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Florida

In Events on
May 25, 2016

How You Can Come #2gether4theChildren

It’s pretty obvious to anyone that knows me why I’ve suddenly had an influx of interest in children’s related topics. Becoming pregnant has helped me gain new perspective on all of the different causes that impact to our little generations, so when I started hearing more about #2gether4theChildren I knew I had to share their efforts.

#2gether4theChildren is a campaign for the Miami Children’s Health Foundation (MCHF), a fundraising branch of Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly known as Miami Children’s Hospital). While this pediatric hospital is based in Miami, it strives to provide the best care for sick children around the world. You can read some of their highlighted accreditations and awards on their website, filled with stats about how they are ranked among other leading pediatric hospitals, but the most important thing you need to know about Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is how they are changing the lives of children everywhere.

We need hospitals like this, we need doctors that are willing to take that second, or even fifth look, to make sure that absolutely everything that can be done for their patients is being considered. Without MCHF and the funds that they provide to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital through donations, Gracie and many other children like her wouldn’t be here today.

You can help support children like Gracie and the dedicated teams that made her survival possible. Use the video prompts above to donate to MCHF (or donate here) and come #2gether4theChildren, even the cost of one take-out meal can change the life of a child.

And if an extra $25 is too tough to spare at the moment (it happens, I’ve been there), you can be an instrument of awareness by changing your profile photo on Facebook to include the MCHF heart in a beautiful pink heart filter using the easy to follow steps on 2gether4theChildren.com.

Spread the word, our kids need help.

In Events on
April 2, 2016

MBAF’s Influential Women of Today Event – Empowering Local Women

Influential Women of Today event

In February I attended a wonderful event hosted by the accounting firm MBAF called the Influential Women of Today, an event aimed at celebrating, learning from, and networking with some of South Florida’s empowering women.

Note: Original photos provided by MBAF’s Facebook page, re-edited

There were several key speakers at the event. It started with Marta Alfonso, a member of the MBAF team that held a really helpful presentation on being financially independent. Then there was a panel moderated by Ann Keil, an award-winning journalist for WSVN Channel 7. This was an informal Q&A style panel, where some questions were pre-selected and then the other attendees had a chance to ask questions towards the end.

Panelists at the event included:

MBAF's local women's empowerment event

Event organized by the MBAF marketing team: Wolfgang Pinther, Jennifer Valdez, and Valeria Sanchez

The financial independence presentation from Marta Alfonso was very helpful to me in particular, especially the tips about how all women should learn about current financial news (for example, reading three financial articles a day or even per week) and understand some of the basic financial information that impacts our life (like how social security works). Many of the tips were reminiscent of the information I read in one of my favorite self-help books, Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin.

The Q&A panel was also enjoyable, just learning how some of these really influential women got their start was a motivating piece in and of itself.

Dessert table at a local Miami empowerment event

After the panel, we all got to network with other event attendees and panelists while enjoying delicious hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and drinks. The weather was really chilly on this particular day so the atmosphere was particularly nice, especially since it’s rarely cold in Miami.

Overall, this event was a really great way to meet new people, learn about finances, and ways I can empower myself both professionally and personally. I hope to be able to attend more events like this in the future, thanks MBAF for the invite!

How do you like to empower yourself? 

My favorite way to empower myself is to seek out free resource guides on topics that interest me (like blogging, budgeting, and social media marketing), while also taking time for self-care like nightly stretching and reading.

In Events on
February 18, 2016

How CVS Is Changing the Drugstore Landscape

Last November, I was invited to a Social Media Influencer Series event called #CVSMeetUps in Miami, FL where CVS/pharmacy showed local influencers the great new work they are doing, rebranding the stores to be more than just a convenient place to buy snacks, but rather a health and beauty destination. It was a really enjoyable event that showed me how much CVS cares about their customers, so when I realized (to my horror) that I had actually not blogged about the event – I started putting together this post to share with you all the details.

First, I’d like to thank Delia Mooney and the other event coordinators for inviting me to this meetup – it was a really enjoyable experience and I particularly enjoyed their attention to detail when inviting me. They made sure to pinpoint on the tour things that appealed to my particular writing style and audience, the attention to detail they paid to each invitee was wonderful.

When I first heard that CVS was ditching cigarettes, before being invited to this event, I was ecstatic. I’m a firm supporter in lowering the rate of smokers and seeing that CVS was working to make this dangerous habit less convenient made me feel like they really cared. This event showed me all of the other health initiatives they were putting together and the whole picture became much clearer.

CVS and their new healthy options

The first stop on the CVS tour was their new health-food options, featuring a healthy corner designed to make grabbing a guilt-free snack easier. Sure, it still had some of the “fun” snack items like Dorritos, but the emphasis was on making baked, whole grain, and minimal ingredient items easier to find and more appealing – which I think they definitely achieved.

