Life's Sweet Journey

Friday, October 2, 2015

5 on Friday: Coffee and Other Happies!

Hey, Hey, it's Friday!! Do a little dance, do a little dance!! 
This week has been extra jam packed, but that also made it fly by and now it's Friday and the weekend is upon us!! Any adventures for anyone this weekend? We will be home based this weekend for some family birthdaying and house catch up. So to get the weekend started off I figured I would share some of the things I am loving lately! 

1.) Last Weekend's Adventure!
Our big adventure took us to Weeki Wachee, so I left our little impromptu stop on our way up there out of yesterday's post, but I still thought it was worth a mention. We have driven by the Lakeridge Winery so many times and never been able to stop, so as we were about to drive past for the thousandth time, we instead decided to pull off and finally give it a go. The winery was beautiful! They offer a great free tour and wine tasting. We had the funniest guide (Doug), who made it very informative, but still a lot of fun. I had never tried their wines before and we found some yummy favorites that are perfect for FloRida evenings (Southern Red and White are both really good and light and only $9.99). Unfortunately we were there two weeks too late to see the grapes on the vine, but we are excited to go back for some of their many festivals (can you say grape stomp?!) in the future. If you haven't made a trek out there, you should definitely head that was sometime. 

2.) Last Weekend's Food!
I know I talked about it yesterday! But seriously, you have got to get out to Jack's BBQ! It is the (yes, I just brought that back)! It is just that yummy! Sandwiches piled high with meat and a yummy glass of sweet tea?! And now it's making me hungry! 

3.) National Coffee Day! 
So I celebrated National Coffee Day on Tuesday with two lovely coffees. The first one I did not get for free- when a girl wants her Starbucks, she wants her Starbucks. I have recently begun forgoing my normal super sugar crazed drinks, I just can't finish them anymore (I haven't even had a pumpkin spice latte yet). Instead I order a regular latte with just one pump white chocolate mocha and a half a pump pumpkin spice. So much easier to drink and a little cheaper too! Then on my way to work I drove to Wawa to partake in their free coffee deal. Amazed! I had never been to Wawa before. There were so many options and I LOVE options! I literally mixed every kind of coffee they had (minus hazelnut) and spent the rest of my afternoon sipping in happiness! They even had honey as a sweetener choice! I was sold! 

4.) Flo's Family Photo Shoot!
So we drove Flo over to meet my mom on our way out of town last weekend. She had back surgery recently and had not been able to be introduced yet. I loved her excitement over meeting Flo!! She was so excited in fact that she asked us to sit in the doorway so she could snap a few pictures. Of course I obliged, Babe (as usual) had to to be coaxed. But I am so in love with how they turned out. We even borrowed the dogs for the shoot. They are iPhone pics so they came our a little grainy due to the shade, but I love them even still! And she snapped tons which I always love. Like mother, like daughter I guess. 

5.) Tinted Sunscreen!
While I did receive this product in exchange for a review, the opinions are mine. OZ Tinted Sunscreen Moisturizer is great! I put it on my face before leaving for our adventure to Weeki Wachee, of course before reading it wasn't best for water days. However, I rolled with it and it was the only sunscreen I applied to my face that day and it protected really well (even having been in the water). My shoulders got a little burnt (no sunscreen for the first hour) but my face didn't even get pink. I also loved the way it provided some coverage. I didn't apply makeup on top, because I knew it would just sweat off, and the tint to the sunscreen provided a great medium for evening out my skin tone. I think it's the perfect little sunscreen for days like our hiking adventures, when I don't typically put on makeup but would love to have a little something, something on my face so that I don't look a fright. I also like that it kept my face moist instead of drying it out like other face sunscreens can tend to do. I have combination skin that can go really dry depending on the weather and this worked like a charm to keep that from happening! 

