Beaches and Cream Soda Shop

IMG_1266If you’re looking for one of the best burgers in town or just hungry for some yummy dessert…Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is the place you’ll want to go!  Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is located at Disney’s Beach Club Resort, along side of Stormalong Bay.  It’s a short walk from The Boardwalk or if you happen to be at Epcot in the World Showcase area, you an take a quick walk or boat ride from the exit between France & the United Kingdom.

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is adorned in a pastel color palette .  It reminds me of the colors you see if you buy a bag of saltwater taffy.  You’ll definitely want to grab a seat early on in the day if you can, as it is a very small place.  It has three booths adorned with beach balls, a handful of white wrought iron tables & then you have a counter running along two wall with plenty of seating there as well.  Of course, there is a juke box right when you walk in as well.  They also have a few tables outside on the sidewalk overlooking Stormalong Bay, if you prefer to sit outside.  The tables are adorable and look like ice cream cones.

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The day I went with my parents, we were lucky and didn’t have to wait more than 5 minutes to be seated at one of the tables inside.  We took awhile to look over the menu, but we were all hungry for a good burger, so that’s what we all ordered.  Honestly, it’s one of the best burgers I’ve had since moving to Florida.  If I wasn’t so hungry for a burger that day, they had the most amazing looking grilled cheese sandwich served along side a cup of tomato soup.  I’ll definitely be getting that next time!  They also have hotdogs, chili, & a few other sandwiches to choose from.

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When it was time for dessert, none of us were still that hungry, but it all looked so good as we see order after order of ice cream and shakes being delivered to other tables.  My dad loves a good Chocolate Malt, so that’s what he ordered.  Keep in mind, if you order one of the shakes/malts…they serve it up the old fashioned soda shop style way.  They fill up a big glass with the shake or malt and then give you the remainder of what is left in the tin cup it was made in, which is another big cups worth, so you may want to share!  As for my mom and I, we decided to split the strawberry shortcake with fresh strawberries, which was topped with a huge scoop of vanilla bean ice cream and a big ‘ol dollop of whipped cream with colored sprinkles.  It was delicious!

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So don’t forget about this little hidden secret next time you are out visiting The Boardwalk or lolly gagging around Epcot and you’re hungry for some tasty treats!  All of the prices are really reasonable too!  Oh, and if you or your family are big fans of ice cream, you may want to order up one of there most known for deserts….The Kitchen Sink!  If you’re able to tackle that beast…congratulations!  It is eight giant scoops of ice cream smothered in about every topping imaginable!

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The Missing Paragraph

IMG_1372Happy Hump Day!  Luckily this week is going by pretty quickly, which is always fine by me…it just means we are that much closer to the weekend again!

As you know, I’ve had several blog posts published over this past week over at i.seekissimmee.com.  Unfortunately, they’ve taken it upon themselves to edit some of my posts, which doesn’t make me a happy camper because there edits make my article sound horrible…like something is missing.  It’s not as if they did an edit so it flowed well & didn’t sound like I left stuff out, as I like to be very detailed.  Well, if you read the “Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue” post, they decided to cut out the second paragraph, which is one of the most important parts of my post on the transportation getting to and from the location.  I know I was a bit nervous because I got several different answers when I was researching the options ourselves, so I wanted to make everyone else’s experience a little less worry-some by providing the information regarding the transportation from experiencing it first hand.  You can see the edited post here.   Below is the missing paragraph the way it was supposed to be published regarding the transportation to the show if you’d like it for your reference.

The Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue is held at the Pioneer Hall which is located at Ft. Wilderness Campgrounds.  After talking to several Disney staff at various different places & trying to get an idea of the best mode of transportation because I received different answers from all, we decided not to drive ourselves, but instead we took a bus from the Dolphin & Swan where we were staying directly to Magic Kingdom.  Once at Magic Kingdom, they had a ferry-boat that took us right to Ft. Wilderness.  Now since our dinner show was scheduled around 8:00pm, we wouldn’t be getting out until 10:00pm or so, in which the Magic Kingdom was closed, so we wouldn’t be able to go back the way we came.  No worries…after the show, they make sure to have about 4 or 5 buses & when you approach you just tell them which of the Disney hotels you are staying or if you’re going to Downtown Disney & they will direct you to the correct bus & get you back to where you need to go without a problem!  I honestly was a bit nervous not knowing how the buses worked, but take it from me…it’s worry free!

