Happy Fourth!

Hope all of my American friends had a spectacular 4th of July! We kept it pretty low key early in the day and hung out at home with the kitties.

In the early afternoon, we went down to Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando for Fireworks At The Fountain, where it promptly started storming like crazy. Luckily, Tadd’s office has an awesome view of the lake, and they were kind enough to open for employees and their friends & family. Some friends of ours joined us too. Soon enough the storms passed, it got dark, and the fireworks went off beautifully!

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My week in Instagram; 4th of July version!

4th of July is over and our out-of-town family have left.  Posts should resume normal frequency now!  I’m sure you have all missed me immensely…Ha!

Just thought I would share some Instagram snaps from the week with you all…

Getting the guestroom ready for Tadd’s mom with a little help from the furkids.

Sunday morning, we got up early and drove out to DeLeon Springs to have breakfast at the Old Spanish Sugar Mill. It’s a historic restaurant where every table has it’s own griddle, and they bring pitchers of pancake batter and mix-ins (chocolate chips, blueberries, etc), and you cook your own pancakes at your table! Fun!

A closer look at the waterwheel of the Old Spanish Sugar Mill.

We took a brief stroll through the Stetson University campus, which is beautiful. This is one of the campus buildings.

We spent the afternoon and evening of July 4th enjoying the GORGEOUS weather by Lake Eola for the City of Orlando’s Fireworks at the Fountain celebration.

The breeze off the lake was sooooo lovely. Especially for July in Florida!

Awesome view!

If you are on Instagram, follow me!  I am “sunshineteablog”.

Linking up!:

A beautiful day full of love.

As a follow up to my last post, I thought I would share some of my favorite pics from the beautiful wedding we attended on Sunday!  It took place at the Dr. Phillips House at the Courtyard at Lake Lucerne, a breathtaking historic inn right in downtown Orlando.

Dr. Phillips House

Beautiful courtyard for the ceremony…

Happy couple…

In lieu of favors, they had a cookie/pastry bar with personalized take away boxes.

Fancy living room/parlor. Check out that fireplace!  And antique furniture everywhere.

First dance! Awww…

Loved spending time with some of my closest friends too!  These are some of my favorite people on the planet.

Cheers!

Hunting Ghosts in Downtown Orlando

Today is my 31st birthday!  Woo!  But instead of talking about my birthday, today I am going to tell you about something awesome that I got to do on Saturday night.

Several of my girlfriends and I took the “Last Call” Haunted Pub Tour with American Ghost Adventures as part of my friend Lara’s bachelorette party.  There were six of us and we each paid $20 for the tour.  We met our wonderful guides Robert and Christine at the Harp & Celt.

Throughout the night, we also visited Stagger Inn, The Attic (formerly AKA Lounge), Ceviche, and The Dessert Lady.  So most of the tour was confined to the areas around Pine St. and Magnolia St. and then down by Church St.  We learned a bit about the history of each place, and in certain instances, we also conducted real investigations using small flashlights and EMF detectors.

I don’t want to give too much of the tour away, and of course, no two tours are going to be the same, but I can say that we had some extremely eerie and unexplainable experiences in both the Harp Restaurant and (especially) The Attic.  Note that this is NOT the type of tour where effects like these are engineered to happen on cue or where actors are trained to jump out and scare you.  The tour guides take hauntings and the paranormal very seriously.

We had the Harp Restaurant all to ourselves (they are only open for lunch) and learned it had previously been a brothel back in the late 1800s.  Lights flickered upon us asking questions, disconnected speakers crackled, and at one point a flashlight randomly started rolling and then stopped.   I am not sure what to make of any of it (old wiring? uneven floors?), but it was definitely thrilling.

Our best experience of the evening was at The Attic.  The former hardware store proprietor, Edward “Eddie” Kuhl built the place in the 1880s, and he eventually had a heart attack and died on the stairs going up to the 3rd floor.

