A HUGE thank you to all who attended our February Girls Night Out event at Tapa Toro! It was lots of fun and I loved seeing many of you again as well as meeting many of you first timers! Also, a big thank you to the staff at Tapa Toro for being so accommodating both before the event and during! I think it’s safe to say that the drinks, food and the flamenco dancer were amazing! Lastly, a special thank you to those that brought donations to support our local charity for this event, Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. If you are looking to learn more about the Coalition, be sure to check out our blog post here.
Below you will find an index of the amazing businesses that helped make our February Girls Night Out event even more fun; 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 future shopping and event needs.
Michele DiMura Photography
Check out her Facebook page here!
Michele DiMura of Michele DiMura Photography joined us at our February GNO as our amazing professional photographer! I think it’s apparent from the quality of the photos from this event that Michele really has an eye for details and is fantastic at capturing the moment. Michele does a wide range of photography to include individual and family portraits, sporting events, prom, and other special events. Contact her today to book your next photo session or as to be your next event photographer!
ZYIA Active – Ellie Krueger
Visit her Facebook page here!
Ellie Krueger showed us many pieces that she offered via ZYIA Active; ZYIA Active is an active lifestyle brand. It is also a culture that believes in embracing activity with excitement, vigor and delight. They feel that pushing your body and mind is easier and more fun with friends and family. Their mission is to inspire and uplift by making activity a fun and essential part of life. To learn more about what Ellie and ZYIA Active can offer you, be sure to check out her Facebook page (she posts lots of videos) and website!
Cherry Blow Dry Bar Dr. Phillips
Visit their Facebook page here!
The Cherry Blow Dry Bar of Dr. Phillips just opened in February and we were very excited to have them join us for our GNO! They provided us with a super fun braid bar for our attendees – which was a big hit. They also gave me a beautiful blowout before the event. If you are in need of a blowout, updo, extensions, makeup or eyelashes, be sure to check out this new gem in the Dr. Phillips area! Be sure to tell them Orlando Housewives sent you!
Paparazzi – Shay Hobbs
Visit her website here!
Shay introduced our guests to Paparazzi Jewelry, which offers fun and fashionable jewelry and accessories for only $5 a piece! They also have a $25 collection – both collections have gorgeous pieces with great quality. To see all that Shay and Paparazzi have to offer, be sure to check out her website!
Scentsy – Tanasia & Mary
Check out their website here!
Tanasia and Mary brought us the yummy smells from the global fragrance company, Scentsy. From beautiful diffusers to bath bombs and lotions, Scentsy has so much to offer!
To see all Tanasia, Mary and Scentsy have to offer, be sure to check out their website.
Pruvit – Ruby McDonald
Visit her website here!
Ruby McDonald shared with us all that Pruvit Keto has to offer, including allowing us to sample their yummy keto drink. Through Pruvit, Ruby offers Pure Therapuetic Ketones - Ketosis in Less than 60 Minutes! Her products provide all-natural energy, fat loss, increased focus, and more! Ruby also shared with us photos of her own husband and dog’s amazing results – yes they have dog friendly items! To learn more about what Ruby and Pruvit have to offer, be sure to check out her Facebook page and website – she will also be joining us at our March GNO!
SeneGence – Ina Sacks
Visit her website here!
Join Ina’s Facebook group: Ina’s Kiss Proof
Ina brought a variety of inventory, including all of the LipSense colors to our event. LipSense is the super popular long-lasting (4-18 hours!) liquid lip color that is formulated to molecularly bond to your lips. LipSense is Waterproof, 💋Kiss-proof, 👶🏻Kid-proof, 🌿Vegan and🙈 Cruelty-free. It’s also the official lipstick of Broadway!
In addition to LipSense, SeneGence offers many other long-lasting products, such as eye shadow, foundation, blush, mascara, etc. as well as an amazing skin care line! To see all that Ina and SeneGence have to offer, be sure to check out her website and Facebook page.
Click here for more photos from our February Girls Night Out at Tapa Toro! See you at our next GNO on March 14th at Firefly Kitchen + Bar!
I recently had the opportunity to check out the [somewhat] new exhibit in Orlando – Extreme Dinosaurs: The Exhibition. This exhibit took over the space of the CSI Experience and is located on International Drive here in Orlando, FL. If you are looking for something new and fun to do with your children, this exhibit is sure to excite!
