THE Dress (?), Wicked and More

Yesterday was non stop! From the minute I woke up to the minute I went to bed, the whole day was go, go, go!

My dad and I were the first ones awake (as usual) and we enjoyed some quiet time catching up over hot tea and honey Greek yogurt before it was time for a workout. Unfortunately we couldn’t go to spinning together as originally planned because my appointment at the wedding dress store overlapped with the class time. Boo!

I headed out to workout on my own. I kept my cardio session relatively easy because I wanted to flip through some of the bridal magazines my mom bought for me. Priorities… 😉

I did 40 minutes on the elliptical, followed by 10 minutes of incline walking on the treadmill.

As I pulled into our neighborhood on my way home, I saw the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.

Rainbow

I only captured part of it on camera, but it was a full arch and the colors were brilliant. I came running inside and made my whole family come out to see it. Everyone was fully impressed.

Wedding Dress Shopping

After enjoying a quick breakfast smoothie and a hot shower, my mom, sister and I were ready to head out to Jon’s Bridal, a large bridal gown shop in Tampa.

The Girls

All Smiles

I made an appointment at Jon’s because they said they “likely had” the Justin Alexander dress I loved that I tried on last weekend in Orlando with my friends Merri and Laurel. I wanted my mom and sister to see it in person and weigh in.

This place was not what I expected. First of all, they didn’t have the dress the woman on the phone implied they would have, and then all the dresses were not my style. I like romantic, simple dresses and many of the dresses at Jon’s Bridal were bedazzled. Not my thing.

I was pretty bummed when we left, but I remembered that Cici’s Boutique in St. Pete carried the designer of the other dress I loved last weekend (I really liked two different dresses, if you remember). I called Cici’s to see if we could get a last minute appointment. They had an opening and my spirits rose immediately.

I was excited for my mom and sister to see this dress because it is a pretty dress. It is less “ballgown” and more classic and romantic. I am in love.

We were escorted upstairs and I slipped into the dress. It really is unbelievable. My mom and sister were both very enthusiastic and I really think this could be the one. (I’m sorry for the lack of pictures, but I can’t risk my groom-to-be seeing me in this dress!)

I have always been drawn toward lace and it has lace but is different than the other lace gowns I’ve seen. It seems like a dress I would still love 50 years from now. We made a follow up appointment for the first week of March for my dad to come see it. I really want a man’s opinion.

By the time the dress hunt was over, we were hungry. We headed home to meet up with my dad and Ryan for lunch. I made a delicious fish sandwich using the fish we had leftover from dinner on Friday night.

Fish Sandwich and Portobello Mushrooms

I also enjoyed a small bowl of chocolate marshmallow ice cream for dessert. So good!

Wicked

Around 1 p.m., my mom, sister and I headed off to see Wicked at the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center while my dad and Ryan enjoyed a guy’s day. 🙂

Our seats for the musical were amazing!

Wicked

The show was fantastic! I loved every minute. The whole cast was extremely talented and the music was wonderful. It was really neat to see how the musical tied into the original Wizard of Oz story. I can’t wait to see it again with Ryan at the end of the month. 😀

The actress who played Glinda was actually an understudy and she did a tremendous job. I’m excited to see how the “real” Glinda handles the role.

Dinner

Wicked started at 2 p.m. and when it was over, my sister told us to guess the time. I guessed 3:45 p.m. and boy was I off! It was a little after 5 p.m.! We hurried to the car and proceeded to sit in the parking lot for 20 minutes waiting for people to head out.

We started to feel a little anxious because we had 5:45 p.m. dinner reservations to meet with my dad and Ryan at 400 Beach Seafood & Tap House in downtown St. Pete. Luckily the guys headed over there to save our table and we met them there a little before 6 p.m.

The guys were already a couple dirty martinis into the night and were quite the funny duo by the time we arrived.

The restaurant has a really neat feel and we are putting it in the running for a potential restaurant for our rehearsal dinner. I want Ryan’s family to come check it out, too.

Our food was delicious and the service was great, especially considering how crowded it was. My sister and I both ordered the seafood sampler.

