Quick Trip Home – Puerto Rico

When traveling home takes an airplane ride, over the Atlantic Ocean, going home doesn’t happen as often as one would wish. Last weekend, I took a quick trip to Puerto Rico with the girls and my mom. It had been almost two years since I last visited Puerto Rico and four years since my daughters had been to the island.

View of San Juan from airplane.
View of San Juan from airplane.

Flying from Orlando to San Juan has always been my favorite route. There is direct service to my hometown, by JetBlue, but the flight leaves at midnight from Orlando, which isn’t that bad. However, the returning flight leaves at 3 am! This time we decided to sleep in and take the “scenic route” and drive from San Juan to Ponce instead.


Statue at the Museo de Arte Ponce

While I have now lived longer in the states than in the Island, I still get a special feeling in my heart when I see Puerto Rico from an airplane window. It’s almost like it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been away, that’s where I belong. Not saying, I don’t like it in the states. It’s just Puerto Rico is home.

Horseback riding in Puerto Rico.
Horseback riding in Puerto Rico.

We tried to see as many family members as possible while we were there. At one point, one of my girls candidly asked to please not introduce her to any more relatives! Ah, the things kids say. I’m happy to say, I’ll be visiting the Island again shortly this summer for my cousin’s wedding. Definitively looking forward to that.

La Guancha, Ponce Puerto Rico
La Guancha, Ponce Puerto Rico

And of course, we couldn’t visit Puerto Rico without getting our feet wet in the Caribbean Sea. 😉

Reebok Spartan Race Giveaway!

We just rang in 2015 and with a New Year comes the chance to develop a new YOU!


Welcome to the [3rd Annual] Mama’s Got a New Look Giveaway Hop Event. A fabulous group of bloggers have come together to give all you special, deserving Mamas a chance at a New Look for the New Year so be sure to hop around to all the blogs participating at the bottom of this post.

Here’s your chance to a New Look, by joining the Reebok Spartans! In 2015, they have created a Season Pass for all runners interested in running any race, any where, any time. Benefits include:

  1. Free Bag Check
  2. 1 Year Global Rescue Access
  3. Race Any Heat (elite included at no additional charge)
  4. Discounts on Hotels, Rental Cars and More

Reebok Spartan

Or, why not join their 2015 Reebok Spartan World Championship in Lake Tahoe. Or better yet, join the Reebok Spartan Cruise where you can race on an exclusive island course! Got kids? Bring them, they’ll cruise for free. Meet the Founder, train with Elites, and they even have a payment plan! Spots are limited so sign up now.

So, check out their website here and comment below with your race date for a chance to win a free entry!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spartan Up! Podcast


The epitome of grit, Joe Desena, founder & CEO of Spartan Race and NY Times best-selling author, travels the globe seeking answers from experts like Sir Richard Branson, Steve Pressfield, Barbell Shrugged, and many more. Joe’s interviews with authors, academics, athletes, adventurers, CEOs and thought leaders will shift your thinking, make you laugh and and give you the tools you need. He’s on a mission to find the secrets to success in all aspects of life. Not only does Joe interview epic people, he has brought together an amazing panel to break down and analyze every aspect of these interviews. We give you the ultimate blueprint and action steps to assimilating these powerful conversations into your own life. The Podcast is now live here:

So Easy Being Green, Viva Veltoro, the Blogging Mamas Network, and the Mama’s Got a New Look participating bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Disclaimer:  I was not compensated for this review, I simply exchanged sharing information for a free race code to giveaway. 

2014 Restaurant Reviews: Elevage, Rooster and a Cask

If you like fresh, tasty and beautifully plated food, these are three restaurants you do not want to miss.

Back in January 2014, I wrote a post about which restaurants I would like to try in 2014. I figured instead of writing a list of resolutions, I would write about something I enjoy: trying new restaurants. I’m happy to report, that I actually made it to all three. Here are my 2014 restaurant reviews.

Elevage Restaurant at the Epicurean Hotel:

Ah, Elevage. How I love thee… We went there for brunch on a Sunday morning. I mean, can it get any better than that? First, this place is just beautiful. I’d like to move in and live there, forever. The decor alone is something to dream about.

