Tampa Theatre Dazzles at Christmas

When my sister and I attended a showing of Holiday Inn last year, the Tampa Theatre instantly became a new Christmas pastime.  This year, I enjoyed the new holiday tradition with my girls when we were invited to attend The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Since the 1920s, the magnificent Tampa Theatre has been entertaining and dazzling audiences for generations and my daughters were no exception.  With its gorgeous Mediterranean style décor, they felt like princesses strolling through a starry-lit castle.

The royal red carpet treatment continued when my princesses chose balcony seats.  They loved experiencing the sights and sounds of a movie from new heights.

Just like in its early days, an organist serenades the audience before the featured presentation.  For an extra special treat, Mrs. Claus made a guest appearance and shared stories with the audience.

To pay tribute to a golden era gone-by, the organist led the audience in a few sing-a-longs before the featured presentation.

Before the movie started, I slipped away to the concession stand for the usual cinema snacks of popcorn and soft drinks, but the Tampa Theatre also serves non-traditional libations such as beer and wine.  While at the concession stand, I spotted a vintage replica blown glass ornament of the famous flashing Tampa Theatre marquis.  Since the proceeds of the ornament benefit the restoration and maintenance of the theatre, I added an ornament to my popcorn and beer tab.

As for The Muppet Christmas Carol, I had never seen the film before, so it added an element of something new for all of us.  Although the sound had some technical difficulties (which is completely understandable for a theatre nearly a century old), we still enjoyed the movie.  Michael Caine made the perfect Scrooge and the Muppets delivered all the musical, silly, loving charm would expect from any Muppet movie.

My girls loved the movie, but the beauty and overall experience of the Tampa Theatre makes any movie even more magical.

Each December, the Theatre offers a Holiday Classics Movie Series on the big screen, with the opportunity to sing along to carols with the Mighty Wurlitzer organ before each show, in the unmatched elegance of the city’s historic movie palace. Tickets for the Holiday Classics Movie Series are $9 for adults and $7 for children, seniors, military and Tampa Theatre members at the box office, or online at TampaTheatre.org ($2 convenience fee applies).”

*My family and I received a tour of the Tampa Theatre and tickets to The Muppet Christmas Carol in exchange for my honest review.  My opinions and love for the Tampa Theatre are real and my own.*

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

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Tupper Feeling Deep in My Heart for Dixie

When I received an invitation to Dixie’s Tupperware Party, I dusted off my Amy Winehouse wig just for the occasion and if I had some real Tupperware, I would have brought that too.

Photo credit: Bradford Rogne

Dixie’s Tupperware Party is not your “grandmother Tupperware Party” (NBC Today Show).  Dixie has taken the Tupperware world by storm and transformed it into something reminiscent of a Passion Party.  Hold onto tight to that corkscrew and strap on in for a wild ride because Dixie will show you a side of Tupperware you have never experienced before, one “more fun than a gaggle of lesbians at a Home Depot sidewalk sale”.

Grab your girlfriends for the ultimate girl’s night out with your favorite southern belle hostess, Dixie Longate. 

Dixie Longate, the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, has packed up her catalogues, and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across the country. Join Dixie as she throws a good ol’ fashioned Tupperware Party filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, FREE giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theater stage. Loaded with the most up-to-date products available for purchase, see for yourself how Ms. Longate became the #1 Tupperware seller in the U.S. and Canada, as she educates her guests on the many alternative uses she has discovered for her plastic products! WARNING: recommended for mature audiences.

Complete with catalogues and order forms, guests welcomed into Dixie’s living room can find gifts for everyone on their Christmas list and the “Unchristmas, Chaka Khan Jewish holiday” too.  Much like Tupperware’s lifetime guarantee for its “great crap”, Dixie delivers a presentation full of laughs complete with one-liners and innuendoes that popup faster than a FlatOut!® bowl.

Raffi and her friend, Jennifer, were invited to sit on Dixie’s sofa.