Well, I hope this additional bit of information was helpful to you if you are, in fact, planning to go to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue the next time you are on vacation at Disney or just in the Orlando area.  If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment below, as I’m always willing to assist if I can!

May 2013 Blogging Challenge

I know I’ve been super bad and posting lately, although in all fairness…I have technically been writing up posts for i.seeKissimmee.com behind the scenes, but they just haven’t been official posted yet.  They did launch the start of my week of posts this past Friday.  Today, the first official post with a review in it has been posted, so make sure you head over to the website and read up on my post about The Boardwalk.

With that being said, if you’re having trouble posting lately, you may want to take the blogging challenge during the month of May, which I’ve posted below.  Click the link below to join in the challenge!  This blog hop is being hosted by The Blog Designers Network, Creative Girl Media & Delightfully Inspired.

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Yay for the Freakin’ Weekend!

Happy Friday, y’all!  This has been the slowest week ever, so I’m hoping this weekend goes nice and slow, as well, but we all know it won’t!  It’ll more than like go by super fast and Monday will be flying upon us like those crazy creepy flying baboons from the new Oz movie.  Oh well, it is what it is….happens every week like clockwork!

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If you’re interesting in entering a giveaway for one of my 8×8 “Moonlight Cherry Blossoms” paintings, make sure and head over to Simply Stephanie blog a.s.a.p.!  All you have to do is visit my Etsy shop “The Painted Palette” & take a look and then go and leave a comment on her blog, as to which painting you like.  Easy peasy!  The winner will be announce on Monday, May 6th, so you only have until this Sunday to enter.  Last I checked there were only 4 comments, so you have a pretty good chance, so go enter!

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Remember in my last post where I said that all of my posts I’ve written lately were in draft mode over on i.seekissimmee.com?  Well, if you head over there now, my first post has been published, so you’ll have about 10 more that will be published throughout the next week! Some of the posts you’ll see over there this week are for some pretty good places to eat, like Hawkers, Beaches & Cream, & Blue Bird Bake Shop.  You’ll also see my review of the musical dinner show the Hoop Dee Doo Revue, which is pretty spectacular, as well as things like the Boardwalk, Downtown Disney, shopping at The Loop & of course the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival.

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Other than that, not much else going on.  Been doodling a bit in my sketchbook & playing around with my logo character.  Tomorrow is my 1 month weigh in.  I’ve been trying my best to be a good girl and eat more veggies and smaller portion sizes.  My goal for the month was to hopefully be down -10lbs, so fingers crossed I can hit that in the morning.  As of week 3, I was down 7.7, so far, so we’ll see!  Well, until I post again…yak at ya y’all later & have a fabulous freakin’ weekend!!  

Catch Up Time!

Holy smokes guys….it’s been a while since I’ve written an actual post!  So, I guess it’s time to play catch-up!  November 16th I packed my bags and headed home to Illinois for Thanksgiving for a nice 12 day vacation.  It’s hard to believe it was a month ago today that I was getting on that plane home.  Like they say…time flies!  Time flew by pretty fast when I was at home too!  It was a lot easier leaving and not crying my eyes out like I usually do when I leave, since my parent are coming to visit the first week of February!  YAY!!  Anyways, before I flew home I thought it would be nice to have some family pictures taken since we haven’t had any taken in years, so the day after I arrived, we headed out for pics down by the Mississippi River & then to my favorite park.  We lucked out & it was a gorgeous & warm day outside for that time of year….now a week later…it’s was in the 30’s, so when I say we lucked out, I mean it!  Here’s a few shots…

Mom, Chris (Not so little bro), Me, Dad & Sara (little sis)

Mom, Chris (Not so little bro), Me, Dad & Sara (little sis)
Sara, Jenn & Chris

Sara, Jenn & Chris

12.17If anyone back home reads this & is looking for a good photographer in the Burlington, IA area, you should check out SAS Photography & contact Sarah Schulz, as she does a wonderful job & has awesome prices!  Thanks again, Sarah!

