Netflix & Binge…What I’m Watching Now

Over the summer I blogged about some Netflix shows (both in English & Spanish) that I watched during the quarantine. Since then I have watched many more, here are a few that I have seen recently and would love to share with you all.

Schitt’s Creek – Final Season 6

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This is the long awaited final season of this tremendously hilarious series!  I am actually so sad it’s over, not to be missed. I also love how they wrapped up all the loose ends, terrific writing on this show.  And as a bonus, if you just can’t get enough of the Rose family (like me), you can catch Inside Schitt’s Creek: Complete Webisodes Series on YouTube; 52 short videos which are just as funny as the series! 

The OA

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The series centers around Prairie Johnson, an adopted young woman who resurfaces after having been missing for seven years. Upon her return, Prairie calls herself “The OA” (for “Original Angel”), exhibits scars on her back, and can see, despite having been blind when she disappeared. The OA refuses to tell the FBI and her adoptive parents where she has been and how her eyesight was restored, and instead quickly assembles a team of five locals (four high school students and a teacher) to whom she reveals that information, also explaining her life story. Finally, she asks for their help to save the other missing people whom she claims she can rescue by opening a portal to another dimension. The second season follows the OA as she traverses to another dimension and ends up in San Francisco to continue her search for her former captor Hap and her fellow captives. Prairie crosses paths with private eye Karim Washington and assists in his investigation of the surreal disappearance of a missing girl that involves an abandoned house with a supernatural history and an online puzzle game. Meanwhile, in the original dimension, a series of unfortunate events propels the OA’s five companions to embark on a road trip across America to assist the OA on her journey.

Ratched

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This show had some tough scenes to watch (grusome) but overall I liked the series. Ratched is a suspenseful drama series that tells the origin story of asylum nurse Mildred Ratched. In 1947, Mildred arrives in Northern California to seek employment at a leading psychiatric hospital where new and unsettling experiments have begun on the human mind. On a clandestine mission, Mildred presents herself as the perfect image of what a dedicated nurse should be, but the wheels are always turning and as she begins to infiltrate the mental health care system and those within it, Mildred’s stylish exterior belies a growing darkness that has long been smoldering within, revealing that true monsters are made, not born.

The Barrier (La Valla)

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I love all the movies and series from Spain, and this is a good one (although a bit scary and depressing).  With the events that take place in The Barrier, it seems almost impossible that this series was created in a pre-Pandemic world. There’s a virus that involves coughing and has virtually shut down everything. Then a World War 3 hits and governments take over in brutal ways followed quickly by a 25-year time-jump. In the year 2045, we see Madrid as a city that works but looks more like one big back alley. Also, there’s a big wall (the barrier) in the middle, and on the other side, life continues as usual. The virus still exists (probably mutations of the original one) and fear of getting sick is still prevalent as is the search for a vaccine. Unlike most other Netflix series, The Barrier will release one new episode each week, so you cannot binge watch. No worries though, you will be hooked.  

Travelers 

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Browsing for some new shows to watch, I came across Travelers, and the fact that Eric McCormack is the main character, was definitely a plus (I love Will!) In a post-apocalyptic future, thousands of special operatives are tasked with preventing the collapse of society. These operatives, known as “travelers”, have their consciousnesses sent back in time and transferred into the “host” body of present-day individuals who would otherwise be moments from death, to minimize unexpected impact on the time line. The transfer requires the exact location of the target, made possible by 21st century smartphones and GPS, providing time, elevation, latitude, and longitude (TELL) coordinates that are archived for use in the future.

Trained using social media and public records concerning their hosts, each traveler must maintain the host’s pre-existing life as cover for the rest of their lives, while carrying out missions in teams of five. These missions are dictated by the Director in the future who monitors the timeline. Travelers aim to save the world from a series of catastrophic events. One method by which the Director communicates with travelers is via prepubescent children used as messengers; unlike adults, any child can safely be animated for a few minutes by the Director and then released from control without risk of killing them.

Emily in Paris

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This series has been getting some criticism on social media, however, you have to take it for what it is, a fun comedy set in gorgeous Paris. From the creator of Sex & The City, Emily in Paris follows Emily, a driven twenty-something American woman from Chicago, who moves to Paris for an unexpected job opportunity. She is tasked with bringing an American point of view to a venerable French marketing firm. Cultures clash as she adjusts to the challenges of life in a foreign city, while juggling her career, new friendships and love.

