So Guys…I Turned 25! Birthday Shenanigans and Exploring Key West!

Hey guys! I’m back, do you notice something different about me…oh you do? Well, that’s because I am %100, bonafide, grown ass WOMAN! Lol…no really I turned 25 on April 20th. In the small scope of my world this year has been tough, which made it all the more beautiful and immensely important I made it to this milestone in life. I know some people believe age is just a number, and to some degree that is true. But, for many, it signifies the growth, fight and hardship we endured to reach that next age. I find that I become so aware of how my spirit, body and heart perseveres, through all of my changes. This year I got another medical diagnosis (that would bring about an additional layer of medical issues, endless doctor visits, treatment therapy that feels like it will go on forever and BIG surgery coming up), I lost my dear friend Devin Cook and I had to take time away from my bakery. Those things alone were enough to bruise my spirit, but I refuse to let things steal the threads of beauty, immense gratitude and inherent optimism that are so deeply ingrained within my soul and weaves throughout every aspect of my life.

Since I turned the big 25, I was lucky enough to take a little trip with the madré! We headed to florida, it was amazing, as florida always is. But, this time we went somewhere different, and different was…KEY WEST! I could have been more surprised, excited and complete thrilled! After a couple of days hoping around florida, I anxiously awaited “the day”. The following morning, we took a small charter plane and landed on the island for 2 days and 1 night of shear awesomeness! Once, I found out, I became strategic, I looked up what to-do, talked to locals and just walked around and explored with my mama! We found a local stop called El Siboney, a favorite cuban restaurant of visitors and locals. And as you know “we” LOVE CUBAN FOOD! We walked along Duvall St., we bought gifts for the fam and found lovely little shops, that shape the beautiful and unique culture, community and way of life that you experience down in the “keys”! So, here is our trip at a glance…
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We had lunch at The Bohemian Hotel, in Celebration, FL. It sits on the edge of the town, with a lovely view of the town lake.
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For lunch I had a delish Pan Seared Salmon over a Tossed Green Salad, with Sparkling water (I kept the bottle and I plan to turn it into a candle holder)
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The decor of the hotel is that of its namesake, bohemian! It’s beautiful, with warm tones that are quite inviting, the staff exhibit wonerdful hospitality and the space also is home to a eclectic art gallery.
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After one of the best lunches of my life. The madre and I walked around town, got coffee, bought some gifts and headed back to the hotel for one last night before we flew to Key West in the morning.
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The view from our balcony, our last night there. Now, off to KEY WEST!
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We have arrived…
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Some of the sights, but firt thing first…FOOD! We walked from our hotel to the glorious, acclaimed and completely authentic Cuban restaurant El Siboney!
DSC_0196DSC_0197DSC_0202IMG_2082 Just us girls!
IMG_2088 We got arroz y frijoles, yuca fritas, mojo, tostones, platanos maduros, and pargo rojo pescado con arroz…and it was AMAZING!!! Do yourself a favor and if you are ever in Key West, stop by El Siboney! After lunch we headed into town and saw alot of the natural beauty that makes up Key West.
DSC_0205DSC_0211DSC_0214DSC_0215DSC_0216 Oh, and of course we hit the beach!
IMG_2092IMG_2091DSC_0219DSC_0226IMG_2095 Once the time in the water came to and end, we headed back to the room the shower and change for dinner! We ate at A&B Lobster House, which sits looking out at the gorgeous harbor. And as you will see below, I still get carded at 25.
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And our wonderful waiter surprised me with this…
IMG_2121 It was be far the best key lime pie I had ever had! It is entirely unique and no one can do it like Key West can! After a lovely and memorable dinner, we went back to the hotel to pack, relax and enjoy the view of Key West at night. But before I go…
DSC_0244DSC_0245 The Ernest Hemingway Museum was so interesting, I think I need to see it again, but next time I won’t be runnign around like a mad woman, trying to see it all before we head to the airport.
IMG_2148 Bye, bye, Key West…until next time!
Thank you to all who wished me a happy birthday, I look forward to many, many, many more! I will se you guys tomorrow for “Wednesday’s with WinniE’s”! So be well and thanks for allowing me to share my experiences with you all!
An info list of local shops and restuarants:
1. The Bohemian Hotel: http://www.celebrationhotel.com/
2.El Siboney: http://www.elsiboneyrestaurant.com/
3. A&B Lobster House: http://aandblobsterhouse.com/
4. The Green Pineapple: http://www.greenpineapplekw.com/ This place was amazing! It’s a yoga studio, cafe/bakery and boutique. They have delicious gluten-free baked goods and the vibe is great! I had a wonderful talk with the manager Karen!
5. The Ernest Hemingway Museum: http://www.hemingwayhome.com/
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G !
P.S.: Peak in on Saturday, I have a special post for you guys!