Seafood Sampler

It was an appetizer and didn’t have too much food, though it was delicious. I ate a bunch of the cheese biscuits and several bites of Ryan’s braised short ribs and mashed potatoes. His meal tasted like homemade comfort food!

Cheese Biscuits

Braised Short Ribs

We took our time at dinner and had a great time. We headed home a little after 8 p.m. and made ice cream sundaes.

Ice Cream Sundae

Ryan and I shared this big bowl that included:

  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Chocolate sauce
  • Butterscotch
  • Strawberry topping
  • Mini Oreo cookies
  • Whipped cream
  • Cherry

This further solidified the fact that ice cream truly is my favorite food. There’s nothin’ better!

I’m off to go make a big Sunday breakfast before Ryan and I head back to Orlando. I hope you’re enjoying the weekend! 🙂

Clammed Up

Seafood may be one of my best friends.

Clams

Our relationship began when I was very young. Since several of you seemed to enjoy my “What did you do today to be a boss and a leader” story about my dad, here’s another charming tale involving my father.

In first grade we had to fill out a questionnaire about our favorite things. One of the questions I had to fill out asked me about my favorite food and my favorite restaurant. My reply? “I love going to Hooters to eat clams with my dad.” Yes, that Hooters.

The One and Only

Classy response for a first grader, huh?

As you can see, my love for seafood runs deep. Tonight I used canned clams as the inspiration for my meal. I paired the clammies with spinach, mushrooms, pasta and Parmesan cheese for a delicious noodle bowl.

Clammy Pasta

With Lots of Parm!

I ate while Sadie watched. 😀

"Wanna share, Mama?"

I did let her lick the bowl clean (once I made sure it was mushroom free… mushrooms are a no-go for dogs).

Ryan is at a soccer game tonight so I will be using this alone time to do some dishes before reading some more of the first Sookie Stackhouse book. 

G’night all! Yay for Friday tomorrow!

Ft. Lauderdale is for Lovers

As Ryan’s main birthday gift, I planned a mini weekend vacation to Ft. Lauderdale for the two of us, not knowing at the time that it would be our first vacation as an engaged couple. 🙂 Woohoo!

Happy Couple in Ft. Lauderdale

Happy Couple in Ft. Lauderdale

We woke up nice and early on Saturday morning, took the pup on a walk (thanks Laurel for watching her!), and made a quick breakfast before embarking on the three hour drive (Yes, three hours from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale. Ryan is “efficient.”).

While Ryan opted for yogurt and a protein shake, I made myself a healthified egg McMuffin, using Laughing Cow light Swiss cheese, egg whites, Canadian bacon and a sweet wheat alternative bagel.

Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese

Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese

Egg McMuffin: Revised

Egg McMuffin: Revised

Breakfast

Breakfast

After a few rounds of 20 questions and lots of wedding talk (I can’t help it!), we arrived at our hotel.

The Pillars Hotel

The Pillars Hotel

I booked our room at The Pillars Hotel, a gorgeous, small boutique hotel about a block from the beach. Ryan and I instantly fell in love with the romantic, comfortably elegant atmosphere of The Pillars.

Our room overlooked the pool and had a view of the intercoastal waterway.

The Pool at the Pillars

The Pool at the Pillars

Outside Our Room

Outside Our Room

By the Water

By the Water

There were a bunch of cute lounging areas in various cozy spots around the hotel.

Lounging Area

Lounging Area

Outside our room was a gorgeous high top table and snuggly love seat.

Our Room

Our Room

I can honestly say this hotel was beautiful, luxurious, quiet and oh-so-romantic. Ryan and I both agreed it was one of the nicest hotels we’ve ever stayed in on a vacation. Boutique hotels are the best!

In Our Room

In Our Room

After checking in and getting situated, our tummies were grumbling, so we headed out to Las Olas Boulevard, where lots of cute shops and restaurants line the street.

In passing, Ryan selected Indigo, a restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Riverside Hotel to stop for lunch. In support of breast cancer awareness month, the tablecloths and napkins in the restaurant were pink. I loved it!

