What an exciting month! Thank you to everyone who spent their Saturday with us for our first ever Tampa Housewives Brunch & Mimosas! I loved watching so many of you make new friends and enjoy each other's company for the duration of the event. Also - what a wonderful coincidence that we were able to take advantage of American Social's new bottomless mimosas deal. A huge thank you goes to their staff for accommodating our group!
Please take a moment to support our featured Tampa businesses from this event. We had a great variety, and these women would love for you to keep them in mind if you are in need of their services.
As always, thank you for supporting and being a part of our Tampa Housewives in the City community! I hope to see you at an upcoming event. Check out the list on our Facebook page!
Danyell Jones with Raymond James Financial
Whether planning to build a home by the lake or help your daughter launch a business, you need a well-conceived plan in order to succeed. Achieving financial independence is no different. Whether you’re looking to grow your money over time, generate income in retirement or preserve wealth for future generations, confidence in your financial plan comes with knowing your assets are invested well. As your knowledgeable partner, Danyell provides wide-ranging, comprehensive financial planning that is as dynamic, vibrant, and enduring as the lifetime of achievement it represents.
Lunchbox Wax South Tampa
At LunchboxWax, they believe that beauty is much more than just your external appearance – it’s how you feel about yourself. They wax women and men, bottoms and brows, cheeks and chests – a little (like ear fuzz) or a lot (from tip to toes). Their expertly trained waxologists are devoted to making every guest's skin smooth in a chic, modern environment that was specially designed for your comfort and care. Visit our blog post to learn more about this fabulous studio!
Wendy Carlston with CruisePlanners
For your next vacation, instead of spending time researching and trying to find all the best spots, contact Wendy to help you plan it all! She has a wealth of resources and knowledge to make sure you have the vacation you deserve, and specializes in luxury travel. She is a full-service travel agent in Tampa and wants to make sure you have the opportunity to make wonderful memories traveling the world!
Chase Cristia Photography
Chase Cristia is launching her photography business and can do it all - weddings, events, portraits, maternity, engagement, fur babies, cars, real estate!!
Springtime in my house brought many changes, and even more stress. We bought our first house, did major renovations, moved, and my oldest son switched schools. My husband works in the education field so spring is his busy season, so we were constantly scheduling and rescheduling our commitments, and we were both exhausted.
I was given the opportunity to attend a trip to explore Santa Rosa County for Housewives in the City, and I honestly had no idea what to really expect. I grew up in Florida and my family took yearly vacations around the state. We visited Daytona, Cocoa Beach, Ormond Beach, Palm Beach, the Keys, Sanibel Island, Cayo Costa (see a pattern here… we love the beach!), and many other destinations in Florida. However, I had never heard of Navarre Beach or Santa Rosa County. I’d heard of the amazing beaches along our Emerald Coast in the Panhandle, but the closest I ever came was a quick stop in Destin during college.
After the stress of the spring, I was secretly dreading the trip. I didn’t know anyone else who would be there, and I’d be leaving my family but bringing plenty of mom-guilt along with me. What I didn’t know was that Navarre Beach claims a status as the “Florida’s Most Relaxing Place,” and I’m here to tell you, it’s true. I spent two days reconnecting with nature and found myself completely relaxed and at peace.
Things to Do
Visitor Center and Butterfly House
Navarre’s Panhandle Butterfly House is exactly the type of quaint attraction that forces you to slow down and look around. I’ve visited a number of butterfly gardens at museums or other attractions, but I’ve never seen as many butterflies as I did in Navarre’s Butterfly House. Admission is by donation, and in addition to the butterfly garden, the building has an amazing collection of gorgeous butterflies that are preserved and labeled.
Adjacent to the Butterfly House is the visitor’s center, complete with a playground and splash pad for the little ones. This would be a great place to take the kiddos in Navarre!
Address: 8581 Navarre Pkwy; Navarre, FL
Sage Paddle Company
Upon arriving at this adorable, picture-perfect rental outpost along the main drag in Navarre, I was immediately welcomed by the most amazing family. Sage and her parents want nothing more than to help you have a fantastic time with as little stress as possible. Our group chose to start with renting scooters, and Sage kindly and patiently trained us all to drive the scooters (none of us had ever driven before)! We took a gorgeous ride down to the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and I’m confident that this was the most beautiful, pristine beach I have ever seen. White sands, green water, sea grass – it was just perfect!
