Monday, December 16, 2013

Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes Review

This show was amazing!  I've always wanted to see the Rockettes perform live on stage.  They were everything I imagined and more in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  I think my love of the Rockettes started with the 1982 movie Annie when she, Daddy Warbucks and Grace visited a show at Radio City.

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular started off with the dancers in adorable reindeer costumes. I must say, all of the show's costumes were absolutely incredible.  Santa's reindeer danced to "Sleigh Ride" in this opening scene.

Santa introduced "The Twelve Days of Christmas" by lifting the curtain just high enough to see the Rockettes' famous legs.  The audience got quite a kick out of that move.  With the curtain up and out of the way, the Rockettes tapped out the twelve days of Christmas with a different dance movement to signify each day.

The Nutcracker scene was performed by dancing animals or rather dancers in full clown, teddy bear, ragdoll, and mice costumes.  It was unique.

"Parade of the Wooden Soldiers" was my favorite scene! The dancers were in complete synchronicity as they marched, turned and fell after a cannon's boom.  Their billowy hat feathers shook with every meticulous, straight-legged step. Such precision! 

In "New York at Christmas", the Rockettes boarded a life size double-decker tour bus, taking the audience on a guided tour through the streets of New York City, including Central Park and Time Square. The bus and background moved enabling the audience to feel as if we were actually in New York City sight seeing with the Rockettes.

I also very much enjoyed "The Living Nativity" scene.  It featured some of my favorite Christmas songs while telling the beautiful story of the first Christmas using pageantry, music and scripture.

"Let Christmas Shine" featured the Rockettes and the entire company with a touching message of hope and love for the Christmas season.  The Rockettes performed their signature kick line with head-high kicks.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Radio City Christmas Spectacular performance. It was a fantastic show suitable for the entire family.  Even my 12 year old son said he'd go see the show!

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular featuring The Rockettes is performing at the Straz Center in Tampa, December 12-29.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit the Straz Center online.

Disclosure: I was given two tickets to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus

The Greatest Show on Earth from Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents a new show called Legends at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, January 1-5, 2014. I'm excited to see this new show with my family.

Fun Facts!
-  The name "The Greatest Show on Earth" was used by P.T. Barnum in 1872.

-  Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey holds "Winter Quarters" each year in Florida.

-  Barnum purchased a large elephant named Jumbo in 1882, giving Americans a new word for "large in size".

Click HERE to purchase tickets online.  Save $4 on select performances using promo code MOM4.  Offer not valid on Front Row or Premium seats. Not valid day of show. Only valid for these performances: Thurs 7:30pm, Fri 7:30pm, Sat 11am, and Sun 5pm.

Visit the Facebook page or follow them on twitter, #RinglingTPA.

Disclaimer: I was given tickets to the show in exchange for promotion and review.  All opinions are my own.


Friday, December 6, 2013

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

I love turtles...of the chocolate, caramel and pecan kind.  This simple recipe recreates the flavor of the sweet, gooey candy turtles.

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

Rolo Pretzel Turtles

  • 1 bag of Rolo candies
  • 1 bag of pretzels (I used the square type)
  • 1 bag of whole pecans
  • parchment paper

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet
  2. Lay pretzels on cookie sheet and place one Rolo on each pretzel
  3. Heat in oven for 3 minutes, then remove
  4. Gently press one pecan into each Rolo
  5. Let cool on the parchment paper

What's your favorite candy?


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bourbon & Brew Fest Review

My husband, Mike, and I attended Tampa's Bourbon and Brew Fest on Saturday, November 23 at The Heights Waterfront.  My husband was excited for this event because he loves bourbon!  This was the same venue we visited for the Rum Fest in August but with a much better setup and layout.

The Bourbon and Brew Fest setup the stage at one end of the field, allowing for a much more open concept. The mechanical bull and corn hole were also around the corner from the stage. I gave the bull a whorl. Since the was my first time riding a bull, I told the operator to take it slow. I didn't want to be thrown from the machine and break a wrist, ankle or need stitches to the head.

We arrived at the fest around 4:00pm.  We watched a beautiful sunset over Tampa as we ate a delicious BBQ dinner.

I'm glad we got there early because once the sun set the crowd streamed in and the lines became long.  There were only two BBQ stands and one brats food stand.  Lines for food got very long, very quickly. They needed more food trucks like they had at the Rum Fest.