The Rain

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Another scary but very interesting Danish series (you will need subtitles).  The world as we know it has come to an end, due to a rain-carried virus that wiped out nearly everybody in Scandinavia. Six years after that event, two Danish siblings emerge from the safety of the bunker where they have been staying. After discovering all remnants of civilization gone, they join a group of fellow young survivors, and together they head out on a danger-filled quest throughout the abandoned land in search of signs of life. The survivors think they have been set free from societal rules of the past, but they quickly find that even in a post-apocalyptic world there is love, jealousy and other coming-of-age dilemmas that young people have always faced.

I hope you enjoy all of these. What have you watched on Netflix recently?  Once again I am looking for recommendations.

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First Watch…The Daytime Cafe

It seems as if my family is always on the hunt for new breakfast/brunch places. We try our best to eat “somewhat healthy” during the week, so naturally, when we wake up on the weekends, the first words out of my husband’s mouth are “where are we going for breakfast?” Because of this I am always on the lookout for new restaurants (thanks Instagram). Last weekend, we woke up very late so that immediately limited many of our breakfast choices in town. I decided to search on Yelp and came across First Watch (a chain with 15 locations throughout South Florida and over 200 locations throughout 29 other states). The name is a nautical reference to the first work shift aboard a ship as First Watch restaurants are only open from 7:00 AM to 2:30 PM. I had never heard of them and the one here in Miami is in the Blue Lagoon are, which we rarely frequent, so this was all new to us. Well, we were pleasantly surprised. First of all, the place is pretty large, so there was still ample seating even with the social distancing of tables. They seemed pretty busy, but since we got there around 1PM, we only waited 5 minutes for a table. All items are made to order. The restaurant does not use heat lamps or deep fryers, only the finest ingredients possible for the freshest taste around. Also make sure to try one of the yummy freshly squeezed juices.  A kids menu is also available.

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We started with the Holey Donuts, cinnamon sugar-dusted cake donut holes served with chocolate sauce and mixed berry compote for dipping.  I know that doesn’t sound too healthy but we just had to try these, and it was worth it! Then hubby ordered his usual waffle with eggs and decided to try the million dollar bacon (four slices of their signature hardwood smoked bacon baked with brown sugar, black pepper, cayenne and a maple syrup drizzle). I ordered the avocado toast, with 2 eggs, and a freshly squeezed orange juice.

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avoado toast

The restaurant also makes delicious fresh salads and sandwiches for lunch, take a look at all these goodies (all photos courtesy of First Watch):

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Cobb Salad

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Ham & Gruyere Melt

Market Veggie

Market Veggie Sandwich

And here are a few more delectable breakfast items:

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Floridian French Toast

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Farmhouse Hash

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Frittata Rustica

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Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

We will definitely be back!  Which dish appeals to you most?

First Watch Cafe
5799 NW 7th Street
Miami, FL 33125
Open Daily: 7am – 2:30pm
Closed on Thanksgiving & Christmas
786-605-5050

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Shop Pink…

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and since three very important ladies in my life are breast cancer survivors (my mom, my sister and my MIL), this is a cause very close to my heart.  As such, every year I like to do a roundup of items being offered by companies that support breast cancer awareness, and of course it doesn’t hurt that I love all things pink! Here are some of my favorite items for this year:

Vera Bradley Pleated Mask – 2 Pack – $25
For every purchase of a Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer Cotton Face Mask through December 31, 2020, Vera Bradley will donate 100% of the purchase price (maximum donation $500,000) to The Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.vera bradley

Jack Rogers Georgica Sandal – $60
A portion of the proceeds from this sandal will go to the Breast Cancer Association. Every year they offer a pink or blush sandal to support this cause.
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Tervis Simply Southern Breast Cancer Awareness Hope Anchor – $16.99
The initiative is part of the company’s longstanding commitment to the cause – in addition to donating 5% of sales of pink ribbon products year round, Tervis donates 10% of all pink ribbon sales in October to breast cancer research. Tervis has supported local and national breast cancer organizations through the sale of pink ribbon tumblers since 2010. Consumers can choose from many unique designs that proudly display their support for life-saving breast cancer research and inspire others to do the same. Tervis

Pura Vida Bracelets Breast Cancer Awareness Pack – $32
This pretty pink stack features a trio of bracelets with a breast cancer awareness ribbon charm and faceted silver beads. 5% of the purchase price will be donated to Boarding for Breast Cancer, a nonprofit that advocates for early detection and empowers young people to live a healthier lifestyle.

