Zephyrhills Florida Favorites!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I received compensation from Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water in  exchange for my help in promoting the #FLfavorites campaign. All opinions are my own.


Zephyrhills Brand is currently celebrating their 50th anniversary! To celebrate, they are asking Tampa Bay residents to share their favorite things about Florida as part of their 50 Things We Love About Florida campaign. For every “Florida Favorite” posted on Twitter, Instagram, and the Zephryhills Facebook page, Zephyrhills will donate $1 to support clean-up projects such as Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and Tampa Bay Watch.

I have lived in Florida since 1993. Prior to moving here, we would drive to Clearwater from Houston to visit. We had family here and eventually moved here. I have always thought the Tampa Bay area to be beautiful, with a few places in particular.

Clearwater Beach is by far one of the prettiest beaches with it’s soft white sand and clear water. St. Pete Beach is beautiful as well. Crystal Beach in Palm Harbor holds a special place in my heart as well, since it was my dad’s favorite place to watch the sunset. It’s a small neighborhood beach and there is something very quaint about it. The sunsets are breathtaking there.




So, it’s no surprise that my favorite place to run is along the water. I run through my neighborhood and at Eagle Lake Park by my house, and it’s nice. But I always look forward to running on Sunday mornings along the Memorial Causeway over to Clearwater Beach. I have also run half marathons along the water in downtown St. Pete and Sarasota, and in November will run my first full marathon along Cocoa Beach on the east coast.

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The views of the water just never get old and I know we are very lucky to live near something so pretty that I have the ability to run by and enjoy.


What is one of your #FLfavorites? I’d love for you to leave me a comment and don’t forget to use the hashtag #FLfavorites when you share from now through September 15th!

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  • Zephyrhills Facebook page  –  facebook.com/zephyrhillswater

Currently | December Edition

Happy Friday! I feel like the best way to end this crazy week is with this month’s Currently post!


Current book:   

I just finished a wonderful book by an author who I have had the pleasure to meet, Trish Doller. If you are a fan of YA Lit and are looking for a good book, this is it. And if you are local here to Tampa Bay, you’ll enjoy it even more because it is set in Tarpon Springs!


where the stars still shine


Current music:

It’s December, so that means Christmas music. And while I love a wide variety of Christmas music – new, old, and in between, I am very sentimental about the Christmas music I grew up on. My dad loved Big Band music, so it was always Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and more…. Now more than ever, it just makes me smile to hear it. It’s hard to pick a favorite, but I would have to say this one….


“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” by Frank Sinatra””



Current guilty pleasure:

Christmas movies. I can’t get enough of them. If the TV is on (and when is it not?!?!), there is a Christmas movie one. I love all the cheesy ones on the Hallmark channel, as well as the fun ones on ABC Family like Christmas Vacation or How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I will be sad when they go away in a couple weeks.


Current drink:

Water. I cut WAY back on coffee the last few weeks and I’m drinking enough water for two people. Plain, ice cold water is my favorite. I don’t like it warm, although I will drink it that way if I have to. I also like it with lemon, but other than that, I never add anything to it.


Current food:

The last couple of week’s I have enjoyed lunch with my mom at Jason’s Deli with my mom. They have the best tomato basil soup. I always get a cup of it with half a sandwich, roast beef on whole wheat with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and sliced avocado. It is so good and not too awful on points. It’s very filling too!


Current show:

Did you watch The Sound of Music, Live! last week? I DVR’d it and finally watched it. I loved watching the original movie growing up and I am not ashamed to admit that I love “My Favorite Things”. I also love Carrie Underwood, and I loved her version of the song on the live show. Did you watch it?


My Favorite Things–The Sound of Music, Live!


Current wish list:

I have my eye on this adorable Christmas ornament for our tree. I don’t have any running-related ornaments and I think it’s time I have one.


(Source: Milestones Sports Jewelry & Apparel)


Current triumphs:

Three weeks later, I am still riding high from my awesome PR at the Women’s Running Series Half Marathon. It will be awhile before I forget this one…


Finisher_Certificate WRS 2013 Half


Current links:

DailyMile – I love this site to track the miles I log running or walking. It gives you a weekly total and at the end of the year, I get a total for the year. It’s always fun to look back at progress. If you are on DailyMile, add me as a friend!

The Daily Mel – Melissa is a fellow blogger and WW friend. She loves all things WW like I do and her blog is full of great information about the program and more. If you visit her blog, let her know I sent you!

Katy Widrick – Katy is a fellow blogger, runner, and all around cool girl. She has some pretty great content on her blog and her baby girl is too cute.


Current needs:

I always have a hard time answering this. I don’t’ really *need* anything. I would like to 2013 to end on a positive note, so I guess who could say I need that.


