A Summer Sunday: Brunch & Farmer’s Market

Tadd and I spent a lovely (but HOT!) morning this morning getting brunch at Bananas Diner and perusing the stalls at the Orlando Farmer’s Market at Lake Eola.

Brunch was nice…I admit, I am not really a breakfast food person.  My husband however LOVES breakfast, and is something of a connoisseur of eggs benedict (I think I discussed his eggs benedict ranking system in a prior post).  He declared the eggs benedict at Bananas to be solidly good but not good enough to unseat his top 3.  He said it gets bonus points because it’s available all the time, not just during breakfast hours.

My banana pancakes were pretty good, but eventually I got a little squicked out by the squishiness of the bananas embedded in the middle of the pancakes.  I’m one of those texture eaters, so if something weirds me out about the texture, it can ruin a meal for me.  I wouldn’t say the squishiness ruined the pancakes for me, but eventually I just didn’t really want any more.  I ate about half of my pancakes, and Tadd ate most of what was left.  He really liked them.  I have a feeling if you are a pancake fan, you would love them too…I’m just weird and a picky eater.

I think next time I will just order lunch foods while Tadd gets his breakfast fix.  Or maybe just get plain pancakes.  The price was good though…Our bill came to only $18 for our 2 breakfasts and 2 cups of coffee.

After brunch, it was off to Lake Eola.  We parked across the lake from where the Orlando Farmer’s Market is held, so we had a short, scenic walk through Lake Eola Park to get there.  I just wish it was a little cooler.  It wasn’t so bad in the shade, but boy was it humid!  And when we had to walk in full sun, I thought I might melt.

I think our favorite booth was the produce stand.  The beauty of the fruits and vegetables displayed on the booth tables are inspiring.  Makes me want to come home and make a huge salad. We ended up with several items, including a gorgeous carton of rainier cherries.

These carrots were HUGE.

We also stopped at a booth with different spice blends and picked up a Hawaiian spice rub.  And Tadd could not resist the organic bread stand…

We ended up with a loaf of garlic asiago bread.  Wow!  Sooo good.  Almost bought some pumpkin bread too, but we’ll save that for next time.

By the time we bought the bread, we were both sweating up a storm, so we decided to get a cup of fresh-squeezed lemonade and head back to the car.  We both definitely want to come back again soon, but we might wait until the weather is cooler.  It’s so hard to enjoy things that are truly enjoyable when you are sweating like crazy and just miserable due to the heat.


Project Sunshine House: The Powder Room Reveal!

So I have decided to go ahead and show you what we have done with the powder room, even though the light fixture has not been selected and installed yet.  I am just too excited about it to wait!  As many of you know, this has been a long time coming and took much longer than anticipated.

First of all, I want to apologize in advance for the quality of the pics.  The room is in the middle of the house, so pretty much zero natural light.  And the only light fixture in there currently are bare bulbs from the old light fixture.  So the lighting is terrible.  Not to mention the fact that it’s just plain hard to photograph such a tiny space.  Please keep in mind that the walls are supposed to be a deep lavender/lilac color, not gray!

And now, without further ado…my new powder room!

What we did:

  • Painted the walls a deep lilac color.
  • Primed and painted the vanity cabinets black and added new hardware.
  • Removed the full size towel rod (which made NO sense in a half bath!), and replaced it with a pretty towel ring next to the sink.
  • Replaced the toilet paper holder with one that matched the new towel ring.
  • Took down the ubiquitous unframed rectangular mirror that is in every bathroom on the planet and replaced it with a pretty white oval mirror.
  • Added a magazine basket.
  • Accessorized (mostly with stuff we already had).

What it cost (approx.):

  • Cabinet primer & paint: $20
  • Oval mirror: $35 (Hobby Lobby sale…Orig $70)
  • Magazine basket: $8 (Hobby Lobby clearance…Orig $30)
  • Tiny bathtub: $10 (Hobby Lobby)
  • Vanity hardware: $6 (Lowes)
  • Towel ring & toilet paper holder: $30 (Lowes)
  • Small black plastic trash can: $3 (Target)
  • Everything else we had already (including the wall paint).