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Rothy’s The Handbag in Peach Madras – $350
This October, Rothy’s is donating $10,000 regardless of sales. A proud supporter of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Rothy’s has donated more than $80,000 to BCRF over the past three years.Rothy's handbag

Lilly Pulitzer Paradise Fleece Blanket – $58
Lilly Pulitzer introduces the print “Paws for a Cause,” in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). As a direct contribution in support of this Print with Purpose collection, BCRF will receive a $30,000 donation from Lilly Pulitzer which will fund 600 hours of research by BCRF investigators.

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Bella Auset (pink) candles – $22
$2 from each Bella Auset (pink) candle purchase will support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Soy wax candles (10 oz.) infused with scented essential oils that fill a room & burns clean for over 60 hrs.  Lavender Vanilla – Eucalyptus & Spearmint – Hawaiian Tropics – Clean Cotton – Debonair
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Estee Lauder Pink Perfection Lip Kit Limited Edition Collection –  $35
The Breast Cancer Research Foundation was founded by Evelyn H. Lauder in 1993 to fund the most promising breast cancer research worldwide. For each purchase of this product, Estée Lauder will make a 100% of the donation of the suggested retail price.
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Vineyard Vines Breast Cancer Awareness Whale Long-Sleeve Tee – $48
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, 20% of all proceeds from the Limited-Edition vineyard vines x Bright Pink Collection will go to help the organization and their mission—empowering women and saving lives through early detection of breast and ovarian cancers.

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Ralph Lauren Pink Pony Love Mug – $30
Launched in 2000, the Pink Pony Campaign is Ralph Lauren Corporation’s global initiative in the fight against cancer. It supports programs that help to ensure quality treatment and reduce the disparities in cancer care. Twenty-five percent of the purchase price of this porcelain mug helps benefit programs for cancer screenings, early treatment, research, and patient navigation. It’s a stylish way to show your support for reducing disparities in cancer care and improving access to quality treatment for everyone at an earlier, more curable stage. mug
So this is my 2020 roundup for items that you can purchase and support breast cancer awareness.  Which item do you list best?

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National Coffee Day

Today is National Coffee Day! I know most of us are addicted to at least one good cup of coffee a day (or maybe 2 or 3), so here is a great list of National Coffee Day freebies being offered by some of my favorite coffee shops and restaurants today! 
Coffee Day
7-Eleven: With the 7Rewards app, some users have an offer to get any size coffee for $1. Offers are regional. Download the free app at http://www.7-eleven.com/7rewards and check for deals.

Barnes & Noble: Get a free hot or iced tall coffee with the purchase of any item from the “bake case” at store cafes.

Caribou Coffee: Buy any large beverage and get 50% off any bag of prepackaged beans to take home.

Circle K: Get a free hot or iced coffee in any size with the convenience store chain’s app.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf: With any food or beverage purchase over $2, get a free regular size coffee. Also Tuesday through Oct. 5 via Postmates get $3 off a $15 purchase.

Corner Bakery Cafe: This National Coffee Day promotion is getting a late start. The chain is giving loyalty members one free coffee daily for the month of October starting Oct. 1. To take advantage of the daily reward that can be used for one free regular coffee (espresso, cold brew, iced or hand-roasted) or tea, sign up for the loyalty program by 11:59 p.m. CT Oct. 4 at http://www.cornerbakerycafe.com. No purchase is required to get the free drinks but specialty coffee drinks are excluded.

Dunkin’: With any purchase, get a free medium hot or iced coffee at restaurants nationwide.

Godiva: Get 30% off coffee bags at Godiva Boutiques and online.

Jack in the Box: Get a free regular hot or iced coffee with any app purchase.

Krispy Kreme: Everyone can get a free brewed coffee, no purchase necessary. But rewards members get an extra freebie with the free coffee – one free doughnut of their choice. Become a rewards member through the Krispy Kreme app or by visiting http://www.krispykreme.com/rewards. Both deals are valid “via pick-up and drive-thru at participating shops across the U.S.”

McDonald’s: Not a National Coffee Day deal, but with the McDonald’s app, purchase five McCafé drinks and get one free. Download the app at http://www.mcdonalds.com and check for other specials.

Panera Bread: Sign up for the MyPanera+ Coffee Subscription and the first month of unlimited premium hot coffee, iced coffee and hot tea is free. After the free month, pay $8.99 per month. Sign up at http://www.panerabread.com.