Current indulgence:

Four words…. Cake in a cup. Have you tried this yet? Holy yum, is it good. It feels like an indulgence because it’s so sweet and warm and delicious, but it’s only 4 Weight Watchers points plus value. And it takes 70 seconds to heat it up in the microwave. Hard to beat that!


cake in a cup


Current outfit:

Absolutely, positively, without a doubt, the answer to this one is my little black dress I wore to the Christmas party this past Tuesday. I haven’t even put it in the closet yet – it’s hanging on the door where I can see it. I felt amazing in that dress, especially after realizing it was a size 6. I just love it….


xmas 2


Current excitement:

Today we are dropping off bikes for Toys For Tots as part of our Jingle Bikes With Kids program my husband and I started last year. I believe we have 12 bikes this year. It makes me so happy to know that 12 little kiddos will get a brand new bike. I remember how much I loved my bike when I was little.


Current mood:

December is a hard month, no way around it. This year, I am having a little harder time getting into the holiday spirit. I just miss my dad. But we enjoyed a gorgeous sunset on the 4th in honor of him. I know he’s with me always, but I feel it most when I’m standing by the water and looking at a sunset like this….


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What are you currently enjoying? Share!

Three years.

This past month, my mind has been a mess of memories, thoughts, and feelings. I feel like I am in sensory overload. Three years ago today, my dad passed away and I can still remember every day he spent in the hospital, his last month with us. I wonder if that will ever go away or if will just fade into the back of my memories.

The day that he passed away, I made myself a little note on my phone, just moments after. It seems like an odd thing to do, but it was important to me to do at the time. And now, it’s one of the few things I have left on my phone from that very moment. It simply reads….


1:53pm  12/04/10  Goodbye Daddy… I love you so much and can’t believe you’re gone. My heart is broken.


And even still, as heartbreaking as that moment was, there was no where else I ever could have been. I needed to be there, with my family, holding his hand.

I think of my dad every single day, sometimes many times a day. A song, a movie, a memory, wanting or needing to talk to him, a meal…. Or it could be my wonder in seeing my niece and nephews and knowing that he would be amazed at how much they’ve grown. It could be anything. We talked about him on Thanksgiving, laughing about what he would be doing if he were there with us, sharing memories that we as a family have of him. The holidays will never be the same without him, as hard as I try. I have our Christmas tree up and it’s beautiful. I am hoping that the spirit he enjoyed at this time of year will somehow find it’s way to me this month.

If I could sit with him just one more time and talk with him, I often wonder what I would say. I need help solving some problems and more than ever need his guidance, but that seems selfish. I could share my excitement with him about losing weight. Or how proud I am of myself for running half marathons, something he never knew I could do. I could tell him about our crazy dogs – he knew Blue, but he never got to meet Ozzie and we’re sure they would be best buddies. We could share a favorite meal and a bottle of ice cold Peroni beer, his with a straw in it, his preferred way to drink it. Or we could listen to his favorite Big Band music….

But mostly, what I think I would say to him is how very much he is missed and how his life left such an impression on this family – his family – that anyone who knew him could easily see. I would tell him how different life is without him here to guide us along. I would share with him how he is with me everywhere I go and that we watch the sunset at Crystal Beach every month in honor of him. And most of all, I would tell him how very much I love him, how very much I miss him, and how he will always be my hero.


me daddy chair


me daddy cover photo


in memory of daddy

Holiday weekends rock!

I am in denial that the holiday weekend is over. Honestly, I spent most of yesterday stressing over the fact that today was Monday and that would mean heading back to work. Boo. BOO! I am ready to win the lottery and give up this whole having to work for a living thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed having a short week last week. I left work early on Wednesday. I had big plans for the time off, as trivial as those plans may have been for my downtime, it was still my time.

Thursday morning, hubby and I went out for a short run. I love it when he runs with me and I think he like the spending time with me part, but he does not enjoy running like I do. I can understand that. Every one is different. After our run, we went to hot yoga class. Since it was a holiday, the yoga studio was offering a free class to a guest when you paid for yours. Perfect! They just had one class and I never expected it to be packed, but it was. So much sweat. It was awesome.

I was pretty proud of our activity that morning and I had no guilt whatsoever when we went to my brother and sister-in-laws for a 4th of July cookout. Chips, salsa, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken pasta salad, and beer. It was a fun afternoon, despite the little bit of rain we had. My other brother and his family came over so we got to see our cutie-pie nephews.


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Hubby headed home after we ate, so Blue and Ozzie would not be alone during the thunderstorms AND fireworks (hubby is such a good dad!) and we headed to Crystal Beach in hopes of the weather clearing in time for a sunset and possible fireworks. Neither happened, but it was important that I was there for the 4th, in memory of my dad. My mom and I haven’t missed a 4th yet. We did have some fun time with Autumn before the rain really kicked in, so that was nice.