Elevage Restaurant at the Epicurean Hotel, Tampa
Elevage Restaurant at the Epicurean Hotel, Tampa

But on to the food. After our trip to Charleston and Savannah, I’ve become obsessed with grits. So, if I see them on the menu, I have to order them. No surprise, Elevage had them on their menu with a poached egg. Win win. My husband was surprised when I passed on the lobster dish he ordered to try Elevage’s grits. Both dishes were amazingly prepared. Fresh and delicious. We hope to get back there soon and try their dinner menu. Oh and before I forget, they serve really good coffee there too. I mean, really good. They use illy, Italian coffee, which has become a staple in our household now!

Rooster and the Till, Seminole Heights:

This place is very unassuming. It’s a little spot in a small strip mall type building. We made it there one Monday afternoon right before they begin their dinner serving. The menu options were limited because we got there too early, but everything we had was beautifully prepared and tasty.

Rooster and the Till, Seminole Heights
Rooster and the Till, Seminole Heights

We ordered off their raw and cured menu: oysters, shrimp and charcuterie. Let’s start with the seafood. I’ve never had such fresh oysters and shrimp before! It just melted in your mouth. So much flavor packed in such little bites. The shrimp were so delicately prepared and light, I just wanted more. Definitively, we’ll be going back here soon to try their dinner menu!

Cask and Larder, Winter Park:

We had the pleasure of meeting Chef Petraski back in 2012 when he came to Parkesdale for a cooking demonstration. At the time, he was promoting his cookbook and the ravenous pig, which is also located in Winter Park. After a wonderful dinner at the ravenous pig, I knew we had to try Cask and Larder. Knowing Cask and Larder would be a completely different experience than the ravenous pig made it even more interesting.

Cask and Larder, Winter Park
Cask and Larder, Winter Park

We finally made it to Cask and Larder for breakfast. Their concept is that of a Southern Public House, and by that they mean its’ a place to grab a bite to eat, hang out, try some new foods or maybe one of their craft beers. The concept works. The space is beautifully decorated inside with lots of wood and delicious aromas emanating from their kitchen. As you can see in the picture above, I indulged in a Bloody Mary while we were there. First, I like tomato juice, V8, clamato, and vodka as well. Most of the times I don’t like them mixed for one reason or another. More often that not, I never finish them. Not this time. This was a perfect Bloody Mary.

On to the breakfast. The sandwich was delicious, but what I remember most is those beautifully seasoned tomatoes in the mason jar on the left. Oh my. Can you say fresh? These were the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever had. And please remember, I walk around Parkesdale taking tomatoes off the vines. Shhh, it’s our little secret, ok?

Now to think about my 2015 Restaurant Wish List!

What a tragedy teaches us

Hayden Hitchcock

This week we experienced the loss of our cousin’s Kristen’s four year old son. Four years old. That’s all I can think of. How he didn’t make it to Kindergarden. How he’ll never make it to High School or College. We’ll never see the man he was to become. But what if, that was His plan? What if, Hayden Hitchcock, with his infectious smile, had done everything he was meant to do?

I don’t consider myself an overly religious person. I’ll give you an example, last night on our way home I was unable to properly quote the Bible, I had the gist of it. I’m Catholic.

That being said, through my own children I have experienced moments of enlightenment when I just sit and realize, wow, that must be how Jesus loves us.

When one of my children hurt and I cuddle and hug them.

When one of my children impatiently wait for something not knowing that I have something else even better waiting for them.

How everyday is a gift because we are not guaranteed tomorrow.

So hug your loved ones. Keep them close. Because you just never know.

Spinach, Tangerine and Apple Juice

Spinach and I will never be besties. I’m just not a big fan. Sure, I enjoy cooked spinach, but fresh not so much. I think it’s something about the texture of it. But, we’ve all been told how good green veggie are and how we need to get our greens in. I would much rather drink my greens, thank you. Alas, I present to you, my Spinach Winner!


Spinach Green Juice


I packed the spinach into the chute of my Breville juicer and followed it with the tangerine under the soft setting. Once that went through, I switched to the hard setting and added the rest of the ingredients. I meant to add lemon juice when I was done, but forgot. This recipe makes 1 serving, which is great for breakfast or as a snack.

Spinach juice

For more green juice recipes, you can visit:

Reeboot with Joe

Health Juice Fanatic

Foodie Loves Fitness