Before you start exploring, you will take your photo in front of a green screen (more on this later). You then enter into a prehistoric world with GIANT lifelike dinosaur animatronics. These dinosaurs have sensors to detect when someone walks by to provide a surprising and exciting interaction with their guests. Please note, if you have small children, you may want to warn them before they enter, so they understand what to expect. The dinosaur sounds are loud and what I would assume to be realistic; to an adult it’s pretty cool but to a small child they may need to be made aware as to not scare them.
According to the General Manager of the exhibit, a family with children could easily spend 1.5 hours at Extreme Dinosaurs – and I can see why. They not only have these awesome dinosaur replicas, but they also have fun activities throughout the exhibit. There are magnetic walls where you can build a dinosaur with their bones and one where you can mix and match the different bones to three different dinos. There is a scale to see how many of YOU would be needed to equal the weight of a dinosaur – 38.1 of ME would weigh as much as a single Stegosaurus – how cool is that?! There is also a “sand” pit where you and your children can dig for dinosaur fossils and a wall to compare your height to a dinosaur’s height.
One thing I really loved about this exhibit was their attention to accuracy and details of the dinosaurs. Over the last few years it has been discovered/revealed that more and more dinosaurs had feathers and you will actually see this depicted on many of the dinosaurs as you walk through the exhibit. You are also given the opportunity to touch many things, such as a T. Rex tooth and a Stegosaurus thagamizer.
It was also very clear that the staff of Extreme Dinosaurs want children to really immerse themselves in the exhibit and if you as a parent prefer to sit down and let your children roam and play, this is OK with them. A nice little perk I’d say ;)
I highly recommend this exhibit to those with children of the elementary school age, and those that just really love dinosaurs. This is a fun, educational, and indoor place to go when you are looking for something in Central Florida to do besides theme parks.
Oh and remember that green screen when you walk in? You’ll find some really fun photos in the gift shop – be sure to check them out! Here are mine:
Adults (16+) $16.95
Students (with ID) and Seniors (65+) $14.95
Kids (4-15) $11.95
3 and under are FREE
Combo tickets, which include admission to the Titanic Exhibit next door, are also offered.
Visit Extreme Dinosaurs: The Exhibition's website for more details.
I received complimentary tickets in exchange for my review.
As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
Thirty… the “dirty thirty”… it’s here. I’m not going to lie, I have actually been looking forward to this decade. I have plenty of friends that looked at this decade as a death sentence, but I have been hearing for years from people in their 50s & 60s that if they could do any decade over, it would be their 30s. I’ve seen many friends hit thirty and life just got “better” for them. Am I where I thought I would be at 30? Heck no, but I think many of us older millennials feel that way. The world is a different place than it was when we were kids daydreaming about what life would be like when we grew up. I’m not married, I’m not a homeowner, and my “kids” are my dogs. But hey, life is already getting better and I have all of you to thank – Orlando Housewives has really been a blessing in my life and I can tell my life is only going to get better from here on out!
So by now you are probably like, ok Michelle, how did you celebrate? Well, with a unicorn theme, a HUGE group of girlfriends and Disney of course! Oh and I wore a tiara ;)
First, let’s talk about the amazing unicorn shirts we had custom made for us by Be Younique Designs, located in Altamonte Springs. The owner, Melissa, was wonderful and so easy to work with! I gave her my ideas and she turned them into gorgeous shirts that made many children and adults jealous. Be Younique Designs not only makes shirts, but can make many other custom designed items, like window decals, cellphone cases, etc. Plus, with every purchase, a portion of the profits are donated to the organization Feeding Children Everywhere, which packages and delivers meals to families around the world!
Now after shirts were put on we all had an amazing brunch followed by indulging in the most amazing unicorn birthday cake I could have ever asked for thanks to Sweet by Holly! It was not only glittery and gorgeous but delicious too. Their strawberry flavor was divine and it was a huge hit! You may remember my post about Sweet’s delicious cupcakes, well their cake was just as fabulous! Plus, the cake was so big it fed not only all the girls at brunch but was a yummy treat for the rest of the week.
Once we were done brunching and eating cake, we made our way to DISNEY! This was the 2nd year of Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts and we had lots of fun looking at the artwork while stopping to take photos in our awesome shirts. We were lucky enough to catch the Broadway concert too, which was truly amazing – I had goosebumps from how beautiful their voices were. We finished the day with dinner in Morocco where – SURPRISE – my dad showed up to celebrate! He drove all the way down from Virginia that day and it was a great end to a wonderful day of celebration.
