My Little Sunshine Baby Shower

One of my best friends is expecting a baby boy next month! We had her baby shower this past weekend, where she got showered with love. It was great fun and I wanted to share my planning process in the hopes it may help you in your own shower/party planning!

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

I’ll say this right up front…I have never planned a baby shower before. Luckily, I have some event planning experience under my belt so I at least knew the basic logistics. First things first…we needed a venue! 

I exhausted many venue options before coming across Pasadena Yacht and Country Club in Gulfport, FL. I met with the Catering Manager, who showed me their main room for having events, and it was perfect. Spacious and surrounded by windows with beautiful views of an inlet. Signed, sealed, delivered.

Next, we needed a theme. My lovely Lora can be described as bubbly, energetic and kind. She is very, as you might say, sunny! A My Little Sunshine theme seemed perfect. I loved the idea of cute little suns everywhere and having yellow be the main color with pops of blue.

With a date, a venue and a theme it was time for invitations. I found these invites on Etsy through INVITEDbyAudriana. I also did a custom order with her for a Books for Baby card. We asked guests to bring baby a book instead of a card so we could build up baby boy’s library! 

My Little Sunshine baby shower

It took a LOT of Pinterest and Etsy browsing, and many trips to Michaels, before I finally settled on decorations. In the end I was so happy with the vendors I chose from Etsy. They truly made the vision come alive!

I did a custom order with Craftytude for the main “Welcome Sunshine” banner.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

Accent banners were from Michaels.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

Craftytude also custom made these adorable centerpiece sticks. I bought the fence base at Michaels and painted it white. Green styrofoam went on the bottom so I could stick the sticks in and they’d be secure. Green paper filler went on top to give the look of grass.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

I made signs for the gift table, activity table and favor table. For an added pop of color I got flowers from Michaels, placed them in cute bottles (also from Michaels) and filled them with blue paper filler.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

For activities, we did Onesie Decorating (stencils by QueenCityCrafty). QueenCityCrafty sent great detailed instructions with the stencils, including what brand of fabric paint worked best (I bought Tulip) and what brushes to get!

baby shower

My Little Sunshine baby shower

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

And Scrapbook Making.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

My Little Sunshine baby shower

My mom got me a Fujifilm Instax Mini 8 for my birthday and planted the seed for this activity. Guests took a photo with mama-to-be and created their own page in her baby shower scrapbook. I bought colorful paper and stickers at Michaels to use as decorations. Everyone got really creative! And it was a great alternative to a guestbook. 

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We also played the Name That Baby Song game. Snippets of ten songs that had the word “baby” in the title were played and guests had to guess the song. Winner received a Starbucks gift card!

baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

On their way out, guests picked up their favor and dessert; these cute little sunshine cookies made by megzcookies.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

My Little Sunshine baby shower

Photo by Raffi Darrow.

It was a great day filled with love, laughs, and of course, sunshine!

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Here are a few key tips I recommend when planning: 

Baby Shower Planning Tips

  1. Nail down a date and venue first.
  2. Use Etsy to find cute and affordable decorations. Or DIY and hit up a craft store!
  3. Stay organized. Create an outline for your event that includes all of your ideas, day-of specifics, guest list, menu, timeline and a to-do list.
  4. Use checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything!
  5. Keep a loose day-of timeline in your head. Have an idea of how long you’d like for people to mingle/do activities, how long you’ll need for games and how long you’ll need for gifts. I judged about an hour for people to arrive/mingle/do activities, an hour to play a game and open gifts, and then another hour for people to mingle more.
  6. Have fun!

 

Summer Hot Dog Recipes Featuring Applegate

Here in Florida we are in the midst of the dog days of Summer. 95 degree days make it hard to believe that in less than a month it will be September and we’ll be trading pumpkin recipes and craving Fall flavors. But for now I’m still savoring fresh Summer flavors, as well as some of my favorite Summer comfort foods.

Applegate is currently running a Get Out On Grass campaign, where they’re encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, just like their cows! In celebration of this campaign I received their Get Out On Grass kit, which included packs of their 100% grass-fed beef hot dogs, Vermont bread potato hot dog buns, Sir Kensington’s ketchup and mustard, and some Applegate goodies. I’m always excited to receive an Applegate package. I love that their products are made with minimal ingredients and taste great to boot!