Sonic Drive-In: From Monday through Oct. 5, Sonic is offering a free large drink or slush with orders placed in the chain’s app with promo code TEACHERS. One per customer. Download the app at http://www.sonicdrivein.com/app.

Starbucks: The coffee giant kicks off a week of offers, games and “exciting ways” for loyalty members to earn stars toward free drinks and food Monday with the start of the Starland contest at http://www.starbucksrewardsstarland.com. On Tuesday, order a grande or larger handcrafted beverage and get a free drink offer loaded to your account. On Thursday, members can collect triple stars on orders.

Wawa: New and existing Wawa Rewards members get one free any size coffee. New members must register by 8 p.m. Tuesday to get the offer.

Wendy’s: Starting Tuesday through Nov. 4, participating Wendy’s in select parts of the country are giving free hot coffee with the purchase of a breakfast sandwich. The participating markets are Boston; Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut; Providence, Rhode Island; Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts; and Cleveland/Youngstown, Ohio. In other parts of the country, check the Wendy’s app for offers.

Have you had your coffee today?  I hope you took advantage of one of these great deals!My Signature

 

Honey Uninhibited

Searching for a new brunch place recently, my husband suggested we try Honey Uninhibited. Owned by former Florida Gator Carlos Dunlap, Honey is one of the latest eateries to open up in the Brickell Avenue district of Miami.

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Outside of restaurant

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Entryway to the restrooms

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Doorway leading into the kitchen

The menu is mainly comprised of Dunlap’s top soul-food picks, many of which are a result of his eating experiences throughout his extensive travels. I ordered the “Challah Berry,” (nod to Halle Berry), challah bread French toast, strawberry ricotta cheese stuffing, strawberry compote, Chantilly cream, raspberry glaze and mixed berries. This was more dessert than breakfast!

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Challah Berry

My husband had the waffle topped with Chantilly cream and chocolate chips (you can choose from a number of toppings on the waffles and pancakes). Other breakfast yummies include the Red Velvet square pancakes, served with chocolate chips, strawberry mascarpone, Chantilly cream and fresh strawberries, as well as any of the “Bennies” or various other egg dishes.  And if you’re in the mood for lunch, look no more.  The menu offers many items such as the Uninhibited Burger and Truffle Mac-N-Cheese (you can add either chicken or lobster). Naturally, honey is on all tables as the go-to condiment. This is a great place to experience in a large group so you can order many of the items and share. Take a look at some of these delectable dishes.

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Waffle with Chantilly cream and chocolate chips

Red Velvet Pancakes

Red Velvet Pancakes (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

Truffle Lobster Mac

Truffle Mac-n-Cheese with Lobster (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

Braised Short Rib Benny

Braised Short Rib Benny (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

chickem benny

Sweet Chick Benny (Photo courtesy of Honey Uninhibited)

Have you been to Honey Uninhibited? I would love to know what dish you enjoyed most!
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Magnificent Marco Island

I love the west coast of Florida. I have often blogged about my love for Sanibel, Captiva, Naples and Marco Island.  So, when my husband asked me how I wanted to celebrate my birthday last month (given Covid-19 is limiting our options right now) I immediately chose to spend some time at the beach, where I am always happiest! We decided to head over to Marco Island and stayed at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, which is absolutely stunning. We have stayed there in the past but had not been since 2015, and boy has it changed. The property was completely remodeled in 2017 with the addition of a gorgeous new building, new restaurants, event spaces and an arcade for kids. We stayed in a beachfront view room which had amazing views and celebrated my birthday at the hotel’s signature restaurant, Ario, which I highly recommend.

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Hotel lobby (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott)

 

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The beautiful beach resort (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott)

 

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Our room

 

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Ario Restaurant (Photo courtesy of JW Marriott)

 

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Sunset view from our room

We also tried out a few restaurants around the island and one that we really enjoyed was Fin Bistro. We each had the Panko Herb Crusted Yellowtail Snapper over rock shrimp and squash risotto served with coconut brown butter sauce. Delicious! And of course we had to end the meal with a Key Lime flan, which was delectable. Take a look:

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Snapper with Risotto

 

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Key Lime Flan

Next came the cute shops which I always like to peruse. Now I will say, Marco Island doesn’t seem to have that many specialty shops or boutiques, when compared to Sanibel or Naples, however I did manage to find a few interesting places.