Sage will go to any length to ensure you and your group have a fabulous experience no matter what you rent – paddleboards, bikes, scooters, kayaks, etc, so be sure to meet her and plan a fun time on the island!
P.S. If you are as energized and empowered by young entrepreneurs as I am, take the time to chat with her. She’s an impressive young woman, and so much fun too!
Address (Free pickup and delivery available): 8228 Gulf Blvd, Navarre, FL 32566
When was the last time you spent hours in nature, just enjoying your surroundings? Heard the sound of a bubbling creek and a gentle breeze passing through the tree tops? In our hustle and bustle, it’s all too easy to look at screens and overlook the beauty around us every day. Jack Sanborn, of Adventures Unlimited, set out over 40 years ago to give families a place to enjoy North Florida’s natural setting and have fun. His passion shines through as he explains that children are growing up without the essential time outdoors, and he hopes to give them a place to visit where they won’t even think about checking their phones.
Adventures Unlimited is situated in the northern part of Santa Rosa County, a quick 35 minute drive from Navarre Beach. They boast rustic but comfortable accommodations that allow you to enjoy their fleet of 250 canoes, 100 kayaks, 500 tubes and 10 stand-up paddle boards. We were treated to a taste of their Zip Line Tree Top tour. The guides were extremely knowledgeable, safety-conscious, and focused on our fun. Our tour was unfortunately cut short due to local storms (this is Florida, after all!), but we were able to start at their highest platform and make a couple runs to try it out. The views are breathtaking, and I highly recommend this experience! If you are feeling less adventurous, they also have river tubing, which is about as relaxing as it gets!
Address: 8974 Tomahawk Landing Rd., Milton, FL 32570
I am not much of a history buff, but our visit to Arcadia Mill proved that with the right artifacts and setting, history can come alive. This mill is set in a local neighborhood that has grown up around the mill property. The museum is modern and new, and I learned so much about the first and largest 19th century water-powered industrial complex in northwest Florida! This site is definitely worth a visit, and has an engaging area for children as well as a beautifully maintained boardwalk through the trees.
Address: 5709 Mill Pond Lane, Milton, Florida 32583
This 1,545 foot long Navarre pier is reported to be the longest pier in Florida! Plan a few hours to fish with the locals, or take a relaxing walk to watch the excitement as someone reels in a big catch! You can even see fish, turtles, and rays in the water from above. I saw a group of fisherman catch a few gorgeous mahi fish from the end of the pier.
Address: 8579 Gulf Blvd., Navarre Beach, FL 32566
Where to Eat
Windjammers on the Pier
It does not get better than dinner and a view. Our dinner at Windjammers was complete with a view of the Gulf of Mexico and a view of a cotton candy sunset. Having grown up and worked in beach restaurants, I came with low expectations of a restaurant adjacent to the pier, but I was pleasantly surprised by all of their offerings. Chef Johnny takes pride in sourcing local flavors in dishes such as gumbo, Mexican street corn, and fried shrimp. They even have live music to complete the relaxing vibe, not to mention ENORMOUS frozen drinks that are certainly big enough to share!
Address: 8579 Gulf Blvd, Navarre Beach, FL
Are you a sushi lover? Go to Slippery Mermaid! Do you shy away from raw fish, but love exploring new foods? Go to Slippery Mermaid! Do you have a sushi lover in your family but never let them indulge because you don’t care for it? Go to Slippery Mermaid!
I am not a fan of raw fish, and I don’t even really love seafood. I was thrilled to find a few offerings on the Slippery Mermaid’s menu that I could try, and they were simply amazing! I had a sushi roll with beef, and I am now on the hunt for something similar at home!
Address: 8779 Navarre Parkway, Navarre, Florida
Why I am Already Planning my Return to Navarre
I was treated to a fantastic weekend exploring so many attractions in Navarre Beach, Milton, and elsewhere in Santa Rosa County. I cannot wait to bring my own family back to enjoy everything with me! I expect to spend considerable time on the beach, but will bring them to all of the sites above to give us time to connect as a family and relax on vacation!
