Friday and Florida

Ah, Friday!  Finally an evening to be home before 8pm, have dinner with the BOY, and sit my exhausted butt on the couch to watch Pitch Perfect.  Oh, and blog about our weekend trip to SarasotaOne week ago, the BOY and I boarded a plane for the sunshine state.  We had a slight complication as the BOY got a flat tire on the way to the airport.  Luckily, we were close enough to swing back home to switch cars.




However, my car (having spent the night of the snow storm outside) was buried under thick, heavy snow.  We hurried to clean off my car and move our luggage.  I hate feeling late for the airport, so I definitely had a knot in my stomach as I drove us to O’hare.




We made it no problem and a 20 minute delay seemed like nothing compared to all of the cancelled fights throughout the country so I felt thankful to be boarding the plane.  I alternated between reading and snoozing while sipping on my Starbucks.  We landed, caught a cab to our hotel which was only 10 minutes away, and checked in. 


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As we walked into the hotel, we were greeted by two of my close high school friends.  I love how life works out that way!  They were heading out to the beach as we were heading up to our room to change out of boots and winter gear and into shorts, tshirts, and sunglasses.  We walked a few blocks into downtown Sarasota which had plenty of options for lunch.  It wasn’t until we were seated outside at a little café ordering lunch and a cocktail that I finally exhaled and FELT like we were on vacation.  I knew it was going to be a relaxing few days!




We had a nice mix of down time and wedding festivities ahead of us.  I spent Friday afternoon catching up with friends by the pool at our hotel.






By 5pm, I was eager to get in a run before sunset.  I laced up my tennies and headed for town.  Last minute I decided to turn onto a large, steep bridge over to Bird Key making my way all the way to St. Armand’s Circle.




I made it home super sweaty (when was the last time I ran in the heat?) and with enough time to shower and watch the sun set from our balcony.






The BOY made us a dinner reservation at a place on the Marina overlooking some ginormous yachts.  We both love seafood and Sarasota is definitely the place for fresh fish.  Afterwards, we attended a cocktail hour hosted by the bride and groom.  It was wonderful to catch up with some old friends, and we were home and in bed early after a long day.  Saturday night was the wedding, but we had the day to spend at the beach.  We hitched a ride to Siesta Key to bury our toes in the white sand.




We found the perfect sand bar to wade in the crisp water looking for seashells.  After which, we lounged in the sun under a clear blue sky enjoying the warm weather and eclectic mix of company.


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It was amazing to see people biking on the beach, and I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t jealous!




After the most enjoyable day, we had just enough time to fight the crowds back into town, grab a quick bite to eat (fish tacos and truffle fries), and shower before the wedding.




When you combine a beautiful evening, with a stunning hotel, and an amazing couple, it can only be described as magical.  The wedding was personal and sincere, and I was so happy to be part of this special event!






Cocktail hour took place in the garden at sunset.  A truly breath taking scene!



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The BOY and I enjoyed the entire evening and were actually the last to leave the wedding : )  After midnight, as the wedding guests retreated to the bar, a few of us made our way to the hotel pool and hot tub.  Needless to say, I awoke the next morning with frizzy hair and wreaking of an over-chlorinated pool.  The BOY and I had no plans for Sunday, so we took a taxi out to Lido Beach.




We took a long stroll down to the end of the beach overlooking Long Boat Key enjoying another spectacular day!




From the beach, we walked a few blocks to St. Armand’s Circle.  After Friday’s run, I was eager to get back.  Per our taxi driver’s recommendation, we ate lunch at Columbia Restaurant.  The Spanish food was incredible and possibly the best meal we had all weekend!  With an afternoon Indiana game ahead, the BOY suggested cocktails and basketball.




He didn’t have to ask me twice to spend Sunday Funday with a Mojito in the sun!  We got back to our hotel with enough time for a dip in the pool and nap before one last seafood dinner with the bride and groom and a few of their friends who had also stayed the extra night in Florida.




