“Get The Point? Good, Let’s Dance”

Growing up I always considered myself to be a pretty good dancer. I took ballet, I can do It’s Raining Men and Cotton Eyed Joe with the best of them, I mean… I can do the worm for Christ’s sake.  But with choreographed dances seemingly only existing at weddings now-a-days, I had lost my panache for the old dance floor. Thankfully, in doing this blog, we’ve met so many people with seriously awesome talents and let’s just say I met a dance instructor who can WORK.

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A few weeks ago Nicholas and I had the chance to judge a friend’s brunch competition. Besides the AHMAZINGGG food and drinks we were so graciously served, we also met some exceptional individuals. One being Areis, an instructor at Soul Rooster Dance & Fitness. Located in Britton Plaza the studio is a little hard to find but once you get inside you’ll feel right at home. With a friendly staff, bright lights and pumpin’ music it’s like walking into your favorite club on a Saturday night. Lucky for me, tonight was the Janet Jackson World Tour Class. Every few weeks, Areis’ Soul Fusion class turns into a “World Tour” class designed to make you feel like a straight up backup dancer. While I was super upset to have missed the Madonna MDNA class, I was definitely not going to miss out on Miss Jackson (if you’re nasty).

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Going in I was a little nervous after seeing a Facebook notification pop up on my phone stating “2 hours left do not eat anything from this point on please” (so the Evo’s Steakburger and Fries I just ordered should be returned?) Lucky for me I was OK but it’s not to say I didn’t have my ass handed to me in that class. It took me a little bit to warm up and get into the rhythm of things but after a few minutes I was ready to shake it. One thing I loved about the class was that not only did we do choreography, but it also had cardio intertwined. We danced, we did squats, we danced, we did step ups, we danced… you get the picture.

 

The great thing about the class was that everyone was on different levels, so you never felt like you were out of place or holding anyone back. Areis was so upbeat and encouraging that it didn’t feel like working out at all, it was just fun. I swear I had a smile on my face the entire time- and let me tell you, I do NOT have a smile on my face the entire time when I work out at the gym. When things started to wind down I was not ready for it to end, so I went ahead and bought a package to come back for more! Next up: BRITNEY! My 14 year old self is freaking out.

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If you’re looking to mix up your workout, enjoy a fun class with some girlfriends or just try something different, make sure to check out Soul Rooster. Not only do they have their World Tour classes, but they also offer Pound classes, Salsa, Zumba and so much more. Planning a dance party for your closest friends or a birthday party for your young one?  Soul Rooster is the perfect place. They’ll have you feeling like a superstar in no time!

 

Wake Up Your Soul- Allison

Florida Favorites

#flfavorites

This summer, it’s very likely you’ve seen the Zephyrhill’s team out and about at events promoting their new “Florida Favorites” campaign, and if you haven’t… where have you been?? We were so excited when they contacted us prior to their launch help in promoting the fun campaign they are running this summer and join in on all the #FLFavorites fun. As part of the campaign, we’ve been asked to post about some of our favorite things here in the Sunshine State (clearly not hard for us to do!!). After making the tough decision to partake (not really) we were lucky enough to receive a box of swag and a Publix giftcard that we plan to use for a fun event in the future. Let’s dive into our favorites shall we?

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Personally, I think the thing about Florida that is my favorite would have to be the fun of camping. Now, we are all very busy between blogging, attending events and our full time jobs, but we love to get away every once in a while to enjoy the outdoors and each others company. Most times, we like to bring some “bonus” friends with us to make the weekend extra enjoyable or to introduce them to the whole camping experience for the very first time. Whether it be tubing, hiking, sunbathing, geocaching, grilling or enjoying a nice refreshing cocktail around the fire, we always find fun things to do to keep us entertained while hanging at our campsite (and when I say campsite, I mean everything from full on “glamping” in a cabin at Lake Louisa State Park to the typical, tent style housing at Lake Manatee State Park). If only there were more hours in the week, we would probably take a camping trip once a month. We have already enjoyed tubing down Rainbow River, but there are still so many more great spots to camp out in Florida with some being pretty close to us. Don’t you worry, we are already planning an upcoming trip once the weather cools down a bit in the fall, so stay tuned!