Health and pharmacy options at CVS

Then in the vitamin and health sections, we were shown some of their new CVS branded items to help customers heal and stay healthy at a great price, including cool new products like manuka honey infused items.

Natural and cruelty-free beauty options at CVS

The most exciting section for me, however, was the new beauty aisle. Not only have they expanded the product offerings, but CVS has added many natural skincare alternatives. I was drooling over some of these and almost stopped paying attention becuase I was making a mental to-buy list.

At this point, Delia was sweet enough to point out some of the cruelty-free options CVS was sharing, making note that most of my followers don’t use products tested on animals. I really appreciated her attention to detail.

CVSMeetUps

The networking event afterward, at Bio Tuscan Grille, was a lot of fun. I really enjoyed speaking with other local bloggers. Delia even pointed out what food I was allergic too! Seriously, she was amazing.

CVSMeetUps event

And hello, to-die-for food. Any event with food is an event I want to go too. Seriously. Are you throwing an event with catering in Miami, FL? Reach me at my contact page.

I’m kidding.

Kind of.

CVSMeetUps Goodie Bag

To top off #CVSMeetUps, everyone that attended got a goodie bag of some of their new product offerings.

Overall, I was really happy to see everything CVS has been up too and I’m happy to be a loyal customer. Health and conveinance don’t have to be mutually exclusive, I’m happy to see CVS blurring that line.

What is your favorite go-to healthy snack? Can you get the ingredients at CVS?

I’ve been pretty obsessed with anything avocado lately. What about you?

 

In My Journal on
December 28, 2015

Our One Year Anniversary Vacation

Hello there, Kind Friends! I’m excited to be finally sharing with you a few details about our recent vacation. It was just what we needed after what ended up being a much more stressful year than we initially anticipated. This vacation really helped us unwind before the Christmas rush.

For our one year wedding anniversary, Chris and I went to Universal Orlando to visit both of their theme parks and spend some time in City Walk. We love going to theme parks because you get to have a lot of fun at a smaller price than many other vacations, plus they are only a few shorts hours away from where we live in Miami, FL.

Other than the relaxation and fun I knew we were going to have, I was so looking forward to having Butter Beer again. I’m not joking when I say it’s my favorite drink. It was funny though, I saw quite a few people get confused by the fact that Butter Beer doesn’t actually have beer in it, most people don’t realize that.

Butter Beer at Universal Studios

Honestly, this drink does not need alcohol, it’s amazing. Well, if you like sweet drinks it is. For the salty among us, you’d probably hate it because this beverage is obnoxiously sweet. It comes in cold (like a soda), frozen (like smooth slushie), and hot (like a hot frothy Starbucks drink). They all taste great with their butterscotch flavor, just at different intensities because of the texture.

Here is a video I put together of our trip. We didn’t do a chatty vlog like during our honeymoon, rather just a few shots here and there sharing in on the fun. During most of this trip we were “unplugged” from the digital world, which was a vacation in and of itself.

I also want to put in a random reminder here that if you aren’t on my mailing list, now is the time to join! I’m going to be giving away many more free printables in the coming months. One will be up tomorrow so make sure you are subscribed for more info on it.

Here is a really funny picture we created, inspired by the holding hands traveling photos that have become so popular lately.

Hand holding traveling photos

When we put this photo together I laughed so hard. It was Chris’ idea to have him going to the bathroom, which was so funny to me. He is so creative.

This time, I took a backpack with me on our trip instead of a larger purse. It was really helpful to have more space for jackets and an umbrella, though my shoulders were hurting quite a bit after our trip. I definitely need something with sturdier straps next time so the weight is more balanced.

The new Diagon Alley section of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is so beautiful. It doesn’t have as many rides as the Hogsmeade area, but it is in a much more open space and looks almost more thematic than the first Harry Potter section. You really buy that you are in another world.

Anniversary vacation at Universal Studios

Chris and I can’t wait to go again in the next few years, Universal Studios really has been stealing our hearts more so than Disney during our past few trips. Though we noticed on this trip, we actually needed to go back to the hotel to take a nap before we went back to enjoy more of the rides. It has become more tiring since we are older than our first few park visits, ha!

How do you spend anniversaries? It is Chris and I’s 11 year dating anniversary in February so we’d love some suggestions.

 

In Review on
July 13, 2015

Late Night Cookie Delivery in Miami, FL – Night Owl Cookie Co. Review

Night Owl Cookie Co Review

One night about a year ago (possibly more, I can’t remember exactly) Chris and I were in the mood for cookies. The problem was, it was already 10 PM and we were pretty tired. A few Google searches later, we found the late night cookie delivery service Night Owl Cookie Co. I am not sure why it took me so long to create a  review for this wonderful company because I am such a frequent customer that the owner knows me by name. I feel both proud and horrified by my cookie loving reputation.

