Monday, April 29, 2013

War Horse at The Straz Center

Photo from

My husband and I are going to see War Horse at The Straz Center in downtown Tampa tomorrow night. 
"A heart-warming tale of loyalty and friendship, and winner of FIVE 2011 Tony Awards®, WAR HORSE tells the story of young Albert and his beloved horse Joey. When Joey is sold to the cavalry and shipped from England to France, he is soon caught up in enemy fire, and fate takes him on an extraordinary journey, serving on both sides before finding himself alone in no man’s land. But Albert cannot forget Joey and, still not old enough to enlist, he embarks on a treacherous mission to find him and bring him home."
The War Horse film was amazing and I loved it!  I'm so excited to see War Horse on stage!  Check back for a full review.

To purchase tickets, visit The Straz Center online.  Regularly priced tickets start at $44.50.

Dates & Times
Tuesday, April 30, 2013 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 01, 2013 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 02, 2013 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 03, 2013 8 p.m.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 2 p.m.
Saturday, May 04, 2013 8 p.m.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 05, 2013 6:30 p.m.


Music Monday [Friends]

I've been slacking on my blog posts lately because I'm substituting full time right now for a first grade class.  I started April 1st and I'm there until school gets out in June.  There's no down time when teaching 6 and 7 year olds.  I hope to be back on track and blogging regularly again.

This week's Music Monday is all about friends!  I just had a fantastic girls night out last weekend with some great friends.  We did dinner, drinks and dancing.

Here's a catchy tune we were singing along with.

Here's a classic 80s song.  I remember listening to this in elementary school and for our 6th grade graduation.  Funny how a song can take you right back to a time in your life.
A great Queen song!

And lastly, one of my favorite Disney movies has a great friend song.  Both of my boys loved Toy Story and Buzz Lightyear so I've watched this many times.

What music moves you?

For Music Mondays, I’m teaming up with my good friend and fellow Marathon Mama, Denise. Please stop by and check out Denise's Music Monday.

Visit Xmas Dolly for more Music Monday.


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Keel & Curley Winery

My husband and I were thrilled to be invited to Keel & Curley Winery for a winery tour and tasting.  We both enjoy wine and it sounded like a perfect date night.

"Keel and Curley Winery was started in spring of 2003 in the kitchen of founder and owner, Joe Keel. Keel, a central Florida blueberry farmer wanted to find something to do with his end of crop blueberries.  Keel decided blueberry wine would be interesting to dabble with in the family farm house kitchen."

Our tour started off on an open air bus pulled by a tractor through the blueberry fields to the winery.

Photo by Denise Taylor

Our tour guide Sam explained the wine making process for their blueberry wine.  I admit that I didn't know blueberry wine was made entirely from blueberries with no grapes added.  Sam explained the processes of fermentation, clarification, filtering, and bottling.  Each step in the wine making process happens at the Keel & Curley Winery site.

After our winery tour, we headed over to the tasting area and gift shop.


For our tasting, we sat outside of the gift shop on the patio area where live music was playing.  I purchased food from a local food truck park near the patio area.  Let the wine begin!

We had a fantastic time at Keel & Curley Winery!

Check out their Blueberry Festival this weekend, April 27-28.

  • Free Admission
  • Free Entertainment
  • Free Kids Area
  • U-Pick Blueberries
  • Live Entertainment
  • Over 100 Food and Craft Vendors

  • Disclaimer: I was given a tour of the winery and wine tasting in exchange for my review.  All opinions are my own.


    Tampa Theatre Family Favorites

    My family and I had the pleasure of visiting the Tampa Theatre in Downtown Tampa to see the first movie in the Family Favorites: A Tampa Theatre Classic Film Series.

    I'll start out by telling you how much I love, love, love The Tampa Theatre on Franklin Street!  It was built in 1926 and the old architecture is amazing!  Growing up in Tampa, I went to The Tampa Theatre as a child on school field trips to see plays.  The lobby (and main theater) have a beautiful blue ceiling with twinkling stars.  My boys had never been to The Tampa Theatre so I enjoyed their reactions to the magnificent sights inside.

    Here are some photos but they don't do the theater justice.  The theater's low, romantic lighting didn't lead to great pictures.

    Inside the theater
    Some pre-movie music
    Part of an old intercom system
    We were there to see The Princess Bride.  I've seen the movie quite a few times in my youth but it was a first for my hubby and boys.  We sat in the balcony section and had a great view of the movie and theater.

    The movie was terrific, just like I remembered.  Fred Savage and Cary Elwes were so young!  Now when I say "as you wish", my boys actually understand the reference.  My boys thought the ROUS were hilarious which led to conversations of their pet rats becoming ROUS.

    We had a great time seeing this classic movie at The Tampa Theatre!  I want to go back to see The Neverending Story...another of my favorites.

    If you and your family haven't been to The Tampa Theatre yet, you've got to pay it a visit.  It's an incredible history Tampa landmark.

    Here's a list of other family favorite movies playing at the theater.

    Show times are Sundays at 2:00pm.  Tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for children and Tampa Theatre members at the box office or online (online convenience fee is $2).

    Disclaimer: My family was given free tickets to see The Princess Bride in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.


    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Iron Girl Half Marathon Recap 2013

    I was ready for the Athleta Iron Girl Half Marathon and Clearwater's least mentally.  I've done enough races now that I don't really get nervous anymore.  I usually sleep fine the night before a race.  My only occasional worry is not getting up in time because I'm known for hitting the alarm snooze button multiple times.  And boy, does that alarm ring early on race mornings!
    Anyway, I was mentally ready but maybe not physically.  I only ran one 6 miler in the last month, since the Sarasota Half Marathon.  I wanted to give my hamstring and IT band time to heal so I wouldn't experience knee pain while running.  I was OK with walking some of the race if I needed to.

