Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival offers chance to taste the world

So happy to visit Epcot – Walt Disney World Food and Wine Festival this week with  my daughter. Even though I live in Florida, I hadn’t been to the Food and Wine Festival  in more than 20 years, before I had children.

We went two days before the end of the festival, which was also the opening day of Disney World’s A Very Merry Christmas, so it was pretty crowded.

I loved – well, what everyone loves – being able to visit so many different countries in one day! And it’s so much fun to be able to try foods from every country as well.

My favorite pavilion is always France, with lavender, linens and champagne!

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Sip, Savor, Repeat at Clearwater Beach Uncorked weekend of food and wine

Due to my relationship with Clearwater Beach Uncorked, I will receive two tickets to the event. However, opinions here are my own.

Early December in Clearwater almost always means beautiful weather, and to have a gorgeous beach day, my toes in the sand AND great restaurant food and wine? Well, I can barely wait.

I am so excited that I finally get to attend the Clearwater Beach Uncorked festival this December 2-3, Saturday and Sunday. If you have read my blog,  you will notice lots of food and wine and many beach visits, so the combination couldn’t be more perfect.

(Photo credit: Clearwater Beach Uncorked)


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The Tervis Experience offers a chance to make your own tumbler

As a member of Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was invited to The Tervis Experience launch event. Guests, including myself, received their own free Tervis mug, along with a Tervis-branded tumbler and a Tervis bag. All opinions are my own.

Can you remember your first Tervis tumbler?

I sure do. I bought four of them during a vacation to Naples, FL, 25 years ago: a conch shell,  sand dollar, beach chair and a sailfish. I was so proud of them. I thought I had arrived.

Everyone loves Tervis. And why not? They keep our drinks cold – or hot – and they look pretty at the same time. In its 70+ history,  Tervis has had more than 10,000 designs on their tumblers. Something for everyone, for sure.


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Springhill Suites and Residence Inn Clearwater Beach a relaxing combo

A new hotel is opening on Clearwater Beach, and it’s filling a great spot of suites that can be enjoyed by families and couples who want to get comfortable.

The owners invited Tampa Bay Bloggers to visit the new property, which is a combination of  Springhill Suites and Residence Inn Clearwater Beach.

Located on the intracoastal, it has a gorgeous view of the water. On the other side, guests are only steps away from the white sands of Clearwater Beach.

We had a fun night scheduled for us, where we were given a tour and had a fun scavenger hunt to show us the details of the property.

We gathered in the lobby and were greeted with hors d’ouevres and drinks.

Graciously, the hotel also gave us a free night at the hotel so that we could explore further. I’ll be posting another blog post about that later in December! For now, check out these features and details of the new suites.

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Renaissance Tampa Hotel a jewel in the midst of the city

Today I had a meeting at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel for a planning meeting of the upcoming Dress for Success Tampa Bay luncheon and fashion show. One of the committee members works there, so we decided to have lunch there as well.

Nestled to the side of International Plaza in Tampa, just on the cusp of Tampa International Airport, a newcomer to Tampa wouldn’t realize they are in for a treat. It’s a small Mediterranean jewel that’s delightful to visit.

I’ve been to the hotel twice for business reasons, but for some reason I did not have the opportunity to explore.

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Checking out the new Wyndham Grande Clearwater Beach

As a member of Working Women Tampa Bay, I was invited to the new Wyndham Grande Clearwater Beach on a weekday evening to tour the Pallavi Spa.

Located just north of the Hyatt Clearwater Beach, the resort opened late last year. Rooms seem to run about $228 a night during July.

Of course I had to explore other parts of the hotel too, including the pool and the restaurant, Ocean Hai.

The entrance:

As soon as you pull into the drive, you step up several steps to see this:

And believe me, you feel like you’ve reached nirvana.


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Beauty of the beach gives colorful sunset surprises in Florida

I’ve lived in Florida my entire life, and despite jokes from others in other states, I don’t know if I ever want to live anywhere else. Oh sure, every time I visit Boston or Charleston, or when I’ve visited France or Spain, I dream of possibly living there.

But it’s tough to beat the days and days of sunshine here and the proximity to the beach. The weather allows for so many events 365 days a year, and Tampa Bay is host to amazing music, art and outdoor adventures.

I probably will never live On the beach, thanks to living through Hurricane Andrew in 1992, but it’s a blessing to live just 15 minutes away.

That means I can head out to the beach any night after 5 p.m. to catch the sunset. Honeymoon Island in Dunedin is the closest beach to me, so that’s where I often go.

This Thursday, I happened to do just that. And I got a very nice surprise.

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A peek into Waldorf Astoria Orlando

Although my main passion is tablescapes and entertaining, I also like to share my travels to hotels and restaurants, and share elegant surroundings.

Recently I visited Orlando, which is only two hours away from Tampa Bay , and stayed at the Hilton Bonnet Creek resort. The hotel is connected by the conference venue to the Waldorf Astoria Orlando. They each have their own pools and restaurants, but guests are free to use any of them.

I’m so glad I took the time to wander over to the Waldorf, which I had never stayed in. After strolling the long marble hallways, we turned to find a lovely tuxedoed waiter  in tails and a large silver platter of champagne flutes.
  Ahhhh, heaven.

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Hilton Bonnet Creek Pool, Bar the Best Parts

I had the opportunity to attend a conference this past weekend at the Hilton Bonnet Creek resort in Orlando.

My view from my window was amazing, overlooking the expansive lazy river and golf course.

The conference was filled with great speakers, informative classes, a chock-full expo and lots of networking, but I was glad I had the chance to sneak out in the late afternoon of the second day to cool off in this great pool.

lazy river window

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