Birthday Happenings & Family

Hey guys, happy Tuesday!

I wanted to do a quick post showing you guys what I did on my actual birthday. I was fortunate enough to have the chance to spend the day with my whole family. My mom, dad, both my brothers, sister-in-law and both my niece and nephew; plus my dad’s side of the family. I started my day off with my brother David, who’s birthday is TOMORROW, coincidently! He will be 26, poor guy…he’s becoming an old man! Anyway, I told him all I wanted for my birthday was to hangout with him, which is hard being we are both very busy and he has his own family. So, he surprised me with one of the best gifts he could have ever gotten me (short of another niece or nephew)…We. Went. Go Cart Racing! We had the entire place to ourselves…well his co-workers were there…lol! I just wanted to have fun on my birthday and I DID! After racing, I came home to find DELICIOUS Gluten-free Belgium Waffles…WAFFLES! My dad ironically, makes the BEST GLUTEN FREE WAFFLES!!! Which baffles me concsidering the man needs to be coaxed into eating Gluten-free food. Then, me and my dad’s went for our standing “Sunday Morning Coffee”. Next, the fam went to my Nana’s house and we rounded out the evening at my eldest brother’s house. My day was busy and lovely and I couldn’t be more grateful for the blessings in my life, both my angels at my side and in the sky!
Here’s a look at my day…
Autobahn Indoor Speedway:
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I’ll be standing in 1st place on that podium!
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brother on the right…”working”
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my safety video…which I couldn’t believe he made me watch, but he was about business.
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Trying so hard and failing at not laughing.
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Geared-up and ready to go!
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Dynamic duo!
Coffee with Dad:
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My fave…Venti Iced coffee w/ Non-fat milk and they told me “Happy Birthday!”
Birthday Waffles:
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JUST DELECTABLE…THE BEST!!!
Corey’s House:
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We couldn’t find Dad and Dave was working.
Thank so much you guys, I hope you enjoyed sharing in my birthday with me.
P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

E

 

My Day About Town: The “Spring Festival” with my friend Taylor

Hey guys, happy Friday!