#flfavorites

 

PicMonkey Collage

 

Ryan’s got his favorite and it piggybacks off of the whole camping experience…Geocaching is a great time when camping! Although I like to keep my phone off when camping, I make an exception to Geocache! What you never heard of Geocaching? Don’t worry only those that “cache” know about the culture. Think of it as a widespread scavenger hunt for adults (and kids)! For us, no matter where we are, we like to bust out our geocaching app and get to searching. Our love started while camping but translates all over, from the center of NYC to the streets of Tampa.It is a great way to explore your home city in a new way, the caches bring you to the corners of the city that you may have never been or never would plan to visit.

#flfavorites

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Which brings us to Allison’s favorite- outdoor festivals and concerts. It’s no surprise that living in Florida includes living with gorgeous weather, which lends itself to many outdoor activities. Chances are on any given weekend there is something cool and unique going on in your city or one nearby. Whether it’s a Rum Fest, Margarita Fest, Beer Fest, Italian Fest or pretty much any kind of festival (case in point: Macaroni and Cheese Throw down), there is no shortage of events to partake in. Another of our favorites we always make sure to hit up are the outdoor markets here in Hyde Park  and Downtown Tampa. They are perfect for discovering great local finds including jams, jewelry and produce. Finally, we love to check out the music and arts fests here in town too. With everything from the Gasparilla Arts Fest, to the Gasparilla Music Fest, Sunset Music Festival and this year’s newbie the Big Guava Music Festival, it’s rare we find ourselves without something awesome to check out on weekends. Making Outdoor Festivals, my #FlFavorites!margs 1

After all that outdoor fun in Florida, we were so pumped when our friends invited us to World Water Fight Tampa. A few weeks ago on a sunny Saturday afternoon, a group of us and our friends gathered at Julian B Lane Riverfront park with water guns in hand. It’s as simple as choosing a side, Blue Team or Red Team, fill up and start the games! From an adapted version of capture the flag to every person for themselves, the games were family friendly as well as action packed. This was great way for us to take advantage of a local park, gather with friends and enjoy the Florida sunshine. Check out all of the action-packed pics from the day here on Facebook!

#flfavorites

 

Zephyrhills’ 50th anniversary celebration is asking people to share their “Florida Favorite with #FLfavorites on social media – every time the hashtag is used, Zephyrhills is donating $1 to Keep Tampa Bay Watch and Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful! The target donation is $50,000, and we still have a little ways to go before the campaign ends on September 15th. So get on it!

- Nicholas, Ryan & Allison

NHIE Tampa Bay

Dog Friendly Dining Abounds in Ybor City

Dog-friendly dining can be found all over Tampa Bay – some restaurants even go so far as to offer pooch-friendly food menus. In Ybor City, a thriving neighborhood that is chock full of restaurants and bars, dog friendly seating can be found almost anywhere.

Ybor City Mural

Mural on 7th Ave, Ybor City

My favorite dog-friendly destination in Ybor City is, without a doubt, New World Brewery. Tucked back off a block off of busy 7th Ave under an illuminated Ybor Square sign, the courtyard at NWB is as welcome and inviting as a friend’s cozy backyard. There are stone tables scattered throughout, mixed with picnic tables, a large covered area where bands play some evenings, and a little bar-style seating with stools. The air is infused with a smoky scent from the pork or chicken that is slowly cooking in the courtyard’s corner.

You can even purchase a pork shoulder, with a little meat along the edges, for the low, low price of a nickel! I let my dog chew on it for a few minutes upon my last visit and she was in hog heaven. As soon as it started to crack (strong jaws), I took it away to be safe, but it was well worth the enjoyment she got out of it. The bartender also brought out a water bowl for her, unprompted – which I appreciate. On the human side, you can’t go wrong with a wide array of draft and bottle beer coupled with thin, crispy pizza.  I opt for tomato sauce, typically, but NWB offers a few black bean-base pizzas that even I, a sort of picky eater, enjoy.