My actual birthday was just a few days later on February 6th and I then got to continue the celebration with my dad at Universal with Butterbeer and all. Plus an incredible dinner at Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort – just WOW! And yes, I continued to wear the tiara all day!
All in all, I have to say turning 30 has been even better than I had imagined it would be. I have so many wonderful memories and I am so thankful to everyone that helped bring in this new decade. I will be continuing the celebration in Cancun later in the month with John and my parents... Here’s a little preview of the unicorn fun I will be bringing with me…
A special thanks again to Be Younique Designs and Sweet by Holly!
(links to websites above)
Our February charity spotlight is Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida. Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida was formed in 1987 by a group of concerned citizens who noted a growing problem of homelessness in the community. Their mission is to transform the lives of homeless men, women and children by providing crucial services to end their crisis of homelessness. Their goal is to return their residents to self-sufficiency through counseling, job training, and educational programs. While their clients work to reestablish productive lives, they provide housing and child care for their children until they are ready to move back into the community.
The Coalition is home to an average of 500 homeless men, women, and children every night who do not qualify for immediate housing or for whom housing is not yet available. They provide them with an array of social services from meeting their basic needs to helping with education, job skills training, financial literacy, and daycare — all with the goal of moving toward a more stable life in permanent housing. They provide individualized assistance through their two programs: the Center for Women and Families and the Men’s Service Center. The Coalition collaborates with numerous community partners to better serve their residents.
Many times, for a variety of reasons, permanent housing is not readily available. During that time, the Coalition provides stabilization and support for ongoing needs. In addition to shelter and food, they offer childcare, employability training, financial literacy, and other crucial services to put someone on the road to permanent housing.
WHO DO THEY SERVE
Single men make up 39% of the homeless population served by the Coalition nightly. Many of the men at the Coalition work every day and rely on the Coalition for shelter because they cannot afford housing.
Women, children and families make up 61% of the Coalition’s residents on an average night. Throughout the nation, the fastest growing segment of the homeless population is families with children.
The Coalition serves about 140 children with their families each night. The average age of the children at the Coalition is just seven years old.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CONTRIBUTORS TO HOMELESSNESS?
Loss of income, low wages or unemployment: Any disruption for low-income families – unexpected illness and medical expenses, unemployment, divorce, loss of transportation, etc. – can create a financial crisis that results in loss of housing.
Lack of affordable housing: The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Orlando requires an hourly wage of over $19.27 – putting it out of reach for many working poor. A couple who are both employed full-time at minimum wage ($8.25 per hour) can still face significant hardship, preventing them from meeting their other basic needs, such as nutrition and health care, or saving for their future.
Domestic violence: Victims of domestic violence flee their homes, sometimes with only the clothes on their backs. Nationally, approximately 50% of all women who are homeless report that domestic violence was the immediate cause of their homelessness.
Substance abuse or mental illness: A common stereotype of the homeless population is that they are all alcoholics or drug abusers. The truth is that a high percentage of homeless people do struggle with substance abuse — but it is both a cause and a result of homelessness, often arising after people lose their housing. For many homeless individuals, substance abuse co-occurs with mental illness as a way to self-medicate.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida has opportunities, both individually and as a group, to be a volunteer (see website). They also have an immediate need for items such as diapers & baby wipes, laundry detergent, deodorant, underwear/bras, and work boots. We will be collecting donated items at our Feb. 19th Girls Night Out Meet Up + Networking Social at Tapa Toro and you will be able to speak with one of their representatives to ask any questions that you may have about getting involved! Please check out their wish list for immediate needs here.
Further, although we do not collect monetary donations at our GNO, you can make one via their website. Here’s what your monetary donation can do:
$50 provides a week of a meals to 27 children
$100 provides a full day of shelter to 4 adults
$250 provides an hour of counseling to 12 people
$1000 provides a full day of shelter to 45 children
Hi! I'm Michelle. I love traveling, trying new restaurants, meeting new people, going to the parks, and playing with my dogs. I'm also super Disney obsessed - parks, cruise lines, movies - I love it all!
I host monthly networking events in the Orlando area for all women to attend. I look forward to meeting you at our next GNO!