The classics are still Tupperware’s top sellers, but Dixie offers her guests new ideas for the classic products.  I will never look at a Shape-O Toy® the same way.  Dixie also proudly declares Tupperware products to be BPA-free as well as provides helpful tips to keep those beautiful colorful plastic bowls stain-free.

After Dixie’s Tupperware Party, my blogger friends and I had the pleasure to meet Dixie in the lobby where she processed Tupperware orders, signed autographs and posed for photos.  Her loving, adorable presence glows on and off stage.

“Denise, I love you more than an Asian girl loves counting. xo Dixie Longate”

Dixie’s Tupperware Party premieres December 4 through December 9 in the Jaeb Theater at The David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.  Tickets may be purchased by visiting strazcenter.org.

*I received tickets to Dixie Tupperware Party in exchange for my honest review.*
Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

A Little Hocus Pocus Radioactive Ghost for Halloween

Everybody scream!  It’s almost Halloween!

Our maddening October is winding down, but honestly, I feel like this busy month has left me a ghost of my former self.

All right, maybe I’m exaggerating a little for the sake of a Halloween Music Monday post.  But it sure was a clever play on words to fit those two songs into the mix unlike this one.  I honestly can’t think of anything for this Imagine Dragon song except that I really like it.  So why not add Radioactive to a Halloween playlist?

And of course every great Halloween playlist should include Siouxsie and the Banshees’ Halloween because it’s a classic.

Whatever songs are on your Halloween playlist, may they be spellbinding, spine tingling tunes that move you down to your soul and keep you trick-or-treating for the long haul.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!



Visit Xmas Dolly and Jade Louise Designs for more Music Monday.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Random Thoughts about Television and Track Tuesday (Speedwork Wednesday)

I hoped this week would be my quieter, calmer week, but that was just a pipedream.  The girls had Monday off which through threw the rest of the week for me.  Instead of spending Monday piddling about doing chores, I spent it entertaining them and working on school projects.

Since I chaperoned a field trip on Tuesday, there was no catching up yesterday.  And now, Little Lion Man came down with some nasty cold with a fever.  Today, I’m playing catch up on my housework and blogging, which is why my Track Tuesday post is now a Speedwork Wednesday post.  Oh well.  Such is the life of a mom on the run.

Esme and I made our television debut yesterday.  If you missed it, you can watch me make a fool out of myself test out the Shed Pal  at WTSP.com.  My husband said the producer really caught my personality.  Next time, I need to remember to sit up straight, suck in my gut and get a manicure.

Speaking of television, I am still obsessed with Once Upon a Time.  This show is even better in the second season now that magic has made it to the real world.   My girls love it too and we each have our own predictions about each character and storyline.  Although with it airing on Sunday night at bedtime, they typically have to wait until Friday night to watch it.  Since there was no school on Monday, they were so excited to watch it in real time.

Have you watched any episodes of Guys with Kids?  The one-liners are seriously laugh out loud and the style of the show reminds me of the programming we watched back in the 80s.  Jimmy Fallon even announces at the beginning of each episode, “Guys with Kids is filmed before a live studio audience”.  When is the last time you heard that before a show?!

Rather than a throwback to the 80s, I prefer to call  it “a Disney Show for grown-ups” because it’s as silly as any of the kids’ shows on Disney today, like Good Luck Charile.  Either way, it’s nice to have a show that finds humor in everyday life without falling back on the same old jokes.

Speaking of new jokes, I’m also watching Go On and The New Normal, but the comedy on those shows is anything but normal.  Both are also laugh out loud funny and occasionally, a bit tearful too.

The weather has been gorgeous in the early morning, almost cold.  Although it doesn’t take long to warm up when you’re running!

Due to camping and a late night Halloween party, I took a few days off from running this weekend, but I did manage to fit in my 12 miles before the our camping trip on Friday.  Not my best run, but at least I did it.

12 miles
Time 2:14:55
Ave Pace 11:15
Max Pace 8:50

Monday, I squeezed in 4 miles.

