Our featured local businesses were a huge hit at our World of Beer Fowler Girls Night Out on March 7th! Please check out their information to learn more about the products and services they offer, and I hope to see you all out at our next event!
I LOVE strawberry season in Florida! Well, I love strawberry season anywhere, but because there are farms local to Tampa that grow strawberries, I’m even more excited about it this year.
I was lucky enough to spot a local u-pick event on my Facebook feed earlier this week, and jumped at the chance to get out there as soon as possible. Two of my sons and I met some friends for a great afternoon at Passion Organics Farms in Thonotosassa.
If you go, here are some tips I suggest from our trip today:
The mission of Tampa Crossroads is to provide holistic, client-centered, family-focused opportunities for positive change and personal accountability through evidence-based treatment, housing, and supportive service. Hillsborough County is very pro-treatment right now, understanding that treatment costs much less than sending people to jail, where they don’t receive adequate treatment and are not rehabilitated. The goal at Tampa Crossroads isn’t just to provide drug and mental health treatment, but to also set them up for long-term success: getting employment, securing stable housing, changing their support network, finding hobbies, etc. In addition to typical psychotherapy sessions they offer things like yoga, exercise groups, mindfulness meditation, art, cooking classes, and employment skills building classes so the women can leave with new health skills they do on their own outside of treatment. They work really hard to break the cycle that the women and their children are in.
If you would like to help the women in these programs, Tampa Crossroads has some needs that they shared with me. When the women find jobs, they are responsible for their own transportation, so they always need bus passes such as 1-Day, 10-Day, and 31-Day passes. The counselors purchase their own supplies for sessions so items such as writing, art, or gardening supplies would be greatly appreciated. Tampa Housewives in the City will be collecting socks and various sized undergarments, which are extremely important for the women they work with who are experiencing homelessness. You may bring these items to our World of Beer Fowler event on March 7 if you choose to donate.
Tampa Crossroads is fully accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, and you can find more information about their programs on the Tampa Crossroads website.
Back in September, I met with a nutritionist at my gym for some ideas for helping me lose my baby weight and make some healthier choices. With such a busy schedule in our family, we often grab food on the go and are faced with unhealthy options. When she mentioned picking up some meals at my local Fitlife Foods location, I was intrigued by the idea of being able to buy premade healthy meals as easily as I can pick up fast food. I finally tried out my Wesley Chapel location and am excited to share my experience with you!
How It works
Walking into my Fitlife Foods store, I was immediately impressed by the organized coolers just like in the grocery store. The meals are neatly stacked and the menu clearly describes the contents of each meal. All I had to do was pick some meals to take home, the cashier rang me up, and I was on my way with a bag of 3 meals and a snack.
So what about the food?
Each meal comes in a plastic container with the name, nutritional content, and preparation instructions all clearly labeled. I simply had to microwave each of the meals in their own containers. After heating, I put each on a real plate and they all were DELICIOUS! I had:
FitGriddle 2.0 Egg whites and an all-natural savory chicken sausage sandwiched between two whole wheat pancakes, and served with a side of 100% pure maple syrup.
Pro tip - plan to eat this with a knife and fork to easily dip in the syrup! Yum!
Turkey Burger Bowl Tender, all-natural turkey breast seasoned to perfection (seriously good!), grilled zucchini spears, spicy cauliflower and a balanced selection of roasted root vegetables
Apple Almond Bites Snack sized pieces of whole wheat apple almond wrap served with fresh apples and a side of yogurt almond dip
Argentinian Beef Tenderloin Grilled beef tenderloin and bell pepper skewers over whole wheat pearl couscous and fresh spinach, topped with zesty chimichurri sauce
Fitlife just updated their menu in February so it is a great time to try them out! They have vegetarian, gluten free, and low carb options available. Every meal is 100% all-natural, nutritious, delicious and perfectly crafted from scratch. Their meals last 5-6 days so your meal planning for the week just got a whole lot easier! Their menu items range in price from $2.95 for a small snack to $13.95 for their large South Beach Mixed Grill.