He was known to be a prankster and it seems like he wanted to pull a few pranks on us that evening.  A small, ordinary flashlight was placed on the stairs where he died, and we all asked very nicely if he would turn it on.  Much to our shock, the flashlight came on!

Eddie saying “hi” to us with a flashlight.

We all shrieked and it turned off again.  This happened a few other times over the next 5 or 10 minutes.  At some point, our guide Christine decided to try to get it on video, so she counted to 3 and had us all say very loudly “We love you Eddie!”  Prankster Eddie decided to choose that time to NOT turn on the flashlight.  However, our guide caught a compelling video instead (click the link for the page where it is posted on Facebook).  The video shows us standing by the staircase saying “We love you Eddie!”, and then suddenly a white dot (orb?) flies from the middle of the staircase right towards Christine and her camera.  She immediately played it back for all of us and we were dumbfounded.  The flashlight turned on and off a few more times and we all thanked Eddie for visiting us.  I’m still not really sure what happened, but it was very very cool.  We were on cloud nine while we were on our way to the next place!

The whole group on the stairs at the historic Bumby Arcade off of Church Street. The staircase is supposedly haunted by two children. We got some EMF spikes on the stairs (you can kind of see the one placed on the stairs next to my feet is lit up), and notice the “orbs” behind us. Still not sure what I think about orbs in photos…

I have been on many ghost tours in the past (Salem, Boston, two in Savannah, and St. Augustine) and this was by far the most fun I have had.  Our tour guides were great and totally geared the tour towards our group specifically (we were the only ones on the tour that evening).  I felt like it was the perfect mix of fun/party, history, and a real interactive investigation.  I know that occasionally this same company conducts tours and investigations of Greenwood Cemetery, which is one of Orlando’s oldest.  We found out that “Eddie” Kuhl is actually buried there, so I think most of the group is extremely interested in going to visit his final resting place, since we now feel like we have “met” him!  I am keeping my eye out for the next tour of Greenwood so we can join them.

If you are at all interested in this sort of thing and are in Orlando, I highly recommend American Ghost Adventures.

Maxine’s On Shine

I meant to post about this earlier in the week.  I wanted to share a restaurant review for a new-to-us place that we tried last Sunday night.  However, I am excited to share that I have been promoted at work!  And in preparing for my new role, time and energy has been scarce lately.

Tadd and I actually went to Maxine’s On Shine Sunday  night to celebrate said promotion.  It’s a cute little bistro on Shine Avenue tucked away in an adorable residential neighborhood just north of downtown Orlando.  The food seems to focus on Italian and Greek cuisine, kind of a Mediterranean blend, but I wouldn’t really categorize it strongly that way.  The food is just really good.  That’s all you need to know!   Although the menu is not large, I’m sure anyone would be able to find something they like.

Source: Maxine’s On Shine’s Facebook Page

We ate on the patio, as the weather was lovely that night.  Not too hot or humid, with a slight coolish breeze, which is becoming less and less common in Central Florida this time of year.  We started with a couple of beers, Shipyard Applehead for me (LOVE!), and Magic Hat #9 for Tadd.  We found their beer & wine list to be impressive.  It’s always nice to see lesser-known craft brews on a menu.  Tadd had originally tried to order a Blackened Voodoo, which is one of his favorite more obscure beers.  He was impressed to see it on the menu, but it turns out they were out of it that night.

We found out that they have a Sunday night special called Magical Mystery Tour.  For $25, you get a 3 course meal (appetizer, entree, and dessert) chosen by the chef, and a your choice of a draught beer or glass of wine.  Tadd was feeling adventurous, so he chose that option.  I am way too much of a picky eater to leave that much to chance, but there really isn’t that much that Tadd won’t eat (olives and raisins are really the only two biggies), so he went for it.  While we waited for his first course to come out, I also ordered a cup of their soup of the day, butternut squash and apple soup.  Mmmmmmm, so good!  I only wished it was fall, because these are flavors that I usually associate with that season.