 

New World Brewery Ybor City

My dog and a friend’s dog in the outdoor courtyard at New World Brewery, 1313 8th Ave, Ybor City

Over on the main strip, 7th Ave, there are a few dog-friendly places to grab a drink or enjoy a full meal – but before you get there, a quick stop at James Joyce Irish Pub might be in order! They’re not exactly equipped for dogs, but you can get water for your pooch from your server, and the little patio out front makes for some great people watching. Plus, the low walls that flank the patio are a perfect spot to sit with your dog, as long as it’s not too sunny. If it is, there are also a few outdoors bar tables with umbrellas where you can post up with a cold one. I usually go with something on tap – perhaps a draft from Cigar City or a stout Guinness in the fall.

James Joyce Irish Pub Ybor City

My dog, Chloe, relaxing at James Joyce Irish Pub, 1724 E. 8th Ave, Ybor City

Tampa Bay Brewing Company in Centro Ybor is usually occupied by at least a few groups with dogs on busy days. If your pup is social and behaves well with other dogs, this is a great place bring your dog, sit outdoors, and enjoy local beer and fare, like the famous TBBC Beer Cheese soup. On a day when you leave Fido at home, be sure to give the brewery a tour.

7th Ave, Ybor City

7th Ave, Ybor City

Gaspar’s Grotto is probably my second favorite place to bring my dog in Ybor City. They host a monthly “pets on the patio” event on the first Saturday of every month. Someone even uploaded a video of one of the events to YouTube (not me, but it gives you a nice idea of the relaxed vibe)! The servers at Gaspar’s will bring out dog water if you ask for it. But the reason I keep going back is that the atmosphere there welcomes dogs all the time, not just at special events – there is even a large mural of many different, adorable dog breeds on the courtyard’s back wall. While there, try the Cuban sandwich; wood-fired pizzas, or traditional Spanish bean soup. It’s all so good.

7th Ave street sign, Ybor City

7th Ave street sign, Ybor City

These restaurants and bars score high on my list of dog friendly destinations in Ybor City in part because they offer a little bit of shade for us, and especially for the dog. Other great places that I have been to with my dog in Ybor City include Bernini, The Bunker, The Bricks of Ybor, and Stone Soup Company. I like each of these restaurants but prefer to visit them without my pet because they offer limited shade or seating

On the whole, Ybor City is a super dog-friendly destination for lunch, brunch, dinner or drinks. I recommend visiting one of the places mentioned above and letting me know how your doggie-dining experience went. And if there is a dog-friendly destination in Ybor City that I am missing, feel free to share it in the comments!

Ybor Square Ybor City

Ybor Square sign in Ybor City

- Justine Benstead

Justine is a writer who lives in South Tampa, drinks a lot of coffee, and spends too much time seeking out dog friendly destinations. Follow her on Twitter at @JustineinTampa. She’s a blast!

 

11291_10154481019565375_7057925017353441503_nAnd check it out….Tampa has been named the 7th Best City for Pet Lovers! Enjoy the sites with your favorite four-legged friends!

 

A Tasty Sweet Tooth

Part of my role in helping organize Social Media Day  this year was to try and find partners and sponsors to join our event. This meant reaching out to local businesses, chatting about what the event was for and seeing how we could incorporate the different businesses into the event itself. After reviewing the sponsors that were already on board, I noticed one, rather key component missing from the list…..DESSERT! I immediately ran to social media to find a local baker that could help us out. Within seconds, I stumbled upon, The Sweet Tooth Cakery, a local “cakery” in South Tampa, located on Westshore Blvd. I contacted the owner and “Master Baker” , Pam, to see if she could be of assistance and she agreed. The cupcakes she provided were phenomenal and the coolest part, they were personalized with the logo for the event and other fun icons that were on brand for the event. I was sure to keep her number and contact info saved for future events. Sweet Tooth Cakery in Tampa

Now that was back in June, so fast forward to last week when we received an email inviting us to an exclusive tasting at Sweet Tooth to try out and comment on some new menu items that are being released. We gladly accepted and on Wednesday night, Allison and I rushed our hungry stomachs right on over to the shop. We met the other bloggers that came for the fun and took our seats to get the tasting started.

Sweet Tooth Cakery Treats and Scorecard

So as you can see, we were asked to comment and judge on three types of cupcakes, Kahlua Biscoff Crunch, Sweet Potato Pie and Chicken and Waffles. But, before we could do that, we were served some delicious Party Cake Milkshake with a rainbow sprinkle rim. Let me say that the pictures don’t do any of these treats justice in that they were so yummy. The milkshake tasted like liquid birthday cake. SO GOOD!