After being a bum & gaining 10lbs from all that great home cooking, I headed home on the 27th.  I had a little bit of an annoying cough when I got on the plane & had been popping vitamin C all day like a crazy person, but by the next day or so I was back in Orlando it had turned into a full blown cold…Blah!  I blame the plane ride & all that recycled air.

So with being on vacation, being sick & busy with Christmas shopping…I just haven’t had the urge to write.  Seems like when I do have thoughts of things to write…its when I’m somewhere that I’m not near my computer, like on the ride home from work and totally space out and miss turns and such…yes, I do that.

I have managed to do a Disney park pretty much every weekend since I returned from vacation, so I can check out all of the Disney holiday goodness.  Like the lighting of Cinderella’s Castle….it was magical & oh so beautiful!  I took a video of the whole thing so you wouldn’t feel left out, but I can’t figure out how to post it here, so I will post pics, which just don’t do it justice!  🙂  We even experienced New Year’s the night I went as they were filming some sort of New Year’s celebration and had the clock on the castle set to midnight for filming…it was kind of comical.

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IMG_1012Along with enjoying all the lights & events in the parks, my friend Eric & I have been resort hopping and checking out the lights & decor in all of the Disney resorts.  They all have lovely trees…one had a life size Gingerbread house in the lobby that they of course were selling gingerbread cookies out of.  Another had the biggest freakin’ Mickey Mouse wreath I’ve ever seen!

DisneyChristmasNow last weekend, my friends Eric & Jay took my out for and AWESOME dinner at Epcot at Tutto Italia, which included specialty seating for the Candlelight Processional AND V.I.P. viewing area for the fireworks show Illuminations.  I didn’t get any pics that night, as I was just having way to much fun.  There are several videos on YouTube of the Candlelight Processional…I went to the one that was narrated by James Denton (Actor from Desperate Housewives).

Now this afternoon I have plans to go with my Disney companions to go to Mickey’s Jammin’ Jingle Parade at Animal Kingdom & then we are hopping over to the Osborne Family Light Spectacle at MGM (Currently known as Hollywood Studios, but I refuse to call it that like any diehard Disney fan)! 🙂

Well, that pretty much wraps things up to what’s been going on in my world lately.  Got all presents wrapped and shipped out yesterday, so all that stuff is out of the way.  I have gifts for friends sitting here to hand out this coming week.  I’m kind of bummed I’ve only gotten one Christmas card so far this year.  I always loved Christmas cards…I only send out a few anymore since I never seem to get any back.  I was super excited to come home Friday though and found my landlords had left my yearly Christmas present hanging on the door, which this year was the cutest cookie jar…filled to the brim with cookies & a cute jar full of peppermint taffy.  They are the best!

IMG_1022Well…I’m going to call it a wrap!  Let’s hope the writing bug keeps flowing this week, so here’s until next time!

Cheers!

Disney, Food & Wine….Oh My!

Well, I don’t know about y’all, but I had a rather FABULOUS weekend!  On Saturday, I woke up late for a change.  While I was trying to wake up a little, I crossed my fingers and checked my bank account and payday came early for me instead of having to wait until Monday….YAY!  So, I paid bills & determined I was going to treat myself, after a super busy couple of weeks at work.  So, I jumped in the shower & got ready for the day & headed out on a mission.  Guess what?  Mission Accomplished!  I’m the proud new owner of a Disney annual pass!  YES, YES, YES!!!  So excited!