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On Friday after my morning run, I “worked from home”. And by “work from home”, I mean I made 3 calls in the morning and one of our stops during the day was work-related. The rest was our time since hubby had the day off as well. This rarely happens where we both take time off. Workaholics don’t even begin to describe us. We bought new tires for my car (a highly irritating purchase but it worked out well), a trip to Parkesdale Market one of our favorite produce markets owned by my friend Xi and her family for fresh produce and delicious milkshakes, and then spent the afternoon at home. (Read Xi’s blog here.)


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Saturday, I had my WW meeting and then ran afterwards. Hubby played paintball, and I did some cleaning and laundry. I even went to Starbucks for about an hour and enjoyed a beverage and finished the book I was reading, Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks. I picked up my niece afterwards for a sleepover so her mom and dad could have a night out to celebrate their 10th anniversary. When we were driving to our house, she told me she wanted to spend every Saturday night at our house and that she was going to talk to Mommy and Daddy about that. I love that she feels so comfortable at our house. She walks in like she owns the place, calls the guest room “her room”, and is a big helper with Blue and Ozzie and anything else I am doing. Needless to say, we had a great time as usual. Hubby and I took her to the the mall, ate dinner, played on the playground, and had ice cream. Our night ended at home watching The Princess Bride, her choice of movie to bring with her, and playing War. Seriously, she is one cool kid.


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Sunday morning we played Go Fish and went to the park. Autumn says I need to get a bike so I can ride with her when she comes over. She’s probably right, but I had fun walking and running to keep up with her too. It was great exercise. After a trip to Petco for puppy treats for Blue and Ozzie and her dog Scarlett, we took her home. Good times!


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A quick trip to the grocery store and then we were home the rest of the day for some laziness. I love to be lazy.

I’m already looking forward to our next long weekend, Labor Day.


How was your holiday weekend? How did you spend your time?

Catching up on the weekend…

One day, I would love to have longer weekends. A 5-day weekend and 2-day work week would be fabulous. <sigh> A girl can dream, right? I guess the second best thing is to have a great weekend and enjoy every minute. This past was weekend was just that…

After a mile run Saturday morning, hubby and I went to Fit2Run so he could have a gait analysis done for new running shoes. He is now the proud owner of a pair of Asics Gel Nimbus. I love that he wants to run with me, it’s another way we can spend quality time together. After shoe shopping, we headed to Hooters for lunch with our friend Ashley. It was such a nice day, we sat outside. What is it about a good meal, ice cold beer, and nice weather that makes the perfect lunch?




We also ran into this adorable face at lunch… My most adorable niece! Her mom and dad apparently had the same idea for lunch after purchasing tickets for Autumns upcoming dance recital.




After lunch, we went into Wal-Mart as quick as possible, and then headed home for a a couple of lazy hours. Later, hubby went to a graduation party and I met my mom at Ozona Pig for dinner. Seriously, my favorite pulled pork ever. And deviled eggs. And green beans. Yea, it’s THAT good….

After BBQ heaven, we headed up to Crystal Beach for sunset, it was the 4th after all. We love to get up there about an hour before sunset and enjoy the breeze and the view. There are always dogs up there, since it’s right in the midst of a small community. We see many of the same people up there every month. It never gets old. This particular evening, the sky was a gorgeous blue when we arrived and then as the sun set, the clouds rolled in. Every sunset is always unique.


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On Sunday morning, hubby and I headed to Memorial Causeway for an early run. There is something so calming about a run as the sun is rising. It’s not something I can do during the week, so it’s a treat to do on Sunday. I ran a a full 3.20 miles without music.

A late breakfast at home, some blogging, reading, and a nice nap, and then it was time to head out to family dinner to celebrate my mom’s birthday was which Friday. She wanted to go to Longhorn Steakhouse which made everyone happy. Another food my family loves is steak! I also tried the Skinny Blackberry Sangria which was VERY good. I would definitely have it again.



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And how do you follow up a nice birthday dinner? A trip to Cold Stone of course! Conveniently, there is one right behind Longhorn so we walked. I had Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt…. Oh yummy chocolate gooey Oreo goodness in a cup. I should have taken a picture of it. But, I did take a picture of cutie-pie Autumn with her cotton candy ice cream and being silly with her Uncle Mike. Fun times!


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Hubby and I ended the evening at home and watched The Blind Side. Obviously we are way behind on seeing it since it came out in 2009, but it was such a good movie! Perfect end to a great weekend.


What is your favorite way to spend a weekend?