Beachworks. Located in the Marco Town Center Mall, Beachworks carries a good selection of Fresh Produce clothing and Big Head t-shirts. They also offer a variety of summery tops, dresses, sandals, a few small souvenirs and SunBum suntan lotions.
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Butterfly Beach. Located at the Esplanade Shoppes, (they also have stores in Naples, Sanibel, Fort Meyers and soon Sarasota) this cute boutique carries adorable bathing suits and clothing for kids and adults, as well as jewelry; as their website says, bringing West Coast style to the beaches of Florida.
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Blue Mangrove Gallery. Blue Mangrove Gallery is one of my favorite places to visit on the island. Many local and Florida artists are on display, including original oils, photography, stain glass, jewelry, ceramics, notepads, a kid’s section, books, accent furniture & more. IMG_9812

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Here are a few more photos from our beautiful weekend trip:

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View from our balcony

 

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The beach in the afternoon, the water was so warm.

 
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The shells I collected…

 

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One of the many gorgeous homes throughout the island

 

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Another gorgeous home

Have you visited Marco Island?  I would love to know what you enjoyed most?

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Bachour Miami

You can say my family definitely has a sweet tooth and we are always on the hunt for a new dessert place. We recently picked up some pastries and sweets at the amazingly exquisite and delicious Bachour, located in Coral Gables (they also have another location at the Time Out Market in Miami Beach). Bachour opened in the spring of 2019 by master pastry chef Antonio Bachour (read more about him here). Not only is this place gorgeous from the moment you walk in with the beautiful flower adorned front door, but the actual desserts, aside from being delectable, are such a work of art, you almost feel badly biting into them! Bachour also offers unique brunch items (guava and cream cheese pancakes) and a contemporary American menu featuring a full-line of viennoiserie, egg-based dishes, tartines, sandwiches, salads and main courses. As far as the bakery items go, I couldn’t even begin to choose which are my favorites. I have never been a huge fan of macarons, until I tasted these and fell in love and the alfajores are amazing! My husband is addicted to the dulce de leche croissants.  Something for everyone. Take a look:

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The entrance to Bachour

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So hard to choose…

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Coconut cheesecake

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Bon bons

guava and cheese pancakes

Guava and cream cheese pancakes

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Amazing selection of croissants

Spanish Scramble

Spanish Scramble; scrambled eggs, Serrano ham , manchego cheese , crispy Serrano ham , confit tomatoes , toasted sourdough, my favorite breakfast item!

more desserts

Delicious!

bolognese orecchiette

Orecchiette Bolognese

strawberry shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

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Yummy macarons

alfajores

A family favorite, Dulce de Leche alfajores

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We bought an array of new goodies to try, including guava bonbons!

We love Bachour and will definitely be visiting again soon, especially because they also offer outdoor dining during these Covid-19 pandemic times. Have you been to Bachour? I would love to know what you liked most.My Signature

Summer of Sanibel

The Summer of 2020 has definitely presented some challenges for vacations and trips, as my family will not be flying anywhere just yet. Thankfully, living in Miami allows us the flexibility to drive over to the Southwest coast of Florida often. We love all of the towns in that area, Naples, Marco Island, Ft. Meyers, Sanibel and Captiva. But by far, Sanibel has always been our favorite. Given the current situation, we took advantage and recently spent a few weekends in Sanibel, as it is also a great place to escape the crowds.  A few years ago I posted some of my favorite Sanibel shops.  Sadly, a few of those have since closed but I did find some more new shops and restaurants when we visited recently. We also stayed at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa for the first time, which was really nice as well. There is lots to do on this tiny island, something for everyone, great restaurants, awesome little shops, bike-riding, shelling (some of the best in the world), swimming, kayaking, you name it.  And one of the things I love most is the laid back, cozy (almost bohemian) lifestyle of the island.

Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Most of the accommodations that you will find in Sanibel are typical 2-3 story motel type properties. Many of them are in need of some major upgrades or remodeling as they are quite old.  But then one doesn’t come here for the luxurious high rise hotels.  However, this summer we stayed a few times at the Sundial Beach Resort, which we really liked.  We reserved a one-bedroom suite with a pullout couch.  The room was very clean and comfortable.  We didn’t use the kitchenette (I do not cook on vacation), but it can come in very handy if you are traveling with young kids and are staying for a week.

