We had an amazing fifth event on May 9th in Tampa. I’d like to give a big thank you to Carmel Kitchen and Wine Bar in Carrollwood for being so accommodating and welcoming to our expanding group! Thank you so much to those of you who were able to attend. It was such a positive and happy group!
Below you will find an index of the amazing businesses with a spotlight at our May Girls Night Out; including their information to connect. This is a great opportunity to connect with those vendors that you might have missed networking with at the event. I also encourage you all to like each other's pages to keep the love going; as we all grow together! Oh, and don't forget to keep them in mind for your shopping and event needs.
PHOTOGRAPHER: Judy B’s Photography
Judy was such a joy to have at our event, and her photos were awesome! Check them out here! Looking for a headshot? Family photo? A great picture of your animal? Or someone to capture the moments at a special event?! Hire Judy B's Photography!
LuLaRoe with Tiffany Rossiter
Tiffany has an amazing collection of your LuLaRoe favorites! New to LuLaRoe? They’re famous for their unique prints, variety of inventory, and the comfortable, reliable pieces. Join her Facebook group to shop her current inventory!
LipSense with Tricia and Lisa
Join Tricia's Group | Join Lisa's Group
Tricia and Lisa joined us to share their inventory of LipSense, the long-lasting favorite lipcolor! A revolutionary lip color that is waterproof , smudgeproof, and kissproof.....Prepare to fall in love!!! Join their groups to check their inventory and snag your favorites!
Quintessential Skincare and Brow Bar
LaQuinta’s brow bar was such a huge hit at the Carmel event! Ladies waited patiently to have their turn to experience her expertise. She sees clients in her salon space in the Brandon area, and would love to welcome you too! LaQuinta is skilled in several aspects of skincare to include: Facials, Waxing, Threading, Dermafile treatments, Chemical Peels, Micro-Needling and basic Makeup application.
Chloe + Isabel Accessories with Jennifer
Jennifer’s beautiful selection of Chloe + Isabel accessories was such an eye-catching display. This jewelry line is backed by a lifetime guarantee and is finely crafted to last. It is exclusively hand-designed in their New York City studio and is hypoallergenic, nickel-free and lead safe. Visit her website to shop for their amazing pieces!
Barrett School of Music
The Barrett School of Music offers In-Home Private Lessons to make the joys of having a musical house easier. They instruct Piano, Voice, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass. In addition to weekly lessons, they offer a variety of performance opportunities, workshops, summer camps, master classes and much more throughout the calendar year to allow our students to apply and musical knowledge that they obtain in both private one-on-one and group lessons.
You can continue to support our group by inviting your friends to LIKE & follow along with our page for local events, outings and giveaways. Hope to see you at our next event!
I received an email from Disney about a month ago about a special annual passholder preview event of their newest attraction, Pandora: World of Avatar. This new area will not open to the public until May 27, and I knew we would not want to join the crowds upon opening. I jumped on the chance to bring my family to check out this new area of Animal Kingdom. I’m excited to share our adventure with you!
Pandora is the backdrop for the movie Avatar, a 2009 science fiction film. In the movie, humans are mining the mineral unobtanium by using avatars to interact with the native Na’vi tribe. It results in a great conflict, but the world of Pandora at Animal Kingdom is set a generation after the movie. I was worried that I would need to review my movie knowledge before visiting, but the signs and information available did a great job explaining the story.
The details from the floating mountains to the lush plant life, to the castmembers who stayed in character, did not miss anything. In our previous trips to Animal Kingdom this year, we always noticed the floating mountains, but it was not until we were standing under them that I truly appreciated their size and beauty.
My boys also LOVED the collection of drums they could play on under the floating mountain! Make sure to give them a try!
We visited Pandora from 3 – 5 pm so we did not enjoy any food during that time, but I did indulge in the Mo’ara Margarita from Pongu Pongu. DELICIOUS!
There are two attractions in Pandora: the Flight of Passage and the Na’vi River Journey, and they are completely different experiences.
The Flight of Passage ride is an amazing 3-D experience that immerses you in the experience of riding a banshee. It is so real that you actually feel the banshee “breathing” beneath you! I wasn’t sure how the ride would work, but of course Disney executed it beautifully. The best comparison I can offer is that of Soarin’ at Epcot. The sights, smells, and feeling of flying all reminded me of Soarin’, but with more of a thrill. We were not allowed to take photos inside the ride itself, but I snapped some pictures in the standby line and in the first room where they match you with an avatar. My 7 year old had a blast on this ride, but he is a bit of a thrill-seaker! The castmembers were sure to advise all guests that this ride requires you ride individually on a seat resembling a motorcycle, and some guests may not fit comfortably.
The Na’vi River Journey is a breathtaking, slow boat ride in the dark, surrounded by bioluminescent rainforest. The ride is a perfect respite from the Florida heat, and provides a quiet, soothing experience. The Na’vi Shaman of Songs serenade is amazing! Our whole family loved it!
There are tons of reviews and websites with info about these new attractions. None of them compare to the real experience! I hope you can find the time to visit Pandora: World of Avatar soon at Disney's Animal Kingdom!
I was lucky to meet Elizabeth from the Answered Prayers Project at a charity benefit, and I knew immediately that we would find a way to support each other. Elizabeth uses her role in her non-profit not only to help those involved with her projects, but to donate her time and resources to those in the local Tampa/St. Petersburg communities. She shared some incredible stories with me about the work she does with homeless shelters and the gap she sees in the services offered. Please be sure to meet her at our Girls Night Out on Tuesday, May 9th, to hear these stories first hand.