4 miles
Time 40:10
Ave Pace 10:03
Max Pace 8:05

Yesterday, I rocked some speedwork!  I shaved ten seconds off my sprints from last week!  I got my mojo on thanks to the cooler weather!

1 mile
9:29

Lap 1 – 0.25
Time 1:47
Ave Pace 7:37

Lap 2 – 0.25
Time 1:46
Ave Pace 7:13

Lap 3 – 0.25
Time 1:52
Ave Pace 7:31

Lap 4 – 0.25
Time 1:51
Ave Pace 7:28

1.1   mile
Time 10:13
Ave Pace 9:18

So how did your runs, speedwork and work-outs go this week?  Link up and tell me all about it.



To join our Track Tuesday linky party, do your speed work (at least 4 quarter mile sprints) on Tuesday or any day you that works best for you, blog about your times and remember to add our cool Track Tuesday button to your post.  Then, link up your post at either Ricole Runs or Run DMT to share Track Tuesday Speed Work Sessions.  To show support for our other virtual running partners on the Track Tuesday Team, be sure to visit the other blogs listed in the linky party.  Give them a virtual high-five and leave some comment love too.

*Also linking up at*

Stacy

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Halloween Problem (Monster)

Halloween will be a three part party this year.  Part one starts this Saturday evening with our adult Halloween party.  Part two and three take place next weekend with the kids’ Halloween party for my mom’s group followed by the Living Dead Challenge (5K and half-marathon race).

Allan and I stepped up to be this year’s ghost hosts with the most for the adult Halloween party.  In preparation for the party, I’ve been searching and scrolling through Pinterest to find frugal, fun ideas for food and decorating.  At this point, I need to channel the ghost of Julia Child because I would love to make a graveyard cake, witch fingers or some other spooky snack, but I don’t think I will have time.

But more importantly, I still need to throw my costume together.  I ordered Allan’s sushi chef costume the other day, but I am still trying to find all the necessary pieces for my sushi costume.  I didn’t have any luck at Goodwill the other day, but I plan to stop in again this week.

And I’ll need to do all that between doctor visits, preparing a fall festival basket to be raffled off at my kids’ school, packing for a camping trip and running 12 miles on top of all the usual business such as homework, dinner, after school activities, etc.

As you can see, I have so much going on right now.  The Halloween party is just the monster problem escape I need and a perfect excuse to drink have fun with my friends.

For the next two Music Mondays, I will be sharing my favorite Halloween tunes.  I would love to hear what Halloween songs move your spirit.  Link up and play along…if you dare.  Muhahahahahahaha!



Visit Xmas Dolly and Jade Louise Designs for more Music Monday.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Another Spooktacular Time

Every year, my kids look forward to our Halloween tradition, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular.  My children absolutely love SeaWorld and all the fun SeaWorld’s Halloween Spootacular offers, but what I love most about this Halloween experience is that the trick-or-treating party atmosphere is included with a one-day admission.

Unlike previous years, the weather has been ridiculously warm for October and I advised my girls to wear something cool for fear that dressed as Merida and Finn, they would suffer heat strokes.  So, Allana modified her Adventure Time Finn costume by wearing a sweatband instead of Finn’s usual bear fleece cap.  Instead of Merida, Emmalynn decided to match her sister’s costume by dressing as the Bubblegum Princess from Adventure Time.  Liam could stay cool in his road costume from last Halloween and thankfully, the shirt still fit him.

Since we had some time to spare before the official open of SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, I hopped into the single rider queue for Manta, the most amazing roller coaster in Orlando.  On Manta, riders sit parallel to the track to simulate the feel of an underwater flight of a giant sting ray.

After my Manta moment, we made our way down the trick-or-treating path and we eventually found ourselves at Penelope’s Party Zone, located at SeaWorld’s Bayside Stage.  Much like last year, the under-the-sea dance celebration is the most happening Halloween hot spotWith happy pumpkins leading the dance steps and an energetic DJ pumping out tunes to make every creature move, this underwater Halloween dance party is non-stop fun for all ages.