What we still want/need to do:

  • Light fixture for over the mirror (want to stay under $50).
  • Some kind of small rug for the sink area.
  • Flooring (won’t do that until we do the flooring for the whole 1st floor of the house).
  • 2 small white shelves.
  • White subway tile backsplash.

Linking this up with the Transformation Thursday Party over at The Shabby Creek Cottage, and the Real Room Party at Brooklyn Limestone!

Weekend Update: Red Sox Edition

I am back from my fun-filled weekend in St. Petersburg!  We had a great time, and I am excited to say that the Red Sox beat the Rays at the game we attended on Saturday night!  I hope we inspired some of our friends to become baseball fans.  Jury is still out on that, but in the end it doesn’t really matter, because I love baseball!  And that’s what is important.  To me anyways.

The weekend started off early Friday afternoon when Tadd and I left work around noon and headed over to Downtown Disney on our way out of town.  We were able to get our weekend started a few hours earlier than the rest of our friends, so we decided to make this fun stop to kill some time.  I was excited because it meant I was crossing off another item on my Summer List!

It was SUPER hot and crowded at DTD, and all of the restaurants where we had intended to grab lunch had long lines and no indoor seating, so we decided to eat at Rainforest Cafe.  HOLY OVERPRICED, BATMAN!  But I have to admit that my turkey caesar wrap was really good, if messy.  I was annoyed that they charged me $15 for a wrap and chips, but were going to make me pay an additional $2 if I wanted fries.  Forget it!  I stuck with the chips, which I barely touched.  Regardless, we just rolled with the punches and had a nice lunch.

After that we window shopped around a bit, and then headed back on the road at about 3pm, just as it started to rain ever so slightly.

You always know you are on your way out of the Orlando area when you spot the Mickey power lines.

We got to the hotel around 5, and relaxed before running over to Publix for provisions (beer, snacks, water, soda, etc).  Pretty much everyone else was running a bit behind schedule, so we had some more time to kill.  Mostly everyone arrived a little after 8, so we headed out to Jimmy Guana’s for dinner, followed by Lana’s Friendly Tavern, which is a dive/kareoke bar that we visited last year during Red Sox Weekend too.  It’s one of those hole-in-the-wall all-locals kind of places.  Cheezy but fun.

Saturday morning, Tadd and I got up early and grabbed some freebie continental breakfast while everyone else slept.  We got back, showered, lounged for a couple hours, and then started getting everyone moving.  We had all of our Red Sox gear ready to go!

First we ate lunch at an interesting place called Quaker Steak & Lube.  Cue a string of about eighty million 8th grader jokes throughout lunch.  Those poor waiters and waitresses have to hear them ALL the time, I’m sure.  Stupid tourists!  Ha!  Oh well, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  The joke was on us though, because even in all of our Red Sox gear, my brother’s beer was brought to him in a Rays glass!  Lame! Waitress’s revenge, I suppose.

After lunch, it was time to get ready to tailgate, then on to Tropicana Field (or “The Trop” as it is called by the locals)!


I won’t lie…We were freaking HOT while tailgating.  The parking attendants were discouraging people from parking willy nilly, so we had to take a spot in the middle of the open parking lot instead of strategically parking under a tree on the perimeter of the lot.  This is on blacktop, at 2pm, in Florida in July.  HOT!  Oh well.  Thank goodness the Trop is domed and climate-controlled!  Yay for air-conditioning!

On to the game (crossing off yet another Summer List item)!

Final score!

Celebrating our victory in style!

It was a magnificent game.  Lots of excitement, and, most importantly, the Sox won, 9 to 5!  Woo!  We decided to head to Five Bucks Drinkery in Downtown St. Pete to celebrate.  This might be my new favorite St. Pete spot.  Everything on the menu is under $5 and they have some really interesting (albeit high-calorie) pub fare.  Really, anyplace that has craft beer and tater tots is great in my mind.  But Tadd ordered chicken fried bacon!  Not something I would touch with a 10 foot pole, but he was in heaven.  I liked the fried pickles too.

"To the Sox!"