And just to leave you with a little cuteness for the weekend... 
Hope your weekend is as happy as a little dog who thinks she's getting to go in an RV!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

FloRida Road Talk #2: Weeki Wachee

We had our second FloRida road trip this past weekend! Due to my poor planning the weekend ended up being a little more chaotic then it should have been, but hey, it's all about adventure right?! And learning on the go! There has definitely been a lot of that! Here is how things went on our journey to Brooksville, FL and Weeki Wachee Springs... 

What we did

 Friday (free minus gas): We got to Brooksville, FL later in the day than we had planned. So we decided to just explore the area. There had been an old Victorian treehouse I had wanted to find but we searched to no avail! We are thinking it was either torn down or further back from the road with no access. Alas, we did find an old run down factory right off the main road on our way to hike. You can't go inside as there is a 'No Trespassing' sign, but we did peek in a bit and assume it was some kind of produce or grain factory. Definitely really neat!! The address is 10190 N. Broad St. in Brooksville. We found it while on our way to Chinsegut Nature Center, where we hiked. It was a really neat area and a fun hike (moderately buggy) and we even saw deer. There is also a place nearby called the Chinsegut Hill Manor, an old home that is open for the public to explore from 10-4 (not open Sundays). Unfortunately it was after 4, but the grounds were beautiful (there is a retreat center there as well that can be rented out) and we plan to be back. Brooksville has a lot of old Florida charm and I would have loved more time to discover it all!
Saturday (Weeki Wachee-$13 adults, $8 kids + food&drink/ Tubing- $35 per double/triple vessel): We went to Weeki Wachee! To see the mermaids! I had also planned to kayak as well. But you know the whole, "you can't have it all thing"? Well, that might be somewhat true. At least not without running around like a chicken with your head cut off. Maybe if you aren't such an ill prepared planner like myself if might work out better.

Anyways, Weeki Wachee is wonderful! Definitely kitschy, down home Florida, but kind of in the "meet real Florida" way. The mermaid show was really neat (even the boys said so)! We watched the 1:30 show (they had three: 11, 1:30 and 3), which was more of the 'how-to-be-a-mermaid' instructional show, but that was perfect for our men-folk who definitely prefer the technical and historical bits over a storyline. The 11 and 3 o'clock shows were Ariel. We will have to go back to take that one in. You can also swim in the spring and there are awesome water slides that dump out right into the river. If you ever went to River Country at Disney before if shut down the slides are reminscent of that, so that was cool for me. There is also an animal show and a boat ride. Also the drinks and food were really reasonably priced! No need to pack a cooler in my opinion!
*The mermaids, slides, kid splash pad, swimming, animal show (we didn't do this) and boat ride are all included with your park admission. Tube rentals and food are extra.

I was determined that I was going to kayak. What the websites aren't great about telling you is the fact that everything will be booked on summer weekends. I ultimately got us kayaks for later in the day, but it meant we left Weeki Wachee before it closed. It also meant that I spent the first hour on the phone with kayak places, running back and forth from the park to the kayak place that shares the Weeki Wachee parking lot and totally abandoning Babe during our time at the park alone before some of our family got there. Learn from my lesson, DON'T DO THIS! Though I ultimately got us on the river I could have saved a lot of strive 1.) if I had just called ahead originally or 2.) if I had just let it be and tried to call the kayak place later in the day/ be fine to just forgo the kayaking.

**Advice- Call ahead! If you call ahead you can definitely fit everything in, but you have to be scheduled. The best time to be at Weeki Wachee (from our experience) is first thing in the morning. So if that is your main goal and you really want line free slide time, then head to Weeki Wachee first. Spend a few hours doing slides etc and then catch the 11:00 mermaid show. After that you can go kayaking. The kayak place that shares the parking lot with Weeki Wachee does it's last put in at 2pm (12 once summer is over). Then they will pick you up down river and drive you back to the park.

OR you can kayak the river first (would need to get started around 9 at the latest) and then make it back to Weeki Wachee in time for the 3pm mermaid show (maybe even 1:30 depending on how fast you kayak) and then spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing on the beach and taking things easy after a morning of paddling. This would be our preference since we prefer kayaking over slides. 