Visit their website for more information and current menu.
Find a FitLife Foods Location
We have 9 locations around the Tampa Bay area. Just in case it is not easy or convenient enough for you to pick up the meals in store, you can even have them delivered to certain areas too! Check out delivery.eatfitlifefoods.com for more information.
Would you like to try out some meals for free and have some awesome gear to go with it? The Fitlife Foods Wesley Chapel location is giving away a Fitlife Cooler Bag, Nalgene Bottle, and a $25 giftcard redeemable at their location! Head over to our Facebook page to like the post and tell us if you’d try a breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snack first!
How did you spend your Valentine's Day? Mine passed as most of them have: a normal day, some extra chocolate, flowers, cards, and a bit too much red and pink! I may not go "all out" for the day, but I love the sentiment behind it. Shouldn't we all take a little extra time to show the others around us that they are loved?
In the spirit of Valentine's Day, I compiled a list of ways to show those around you a little extra love every day, rather than on the one pink holiday in February!
1. Say thank you.
Of course we've all been taught to say thank you when given something or when someone goes out of their way for us. But I find one of the most rewarding times to hear a thank you are when you least expect it. Thank someone for something they do all the time like to the person who always makes dinner, or the one who always takes out the garbage. That may be their "job" but it always feels great to know you're appreciated!
2. Give hugs.
This one is funny if you know me. I'm not a hugger. Not even a bit. HOWEVER... as much as I don't love them, I love the idea of them! I also appreciate when someone knows I'm not a hugger so they make the extra effort to deliver a side-hug!
3. Write a handwritten note.
When someone takes the time to write out a nice card, however simple, it means the world to me. I may not save them, but I love seeing someone's own handwriting with a kind message. My husband is great at leaving me a short message in a place I may not expect it, like in my car! What a great way to brighten my day!
4. Give compliments.
You can give a compliment to anyone. I particularly love doing this to people in check-out lines or other waiting areas when we are all a bit on edge. Find something about that person and tell them how great it is. I guarantee you will see a smile in return, and you will have shared a little extra love!
5. Give referrals.
This one sounds a little strange, but I mean it on a couple levels. Of course if you have a friend in business for themselves, whether it's a medical practice, salon, sales, or whatever, they will be so very grateful if you refer new business to them. It is such a pleasant surprise to hear, "My friend told me how great you are!"
I also mean referrals as telling others how great someone is when they can hear you. For example, I try my best to give my sons genuine praise as much as I can, but you should see them beam with pride when I instead speak directly to my husband about something they did. "Wow, you should have seen how kind he was when he shared his toy with his brother!" It's funny what a difference it makes from a direct compliment.
There is no easier way to show some love than to smile. You don't have to even stop what you're doing to shine that beautiful smile in someone else's direction! It has the power to soften most grumpy people and can ease tension in many situations.
So in the spirit of Valentine's Day and all things love, I want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to those of you who are following along with our Tampa Housewives group. Our two Girls Night Out events have been such a success, and I can't wait to see what the future holds. I have loved meeting so many of you!
Thank you to all who attended our Bar Louie Girls Night Out! We had so much fun, and I know the vendors loved meeting all of the guests! I also know traffic was difficult and we were all feeling the effects of the day after the Super Bowl, so here is a recap of our AWESOME vendors!
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us! How do you spend the big day? Before having kids, we would get together with friends to watch the game (and commercials!), but now that it's on a school night, we usually watch at home. We always have to enjoy gameday food no matter how we watch!
Taco Soup is one of the easiest recipes to throw together. One of my dear friends in Virginia introduced me to this recipe and it is always a huge hit! It's one of those soups that can be assembled and eaten after bringing up to boiling, or you can let it simmer all afternoon to enrich the flavors.
Makes approximately 16 cups of soup
1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 can tomato & chiles (such as Rotel)
2 cans corn (undrained)
1 pkg. dry taco seasoning (or make your own!)