After our celebration at Five Bucks Drinkery, a few of us decided to drive out to Treasure Island and hang out on the beach for a bit.  Despite the humidity inland, the weather right at the ocean was beautiful.  We waded in the warm water of the Gulf of Mexico for a bit, and then plopped down on the sand to just enjoy the breeze and the sound of the waves.  I love the beach at night!

Sunday morning a few of us decided to do the Florida Aquarium Dolphin Eco-Tour before heading back to Orlando.  It’s a 90-minute boat ride around Tampa Bay.  We really enjoyed the tour and saw a bunch of dolphins!  Our guide was really informative and had some really interesting info on the Bay and its ecology.

See the dolphins? They are not easy to photograph!

The end.  Go Sox!!!

Blueberry picking in the hills of Florida

One more item to cross off my Summer List!  A friend and I drove north to Clermont, Florida for some blueberry picking yesterday.  It was hot, but we had a blast!  Now I have to figure out something to do with all these blueberries!  I am thinking scones, but haven’t found the perfect recipe yet.

It’s funny to think of Central Florida as scenic in any sense of the word, but up there in Lake County, it certainly is.  Lots of rolling hills and pastoral green fields of farmland.

I will let the pics do the talking.

Sangria: My summer beverage of choice!

Hope my readers in the United States are enjoying this lovely holiday weekend!  Time to knock another item off of my Summer List!

One of my favorite beverages, especially when the weather is warmer, is sangria!  I have never enjoyed bottled sangria, so I have experimented in making my own.  It’s one of those delightfully easy and versatile recipes that you can change up however you would like.  I decided to share the standard recipe with you, but please feel free to change up the fruit juices, wines, and anything else based on your preference, or just what you have on hand.

This recipe will make a large pitcher’s worth, so if you have a smaller crowd of 2 or 3, you can easily cut it in half.  Having a full-fledged party?  Double it!  It seems like no matter how much I make, it always goes fast at a party.

Reserve some pretty citrus slices for garnish if you would like.

Heather’s Classic Sangria

1.5 L merlot

4 cups berry blend juice (you can use cranberry juice, or any sort of cranberry blend, whatever you like!)

2 lemons (juiced)

2 limes (juiced)

OPTIONAL: splash of brandy

OPTIONAL: splash of orange juice

2 cups of ginger ale

Pour everything except the ginger ale into a pitcher.  If you want, you can throw the juiced wedges or reserved slices of the citrus in the pitcher too.  Let this chill in the fridge a few hours or overnight.  Add the ginger ale just before serving.  Serve over ice.

You can mix and then serve it right away if you want, without letting it chill in the fridge.  But the flavors intensify and marry together the longer it has been sitting.

Once you get the hang of this basic sangria, you can start experimenting like I do.  I have done a white sangria using pinot grigio in place of the merlot, white grape juice in place of the berry juice, and oranges instead of lemons & limes.  I have also done a tropical pink sangria with rosé, white cranberry juice, and pineapple juice (tasted kind of like a pink Starburst!  Yum…).

Happy experimenting!  Enjoy!

Summer List!

I guess I am just a posting fool today!

I got inspired today when catching up on my favorite blogs.  I saw this summer list that Melissa over at 320 Sycamore created with her children as a way to get them excited about their summer vacation.  Cute, huh?

I thought maybe this isn’t just a good idea for kids, but also for adults too!  So I decided to make my own summer list.  Unfortunately mine will be on my blog and not on an adorable chalkboard in my living room.  I also plan on adding a “Summer List” tab above so that I am able to keep up with which items I have completed.  I would like to do this each season.  So without further ado…

Heather’s Summer List:

  • Finish the powder room.
  • Buy, plant, & decorate porch planters for either side of my front door.
  • See fireworks.
  • Go to Downtown Disney.
  • See Cars 2.
  • Grape stomp at Lakeridge Winery.
  • Clean up the flower beds in the front yard.
  • See a baseball game.
  • Make sangria.
  • Make strawberry shortcake.
  • Attend a food truck pod/gathering.
  • Go to a farmer’s market.
  • Pick fruit somewhere.