OR if you want to be like me, and not plan well, then you can fart around, get to Weeki Wachee later in the morning and then hope that one of the kayak places will have something open up. We used the Kayak Shack and they were really great! They will most likely be the ones I use again in the future- pretty much because being nice to someone on the phone goes a long way in my book. They close at 7 (vs. 5:30 at the Weeki Wachee one) and let us on the river around 4. We did have to paddle against the current, but hey, it made for a good workout. If the rain hadn't come in and washed us out, we would have made it to the big rope swing that's about an hour paddle up river (my intended destination). We would have had plenty of time to get back to the Shack before 7. If you choose this option I would say you could half the time it took you to go against the current and just make sure you leave that amount of time for the return trip. There is also an enticing restaurant (Upper Deck), that overlooks the river, right next to the Kayak Shack. If we hadn't been soaking wet we would have stopped in for a bite. Note- The Kayak Shack will also drive you to the start of the river so that you can just paddle back to them without having to go against the current, you just have to get there earlier in the day (before 2:30 or a little earlier).

*Another great option if able would be to split your days and spend 1 day on the river and another at Weeki Wachee park. Definitely the best of both worlds.
*Also note that the slides and some of the other amenities are only open at Weeki Wachee during the summer. I would call ahead for your intended date to ensure everything is open and to inquire about showtimes before you go. I'm a work in progress so learn from some of my mistakes!

Where we Stayed
We gave our free camping card another try and this one panned out way better than the last! Clover Leaf Forest RV Park was great, I mean you can't beat free, but even with that aside we can't complain. There were still a lot of permanent trailers, but most were empty, we are assuming for the snow birds. You also aren't packed in like sardines and it was nice and woody! There is a creek that runs through the park and we made sure to get a spot along it. It was a great view! However, be careful about doing that or you might wake up to waterfront property, if you catch my drift. Flo enjoyed her first flood though! Another perk we liked about this park is that they had septic hook up right at your spot. So nice not to have to wait in line to empty the tanks before leaving! If it hadn't flooded so much that it made ours unusable (we just drove to another empty space on our way out) it would have been so easy breezy to drive off on Sunday! Though we didn't use them, the park also has great amenities that are shared with the 55+ community that takes up the other side of the property, including both indoor/outdoor pools, hot tub, driving range, shuffle board, etc... We would stay there again!

Where we Ate
We found this great BBQ place right past the Lakeridge Winery on our drive out to Brooksville. Jack's Bar-B-Q had awesome BBQ sandwiches. It's a hole in the wall kind place right off the road, decorated with hats from all over and all kinds of Gator memorabilia. Definitely a stop for any die-hard Gator lovers out there! I am always very skeptical of BBQ because I tend to compare everything to 4Rivers and nothing matches up. This matched up, just in a different way. The meat here is mostly pulled/sliced (I didn't risk brisket, that's a 4Rivers only things for me) and so moist! I got the mixed sandwich (all meats mixed together) with coleslaw (vinegar based), chips and a drink for around $6.50. You really can't beat the price. The sandwich alone would have been enough (so much meat!) and that's only $4.50. Driving on the turnpike or a local Orlandoian? Definitely give this place a try!!

And of course I forgot to rate this FloRida adventure in the video, but this one gets a: We will DEFINITELY do it again! We will be back to explore the length of the river and maybe even catch another mermaid show; the river though is the definite!

And that's it for this trip! If you made it this far, kudos! And as a little parting gift for the day feel free to enjoy some of the funnier moments of our trip; Babe's reaction to his mermaid surprise and doubts on my tree swing spidey sense, plus Flo's first flood! Have a great day!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

FloRida Road Jams!

We are hitting the road this morning for Flo's next big adventure and I have been keeping it a big secret from Babe, so I can't spill the beans here either just yet in case he peeks! But stay tuned folks, I'm sure there will be tails (hint, hint) to tell. Until then I figured I would join in with sharing the tunes that have been singing to my heart lately for Blogtember, especially given they are pretty much road trip related! 