Applegate

When I received Applegate’s hot dogs I wanted to go beyond the usual suspects when it came to toppings. So I experimented a bit and came up with two fun (and yummy!) recipes. 

Applegate

The first is what I call the Spicy Southern

Applegate

Pimento cheese and pickled okra give a nice bite and kick.

Applegate

The second is a Bacon BBQ dog.

Applegate

Smokey bacon jam, crispy fried onions and a drizzle of sweet BBQ sauce give the dog a pow of flavor and crunch.

Applegate

What kind of fun toppings do you put on your hot dogs? I hope if it’s not 95 degrees where you are that you’re enjoying this last month of Summer and that you Get Out On Grass!

 

Cobb Luxury 10 Theatre Opens At Tyrone Square Mall

After having gone to college in St. Pete and living here for the past 8 years I have become very passionate about this city. So whenever something big happens in it it makes me beam with pride and my heart flutters with excitement. There have been a lot of wonderful additions to St. Pete and the newest one is one of the biggest. 

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Luxury 10 Theatre at Tyrone Square Mall opened to the public on Friday, but the Wednesday before I was lucky enough to get a sneak peak at their ribbon cutting.

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Tyrone Square Mall has been yearning for a place like Cobb. Over the past few years Tyrone has been given a bit of a facelift and has done some reinventing with new stores and restaurants. Having Cobb open is the icing on the cake.

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Luxury 10 is a unique movie going experience. The most noted difference between Cobb Luxury 10 and other theatres is that there is a full restaurant and bar. Dinner and a movie has never been so easy (and delicious)! If you’d rather take food to your seat and enjoy it while watching the movie, the concession stand is like nothing you’ve ever seen. They have everything your taste buds desire from tacos to pizza…there’s even a frozen yogurt bar!

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

The theatres themselves are beautiful. Each seat electronically reclines! Talk about comfort. 

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Cobb Luxury 10 is the perfect place for a date night, girls night out or taking the whole family out. They even have a party room for kid’s birthdays!

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

One of my favorite features of the theatre is that they have Sensory Friendly Films on select dates. During these showings the volume is turned down and the lights are turned up. Kids are welcome to sing, dance and talk back to the movie without any worry of disturbing those around them. I think this is such a great idea and a very thoughtful thing to offer so that all families can enjoy themselves.

Cobb Theatre Tyrone

Thank you Tampa Bay Bloggers and Cobb Theatres for making my attendance at the Cobb Luxury 10 ribbon cutting possible!

 

Tijuana Flats Tasting Event

Mexican food is one of my favorite foods. I swear I always say that I could live on rice and beans and be perfectly happy.

And while I love hitting up a neighborhood Mexican restaurant sometimes you need something a bit faster and a bit more casual. Enter Tijuana Flats. 

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I was first introduced to Tijuana Flats when I came down here to Florida for college. One of my best friends loved their flautas and Tijuana Flats was our go-to place to get our Mexican fix. Their affordable prices also agreed with our college student budgets 🙂

Today, Tijuana Flats is still a regular place for me to dine. It’s a favorite for me and my mom for a quick and tasty dinner. There are many fast casual mexican restaurants out there, but Tijuana Flats holds the standard high. Their food is consistently good and ALWAYS tastes fresh. Nothing is overly fried or doused in salty sauce. They use fresh veggies and their meat is hormone free. And they use NO microwaves, freezers or canned foods…everything is made fresh to order. 

Tijuana Flats is also just a FUN place. Each restaurant is plastered with funny bumper stickers and cheeky phrases painted on the walls. And the staff is always extremely friendly. They greet you with big smiles and a nice, big “hello!” They check on you while you’re eating and say goodbye when you leave.

When the Tampa Bay Bloggers got asked to attend a tasting at the Tijuana Flats at South Tampa I jumped at the chance. Even though I go there all the time this was a great opportunity for me to try new dishes that I normally don’t get.

First things first…drink me! 

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Tijuana Flats has great sangria, as well as a great variety of beer and wine.

Chips, queso, salsa and guacamole were immediately brought to our table. I LOVE their guac…so fresh!