Now for Elizabeth’s story –
The Answered Prayers Project is focused on bringing people together with a common bond. Our society does not foster face-to-face relationships like it used to, and Elizabeth launched her non-profit to bring people together in hand-making crosses and other shaped ceramics to make new connections. While the ceramics are being molded and painted, people are sharing their stories and making new bonds.
Upon completion, the item, likely a cross, but there are other shapes available such as birds, butterflies, and more, can be registered on their website. The website carries stories of over 3,000 people whose lives have been impacted in the giving and receiving of these precious items. The St. Pete Clay Studio hosts open clay sessions and schedules events as well.
Elizabeth’s involvement in her local community highlights a need for all of us to stay connected. In her philanthropic efforts, she wants every person from every walk of life to feel important and valued. She shared with me that she sees all too often that our homeless and shelter population are not receiving help with their basic needs, and would like to ask for food donations at our event. While we are accustomed to being asked to donate to canned food drives, Elizabeth stressed the fact that this population does not have access to healthy fresh produce. If you are able, please bring fresh portable food such as bananas, apples, and grapes to our event. Elizabeth will be bringing the donations to a local shelter on Wednesday morning.
If you would like to get involved with The Answered Prayers Project, please visit their website for more information.
Looking for a great resort to spend time with your family? We had the immense pleasure of spending a weekend at the Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra, and we all had an amazing time! The resort is located in Ponte Vedra Beach, between St. Augustine and Jacksonville, Florida. Its location off of A1A made it convenient to the beach, local shopping (Publix is just off the property), and of course the famous TPC Sawgrass Golf Course.
This Marriott has recently undergone renovations, and the rooms were fresh, bright, and new! There are not only standard hotel rooms, but the villas on the property provide more space and even kitchenettes. If you are staying for a longer amount of time or want to splurge, the villas are a great option. Traveling as a family of 5, we loved the ability to add an adjoining room. My husband and I shared a king-sized bed, we had a comfortable living area with a couch and chairs, and our boys were able to have their own beds (and bathroom!) in the adjoining room.
My favorite area of the entire villa was our balcony! We had a view of the main hotel and could even see the TPC Sawgrass course!
Fun for the Kids
My initial thought was that my three boys, ages 6, 4, and 10 months, wouldn’t have much to do at a golf and spa resort. I was so wrong! It only took about 3 hours into our stay for our 6 year old to proclaim that he “loves this place!” He and his brothers enjoyed the restaurants, pools, cornhole game, ping pong, putt-putt golf, Surfstream (more on that later!), and the beach. The Marriott even provided a pack n play for our baby to sleep in, complete with fresh sheets.
Marriott has really thought of everything for the children of guests here. They recently added the Mighty Oaks play area where parents can accompany their children for some quiet play time with a great selection of toys and even foosball! There was never a dull moment during our stay!
Sawgrass Marriott has an amazing selection of restaurants with a variety of fare for every desire. We were lucky to sample delicious food ranging from beach casual, brunch buffet, Mediterranean themed dinner, and the fine dining selection at Vernon’s. I loved that our kids felt welcome and had great choices at each of the restaurants, and my husband and I were able to enjoy delicious food as well! Just a few of our favorites include: the swordfish and desserts at Vernon’s, the burrata at 619 Oceanside, the crabcakes at the Sea Porch Bar & Grill, and the chili glazed gator nugget tacos at the American Gator Club!
We all can use some time away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The Sawgrass Marriott has a secluded, quiet location that provided comfort and beautiful views! If that’s not enough, you can enjoy time at their spa for a variety of services including facials, massages and body treatments for men, women and couples, and manicures/pedicures.
If you prefer to relax by exercising, the workout studio has a great selection of cardio and strength-training equipment.
Fun in the Sun
I am a beach girl at heart. I hadn’t visited the Atlantic Ocean in about three years, so it was a delightful treat that the resort offered a free shuttle to their Cabana Beach Club for our enjoyment! Our kids played in the sand, enjoyed the surf, and then transitioned right over to the pool at the beach club. The resort had toys on hand, towels by the pool, and clean bathrooms. The Sea Porch Bar & Grill and 619 Oceanside Restaurant are both located at the beach, so you can spend the day here without any problem at all!
The first Surfstream American Wave Machine in the continental US just opened at Sawgrass Marriott, and it was the highlight of my trip! The instructors gave us the safety equipment and training we needed, and were so supportive while we tried out this fun activity! My husband, my 6 year old (height requirement of 42 inches), and I had a blast taking turns riding the waves right at the resort! They had boogie boards and surf boards available so everyone was able to ride a wave without trouble. I was a nervous wreck, but it was such an amazing experience!
You can’t stay near TPC Sawgrass without feeling the influence of the game of golf. Adjacent to Alice and Pete’s Pub is a floating hole challenge. For a small fee, guests can try their luck at hitting a golf ball into the “floating” hole 65 yards away.
A Wonderful Family Getaway
The Sawgrass Marriott Golf Resort & Spa was a perfect destination for our family. We were able to sample delicious food, have fun, and relax on the property and at the beach club. The Marriott staff all went above and beyond to make our weekend memorable, and we would gladly return! You can find many more details and book accommodations on their website.
We were invited for a media weekend as a guest of Sawgrass Marriott.
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!
All photos are my own unless otherwise noted.
Hi! I'm Diana. I love the beach, my family, chocolate, coffee, and meeting new people. I host monthly events in the Tampa area and cannot wait to meet all of you!