1/3 pkg. dry ranch salad dressing
1 3/4 c. water (less or more)
2 cans beans (I use 1 kidney, 1 black), drained
Possible toppings: shredded cheese, diced onion, tortilla chips
1. Brown the meat and drain any fat. Follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet by adding the seasoning to the meat with the appropriate amount of water. Simmer for 5 minutes.
2. Put all of the ingredients in a pot or a slow cooker. Stir. Bring to a boil and simmer for at least 20 minutes before serving. You could also set it on low in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours.
3. Serve with preferred toppings. Enjoy!
**Leftovers can be enjoyed during the next few days or frozen.
Many of you are just learning about Housewives in the City, or were just unable to attend our launch event, so I'd love to share some local businesses with you! These businesses were featured at our vendor tables and we just love them! Please reach out to them to support their businesses if they have something you need or want!
One of the ways that Housewives in the City supports our local community is by spotlighting a charity during each of our monthly events. This month, we are spotlighting a local Tampa charity called Faces of Courage. Faces of Courage is actually celebrating its 13th birthday today! Peggie D. Sherry founded the non-profit in 2004 to provide day outings and overnight camps for women, children and families touched by all types of cancer and blood disorders.
Through corporate sponsors, civic, social and service organizations, individual donors, grants, fundraisers and bequests, Faces of Courage provides their camps and outings free of charge for their participants. They currently have served over 7,500 cancer families with the help of over 1,500+ active volunteers.
These events focus on developing strong positive attitudes towards recovery and good health management and include:
• Kid Camper Outings
• Adult Camper Outings
• Family Picnics
• Empowerment Days (Educational Workshops)
• Women’s Cancer Weekend Retreats
• Minority Women Cancer Weekend Retreats
• Santa’s Workshop Weekend for cancer kids ages 2-12 and their well siblings
• Young Adult Cancer Camp Weekend (ages 13+ and up)
Faces of Courage founder, Peggie, will be joining us for our Girls Night Out event on January 11 at Primebar at the Shops at Wiregrass. If you would like to support this charity, they always appreciate gift cards to stores such as Publix, Walmart, or even gas cards for their campers. Even $5-$10 makes a difference for these families. They also hold these camps locally, so if you would like to volunteer your time with Faces of Courage, speak with Peggie or visit their website Faces of Courage.
I made it back to the gym today for a cycle class after taking most of winter break off! Woohoo! I used to be so scared and intimidated to take classes at the gym and now it's my favorite way to get my cardio workout in. I especially love the energy of all the people getting their year off to a healthy start in January!
I took a class today called Sprint, which is a 30 minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) Les Mills class. Les Mills scripts their classes, so you always know what to expect. Each instructor brings a little something different to the class, but the format remains the same. Class was full!!
When I tell people that I love cycle classes, they either agree with me, or tell me how much the bikes hurt their behind! ;) I agree that you'll be sore for a week or so, but if you come consistently, it won't be a problem for long.
If you're new to cycle and want to try it out, be sure to introduce yourself to the instructor when you arrive. He or she will help you set up your bike so your workout can be most effective. You may see other people with cycle shoes on, but you don't have to have them. I waited a few months before investing in mine to make sure I really would keep enjoying the class.
Also remember that during the class, you have complete control over the class difficulty, so it's a great way to start group fitness classes. As long as you're working hard, it's worth your time!
All cycle classes are a bit different, but you can always count on a high calorie burn from all of that cardio work! It's also easier on the joints than running, and is great for your heart.
My other favorite group fitness classes are Body Pump and Yoga (Hot Yoga especially!) and try to get to those as much as I can too. What are your favorites? Do you prefer working out alone?
I'm Diana. I love baking, the beach, my husband, my 3 boys, and the Florida life. I am a former elementary school teacher, current small business owner, and I love meeting new people. I host monthly meet-ups and networking events and cannot wait to meet all of you!