Night Owl Cookie Co. was founded by a local Florida International University student, Andrew Gonzalez, who couldn’t find anything to satisfy his sweet tooth one night when he was cramming for a test. Talk about a light bulb moment! A few months later he was delivering cookies around campus.  Andrew is a really sweet person, who has helped me celebrate some of my life’s big moments this past year. He is a really caring person and I’m happy to support his small business.

Miami, FL cookie delivery service

[Look at that fresh cookie steam, yum. Forgive the poor lighting, these photos were taken at 9:30 PM.]

But now onto the mouthwatering cookies. To make an order, you need to choose at least eight cookies at $1.75 a piece. Each cookie is fairly large (a little larger than my palm) and there are 25 flavors to choose from. My must-haves include Rainbow Over Bedrock, Cheesecake, and Birthday Cake. The majority of the cookies have a chocolate chip cookie base, with the additional flavors added to the top of the cookie before baking. They open for phone orders at 7 PM  and close at 2 AM, Tuesday – Sunday.

These cookies are definitely not suited for those that are on strict diets because these are really decadent treats. I can only eat two cookies at a time because they are incredibly filling. Without a doubt they are worth $1.75 a cookie. Honestly, I’d even pay $3 a cookie.

Night Owl Cookie Co

The cookies are packaged in one box with the cookies stacked in layers. If you get your cookie hot out of the oven, you may find some of the cookies are a little stuck together. I can’t really think of a way to fix that problem other than by individually wrapping each cookie in wax paper and that just seems wasteful so I don’t mind an occasionally sticky cookie.

Night Owl Cookie Co Review

These cookies are great for when you are having guests over as well, although they do take awhile to deliver so I try to call the moment they open. Most of the wait periods I’ve experienced have been 1 to 2 hours but the time can increase during finals season (they really have an in with the college crowd) and during high peak party seasons like holidays. Night Owl Cookie Co. is upfront about the wait times, giving an estimate after your order and calling to let you know if a driver is running late from other deliveries.

Overall, I’m a very happy cookie muncher. With their upcoming physical location and rewards program (still in the works, launch TBA) I can only imagine I’ll be an even more frequent buyer.

If you live in Miami, FL, check out Night Owl Cookie Co. for your late night sweet desires.

In My Journal on
February 10, 2015

His Bachelor Party Was Turned into a Movie?!

Unique Bachelor Parties

Hi Kind Friends!

I was sad to see that Honeymoon Tuesday was over and I had no more honeymoon related posts… so I decided for the next few Tuesdays I’m going to share more relationship type posts or things involving Chris and I’s life in general. Today in particular I have details on a fun project that Chris put together.

Chris loves to write scripts and make movies with his friends and family, it’s something he has been doing since middle school. So when he and his friends planned his bachelor party weekend trip he decided to take it to another level – by filming the whole thing.

The idea was that he would film their weekend in Orlando and then splice together some scripted scenes to turn the weekend into a story. It was a really fun creative project and I loved seeing it come alive.

A little content warning, there is some foul language in this movie. Also, I’m not a good actor.

So without further ado, here is Bachelor Party by Chris Cortes.

Keep up with Chris and his videos by subscribing on YouTube and following on Twitter.


Would you ever immortalize a trip like this? Do you vlog in general? 

Follow me to keep up with all posts (and shenanigans):

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In My Journal on
February 3, 2015

Honeymoon Day 6 and 7: The Last of Honeymoon Tuesday

How to have an amazing honeymoon in The Wizarding world of harry Potter.

Hi Kind Friends! Today I have the last post in my Honeymoon Tuesday series. It has been a blast sharing with you our memories and I just know I’m going to love looking back on these posts when I’m older.

If you’ve missed anything: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

On Day 6 Chris and I went back to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Even though we spent all of Day 5 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, we went back. Isn’t my new 9 3/4 shirt cute?! I am in love with it.

In the first part of the vlog we talk about a mishap we had with the Gringotts roller coaster the previous day, boy was it annoying! Then we share some theme park footage and it sadly ends with us going home.

Vlog:

I made sure to have both hot and cold Butterbeer one more time. Gosh it was sooo good. I miss Butterbeer very much.

Some last pictures from out hotel, the Loew’s Portofino Bay:

Photos of the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

On our last night we went to the Antojitos restaurant. The food tasted good, the atmosphere was fun, but the actual service was too slow for me to consider going there again.

Overall, this was a really fun trip. I don’t think we’ll ever have an occasion again where we’ll want to go to all of the Orlando parks in a week while staying at such nice hotels (it was an expensive time!) so I’m happy to have these posts to remember them by. My memory can be pretty hazy if I don’t journal everything, ha.


What has been your favorite trip so far? As much as I loved this trip I’m not sure if I would choose this one over the first trip Chris and I ever took together. Our first solo vacation was such a treat.

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