 

Additional craft tables and art easels have been added to Penelope’s Party Zone this year.  My girls enjoyed assembling the free foam craft witches.

The Spooky Sand Art Station and Apple Decorating Post have returned once again for an additional nominal cost.  At the Apple Decorating Post, large tasty apples or brick-size Rice Krispies treats are dipped into chocolate or caramel sauces and then topped with sprinkles, candies and other sweets of your choosing.

Since I have three children with very different tastes, each could build their own tasty creation.

I especially liked the additional treats for grownups.  Beer in a boat and other soft drinks are now available inside Penelope’s Party Zone to help keep guests cool in this Halloween hot spot.

Just outside the party zone is a new stop, Penelope’s Photacular, where guests can show off their most Spooktacular costume which might make a celebrity guest appearance in a virtual costume parade before the Shamu Rocks show.

Since there was candy to be collecting, no one in my Halloween herd wanted to pose with Shamu, but the polar bear at Wild Arctic was a great catch in Emmalynn’s eyes.

And of course, there were lots of candy stations to visit for trick-or-treating, but sadly there were no mini bananas or peanuts as in previous years.  Those treats were replaced with unlimited quantities of Vitamin Water, which was quite refreshing in the heat, although Liam was more fond of the little boxes of raisins.

After visiting all trick-or-treating stations, Liam and I stopped to cool off at the splash pad inside Shamu’s Happy Harbor while the big kids rode some rides.  Once again, SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular was a huge splash for my family.

SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular takes place every weekend in October (6-7th, 13-14th, 19-21st, and 26-28th) and the daytime event runs from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

If you have concerns about food allergies, all park restaurants are equipped and trained to take care of guests with allergen needs.  SeaWorld Park restaurant managers and supervisors will work one-on-one with guests and oversee the preparation of each allergen-friendly meal from start to finish. “Chef Cards“, filled out in advance by guests to outline the foods to avoid, are handed to a chef before the preparation of the meal.

For more information about allergen-friendly meals or to purchase advance tickets for SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com.

Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Dine with Shamu

For those who love the Shamu, get ready for a whole new, up-close experience with SeaWorld Orlando’s most famous resident that will leave you craving more.

 Dine with Shamu offers poolside entertainment with an educational twist on how to preserve the ocean’s habits and resources all while dining on an delicious assortment of seasonal and sustainable items.

 With this exclusive behind-the-scenes highly entertaining experience only available at SeaWorld Orlando, guests will witness the bond between SeaWorld trainers and these incredible creatures.  

Almost equally enjoyable as the presentation, guests will find the buffet very pleasing.  With four types of meats (grain-fed Black Angus strip loin, cinnamon-cured roasted pork loin, rosemary-glazed free range chicken and cod), vegetarian options, kid-friendly meals, tasty side dishes and several signature desserts, there is something for everyone to enjoy.  In addition to a remarkable meal, the wait staff offers outstanding service with a smile.  Our server, Anne Marie, was very accommodating and made our dining experience a very pleasurable one.

 After our dinner and a show, my family and I had the opportunity to speak with the warm and fuzzy animal trainers at the Shamu Under Viewing exhibit.  My youngest daughter loved chatting with Amber.

Amber demonstrated a few of her commands and even encouraged one of the whales to greet at my daughter.

To enjoy your own up-close experience with Shamu and the trainers, make your reservations at SeaWorld.com or call 1-888-800-5447.  Reservations can also be made at the in-park reservations center.

And here’s a deal to make your dining experience even more enjoyable!  Make a reservation between now and December 25, 2012 and receive a FREE child’s meal (ages 3–9) with each full-paid adult reservation!

My family and I enjoyed an all-paid dining experience in exchange for my honest opinions and review.  I received no compensation for this review.

 Denise Mestanza-Taylor+