Sweet Tooth Cakery Tampa

Sweet Tooth Cakery Creations

We eventually got going on the cupcakes and to start off was the Kahlua Biscoff Crunch (top left). After that decadent treat, we moved on to Sweet Potato Pie which was both mine and Allison’s favorites. The marshmallow buttercream may have done it for us, but either way this one is a MUST TRY. Lastly, they brought out the Chicken and Waffles, which was rather intriguing. It literally had bacon bits and a chicken nugget on top, which made for a unique but appealing taste combo. As I ate it all I could think about was wanting an order of actual chicken and waffles. As we closed up the judging on the three (Sweet Potato Pie took the top spot for us), Pam explained there was one more surprise item to come. This item was something that she hadn’t seen done in Tampa before and was getting ready to launch it the next day on her menu. As many of you know, Cronuts were the big thing before summer began. Well, move over cronut because there is a new headliner in Tampa Bay! Introducing the COOKIE CUP! It is exactly what it sounds like, a cup made out of cookie. It can be personalized with different frosting, sprinkles, and filled with a plethora of different treats: milk, latte, ice cream, or empty! As we enjoyed all of the delicious treats, we made sure to snag a few shots and even squeezed in some “Sweet Tooth Selfies”. #pinkysupdrinkysup HAHA

Sweet Tooth Cakery Tampa

Sweet Tooth Selfies

The Sweet Tooth Cakery has been open for just over one year and is your one stop shop for everything desserts! They do cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cake pops…you name it. They host parties, wedding cake tastings (only $25 and if you end up placing an order with them, the $25 is deducted from the cost of the cake), or will serve you as a walk-in customer. Basically everything they make can be personalized and they are very flexible in working to make the customer happy. They can also do vegan options and other dietary restrictive recipes…. just ask! The flavors are endless and they also have smoothies, lattes, iced teas, and more. Oh and if you don’t feel like traveling to them, they deliver too! They offer free delivery within 10 miles of the store and then it’s 50 cents for each mile over the 10. I mean, you might as well stop in and check them out.

Sweet Tooth Cakery Tampa

Sweet Tooth Cakery Decor

As we got ready to leave and filled our to-go boxes because there was NO WAY we could finish all of those sweets in one sitting, we were presented with a Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake baked in a baby mason jar as a parting gift. It is in the fridge ready for a tasting, so I will have to hold off on that judging. But, I am sure it will be delicious!

Bourbon Banana Pudding Cheesecake

The best part for you is the fact that she also sent us home with an awesome gift basket for our followers. Inside, there are tons of great gifts. It has some yummy treats, a t shirt, a gift certificate, and more! If you want a chance to win this great gift pack, be sure to enter to win here a Rafflecopter giveaway for Sweet Tooth Cakery.

Sweet Tooth Cakery Tampa

Sweet Tooth Cakery Decor

-Nicholas

The Sweet Tooth Cakery on Urbanspoon

Summer of Rum Giveaway

Hey everyone! We had such a great time at Margarita Fest in the spring, that we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity to join in all the rum fun at this year’s Summer of Rum Festival in Ybor City. With a variety of rum brands including Captain Morgan, The Naked Turtle and Bacardi, attendees will have the option of sipping on a slew of delicious drinks. Here are just some of the options to choose from:

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Appleton VIP Bar:

Appleton Shakedown Highball

Appleton Original Daiquiri

Appleton Planter’s Punch

Appleton Mombay Sunset

Appleton The Instigator

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Bacardi Rum Shack:

Bacardi Cuba Libre

Bacardi Mai Tai

Bacardi Mango Storm

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Captain Morgan Pirate’s Cove:

Captain & Cola

Captain & Ginger

Captain’s Cooler

Pirate’s Tea

Captain Pineapple Splash

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Cruzan Mojito Cantina:

Cruzan Classic Mojito

Cruzan Mango Mojito

Cruzan Black Cherry Mojito

 With so many more to name, we are excited to say that we have TWO GA TICKETS to give away today for Saturday’s event! Enter here for the Summer of Rum Fest Rafflecopter giveaway! The contest will run thought Thursday, August 14th at 11:59pm. We will announce the winner by Friday to arrange a pick up. Good luck!

-Nicholas

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