I have been blessed, fortunate, lucky…whatever you want to call it. All I know is I am BEYOND grateful, for the many lovely and exceptionally ordinary things that create this beautiful thing I call my life. I wanted to take this time to share with you what I did this last weekend. For those of you who don’t know, my birthday was this past Sunday, April 20th. Now normally my birthday doesn’t fall on Easter, which caused a small hiccup in my original plans. My family does celebrates Easter, but normally we are able to celebrate my birthday on what ever day it falls on or the closest weekend. But, as I get older I find that my family and I live such independent lives. This year I really did strive to have us all together, for a celebration sepreate of Easter. But I found that we were all on different wavelengths, with different obligations. Although, it bummed me out we couldn’t all come together as I planned, I knew and felt their love! My immediate family consist of my Mom, Dad, my 2 brothers David (his + 2 | Heidi-my sister-in-law ‘snl’ and Mia their daughter and Corey and his + 1 | Juel his son) Since my brother David’s birthday is on the 30th of April, we have decided since there is so many of us and it’s a serious task to get us all in one place, we will all get together for dinner in-between our birthdays! I love them all, so much it overwhelms my mind!
Now refocusing and to lighten the mood. I decided to celebrate my birthday, in whatever capacity that occurred…GO WITH THE FLOW. Originally, planned to have a “Fairy Feast” (as I like to call it) with my close friends. A “Fairy Feast” consist of wearing a flower crown, lace or eyelet clothing, eating fresh, organic, farm-to-table food, good vibe music, a nature surrounding, a little alcohol and great company! Did I ever tell you guys I am a bit of a bohemian…? Alas, it was kind of last-minute when I decided on this as normally I’m not big on celebrations of my birthday, although I do LOVE a good dinner party for any occasion! Sadly, the majority of my friends were unable to take off of work during the day on Saturday. But, I was lucky enough to still be able to hangout with my friend TAYLOR! Taylor and I decided to attend a local “Spring Festival”. It was laid-back, eclectic, but most importantly it was a lot of fun! We walked around, shopped and tried on clothes in boutiques, had some good food and of course…COFFEE!
Here is a look at our day…
Old Mill Bakery Cafe:
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That’s Liz-Ann, she was so friendly and seemed very kind. She made our coffee!
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And this Taylor, she is loading her Pentax ‘vintage’ camera with FILM…film people (complements of her bf)
Boutiques: Zebop & Sweet Elizabeth Jane
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I thought this little floral sun dress was cute.
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Now onto Sweet Elizabeth Jane…it’s safe to say I just about lost my mind inside of the boutique!
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There was so much home decor stuff, that I was mentally decorating my future home!
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I bought those, as a birthday gift to myself!
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Taylor taking a photo of me, taking a photo of her.
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I fell in LOVE with both of these dress, but alas, I did not buy them.
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Taylor fell in love too.
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Thses are two of the lovely employees who helped myself and Taylor. Their names were Rachel and Fiona.
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Town:
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Some local sound.
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And this gentleman was quite the character, he kept giving me the “peace” sign from across the courtyard.
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Hidden Party:
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We went in through this “hidden” alley way.
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It was an interesting crowd…it was kinda cool.
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That is the band, “Goblinbold”
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That’s Nick, he worked the soundboard.
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Off to one of our last stops…
Bean Hollow Roastery + Espresso:
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Customer art and other artistic expressions.
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That’s Sean…who I found very familiar, but I couldn’t place him and didn’t think to ask if we might have known one another.
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yes…more COFFEE…I know, I have a problem!
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Going Home:

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I made it HOME! And the sunset is gorgeous and welcome!

Dinner:

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For dinner, I took a little trip to College Park. I have a passion for the food of SweetGreen! This is Gloria, she was nervous for me to take her picture, but it turned out great…don’t you think?!

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I got a “Spict Sabzi” with chickpeas instead of tofu and a “Misoba” with chicken (for Easter dinner). They were both DELICIOUS!!! I continued my night, after much convincing and went to the ‘club’ with my friends. But, most importantly I went with 4/20 twin, one of my oldest friends Shanay.

I really hope you guys enjoyed taking a look at how I spent my birthday! See you tomorrow!

Adventures in New York City: My Parents Pre-Birthday gift to me!

Hey everyone, happy Saturday!

Today I’m off on a pre-birthday adventure with my friend Taylor. But before I do that I thought I would share with you the excitement that was my Wednesday and Thursday…I went to New York City! I haven’t told you all this before but, I share this deep-seated affinity for the city. Maybe it’s cause my mom was born in Brooklyn, it’s the complete opposite of where I grew up (in the suburbs), the fact I still have family that lives there or that from the time I was 12 until I was 16, I would go and visit my aunt Angie; anywhere from 2 to 4 times every year…LOVE! Although, I don’t visit as often as I would like, this week I was fortunate enough to go up with my parents. It was a lovely gift for them to share with me. It’s obvious not only to my family but to everyone, how much I love New York. I know it’s been said before but it’s so true, New York City is the epitome of unique and the very definition of eclectic! I find myself so excited whenever I go there, that for the first day or two I can barely eat or let alone consume anything but coffee (which probably doesn’t help…lol). But, I will say it helps with all the walking I do, you know, for arguments sake.
New York City has its own rhythm, it’s own beat and the people, they vibe on a different wavelength then in any other place on earth. If you’re lucky and if you’re open that vibe will pick you up and carry you into the rapture that is the true New York City experience!
We went up on Wednesday and left on Thursday, we really only stayed for the day. But with New York City, oh what one day can become. I was so excited I could barely sit still, honestly, it was a really chill, laid-back, concrete plans, kind of day. Just ideas of what I was open to seeing, doing, experiencing…whatever.
• I knew I wanted to visit the Dominique Ansel Bakery
• Go to Shake Shack and get a milkshake!
• Walk around Greenwich Village
• And the rest was up to the day…and that had some pleasantly unexpected outcomes!
I met some of the loveliest people, just entirely unique cast of characters they were and I couldn’t of been more thrilled and charmed to share my day with them.
Here’s a glimpse into how I spent my day in New York City…
Our hotel and introducing Mom + Dad
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That chandelier!
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Soho:

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Parents…aren’t they cute! FYI: my mom was FREEZING…in truth it wasn’t that bad, chilly at best.

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This is Anna. She indulged my presence as I talked her ear off about baking and my blog.

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CUTE

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Words to live by

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And these lovely people are: Katrina and Timothy (he was in training). They both were kind and graceous enough to allow me to take their photo.

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The Ansel logo

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The other gem…aside from the pastries and food.

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And lastly, this is Daniel, he was in charge of the dough sheeter.

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Mom chose this.

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I on the other hand was too nervous for food and stuck with my old faithful…COFFEE!

There were two other lovely individuals I met, that I forgot to ask for their photos. Their names were Devon and Rachel.

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 A big THANK YOU to the Dominique Ansel Bakery family!

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BYE-BYE Soho.

Greenwich Village:

 

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On our way to Greenwich Village, I passed by Engine Company 24 Ladder 5. I came across a beautifully profound memorial to firefighters “brother” they had lost in 9/11. I found it moving and reassuring in a personal belief I hold, “To a great degree, we as humans are resposible for one another.” They put each others lives on the line and in the hands of their fellow firefighters, to save the lives of others. Pessimist like to say humanity is gone, but it’s NOT, it’s just damaged. It’s our responsiblilty to make sure it’s presence is NEVER lost!

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We made it!

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For the well kept/metrosexual in every man

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So there is 2 main things I have been wanting for some time now, 1. my next tattoo and 2. get my tragus pierced. At the suggestion of my Dad to go in and check it out, my encouraged me to have my tattoo done there. I explained that wasn’t practical nor ideal and we settle on my TRAGUS!

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The guy is, Evan and the girl was who placed my piercing, her name is Saw.

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Pay no mind to my wind blown hair. This is my tragus BEFORE…

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And AFTER!

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What an awesome shop, talented artist, skilled piercers/body mod. and all with a wram and welcoming disposition. I’ll be back Moon Sheen Tattoo!

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YUMM!

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Lunch was at the Rivera Cafe + Sports Bar. This lovely individual is Maurcio, he was our waiter and unofficial historian of this family owned and run business. The food was delicious, I had a Salmon salad with Raspberry Champagne Vinaigrette.

Washington Square:

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NYU or New York University territory and mom sneakying out of the photo

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How wicked cool does this playground look. All I could think about when I saw it was how much my nephew and niece would enjoy it!

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How creative are these chalk affirmations! They were everywhere.

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Did I ever tell you guys I am a ‘bit’ of a “movie buff”!

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That’s Shelby, she is an artist and employee of The Grey Dog. I caught her doing amazing work, painting the benches outside of her workplace.

Madison Square Park:

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And now we wait.

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While I was waiting, I noticed these two feeding birds, out of their hands…cute!

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The best way to end a wondeful day. I got a swirl NON-MALTED milkshake…DELISH! Don’t worry, I bolused for this baby! New York City, you were glorious and I can’t wait to come back to you soon!

 

I really hope you all enjoyed seening New York City through my eyes. I’ll see you again tomorrow!

 

P E A C E + L O V E + B A K I N G

 

E