    My friend Denise picked me up and we rode over to Coachman Park together.  We met up with some friends and fellow bloggers for pictures...always a must at races. 

    The race started promptly at 7:00am.  The course took us from Coachman Park over the Clearwater Memorial Causeway.  I felt great running up and down the bridge, no walking needed yet.  We headed toward Clearwater Beach and through the round-about.  I loved the quiet, peaceful view of the empty beach.

    Next up was the Sand Key bridge.  I walked up this bridge because it was steep.  I ran down and once I was on flat road again, I could feel the pain in my knee.  UGH!  We weren't even to 5 miles yet!  A little stretching and I was good to go.  We ran through Sand Key Park, very similar to the Clearwater Marathon.  Somewhere in Sand Key Park my ipod died.  I had charged my Garmin but not my ipod...whoops.  But I was fine running without music.


    Once through Sand Key Park (mile 6), we ran south on Gulf Blvd and eventually turned around (about mile 7.5) to run north on Gulf Blvd back toward the Sand Key Bridge.  At this point I had stopped multiple times to stretch my IT band.  I decided to walk up the rest of the bridges.  Once I was over the Sand Key Bridge I felt the sharp knee pain I had during the Sarasota Half.  I pulled off the course and stretched longer and more thoroughly than I had done before.

    While I was stretching, I thought happy thoughts.  It was a beautiful day for a race.  I enjoyed the breeze and overcast sky. I thought about the gorgeous water and soft sand I was running by.  I tried to engage the power of positive thinking.


    I continued on the course through the less traveled streets near Clearwater beach, around the round-about, and toward the last big bridge.  I was almost to mile 11 and ready to be done.


    The wind picked up and I felt like I was running in place at times...against the wind, we were runnin' against the wind.  At least we were running on a paved path all the way to Memorial Causeway.  I'm still runnin' against the wind (since I had no ipod, I had to sing to myself).  

    I passed mile 12 with the bridge in site.  Over the bridge, down the helix and to the finish line I went.  Surprising, when I went from the helix to flat pavement my knee was fine.  Maybe it knew the finish line was just ahead (thanks knee).

    Jenny snapped this photo of me right before I crossed the finish line.
    I didn't run with my phone this time so photo credit goes to Denise for all of the other photos above.

    Photo by Lori.

    Photo by Daffodil.

    Even with some knee pain, I had a great race and was happy with my finish time!  The people at Iron Girl put on a fantastic event.  I loved the post-race pancake breakfast.  I was so excited they had mini semi-sweet chocolate chips as a topping (along with strawberries and bananas but this girl always takes chocolate)!!

    I'll be back next year for more sparkly Iron Girl bling!  Do you see the glitter?!


    Finish Time - 2:18:40
    Division Place - 83/221
    Overall Place - 463/1257
    Avg Pace - 10:36

    Disclaimer: I was given a free race entry to Iron Girl Clearwater in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions are my own.


    Tuesday, April 16, 2013

    Longhorn Steakhouse [Flavorful Under 500]

    I had the opportunity to visit Longhorn Steakhouse for dinner with my fellow blogger and good friend Denise.  Longhorn has a fantastic menu including a dinner menu with meals under 500 calories.  In their Flavorful Under 500 section you get an entree, fresh vegetables or green beans and a salad for under 500 calories.  It's so nice to have healthy options when dining out.

    We started out with delicious appetizers (not from the Flavorful Under 500 menu).

    I really enjoyed the Wild West Shrimp.  It had a little bit of a spicy kick but not too spicy for me to enjoy...I'm a wimp when it comes to spicy food.


    Chilled Shrimp Cocktail is always a winner in my book.  These large seasoned shrimp did not disappoint!


    The Grilled White Cheddar Stuffed Mushrooms looked divine.  I can't comment on the flavor because I didn't taste this appetizer as I don't like mushrooms.

    Spinach Dip!!  I could have eaten this all night!  Longhorn's Spinach Dip was so tasty.

    Now on to the main course.  I ordered off of the Flavorful Under 500 menu...did you see all the appetizers I tried above.  A lower calorie but flavorful dinner was what I needed.  I ordered the Napa Grilled Chicken.  It was two small chicken breasts topped with artichoke hearts, roasted tomatoes and a white wine herb sauce (I omited the mushrooms).  It was fantastic!  The tender chicken melted in my mouth.  The artichoke hearts and roasted tomatoes were a perfect pairing.

    I also tried Denise's Sierra Chicken which was two small grilled chicken breasts topped with tomato-basil salsa.  This was also excellent but my favorite was my Napa Grilled Chicken.

    Another option on the Flavorful Under 500 menu is Longhorn Salmon served over rice.

    Dessert....this is where any low calorie meal was ruined!  But oh how I loved it!!  I'm sure you've seen the saying "I eat to run".  I'm definitely the opposite, I run to eat.
    This heavenly dessert is the Salted Caramel Cake.  It had creamy salted caramel mousse layered between moist vanilla cake and topped with rich salted caramel and vanilla buttercream.  Magnifique!

    We also tasted the Longhorn Dessert Sampler consisting of the Mountain Top Cheesecake, Caramel Apple Goldrush and Chocolate Stampede.  All delectable desserts but my favorite was still the Salted Caramel Cake.  YUM!

    I thoroughly enjoyed my night out at Longhorn Steakhouse sampling many amazing dishes.  It's nice to have healthy, flavorful, low calorie options when eating out.

    *Disclaimer: Longhorn Steakhouse provided me with all of the food sampled in return for my honest review of the meal.  All opinions shared are my own.