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Entrance to the hotel (photo courtesy of Sundial Resort)

 

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Pool/cabana area (photo courtesy of Sundial Resort)

 

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The comfortable king size bedroom.

 

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Our daughter kayaking, one of the many complimentary activities provided by the resort.

Traders Sanibel
We finally got around to having dinner at Traders.  I have to say it’s now one of my favorite places on the island for a nice meal. They offer a variety of great starters and many yummy seafood dishes.  I had the scallops and ravioli and my husband had the macadamia encrusted grouper with mango sauce and yellow rice. Our daughter opted for a parmesan encrusted chicken breast.  Everything was delicious and we also loved the decor of the place. Make sure you also check out the amazingly beautiful gift shop on the way out, selling everything from stuffed animals to sea salt scrubs.  Definitely one of our favorite stores in Sanibel.

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Traders Restaurant (photo courtesy of Traders)

 

Traders food

All so yummy!

 

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The gift shop

Synergy Sportswear
Synergy is located in Tahitian Gardens, one of the small shopping centers on the island. Synergy is a “Life is Good genuine neighborhood shop.” They carry a large selection of men’s, women’s and kid’s Life is Good clothing, apparel, and accessories. Synergy is also Sanibel’s only authorized Alex & Ani retailer.

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Life is Good stickers

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Great selection of t-shirts

The Blue Giraffe
We had heard of this place many times but had never tried it.  We decided to have lunch here one day after a morning at the beach. The food was really good. I especially loved the Mexican street corn, charbroiled corn on the cob, topped with queso fresco, avocado cream, cilantro and blacked spice.  As with all places in Sanibel, the decor was also very cute. The menu offers many different items to choose from.

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Club sandwich, Mexican street corn and shredded pork sliders

 

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The interior dining room

 

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Outdoor dining area

Whims
Tucked away in the corner of the Bailey’s shopping center, you will find Whims. Whims sells unique clothing and accessories, as well as some decorative home items, along with some distinctive Sanibel keepsakes. The saleslady (possibly owner?) is also a sweetheart.  My daughter found some beautiful little bracelets for her baby cousin and she also purchased a very pretty small leather purse.

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Whims

 

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Lots of items to choose from.

Sea Glass Lane
We stumbled upon this gorgeous (and a bit pricey) shop while browsing through Periwinkle Place. The store sells beautiful resort style women’s clothing and accessories. The decor is also beautiful, very beachy.

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Sea Glass Lane

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Bailey’s General Store
And last but certainly not least, Bailey’s is amazing!  Not only do they sell anything you may need in terms of food, sundries, liquor and gifts but they also have a coffee bar at the entrance (many consider this the best coffee on the island) and the bakery makes all of the donuts, pastries, muffins, cookies and fudge (yes fudge) fresh daily! You can also order amazing cakes and pies for special occasions. We bought some amazingly yummy key lime cookies on our last visit.

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The coffee bar

 

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Variety of fudge flavors made fresh daily.

 

Here are a few more photos from our various trips this summer:IMG_E9264IMG_E9219IMG_E6884IMG_E9252IMG_9266IMG_9258IMG_9260
We love Sanibel and visit every summer.  Have you been to Sanibel?  I would love to hear what you enjoyed most.

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10 Dorm Must Haves

Five months have passed since our daughter came home for Spring Break and never returned to school as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  Here we are in early August and we find ourselves packing to head back to Notre Dame for move-in. Time sure does fly even when you are not having fun (although we have loved the family quality time this quarantine has afforded us). Move-in can be a very overwhelming time as dorm rooms are so tiny (most of them anyway) and it’s hard to imagine where everything will fit. Last year when our daughter first moved in, she had made lists of everything she thought she would need. Needless to say, many trips were made to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond for returns and exchanges. Remember, less is more, especially when living with roommates in very tight quarters. Here is my list of 10 dorm room must-haves for college students. It goes without say that in addition to these items it’s always smart to have a good supply of cleaning products on hand (Lysol, cleaning wipes, etc.), a first aid kit with essentials, an additional phone charger, some cute bedding and wall decor and an Amazon prime subscription for things they can order throughout the year as they become necessary.

Bedside 4-Drawer Storage Cart   By far my daughter tells me this is the best item she brought with her last year.  She says it’s the perfect place to keep her important items near to her bed. They come in different configurations and colors to choose from and they are a huge help.