Did you know that Tampa has one of the highest rates for childhood hunger? I am thankful to share a non-profit organization in Tampa, Florida that works to help this population of children: Where Love Grows Inc. Their programs address the immediate needs of hungry children while implementing a long-term positive impact. They have incredible programs such as their family dinner night program and mobile cooking classes, both helping to break the cycle of childhood hunger.
Their monthly family dinner night program currently provides an average of 350 hot, home-cooked meals each month to children living with food insecurity allowing them to nourish them body, mind and spirit. After serving their first family dinner night at Zonta Boys and Girls Club in 2013, they discovered 28% of children in Hillsborough County live each day with food insecurity. They are feeding a population that would not otherwise be served, filling much needed gaps. We know that every mouth we feed is planting a seed of victory for a bright and prosperous future.
Their innovative mobile cooking camp brings the kitchen to the children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to be exposed to culinary skills. Students are given hands-on experience in a classroom setting preparing healthy meals they can easy duplicate at home. Mobile Cooking Camp launched March 2016 and has provided over 1000 classroom hours to 420 students. The impact
is immediate and long-lasting.
How Can You Help?
Find out more about the Do the Local Motion walking tours featuring Downtown Tampa by visiting their website. The 16 lunchtime tours are free and held on the first and third Fridays from October through May.
Additionally, Tampa Housewives is spotlighting Where Love Grows at our upcoming brunch at American Social! If you are able to donate, founder Vicki and her team can ALWAYS use Dollar Tree type kitchen utensils for gifts at the end of their mobile cooking class series. Any of the items would be great and they usually have between 20-25 students each month.
My family and I spent the morning checking out the newest attraction at ZooTampa at Lowry Park (formerly Lowry Park Zoo), and I am excited to share all the details with you! Situated near the carousel next to the Sweet Shoppe, Roaring Springs is a revamped area that pays homage to Florida with amazing food, a fun family ride, and of course, animals!
Joe’s Diner serves classic Florida favorites with a twist, such as fish tacos, strawberry shortcake, and key lime pie parfait. We sampled many of their menu items, but can't wait to return to try the fried oreos! My husband raved about Joe's fish tacos, and I personally enjoyed the churros with strawberry topping!
The main attraction is of course Roaring Springs itself. The boat ride begins calmly with a gentle drift, followed by a three-story drop that soaks everyone in the boat and on the observation deck! My family loved being able to find a way to cool off from our Tampa heat on this ride, and the little guys followed it up with play time in Wallaroo Station, the family area with a splash zone.
The ride has a 36" height requirement to ride with an adult, and children must be 42" to ride alone. My 8 year old LOVED the ride, while my 5 year old chose to only ride once. He enjoyed it, but he felt the drop was a bit too much for his enjoyment.
Making the Most of the Zoo
Roaring Springs is located in the Florida Life area of the zoo. Along with their name change (from Lowry Park Zoo), ZooTampa has put a lot of care and time into new signage and a modern update. Follow the brightly colored signs to view many animals around the zoo, and keep an eye out for the impending opening of the Florida Life area with many local animals!
Plan Your Visit
ZooTampa is one of my favorite things to do in Tampa! Roaring Springs will open to members on June 7 and 8, then will open to the public on Saturday, June 9, 2018.
For locals or those visiting Tampa often, I recommend the zoo pay-for-a-day ticket option so you can come back all year!
Address: 1101 W. SLIGH AVENUE TAMPA, FL 33604
Video Sneak Peek of Roaring Springs
Thank you to everyone who joined us on May 24th for our Primebar Girls Night Out! It was great meeting so many new ladies, and I love seeing so many familiar faces. We had three amazing featured businesses, and I am sharing their information here so you can continue to connect and keep the love going!
Our events are a great way to spend a fun night out with girlfriends in Tampa while also supporting some hard-working Tampa small businesses. We always have a variety of vendors, and I appreciate when you show your support of these women (and sometimes men!).
Kimberly Ann Piper with Total Life Changes
Have a brief conversation with Kimberly and you will immediately hear the passion in her story. Total Life Changes is a system that helped her lose weight and regain her confidence, and she would love to share the details with you! Get your self-confidence back with you succeed with the Total Life Changes system! Ask her how you can lose 5 lbs in 5 day with their TLC Tea!
