A walk in the park (with our new camera!).

Tadd and I have been talking a LONG time about getting a DSLR.  It’s especially important to me now because of my blog.  I feel that a better camera and better pictures will make my posts that much more enjoyable.  We took the plunge yesterday and got a great deal on a Nikon D3100 bundled with a 55-200mm lens!  We are both so excited about our new toy that we got up early this morning to test it out on Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.

 

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An Instagram Hodgepodge Post!

I realize things have been kind of slow lately around these parts.  Work is still crazy, and it’s still leaving me mentally exhausted every night when I get home, although it’s starting to calm down a bit.  At least for now.

As tired as I am today, I need to go shopping for 1) sewing project supplies and 2) Easter basket stuffers!  So after work I will be swinging by Starbucks for a jolt of caffeine, followed by a trip to a few stores.

I thought that today I would just share what I have been up to lately via my most recent posts on Instagram.  I guess you could say that this is in honor of the brand new Android app that Instagram released yesterday.  I am an iPhone girl, but I am happy that my Android friends can now join in the fun!

Last week I decided to try a tutorial I found that promised 3 cosmetic cases using 2 fat quarters.  I only had 1 matching zipper on hand, so while I cut out the pieces to make 3, I only actually sewed one.  And while I love the prints I used and the size, my own botching of the construction left a lot to be desired.  Still working on getting used to sewing with zippers!  You can’t really tell how badly I screwed this one up from the pics, since my hand is artfully covering it.  Still, at least it’s usable…Just a little wonky.

Saturday we drove over to my parents’ house to do our taxes (procrastinators, I know…), and I spied their lovely poinsettia plant still blooming away in their yard.  I know it’s almost Easter, but how pretty is this?:

Sunday night was dinner with the girls!  We ate at Sushi Pop in Oviedo, which I have discussed is one of my favorite quirky local places.  My favorite beverage to order there is the raspberry saketini.  It’s sake mixed with fresh raspberry puree served in a frosted martini glass.  So yummy!  I also love their truffle salt edamame, and the Oviedo chicken roll!  It’s was 80’s pop star night (every night is themed at Sushi Pop), so the wardrobe of all the waiters/waitresses was very sparkly and bright.  Perfect for girls’ night!

Monday night, we went to the Wine Room on Park Ave in downtown Winter Park to support my friend Lara, who was hosting trivia!  Tadd and I love any excuse to have a relaxing evening on Park Avenue, so I picked him up after work (he even got out early!) and we strolled around Central Park a bit before going to trivia night.  This is the main fountain in the park.  It was so peaceful and nice in the shade (but too hot in the sun!).  Incidentally, the Wine Room’s mushroom truffle flatbread is amazing.  As is Southern Tier’s Mokah Stout beer.  Yes, I had beer at a wine bar.  But it was REALLY GOOD beer!

Follow me on Instagram!  I’m “sunshineteablog”.

Instagram Link Party: Celebrating and sewing.

We spent a lot of time celebrating this weekend.  Saturday night, we had dinner with some friends at one of our favorite local spots, Pannullo’s, and got to celebrate the fact that one of them is starting a fantastic new job!  Sunday, we had a belated celebration for my brother and father’s birthdays.

We actually already had the dinner plans in place for Saturday night when we heard that my friend got the new position, so I decided I wanted to use my (limited) sewing skills make her a little gift to bring to dinner, just to let her know how thrilled we are for her.  I had gotten such positive feedback on the reusable coffee sleeve I had made a few weeks back, that I decided make one especially for her, using a cute fabric in her favorite color, purple (which is also my favorite color!).  There were some really cute prints on sale at JoAnn Fabrics, so I bought a few that caught my eye, including the perfect purple fabric for my friend’s gift.

I am sure when she starts her new job, she will be enjoying plenty of coffee, so I figured it was an appropriate gift.

And again, if you want the original tutorial that I used to make these, please click here!

I actually made another one on Sunday for my grandmother in the same pink paisley fabric as the original.  And I have plans to make a few more.  They are small, cute, and not too difficult, and they allow me to practice my sewing skills on something not too overwhelming.  After my third time making these coffee sleeves, I can tell I am getting better, little by little.

Linking this post up with the weekly Instagram Link Party at a {little} dash of ash!

Instagram Link Party: Winter Park by Boat

The holidays are in full swing!  I’m loving it, but I have been super busy.  We spent all last week doing all kinds of things while my mother-in-law was in town.  She left Sunday and things are slowly returning to normal.

One of the highlights of my mother-in-law’s visit was the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour we took Tuesday afternoon.  If you live in the Orlando area, or are visiting the area and want to do something a little different outside of the theme park areas.  The tour has been operating for over 50 years, and departs every hour on the hour between 10am and 4pm everyday except Christmas Day.

This was my third time taking the tour, and I still really enjoy it.  It lasts about an hour, and takes you through three lakes on Winter Park’s chain of lakes; Lake Osceola, Lake Virginia, and Lake Maitland.  You get to see some amazingly fancy (and some quite historic) homes, many owned by celebrities and public figures.  You also get to see the beautiful campus of Rollins College.

The lakes are linked by these scenic canals lined with boathouses and huge live oak and cypress trees.  It’s so pretty and peaceful.

This pic was taken during one of my past times on this tour, when I was lucky enough to have a front seat.

My favorite part of the tour is the water-locked cypress in the middle of Lake Maitland.  There is just something really cool looking about a tree growing in the middle of a lake.  Locals even decorate it for Christmas each year.

We have started decorating for Christmas in our house!  I am excited to show you the TWO trees we have up this year.  This is the first year we have had two trees, so I’m really jazzed about it.

Hope everyone had a great holiday weekend!

Happy September!!!