After I bought it…I immediately sent a text to a friend and they were there within the hour with friends & we spent the rest of the day until a little after 9:00 eating & drinking our way around the world at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival.  While I was waiting for their arrival, I took a shortcut and jumped a ferry straight to Germany, as I was starving since I hadn’t ate all day & I was craving the brat on a pretzel roll, so I scarfed one of those & stood in line for some good ‘ol German beer.  I opted for a flight of four different beers & they were all pretty tasty!

My partners in crime showed up while I was enjoying my beers, so I finished them up and then started walking towards China and ran into them shortly around Korea.  Then it was onward ho the rest of the day.  Had some awesome Key Lime Wine at the Florida booth, then a Belgium Waffle with berries and whipped topping in Belgium, Creme Brûlée in France, “Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce and Apple Ice Wine in Canada. Oh yeah…I also had some of the apple strudel before leaving Germany. It was a pretty kick ass day of just chill in’ out, eating, drinking,  people watching & having some good laughs.

Pure Chocolate Sculpture of Finding Nemo….total waste of chocolate, I say!

Then on Sunday morning, I got up and browsed the Target ad, while trying to wake up.  I got super excited because there was a piece of furniture I had taken a picture of on my phone about a month ago that I wanted to get eventually & it was in the ad on sale for about $30 off….SCORE!  So, I got ready real quick & drove straight to Target and snagged the last one on the shelf…YAY!  It took me a while to put together, as all the screw holes weren’t exact, but after walking away for a bit and coming back to it later with some good advice from my brother, I got it put together.  I think it looks pretty darn good!

Also, while I was at Target….I finally found the suckers I’ve been searching for, around this time of year, for the past couple years….Double Score!

And that was pretty much my weekend!  How was yours?

Caribbean Adventure: Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Our final port on the cruise before heading back home was Cozumel, Mexico.  We didn’t stick around to see or do anything in Cozumel, as we had an excursion booked to see the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum.  So, since this was a 7 hour tour, as soon as we got off the ship, we hopped aboard a ferry.  It was a bit of a rough ride, but we got to see a pod of dolphins jumping along side of the ferry, which was awesome!  After 45 minutes or so, we reached Playa del Carmen.  Boy was it gorgeous!  Definitely on my list of places to go back to!  The water was just breathtaking it was so blue!

 After getting off the ferry, we had to get on a bus for another 45 minute ride or so.  Right before getting to the ruins though, the bus stopped off at a big shopping area, so everyone could use the restrooms, change into swim gear if they wanted & pick up some souvenirs.  I opted for my typical magnet and a bar of Mexican white chocolate, which was mighty tasty & disappeared in about 30 seconds!  We were lucky & had an awesome tour guide, Pamela & she talked the entire bus ride and loaded us full of information on the area.

When we arrived, we walked through a little market area and then it was a good mile hike to the Mayan Ruins.  It wouldn’t have been bad, but man was it HOT!  I have never sweat so much….it was just so humid and no breeze.  Luckily it was a bit overcast or it would have been even hotter.  Once we reached the ruins, Pamela stopped and filled us in on the whole history of the Mayans and then let us go and explore.  I was a bit disappointed that everything was roped off, so you could only look….no going inside any of them.  It was pretty cool to get to see everything though, so I can say I’ve seen it.  If you’d like to read more of the history aspect of the ruins, check out Simply Stephanie’s post on the trip.

We had the most fun just running around getting quick pictures so we could head back & get some grub, since it was past our normal lunch time.  See how gorgeous the water in Mexico is?  There were some truly magnificent views since the ruins are right on the coast.  I can never get enough of ocean views like these!

Once we make the trek back to civilization, we spotted an air conditioned restaurant and that’s where we headed.  We had to eat some authentic Mexican food while in Mexico.  So we ordered some Coke, which Stephanie tried to spill…actually, she was successful & they had to bring out the mop.  Next time I’ll bring her a sippy cup!  Anyways, we ordered our food…I didn’t get what I ordered since I confused him by trying to get cheese on my chicken enchiladas instead of green sauce, so I ended up with cheese enchiladas with no sauce….basically a quesadilla, but it hit the spot.