Wendy Carlston with CruisePlanners
It is difficult to find a travel professional as passionate about your vacation as Wendy. From start to finish, she will provide you with the best quality, service, and very competitive pricing for ALL of your travel needs. Cruise Planners travel advisors will help you discover exciting adventures around the world. From cruises to land tours and completely packaged vacations, Wendy specializes in all types of travel and will create an unforgettable vacation just for you.
Matt Johnson with Edward Jones Financial
Whether you're planning for retirement, saving for college for children or grandchildren, or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, Matt can work with you to develop specific strategies to help you achieve your goals. He can also monitor your progress to help make sure you stay on track or determine if any adjustments need to be made. He is happy to schedule a time to chat about your financial picture and find ways he can support you.
Meeting new friends as an adult can be a struggle. Other times, it’s like you’re meant to be! Mandy and I met on a media trip last year to Sawgrass, and we are bonding this year as she launches the new Ft. Lauderdale Housewives in the City! When she decided to join the HITC family, she decided it was a great time for her and I to get away together for a few days. It was like an HITC training intensive while also learning about some amazing places in Orlando.
We had a fabulous little work-cation (working while on vacation!) and I’m excited to share some of the fun we had.
The newly updated DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando provided everything we needed for our stay. We were able to tour their amazing new event space, spend time on their redesigned lawn and event area, dine in their restaurant, and relax by the pool. Since Mandy and I have kids, we made sure to tour the kids' areas to plan our return trip. From the arcade, play room, ping pong, bean bag toss, pools, and daily activities, this hotel is great for families!
Many time if you want to be close to major attractions in Orlando, you are faced with aging hotels that desperately need an update. The DoubleTree Orlando has an amazing leadership team that has really thought of guests’ experiences and want to make sure you are happy. We were impressed by the attentive staff and the thought and care that has gone into the updates to the property!
Being the official hotel of SeaWorld, this property also offers some great perks, including but not limited to Quick-Queue front-of-the-line access at SeaWorld, and complimentary transportation to SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Discovery Cove.
Given our close proximity to SeaWorld, we made sure to enjoy an afternoon there. We were treated to the Dine with Shamu buffet lunch that included a wealth of information from their trainers to explain the impressive efforts that SeaWorld offers its animals. Their orca show will be discontinued this year, but they shared information about their care of these animals. Animal experts at SeaWorld have helped more than 31,000 animals in need – ill, injured, orphaned and/or abandoned – for more than 50 years. More information can be found at SeaWorldCares.com.
Mandy and I also made sure to try out all of the adult rides! Neither of us get to experience theme parks without our kids, so it was a ton of fun to ride the roller coasters! MAKO is Orlando's tallest fastest, and longest roller coaster, and we even rode it twice! My other favorite coaster was the Manta, which puts you in the gliding position of a ray. It's an experience unlike any other!
Of course I can’t avoid Disney when in Orlando! We spent an amazing evening at Homecomin’ and I splurged on the fried chicken and donuts. What a delicious southern spin on chicken and waffles! Chef Art Smith highlights local ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine and it's all delicious!!
We also headed over to Amorette’s Patisserie to try their newest Millennial Pink drink, then did as bloggers do, and photographed it all over Disney Springs!
Discovery Cove is one park I have never visited. You may know the real reason behind this… I’m afraid of fish. Not in that cute “oh isn’t that funny” way, but heart pounding, “get me out of the water” fear. I was nervous I wouldn’t find much to enjoy in the park that boasts its own reef and all kinds of tropical fish, but I was so wrong! Our day at this all-inclusive theme park included floating through the lazy river, visiting tropical birds with the option to feed them, watching the dolphins, and I did enjoy watching the fish from above the reef. Mandy snorkeled and was amazed by the fish in the reef, but I decided to take her word for it. Discovery Cove was a welcome change from the bright blue waterparks that my boys love. We were able to enjoy time in the natural setting and experience many types of wildlife and fish that would not normally be visible all in one place.
Recharging Your Mom Batteries
I’m a huge proponent of self-care. This trip that allowed Mandy and I to catch up and chat about Housewives things was also a great chance for me to have some time away from being Mom. I have a fabulous husband who completes our parenting team, and he was so supportive in my quick getaway. I missed them all terribly, but it was so wonderful to come home after two days away and be fully charged! With Orlando being such a quick drive from Tampa, it was the perfect destination for this brief work-cation, and I can’t wait to bring my family along for my next visit!
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!