I can’t tell you how happy I am that the summer months are OVER!  I know in Florida that this absolutely does NOT mean that summer weather is over (we probably have another 6 weeks or so of that), but at least it means I can very nicely request that my husband dig into our “Harry Potter closet” (that’s what we call the closet that goes under our stairwell) this weekend to retrieve the bins of fall and Halloween decor.  I’m not sure if I will really start decorating this weekend or next, but it’s coming…SOON!

It also means that Tadd and I officially made it through our No-Spend August challenge!

We officially met our goal of 18 days in August without spending any money.  It wasn’t always fun, but I can’t tell you how much it helped me realize how much spending a little here and there, without planning, can add up quickly!  It was so nice to see a good sized extra buffer in our checking account, and it made planning our budget SO much easier because there were very very few random, spur-of-the-moment expenses (Starbucks, lunches out, etc).  We planned ahead, spent based on our plans, and anytime we THOUGHT we “needed” something we would challenge ourselves to really think about if it was a need, want, or something we could put off for another day.  I think the biggest tip I took away is cutting out the random little trips to the grocery store!  I always end up spending more than planned if I run into Publix for “just a couple of things”.  We only went grocery shopping 3 times during the month, and all three trips were heavily planned out and meant to last until the next planned grocery trip.  All in all, Tadd and I really value what we gained from the challenge and think we may do another one after the holidays.

I celebrated making it through the challenge by going to Hobby Lobby after work!  Yes, after learning my lesson about unplanned spending, I rewarded myself by doing some unplanned spending…I know…  But, I got a few items that I plan to use on that tiny Dollar Tree wooden tray I got last week, which I spray painted black and plan to turn into a Halloween decoration this weekend.

I also got a large piece of framed wall art for the kitchen that I will show you later.  It goes with the French Bistro look I have going on.  And everything I got was on sale!  I think I spent about $30 total (and the wall art was originally $50 by itself).  So not too shabby.

Tadd and I also treated ourselves to a much-needed date night last night!  We decided to go to Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant on Park Ave in Winter Park.  Once we decided when and where to go, I went on Restaurant.com (which is the site I mentioned previously in this post) and scored a $25 off $45 certificate for $3, using their current 80% off promo code TASTY!  We got there around 7:30 and to our amazement, the weather was comfortable enough for us to sit outside and enjoy the charming atmosphere of Park Avenue.  We each had one adult beverge, shared an appetizer (the cheese triangles…mmmm), salads, bread, and 2 entrees (I had chicken piccata, which was delicious…Tadd had the lobster ravioli), and our bill including tip came to about $50.  Not bad for a nice evening out.  I really, truly love Restaurants.com!

Cheese triangles!

Greek Salad

Chicken Piccata

What is your favorite way to spend a date night?

TGIF and Happy Labor Day!!!  Let’s get this long weekend started!

Date Night!

Much needed date night tonight with my husband.  We went to 310 Park South on Park Avenue in Downtown Winter Park.  If you don’t live in the Orlando area, Park Avenue in Winter Park is a quaint upscale shopping/dining district just north of Orlando.  Lots of fancy specialty shops, parks, and cafe-style dining.  It was just nice to have a couple hours of change of scenery…

Walking through Central Park on the way to the restaurant:

Love the landscaping around Central Park!

We opted to sit inside because it was disgustingly hot outside.  Even at 6pm, it felt like a ridiculously hot oven.  I had a sangria ($4/glass during happy hour) and the chicken roulade and Tadd had the biggest serving of fish & chips I had ever seen.  My chicken was decent but the cheddar mashed potatoes it came with were GIANT YUM!!!  Tadd loved his food too…I had to steal a french fry and can attest that they are delicious.  I would go back again, but probably order something else next time.  Their menu is extensive, so no problem doing that.

Sangria

Chicken Roulade w/ cheddar mashed potatoes and sauteed veggies.

Fish & Chips

Now I am watching So You Think You Can Dance with a glass of Barefoot sauvignon blanc.  Tadd has even been sweet enough to watch my show with me.  We have really had an awesome evening.

Tuesday’s Tip: Orlando has a hometown liquor distillery? What?

Starting another of what I hope to be one of my weekly structured posts…Tuesday’s Tip.  Every Tuesday I hope to share with you a tip.  It could be something new I just found out about that I would like to share, or it could be something that has helped me many times in the past that might help you!

Today’s tip is more for people in Orlando than anything else, and something I just discovered that I want to share with you.  Did you know that there is a whisky and vodka distillery in Orlando?  Well, there is!  Check it out:

Winter Park Distilling Company

How cool is that?  I had no idea this even existed until this morning.  I haven’t tried any of their stuff yet, so I have no idea if it’s any good, but I plan to try it and will report back here on Sunshine and Some Tea.  The distillery does not seem to be open to the public, but the website lists several local vendors that carry their stuff.

Maybe it’s silly, but I am so proud of my city!  I used to hate living in Orlando when I was growing up.  In high school and college I couldn’t wait to get out because I thought Orlando was so dull and lifeless…A city of transplants…No culture of its own…etc.  But as I have become an adult and time has passed, it seems to have gotten much more exciting.  Now there is ALWAYS something new going on, and something interesting to try.  We now have trendy food trucks, new and interesting restaurants with lots of different and fun concepts and gimmicks, a myriad of festivals year-round, and apparently even liquor distilleries.  And now, despite the ridiculously hot weather for 9 months out of the year, I think I can say that I love living here. Why would I want to leave?  My family and friends are (almost) all here, and there is SO much to see and do all the time.  Such a 180 degree turn from where I was 10 or 12 years ago.

So there you go, Orlando…Your tip of the week.  If you try the vodka or whisky, let me know what you think and I will do the same.

And have a great Tuesday!