When we were all done, we headed back for the bus ride back to the ferry.  This time I believe the ferry ride back was a lot rougher than in the morning.  We sat on the lower deck in the a/c on the trip back, so we sat up front which is enclosed and has windows all around it you would have thought we were going through a car wash the way the water was hitting the windows.  We were rocking so much, we had to keep ourselves entertained so keep from getting motion sick.  I think Stephanie had a death grip on my arm as she sang, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” as I laughed hysterically.  One of those memories I’ll think back on in a few years and literally laugh out loud.

Once we hit shore, we jumped on board the ship & got cleaned up super quick, so we could make it to dinner with our table.  And then we ended the night by posing for more silly pics.  The End.

Caribbean Adventures: Grand Cayman – Dolphin Encounter

The second part of of our excursion in Grand Cayman was a dolphin encounter!  Remember how I said there were 6 people in our group, well four of them had gotten a few extras added to their excursion, so Stephanie & I got a dolphin all to ourselves!  It was AWESOME!

Meet Copernicus….isn’t he adorbs!

Honestly, we were really surprised at the amount of things we got to do with Copernicus.  When we first got in the water, we got introduced to Copernicus by the trainer and then the trainer told us to start swimming out quite a ways into the tank.  So we did & I was thrilled!  I got out there and the trainer told me I was going to get to dance with a dolphin.  So he instructed me to fist pump in the air and start spinning around in the water & no sooner that I started I was being accompanied by my buddy & laughing hysterically the whole time!  Totally my favorite part of the trip!

When we were all done dancing the day away, the trainer gave us a few other signals to try with Copernicus.  It’s basically Dolphin sign language & they speak it beautifully!  If we’d hold our hands a little bit over the water, he’d swim right under our hands.  Dolphins are so soft….I loved getting to give him a belly rub.  Did you know they have belly buttons?  They do!  He loved getting his massage…he’d just lay there like a dog.  Then I gave him the sign for a kiss & he planted a salty one on me…LOL!

The smack on the cheek was better….a lot less salty! 🙂

Then we got to see just how fast Copernicus was & man was he speedy!  I mean you’d see him jump way out and then before you even had the chance to look down he was right in front of you.  He reminded me of the butler off of “Mr. Deeds” *Very, Very, Sneaky”! (You just said that in your best latin accent and pronounced it “Berry, Berry, Sneaky”, didn’t you?) 🙂

Really, this experience was so much fun, it’s hard to even put into words!  If you ever get the chance to do a dolphin encounter….DO IT!  They are the most friendly, smart & fun creatures.  So, if you’re headed to Grand Cayman on a cruise anytime soon….bypass the beach…do the dolphin encounter!  So worth the money for the awesome memories and photos!  The only other thing I’d like to do someday is to do the swim with the stingrays excursion.

Stay tuned for the next big adventure….The Mayan Ruins!

Caribbean Adventures: Grand Cayman – The Turtle Farm

The morning that we dropped anchor in Grand Cayman was a bit gloomy with a little rain storm rolling around the harbor, but we kept our fingers crossed that it would blow over.  So we went ahead and grabbed some breakfast and chilled out on the deck while we ate and kept our eye on the rain.  Luckily,  the rain didn’t stick around long & left us with a nice little rainbow as we tendered to shore.

We actually made it inland about an hour or so before our excursion, so we took the opportunity to browse thru a couple of the stores real quick.  Then after we had our quick peek around, we headed for the tent for our excursion & sat & waited for take-off.  Since we had gotten their early, we actually seen the first group for our same excursion take off and it was huge.  Luckily, since we were smart and picked the 2nd tour that was an hour later we lucked out and there were only 6 people for ours.  SCORE!  Around 10:00, we all climbed into a van and headed towards the first part of our excursion…The Turtle Farm!  I’ve been there once before & loved it because I absolutely adore turtles.

We only had 30 minutes to look around the turtle farm, which made it seem kind of rushed, but it was plenty of time to get the photo ops that we wanted.  Plus, it left more time for part two of the excursion…more on that in another post.  Now the first body of water we came too had a lot of these huge turtles floundering about.  They were probably a good 400 lbs. a piece….they were no joke and you’d definitely not want to get your fingers very close to their face as these guys had some wicked looking chompers on them!