Monday morning came way to quickly.  I pulled out my running shoes for one last 70 degree winter run.  This time, I stayed along the bay.  There is just something about running along the waterfront that I love!  By the time I came bounding back into the hotel room, the BOY was starving and ready for breakfast.




We had a fresh and filling breakfast at the Toasted Mango leaving more than enough time for one last swim.




Do I even need to tell you how hard it was to leave all of this and pack up for the airport???


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But sadly we did!  Our weekend was so bright and wonderful.  The BOY and I had some time to relax, and we returned feeling rejuvenated and already talking about our next vacation!  I’m hoping that just looking at these pictures will keep me warm through the last few weeks/months of winter.

A Cold Front

Along with most of the country, the cold front has arrived in Florida.  Yes, the Floridians have busted out their winter’s best sweaters, socks, and jackets.  When I was little and we used to come down here every winter break, rain or shine, my brother and I would be swimming in the pool.  As an adult, I am not so brave!  Instead, my morning exercise consists of a walk with my Aunt and Dad in long sleeves




I’ve been trying to get myself into a senior yoga class, but I have been met with some resistance.  I fully understand that I will be sitting in a chair throughout the class and love the idea.  When I explained to some friends my plans for winter break, they immediately referred to the book turned movie In Her Shoes where Cameron Diaz hides out at her grandma’s retirement community.  Yes, my trip is something like that EXCEPT that everyone I know in Florida is super active and exciting.



With the onset of ‘cold-ish’ weather these past 2 days, I have been keeping myself busy




Reading by the pool




Covered by a towel as needed




Luckily, the sun is warm and welcoming, so it is easy to spend time outdoors.  Yesterday afternoon, however, we explored the local indoor Flee Market.






Strolling along the stalls of jewelry, clothing, and Florida trinkets and making our way through the fruit and vegetable market.


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We took a quick break to snag a New York style Nosh.






And a pickle on a stick to go.


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This afternoon, we worked our way to the clubhouse for happy hour.




It’s 5:00 somewhere…Chicago to be exact!  Then went out for an amazing Italian dinner.  Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to get back up in the 70’s (Hooray!) so I can hit up the pool one last time before heading home!  But, I will be back indoors at some point tomorrow because I am eager to get my hands on this pile of recipes from my aunt and my grandma.  I’m hoping to scan as many as possible into the computer for upcoming baking projects.




Sounds like another busy day…because it is!  I have a lot to fit in since tomorrow is my last day in Florida.  It’s amazing how much family fun you can pack into just a few days. 





How are you keeping busy this cold front?


Another summer Friday and another date day with the BOY!  He is already trying to convince me to keep Fridays off for the rest of the year, and I must say that it is tempting!  We headed back out to the courts for another round of tennis.




It was a gorgeous 70 degree morning…perfect for tennis!


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One of the tougher things for me on the court is my backhand.  I did ask one of my patient’s 5 year old siblings for some tips, and the BOY helped me with my backhand today.  By the end of the hour, it was looking much stronger.  My serve, on the other hand, has plenty of room for improvements.  That can me next week’s lesson!




The blue sky was picturesque with puffy white clouds, and it was great to be outdoors!


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Afterwards, we headed off to the pool.  We wanted to try to beat the summer camp crowd, and I was eager to get in another swim.




Sadly, the slides weren’t open yet, but the BOY and I will definitely be back to try them out.




I had some serious issues with my goggles this morning.  No matter what I tried, they kept leaking.  It was really frustrating.  I’d get a lap or two done before they would start to leak, causing my eyes to itch, and my contacts to blur.  I even tried borrowing a pair from the pool, but they were way too tight on my face.  In the end, I ended up doing some drills with the kickboard and my face above water before finally getting into the hot tub.  It was a disappointing swim workout, but still a fun day with the BOY.  The goggles may have won this round, but I am hoping to be able to get in some open water swims in Wisconsin this weekend, so there will be a rematch!