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4-Drawer Storage Cart; $50 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Keurig Mini single serve coffee maker College students have a hard time waking up in the mornings.  Having the ability to make a quick cup of coffee in their room before they leave for class, saves them the time of passing by the dining hall or campus Starbucks.  These come in very handy and also come in a variety of colors.

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Keurig K-Mini Single-Serve K-Cup Pod Coffee Maker; $80 at Target

Over the door hanging mirror  This is also a necessity as there is no other place for them to look at themselves once they’re dressed anywhere in the dorm (I have been told this is super important).  My daughter’s room last year thankfully had one on the inside door of the closet, but not all dorm rooms have these.

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Over-The-Door Hanging Mirror; $25 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Command strips and wall ledges These were fantastic. We basically hung up EVERYTHING with these command strips, hooks and wall ledges. Just be careful when it’s time to move out as they can be a bit tricky to remove.

Command collage

Command Clear Variety Kit; $20 and Command Quartz 4 In. Floating Wall Ledges; $12 both available at Amazon

Rolling cart These can be used to store snacks, cleaning supplies, books, jewelry, just about anything.  They come in a variety of colors and the convenient casters let you move it around.

Cart

Lexington 3-Tier Rolling Cart; $30 at Michaels

Foam mattress topper  It is no secret that the mattresses supplied in the dorms are super thin and quite uncomfortable. Your child will have a much better night’s sleep with a mattress topper.  It will make the bed feel much more like the one from home. Here is a good one, a bit pricey but definitely worth it.

TOpper

Therapedic Dreamy 2.5-Inch Serene Foam Performance Mattress Topper; $150 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Bed risers These are definitely necessary if your child’s furniture is not modular and cannot be lofted, which was our case last year. These risers will provide additional space below the bed for portable plastic drawers and allow for extra storage. You can even purchase ones with integrated USB ports and plugs.

risers

Bed Risers with Power Outlet and USB Ports – 7.25 Inch Size Furniture Risers; $35 at Amazon

Over the door hook rack  This is another item that we purchased last minute and was a huge life saver for hanging coats, robes and even towels.

Over door hooks

Home Basics® Over-the-Door Hook; $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond

Collapsible laundry basket These come in very handy, as again, space is very tight in the rooms and this basket can be put away in the closet or you can stand it up against a wall after you’re done using it. Any item that is space saving is a winner.

Laundry basket

SAMMART Collapsible 3 Handled Plastic Laundry Basket – Foldable Pop Up Storage Container/Organizer; $30 at Amazon

Mini Fridge And last but not least, all college dorm rooms need a mini fridge to store cold drinks and snacks as well as left over food.  I would suggest waiting until you can see the size of the dorm room as many of these fridges vary slightly in size.

blue-frigidaire-mini-fridges-efr376-blue-64_1000

Mini Fridge; $160 at Home Depot

I hope you enjoy your child’s move-in experience.  I know we were all very happy when the room was completed and everything was in its place. I hope we have the same luck this year.

My Signature

Pink Lemonade Pie Squares

Summertime is my favorite time of the year, for many reasons. One of them being, refreshing, summer desserts. I love lemons and anything related to them such as, lemonade, key lime pie, lemon squares, you name it. I recently came across a very easy recipe for frozen pink lemonade pie squares, and can I tell you, they are amazing.  All I had to hear was cream cheese, condensed milk, cool whip and Oreos…I was sold! So sweet, yummy, light and refreshing. Anyone can make them.

Ingredients
22 Golden Oreos crushed

1/2 stick butter softened
8 ounces cream cheese softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
6 ounces frozen pink lemonade concentrate thawed
8 ounces Cool Whip
Red food coloring

Instructions
Mix together the crushed Oreos and butter. Press this mixture into the bottom of an 8×8 pan. You can also just use a graham cracker pie crust if you prefer, but the Oreos make it different and delicious.

In a mixer, beat the softened cream cheese for about 2 minutes until it is fluffy and smooth. Add in the sweetened condensed milk (as usual, I added an additional 1/4 can), pink lemonade concentrate and red food coloring (only 4 drops, I made the mistake of using too many and mine came out dark pink) and mix it well. Fold in the Cool Whip using a spatula.  Don’t mix it with the mixer or it won’t be fluffy. Pour this mixture over the crust and freeze for approximately 4 hours. Cut into squares and serve. Should look like this:

Edited

I love easy recipes and you can’t go wrong with this one. Have you ever made frozen lemonade pie?  I would love to hear how you make it.My Signature