Soon enough, they brought out Tadd’s appetizer of stuffed grape leaves.  I tried one and thought they were ok, though not really my taste.  Tadd, however, inhaled them.

For entrees, I got the spinach ravioli with ratatouille.  And looking back at the pic, I realize this doesn’t look super appetizing, but I really really loved it.  The mountain of roasted veggies were SO good.  There were mushrooms and artichokes and summer squash and spinach and even beets, which I don’t typically care for.  All really really good.

Tadd lucked out and was presented with something he is STILL raving about; Gnocchi con Pollo Sorrentina, which is gnocchi and chicken served with prosciutto and veggies in a wine/butter sauce.  He was soooooo happy, and cleaned his plate.  I thought he might have licked it afterward if he thought he could have gotten away with it!

Tadd’s mystery dessert was an interesting concoction of what seemed like house-made vanilla ice cream, house-made butterscotch sauce, strawberries, and blueberries.  No idea what this dessert was called, but I think it was just right to end Tadd’s meal.  I had a few bites, and LOVED the ice cream.  Especially combined with the butterscotch and berries.  Nothing complicated or fussy, just really good.

Towards the end of our meal, the owner approached and asked us about our experience.  He was warm, friendly, and welcoming.  Service throughout the meal was great too.  We had Mary as our server, and she was sweet and cheerful.  Loved her.  We walked back to our car vowing to come back soon and bring friends.  Tadd’s office is nearby, so he would love to come back someday for lunch, and I have heard their weekend brunch is great as well.

If you live in Central Florida and are looking for a place to dine near downtown Orlando, check it out!

Maxine’s On Shine

337 N Shine Ave

Orlando, FL 32803

(407) 674-6841

SYTYCD Live in Orlando!

Last night was So You Think You Can Dance Live at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando!  What a great show!

My girlfriend and I met up in Thornton Park with our significant others for a pre-show dinner at Dexter’s.  I had been to the Winter Park and Lake Mary locations before, but never the Thornton Park location.  It’s in such a cute area!  Parking is a bit of a challenge though.

Fountain adorning the intersection of Washington St and Hyer Ave.

I had a glass of Star Tree Nouveau Blanc, which was DEEE-licious.  I am going to have to track down a bottle of this for myself soon!  For dinner, I went light with a small Corsican salad with chicken.

It was good, but not super-exciting.  Pretty much just your standard greek salad with chicken.  And the salad dressing was a little thin/watery for my taste.  It was ok though, because I wasn’t really that hungry.  I was too excited about the show!  I definitely want to go back to Dexter’s again when I’m more focused on what I am eating.

Around 6:15, my girlfriend and I left the boys to deal with the check and headed over to the Amway Center!

We sat in the cheap seats, but for cheap seats they certainly weren’t bad.  We were in the balcony, but very front row & center, so we had a perfect aerial view of the whole stage.  Pretty far away from the stage, but still very enjoyable seats.  Being a very short person, it was nice being up above the crowd with no one blocking my view.

Unfortunately, my camera was somewhat malfunctioning for part of the performance, and the fact that we were so far away wasn’t helping my photographic abilities, so I only got a few post-worthy pics, and even those aren’t great.

Clarice's solo

Melanie & Tadd: "Show Me What You're Working With" (the one where he ends up in heart-covered boxer shorts)

Jordan's solo

Guys group contemporary dance.

Melanie & Jess...This is the "fall in love with the dance teacher" number, which I believe was performed by Tadd on the show, but Jess was in it here.

Sasha's solo

I also managed to get some decent video of the Circus group dance, which was one of my favorites from the show!  Just beautiful and enchanting!

I know these terrible pics don’t really convey it properly, but it was an excellent show!  This was the first day of the entire tour, so you could tell they were all really excited to perform.  It was a lot of stuff directly from the show, but the solos were new and some of the numbers were similar from the show, but done a bit different (or danced by different people).  If they come to your town, I highly recommend checking it out!