Indigo Restaurant

Indigo Restaurant

After looking over the menu, Ryan opted for a tuna salad sandwich and a cup of white bean soup.

Tuna Salad and Soup

Tuna Salad and Soup

Fishy!

Fishy!

I chose the marinated vegetable sandwich with feta cheese and sweet potato fries.

Veggie Sandwich and Fries

Veggie Sandwich and Fries

We both agreed that our lunch was just “meh.” Not particularly good, but not bad either. We left full, but not overly impressed with our food or the service at Indigo. At least the company was good!

After lunch we made our way over to the Rivership Cruises platform for a 90 minute tour of Ft. Lauderdale on the water.

Boat Tour

Boat Tour

On the tour we got to see lots of multi-million dollar yachts and homes. Wow, Ft. Lauderdale is one wealthy lil’ place. We saw the old homes of Sonny and Cher, John F. Kennedy’s mother, Farrah Fawcett and more.

After the boat tour, we headed back to our hotel and changed for a walk on the beach. The water was so pretty and the perfect temperature. We ended up on a part of the beach that was, um, male dominated… and Ryan got a lot of looks! 🙂 My fiance is a hottie!

We then jumped in the pool at our hotel and lounged on the chairs overlooking the water before showering and heading off to dinner.

Before Dinner

Before Dinner

Being on the ocean made both of us want seafood. We decided to go to 15th Street Fisheries Dockside Cafe, a restaurant that was pointed out to us on the boat tour.

We started off with an order of two dozen steamed clams and a dozen mussels steamed in a garlic sauce.

Clams

Clams

Mussels

Mussels

I LOVE steamed clams and mussels and these were absolutely perfect. So tasty. I think I could eat hundreds.

For our main dinner, I ordered peel-and-eat shrimp and Ryan ordered a Cuban sandwich.

Shrimpies

Shrimpies

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

Both options were phenomenal, though Ryan said my selection was “too much work.” 😉 His sandwich was the best Cuban sandwich I’ve ever tasted. (I’ve only had about two ever, but this was the best!).

His sandwich came with plantain chips which were super-addicting. They were attacked first!

Plantain Chips

Plantain Chips

As we were eating outside, we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and had a great time watching other diners feed the tarpon and fish near the dock. Those fish were huge! Very creepy.

Check Out the Rays!

Check Out the Rays!

Heeeere Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

Heeeere Fishy, Fishy, Fishy

(Yes, the above picture caption is a Deuce Bigalow reference. ;))

Though we were full, that didn’t stop us from hittin’ up Cold Stone Creamery for an extremely thick cookies ‘n’ cream milkshake. We slurped that puppy down before I snapped a picture, but it looked an awful lot like this:

Shake, Shake, Shake

Shake, Shake, Shake

Taaasty! Day one in Ft. Lauderdale was a success!!!

Day Two

Ryan and I are both cursed with the inability to sleep past 7:30 a.m. on weekends, so we were up before the sun this morning and headed out to the beach to catch the sunrise.

Me and Da Suuuun

Me and Da Suuuun

Though light clouds blocked the view, we still enjoyed the refreshing morning air… and a nice sunrise kiss!

Sunrise Kiss

Sunrise Kiss

We also enjoyed watching a passed-out college kid wake up on the beach as the sand-churning truck was headed straight for him. Classic.

Today Ryan is playing in a soccer game at 1 p.m., so we packed up our bags and hit the road by 7:45 a.m., stopping at McDonald’s for breakfast (the first time I’ve been there for anything other than ice cream in years), and I ordered an egg McMuffin while Ryan opted for two breakfast burritos (and a Snickers bar at the next rest stop… thatta boy!).  We arrived back in Orlando just in time for an early lunch. Our Ft. Lauderdale mini vacation was a perfect escape from Orlando.

Today will be relaxing. I plan to hit the gym and grocery store and run some errands with Ryan while showering Sadie with lots of puppy-love since I missed my lil’ girl this weekend. Happy Sunday!