Our VIP tickets gave us entrance into the Armature Works building for unlimited bourbon tasting and cups of beer. Inside they featured Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, Knob Creek and Laphroaig bars.  In addition they had Sweetwater Brewing Company beer.  Outside they offered Woodchuck Draft Cider (my favorite!), Sweetwater Brewing Company beer, and wine.  Mike thoroughly enjoyed sipping the various types of bourbon while I enjoyed the crisp, Woodchuck Cider!

We had a great time!  With all the bourbon tasting and free beer our VIP tickets gave us, we were ready to leave at 8:00pm so we missed the fireworks show.  Oh well, still a fun night!

What is your favorite type of bourbon?

Disclaimer: I was given tickets to the event in exchange for promotion and review.  All opinions are my own.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ranch Potatoes

I've made this Ranch Potatoes recipe for years and it's always a crowd pleaser!  How can you go wrong with ranch, bacon and cheese! This potato side dish goes well at any gathering from a summer BBQ to Thanksgiving dinner.

Before the final 20 min in the oven

Final dish with melted cheddar cheese

Ranch Potatoes

  • 8 large red potatoes
  • 1 cup ranch salad dressing (I use Hidden Valley)
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, divided
  • ¼ cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder

  1. Cut potatoes into cubes.  Place in a large saucepan.  Cover with water.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Boil until tender, about 6 minutes; drain well.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  3. Meanwhile, combine salad dressing, sour cream, ½ cup cheddar, bacon, salt, garlic, onion in a large bowl.  Add potatoes; stir well.
  4. Spoon potato and bacon mixture into an 8x10 baking dish.  Top with remaining cheese.
  5. Bake potatoes until bubbly, about 20 minutes.

Let me know if you love these potatoes as much as I do!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Visiting the Oxford Exchange + GIVEAWAY

Oxford Exchange in Tampa was so many of them being, absolute amazing!  I had the opportunity to attend a Holiday Blogger Event last week to learn all about Oxford Exchange in downtown Tampa.  I must admit, before the event, I had no idea what Oxford Exchange was or where it was located.  Now, I can't wait to go back!

Oxford Exchange is located across the street from the University of Tampa on Kennedy Boulevard.  It's housed in a building that was originally built in 1891 as a stable for the Plant Hotel (now UT).  Oxford Exchange opened last year and offers a gathering place atrium that sells coffee and tea; a bookshop; a boutique; a restaurant and conservatory; and office and conference rooms.

We started out our night in the bookstore.  I loved this centerpiece Christmas tree made from books!


We walked from the bookstore, through the beautiful hallway, to the atrium where we tasted party appetizers from Chef Erin Guggino.

She prepared Butternut Squash Soup Shooters

And Dried Figs, Goat Cheese & Toasted Walnuts

These appetizers were delicious!  I especially liked the dried figs as I went back for thirds.

We also sampled TeBella Tea Company paired with Mast Brothers Chocolate and Buddy Brew Coffee paired with Dandelion Chocolate.

In the atrium, we learned about the history and creative process behind 7th Avenue Apothecary.  Their 100% soy candles are hand poured in Ybor City.  They offered many unique fragrances that reflect the history of Ybor City.  Two of my favorites were leather & vanilla and tobacco & vanilla bourbon.

Next, we went on a tour of the upstairs office and conference room space.  Oxford Exchange provides a quite workspace and private meeting rooms for members of their Commerce Club.  The building's charm and character continued throughout the upstairs area.  I loved the reclaimed wood, exposed brick and vintage looking furnishings.  Oxford Exchange delivered!

Our tour continued to the restaurant and conservatory. The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.  The kitchen counter featured a piece of petrified wood that washed ashore in Asia.

The conservatory appeared to be a sanctuary; with a glass ceiling, calming fountain in the center and plants surrounding the room.

Last but not least, I ventured into the boutique.  The boutique offerd an eclectic assortment of gifts including, best selling candles from 7th Avenue Apothecary, Christmas ornaments and spa accessories.  Many of the gifts were one of a kind items.

I had an incredible time at Oxford Exchange, learning and tasting what it has to offer.  I look forward to going back soon for lunch or one of OE's other events.

Now, it's giveaway time!  I have three chocolate bars to give away to one lucky reader.  I sampled two of these scrumptious, smooth, incredibly, dark chocolate bars at the blogger event.  I'm excited to be able to share these with one of you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I attended a free blogger event in exchange for my review and promotion.  All opinions are my own.