Storytelling Festival: This Weekend’s Adventure

Sometime last month, the girls prepared for the Storytelling event at their elementary school. I was unable to see them tell their stories at school, but my husband had the opportunity to see Piper perform her story: The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Zoe on the other hand, had been sick on and off, so we thought she had missed the opportunity to present her story, Zoe’s Room. Unbeknown to us, she was back to school and able to perform her story.


Storytelling Festival
Scholastic Book Fair at the John F. Germany Public Library in Downtown Tampa.

The girls received a “report card” of sorts from the event which indicated they had done a great job. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. Attached to the “report card” was an invitation to attend the Storytelling Festival in Downtown Tampa at the John F. Germany public library. It turns out, this was the first time the event was held at the Library. If you have children, and you’ve never been to the John F. Germany, I suggest you make a day trip this summer. The children library is beautiful. And not only that, but if you park at the William F. Poe garage (next to the library) there’s a skyway to get you from your car directly to the library without crossing through traffic.


Storytelling Festival
Is this thing on?

Through their school, we received some additional information later about the Storytelling Festival. The girls had done such a great job, they had been selected as Ambassadors! To our surprise, they had a photoshoot and a video recording section. Apparently their videos will be submitted to other Storytelling Contests.


Storytelling Festival
Sprinkles are for winners!

After the Storytelling Festival, we walked around Downtown Tampa and found Ashworth Chocolates. It’s a neat little handmade chocolate store with ice cream. After a much deserved ice cream break, it was time to head home. 🙂 Oh yeah, and if you ever go to Downtown Tampa, don’t forget the Curtis Hixon Park also has a great playground for kids. And the Glazer Children’s Museum and the Tampa Museum of Art are both on the other side of the library. The Tampa Museum of Art has special free activities for children on selected days.

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!

#CinderellaTour at the Straz Center


Last night I had the opportunity to see Cinderella at the Straz Center in Tampa. I received 3 tickets for the show through the Tampa Bay Bloggers. It was a long night, especially for a 6 and a 7 year old, but what they experienced will last forever.  There’s just something special about opening night. And this being Cinderella I couldn’t pass it up.

Cinderella at the Straz

The night started with a trip to Walmart for a “Cinderella-esque” dress for one of my daughters. Now that we had the “proper” attire for the ball, I mean the show, it was time to hit the road!

Cinderella is playing at the Straz Center through October 26.  Performances are Wednesday – Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Regularly priced tickets are $56-$95 and may be purchased by calling 813.229.STAR (7827) or 800.955.1045 outside Tampa Bay, in person at the Straz Center Ticket Office or online at the Straz Center. Handling fees will apply.


The show was wonderful. But how can it not be, we all remember reading Cinderella growing up. I know I did. And those magical glass slippers, how can I girl forget. For me, it was always about that carriage. Being carried away to a ball in a magnificent carriage. This past May we attended my sister’s wedding. The one thing, she wouldn’t budge about was having a horse and carriage at her wedding. I think most of us want that magic in our lives, even if its just one day.

If you are wondering if you should take your kids, I would say yes! My two girls thoroughly enjoyed the show. They even laughed at the right spots. Towards the end of the show, when the prince kissed Cinderella’s hand, my youngest daughter loudly said Ewww! during last night’s performance. I’ll never forget that moment. Thankfully, the whole audience bursted out in laughter. And I couldn’t stop laughing. The play went on and there were no more outbursts from my kids. However, that single moment will live forever in my mind.  The moment my daughter became part of the Cinderella production.

The Straz Center, Belle of the Ball Project and the company of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella are pleased to announce that through Sunday, Oct. 26, donations of formal gowns, shoes and accessories will be accepted at the Straz Center during the performances of the Tony-award winning production. The partnership benefits Belle of the Ball Project, a nonprofit organization that provides homecoming and prom dresses to young women in need.




Get to Adventure Island – Tampa

Disclaimer: As a Busch Gardens ambassador, my family was invited to visit Adventure Island. We received four free day passes in exchange for this review. I was not compensated monetarily for this review. All opinions are my own based on my experience.

This was my first visit to Adventure Island in Tampa. Yep, the last time I went to a water park was close to five years ago when we went to Aquatica for my niece’s birthday. The girls were so young, and it was overwhelming to say the least having two toddlers running in opposite directions. So I figured now that they were older, I would be able to relax a little and enjoy.


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A day in Tampa Bay

Earlier this year my daughter’s school class took a trip to the Glazer Museum in Tampa. I was supposed to go but because of work commitments I had to cancel last minute. I made a promise to her that I would bring them back this summer. I had to make good on my promise so we headed down the road to downtown Tampa.  If you’ve never been to downtown Tampa and you have children, there are lots of things to do.

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