After we were done looking at these big cuties, we headed around to the tanks with the smaller turtles that we could hold.  They actually said we could get in one of the holding tanks with them, but I was content staying dry at the moment and just catching them for pictures.  They were fast little guys, so you had to be quick!  Once you’d actually get a good hold on a turtle and pull them out of the water they would have there little freak out session and they would flap their little flippers like crazy, but the trick to calming them down was to just rub them under there neck like you would with a dog and they mellowed out and made picture taking a little easier.

They were so fun!  After posing for pics and playing with them it made me want to take one home.  Plus, I wanted to save them all from being made into turtle burgers & turtle soup, since they are one of the main things they eat on the island.  Poor little guys!

Aren’t they just adorable??

Okay, now after posting all of these pics for your viewing pleasure….I’m ready to go back!  It was really a lot of fun getting all of these pictures.  It was definitely an awesome way to make some good memories!

After we were done, they had outdoor sinks and soap for us to wash up and be on our way.  We took a few minutes to wander around the gift shop & get our souvenir magnets they we like to collect every time we travel someplace new.  Then it was onto our next big adventure!

To be continued…

Caribbean Adventures: Part One

Okay, so I’ve figured I’ve kept you all on pins and needles long enough to hear about the cruise.  I should have wrote everything up when I got back from the cruise, but quite honestly I was wiped out and just lazy when we got back.  It was so nice to have a full week off to relax and unwind though & that included taking a full week off from blogging as well.

I actually contemplated taking the laptop with me on the cruise, but decided just to shut off all technology while on the cruise.  Granted…I checked Facebook and e-mail until the ship finally took off and turned on their internet, which means big fees if you use it, so I turned it on to airplane mode for the remainder of the trip and it was actually nice for a change.  I did catch myself every now and then in the evening grabbing it out of habit to check in on some social media and then quickly remembered it wasn’t an option.

I was a little disappointed with the Carnival Paradise due to it evidently being one of their smallest ships.  I’ve been on several and was stoked to show the BFF everything I had been talking about from previous cruises.  Whomp, Whomp….FAIL!  When we boarded the ship and walked into the “Grand Atrium” I was positive they must have had two and this was the tiny one and we’d find the big one later….WRONG!  Then we were off to check out the pools……make that pool.  One tiny rectangular pool that was split in half by a board across the middle because of a curly cue water slide on the one half.  Seriously!  Why on earth would they think one pool was enough for a cruise ship full of people with part of them being kids.  There was another small round pool that the BFF dubbed “The Shark Tank”, which was round….not even as big as an above ground pool you’d put in your yard.  You had to climb a ladder down into it…..it was just weird.  And once you were down in it….you couldn’t see the deck or anyone outside of the pool….it might as well have been a cave.

Even given the tiny factor, it was still an awesome time.  It was my first all girl vacation, it was 5 days to spend with the BFF & it was time to relax & have no worries.  I also love getting to know the staff every time I go on a cruise as they are from all over the world.  We had the most adorable room steward, Aswar, who we made sure to stop and talk to every time we seen him in the hallway.  We would confess our boredom with the ship activities & ask him to take us to the staff parties, which they do have by the way & he would just laugh and tell us they do have a tour of the staff quarters for $50…LOL. I loved the fact if Stephanie or I were ever by ourselves without one another he would always ask were the other person was, so as least if Stephanie would have pushed me overboard, someone would have noticed. 🙂

Well, I could keep on writing, but I’ll do you a favor and break up the trip in a few different posts, as I know people don’t always enjoy reading really long posts, which I can easily write.  Maybe writing a book is more my forte, since I’m a bit long winded when it comes to writing.  Anyways, stay tuned for posts on Grand Cayman & Mexico!  I’ll leave you with a picture from the Captain’s Dinner the first full day of the cruise.

Jenn & Stephanie all decked out for the Captain’s Dinner