These three songs have been playing on repeat for me lately! It made it even more exciting when all three were on a CD that a sweet friend burned and sent my way without even knowing how much I had been loving them. 

Blue Bandana by Jerrod Niemann- This one makes me want to go out and buy a blue bandana for my next road trip... and maybe even try my hand at Merlefest! 

Wild Child by Kenny Chesney- Oh how so much of this song sings right to my soul, "...a touch of crazy hides behind her wild smile... so innocent yet still a little wild child." For as much as my heart and head have grown to understand, and even cling to, the need for rules and order there is still a part of me that will always be part wild child. "She's got a spirit that can't be tamed, she's a calico pony on an open plain." Yup, just gets me! 

Top of the World by Tim Mcgraw- I have a love/hate relationship with this song. The first time I heard it I turned it right off. I thought, "no way is this Tim McGraw," and I refused to continue listening. Tim is my favoritest guy! Any time I can see him in concert I do. I have loved him for years. Recently though I have felt his music has changed and that it doesn't have the same feel it always had. I felt like he was trying to keep up with the times- trying to be "pop mix" country- and I am a very "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" kinda gal. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind pop country, but I just didn't think he needed to be singing it. So the first time I heard it I assumed it was someone else, then when I realized it was him I got frustrated and turned it off. I have since gotten over myself. If a guy wants to change his music then he can. So I listened again and of course loved the song because it's great, I just sometimes find myself having to not picture him signing it (sad, I know. Who would want to NOT picture him signing anything- in person, as a serenade, in his cowboy hat). 
"Don't make a difference to me baby, where the wind takes me, long as I'm with you...
We could be rolling on a couple of Goodyear's and painted rust." 

Which is exactly what we are going to do, turn on our FloRida jams and roll out. 
Have a beautiful weekend!! 
What will be on your play list?

And to end with even more happiness I thought I would share this for my fellow Prime lovers, or Prime fence riders, out there! Amazon is offering their Prime membership for just $67 today only!! That's a savings of $32! And if you already have Prime you can still get in on the savings by gifting a membership to yourself. Have it set to deliver right before you would need to renew and then use the gift code to pay for renewal (you may need to change your payment settings so that it doesn't automatically renew on your current method of payment). Happy shopping!! 

Words for Wednesday: J. Raymond Poetry

J Raymond Poetry
I have found a new quote love. I stumbled across J. Raymond Poetry on Pinterest and I fell instantly. In my opinion you need only read these as to see why- there is just something so open and honest and raw in these words. They are longer though and of course I started looking all of them up right away, but I realized my mind could only wrap itself around so many at a time. So I have decided to take these slowly, just read one or two J Raymond quotes every so often, so that I will still be discovering more for months to come. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 
J Raymond Poetry
J Raymond Poetry

Monday, September 21, 2015

Joy will Come in the Morning! Small Monday Blessings

Happy Monday World! 
It's not often that I am up to see the sunrise. Well, at least not up enough to go out and enjoy it. This morning though I woke up in the dark, got ready as quickly as I could, so that my sweet husband could drop me at the airport. He's a morning person and I am not, but he patiently waited while I stumbled around trying to get ready, all the while making him late for work. He had surprised me with a flight to Birmingham so that I could visit on of my dearest friends, who had her sweet baby boy recently. I haven't gotten to meet him yet and I can't wait to go snuggle him and hug her new mama neck! 

Anyways, we were up and out right as the sun was beginning to rise and the colors were gorgeous. The above photo does no justice to show the vivid colors and breathtaking light. The sun through the clouds, pushing up into the day, was a sight that my soul needed! It had been a tough weekend, but the reminder that joy will come in the morning was so good for my soul. There are little blessings to be thankful for each and everyday and this morning God reminded me of that in only the way that His handiwork can. Today I am thankful for that, I am thankful for time away to spend with a good friend and I am thankful for the blessing of a sweet man who loves me well. 

Hoping your Monday morning finds you catching small joys that come with a new day!