trying to buy local, shopping at farmers markets or local businesses to support and invest in our local communities.  Here's another way for us Floridians to buy local and support a Florida business...drink Florida CANE Vodka!  Even those who don't live in Florida should give this American vodka a try if it's available in your area.

The Florida Distillery proudly makes a 100% Florida made vodka, from the South Florida sugar cane to the Florida aquifer water.  Their flavored vodkas use locally grown fruits like strawberries, oranges, grapes and blueberries with unique local names.

I had the opportunity to visit The Florida Distillery in Tampa and sample the flavorsome CANE Vodka.  I'm not really a vodka girl, rum is my liquor of choice, but I'll give anything a try!

Lee started us out with a delicious Florida CANE version of the Moscow Mule using Okeechobee Cherry vodka, lime juice, and ginger beer.  I loved these fancy little shot glasses.

Then he moved on to straight vodka tastings.  I admitted to the tasting room that I hadn't had straight vodka since I was in college.  Maybe that's why I'm not a vodka girl.  Anyway...most of the CANE vodkas were very smooth, going down without much burn and all were rich with flavors.  We learned about the vodka making process and qualities that go into an award winning vodka taste and gem-like appearance. 

Each CANE Vodka had a unique Florida name and label like Plant City Strawberry, Orlando Orange, Gator Grape, Weeki Wachee Watermelon, Beach Bum Berry, Okeechobee Cherry, Buccaneer Blueberry, Key West Lemon & Lime, and Miami Mango.  Orlando Orange was my favorite flavor to drink straight.  The one flavor I was very hesitant to try was Fire Ant, a jalapeno flavored vodka.  I don't do spicy but I was there for the entire tasting experience so I tried a sip.  That one sip set my tongue and throat on fire!  I'm talking a four alarm fire, in my mouth!  Fortunately, I had oyster crackers to clear my palate and quiet the flames.  I thought of my husband and brother-in-law loving the CANE Fire Ant vodka in a Bloody Mary.

After tasting most of the vodkas, we moved on The Florida Distillery's new Sunshine Moonshine.

My only experience with moonshine was in New York one Christmas.  All of my husband's family was together and someone brought moonshine that smelled and tasted like pure rubbing alcohol...not good.

The Florida Distillery's moonshine was quite the opposite of my New York experience, providing a smooth and delicious taste!  I could drink all four of these flavors on the rocks.  High Noon was my favorite with a warm cinnamon flavor.  Each Sunshine Moonshine bottle had a funny, witty, and a little smart-assy, blurb on the back.

The Florida Distillery does free tastings in their tasting room.  Check out their calendar for dates and times.

CANE Vodka can now be found in the Publix Liquor stores!  If your Publix store doesn't have it in stock, they can order it for you because CANE is in their system.

Visit CANE Vodka on Facebook or Twitter.  #DrinkLocal

Disclosure: I received a bottle of vodka and attended this tasting as part of the Tampa Bay Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are my own.