We made one quick stop at the grocery store before picking up Mediterranean for lunch.  I had a fattoush salad with falafel, which totally hit the spot after an active morning.


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Now the game plan is to get all packed up and hit the road for our weekend in Wisconsin.  I am looking forward to some relaxing time spent on the water, catching up with friends, stargazing, and biking the hills.  There will be lots to share when we return.


What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Any tips or suggestions for goggles?


I currently use the Speedo Vanquishers, which have been highly recommended yet I tend to struggle with them!

Working for the Weekend

The work week is over, and the weekend is here!!!  As of today, I don’t work Fridays (at least for the next 10 weeks).  And what makes this even more fun is that the BOY has Fridays off this summer too!  I have basically come to the conclusion that this will probably be the last time that we will  have a weekday off, and we should take full advantage of it.  I stayed up a little later last night, but eventually pooped out after dinner, a walk, and some wine and music out back.  The BOY was out back with half the neighborhood hanging out and drinking until 12:30ish.  We had no set plans for today…just a list of fun things to do before our dinner reservation, so we slept in until 9AM.  I made us eggs for breakfast and we relaxed while we ate, waking up slowly with a little TV.  Around 11AM, we figured it was time to get moving.




Last summer, the BOY and I bought tennis rackets at Target one day.  They didn’t see a lot of action, mostly because I was awful and the BOY ended up running all over 2 courts trying to retrieve my balls.  I was eager to give tennis a try again.  I love the idea of any activity outdoors that the BOY and I can do together.  Let’s me honest, he isn’t going to take up running (those size 15 feet weren’t meant for marathons) and as of now, he doesn’t own a bike.


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I discovered these beautiful tennis courts on one of my bike rides and they are only a few miles from our house.  The entire park was nice and quiet, perfect for us to practice our game.


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For the record, I was much better this year than last year.  Although I have a LONG way to go before I can play in public, more of my shots landed on or near the court than in the bushes, which is a huge improvement.


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It made for a fun day for both of us!





I suggested that we make a standing Friday tennis date.  I’ll let you know how that goes : )


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On the way back to the car, the BOY stopped to play in the park.




Before going home, we had a few stops to make at the outdoor mall around the corner from the tennis courts.  We swung into Cooper’s Hawk to taste and pick up our May and June wine club wines.  I always love their light summer blends, and this white and red did not disappoint.




Then we stopped by the Produce Market, which opened last weekend.  I recognized some familiar faces, and I am so excited to have the market back at our local outdoor mall! 


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The rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables available was impressive.  The BOY and I easily filled up my basket in just a few minutes.  The prices were unbelievable and the entire load cost us only $9!!!




We brought our food home to unload and then quickly changed into bathing suits.  Our next stop…the park district pool!




As I mentioned, the BOY joined the gym last week.  He has a gym and pool membership and brought home some guest passes.  I have been meaning to get into the pool for like, months.  The pool is only a mile or so away form our house, and as we were walking in, so were all of the summer camp kids.  The pool area was packed with kids, but there are always two lap lanes blocked off.  We considered backing out of the craziness in the water, but went for it, and I am so happy that we did.  I had some initial difficulty getting my cap and goggles situated, so I ditched the cap, stuck my goggles to face, and got swimming.  My stroke felt a little rusty, not as efficient as it should be, but I easily fell into a rhythm and with my head under the water, I forgot all about the screaming children. I swam for 15 minutes despite having some sore arms, and it really did feel good to be back cruising through the water.  The BOY and I spent some time chilling in the hot tub, and then came back home for lunch.  We threw together salads and sandwiches with whatever we could find in the house, and chatted about our fun Friday morning. 




We are taking a few hours to relax before heading out for dinner.  The BOY got a gift certificate to Reza’s one of his favorite restaurants near his old office.  He has been looking forward to using it, and I am always happy to try a new restaurant. It should be an enjoyable end to our action-packed day.  It’s looking like a good start to the summer with a lot more play days to come!