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As we snacked on our chips and dips the restaurant manager and owner talked with us for a few minutes and told us more about how Tijuana Flats came to be. Did you know it was started by a college kid in Winter Park, FL? Yup! Brian Wheeler opened the first Tijuana Flats in 1995 thanks to a loan from his father. He also created a line of delicious hot sauces, which you can find at the Hot Bar in each Tijuana Flats. Over the next few years Tijuana Flats grew and grew and now there are 100 restaurants in 6 states! 

Tijuana Flats is much more than tacos and burritos, however. They are very big into giving back to their local community. They even have a foundation called Just in Queso, which has given $2,100,000 to date! The foundation helps individuals, organizations and communities in need. Tragedies are never planned and it’s the foundation’s hope to be there to help when tragedy strikes. 

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Tijuana Flats also loves to support veterans!

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This is all another reason why I love supporting Tijuana Flats…they’re not just about good, fresh food. They are involved in supporting their communities and being a part of something bigger. 

Now, back to the food!

First up were their chicken and beef flautas.

I haven’t had these since my college days, but they were SO good. Not heavily fried and they were bursting with yummy meat and cheese.

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Next up was their Bangin’ Chicken Burrito, which was amazing. Their bangin’ chicken is fried chicken covered in their hot sauce. The burrito also has ranch in it so it basically tastes like an awesome game day burrito.

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Next were their tostadas, which I had never tried before. Lightly fried tortillas topped with meat, cheese, refried beans and salsa. This version had the bangin’ chicken on them and they were very tasty.

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Chicken tacos were next! Their soft tortilla tacos are a regular order for me. Simply done with meat, beans, cheese, tomato, lettuce and sour cream. The tacos are the best dish to try different hot sauces on!

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And for dessert we got to try their cookie dough flautas. If I wasn’t so full already I would have housed close to the whole plate. So decadent and so good. Psst…we were told that if you happen to take home leftovers they are also excellent frozen!

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Looking to try out Tijuana Flats? Make sure to check them out on Tijuana Tuesdaze or Throwback Thursdaze!

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Have you ever been to Tijuana Flats? What’s your favorite meal there?

Disclaimer: I attended this event along with the Tampa Bay Bloggers. We were given complimentary meals in exchange for a blog post. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Summer of Rum Festival Recap

When you think of summer a lot of words and images come to mind…warm weather, sunshine, the beach, vacation, BBQs, and of course, island drinks! Refreshing island drinks that include punch, mojitos, rum runners…you name it! 

This past Saturday the Summer of Rum Festival in Tampa couldn’t have come at a better time. Although it always seems like summer here in Florida, there is always a hint that summer is nearing it’s end come late August. And what better way of celebrating the end of summer than with a festival celebrating the center of all of our favorite island drinks?

The Summer of Rum Festival went from 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Cuban Club in Ybor City. We aimed to get there in the afternoon to avoid an over abundance of crowds. We arrived around 3 p.m. and it seemed to be a good time…despite the impending thunder storms! As we parked, deafening thunder boomed in the sky and rain started to fall. We rushed to check in and get our wristbands. The staff didn’t falter one bit and graciously ushered everyone inside. 

I’d never been to the Cuban Club before. What a beautiful space! It’s a historic building that has three floors (with a theatre on the third floor) and plenty of space for a great event, such as this one. 

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After getting the lay of the land we got our first round of drinks.

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I tried the Captain’s Punch, which was fruity and delicious!

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Picture time!

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Luckily the rain didn’t last long and the sun started to peak through the clouds. Thanks strange Florida weather! We headed back outside since that was where a variety of the rum shacks were and also the main stage for music.

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There were a nice variety of vendors at the festival, all serving their own signature drinks. 

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They also had a nice variety of food vendors. We didn’t eat there, but everything looked yummy!

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Jon and I had VIP tickets so we also checked out the VIP tent. The VIP tent has fans, seats and bartenders pouring all your favorite rum drinks.

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This time around we went with an old favorite, Cruzan and Coke.

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Our friend Nick is the selfie master!

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Got a little Captain in ya?

We had such a fun time at the Summer of Rum Festival! Thank you to Big City Events for putting together an awesome day, despite the weather!

Disclaimer: I received complimentary admission to the Summer of Rum Festival in exchange for writing a blog post. My opinions, as always, are my own.

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