Thursday, October 22, 2009

Zombies & Marshmallows

Lots of good stuff happening this week. First ... a cool little surprise ...

Inn The Kitchen made the FoodBuzz Top 9!


A friend of mine from college called last week and we talked for hours catching up. He gave me a recipe for marshmallows that I thought was impossible to do, until I tried it. Check out the FoodBuzzed recipe here.

The next cool thing.

Yesterday we had some training on riding a little two wheeled gadget, that, quite frankly, looks like you should just fall flat on your face. The Segway. Standing on it for the first time was a little reminiscent of a toy I had growing up that looked like a model for Saturn ... the pogo ball. It had a ring around the ball that you'd stand on ... try and keep your balance ... and then grip the ball between your feet as you jumped up and down. Well, luckily once you just trust the technology and step onto a Segway it's a whole lot easier! And fun! Check out a couple of TwitPics from our ride.

Our two-wheelin' was in preperation for giving a tour to Orlando's 67 Days of Smiles couple, Kyle & Stacey. They're visiting our little town of Mount Dora later this weekend and they picked the best time to come ... it's the 25th Annual Craft Festival this weekend.

This year they'll be a little spookie Halloween twist ... a Zombie crawl. I'm not big fan of zombies, so when Brian asked me to record some video of them I got a little squeemish. It's been interesting doing my video "research" for this since I usually watch scary movies with my eyes covered by my hands for the thrilling parts. But I've found I can get at least get through it when the sound is turned off. I'll have to let you know how it goes!


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Fun Factor

What kind of things would you actively do more of if it were "fun."

Seems like a wake up call to make mundane tasks more of a game. Because joy is really what life is about, isn't it?

I'm a fan of the "Fun Theory"


Monday, October 12, 2009

Day 3 Itinerary: Napa Valley

My post yesterday focused on the City of San Francisco. The famous cable cars, deem sum and the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. But our final day we spent in wine country.

When it comes to wine, you could spend a year tasting your way through Napa Valley. So, when you only have a day ... where do you start?

Start with the heart of Napa, in the quaint town of St. Helena. And the best way to wake up your taste buds is with a gourmet breakfast at the Glass Mountain Inn. Here you can spend a leisurely morning chatting it up with other travelers on a vino-cation and find some inspiration in the Inn's wine cave.

After you belly's full and your tongue as worked up a thirst for the juice of the vine, there are
several notable winemakers close by. A couple of my personal favorites are Dutch Henry, Cakebread and Caymus. Visiting these winemakers was a little like meeting a rock star for me. My personal Graceland.

Before you head out to the vineyards, stop by the local grocer, Sunshine Foods Market, to find a great selection of gourmet cheeses, chocolates and other gourmet finger foods to bring along with you for your drive.

Hungry for more? Check out the video we made of our Napa expedition by clicking here.

On a side note, if you have an extra day, or you are like me and just like to see as much as possible in 24 hours, you have to pay a visit to Muir Woods. This enchanting forest deserves a weekend all on it's own. The peaceful setting and giant sequoias will take your breath away. As will the ride ... the road to get there has more curves than Lombard Street! But take your Dramamine and your camera and check it out.



Here is my segment on the show Daytime that I shot in Tampa right before heading out to San Francisco. It was a ton of fun and I hope do have the opportunity to do it again.

We made Sweet Potato Muffins from Inn The Kitchen. All in 4 minutes ... wish I cooked that fast at home!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Weekend In San Francisco: Day 2 Itinerary

Yesterday, I detailed a great introduction to the city of San Francisco at Fisherman's Warf. Today, we get a little deeper into the city ... and of course the food!

Day 2 Itinerary: The City & Golden Gate

By now, you should know how much I love breakfast. If you’re an early riser, grab a hot cup of coffee and walk down to the Golden Gate National State Park. I actually made this my morning run and was in awe of how beautiful it was. Hugging the edge of the coast, you can walk, jog or bike along dirt and concrete paths through Fort Mason, the Marina, and Crissy Field and the whole time have a spectacular view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Round trip, this path is about 7 miles so plan accordingly.

After working up a good appetite, head on over to Fog City Diner for brunch. You can choose among several gourmet twists to classic favorites including cinnamon vanilla challah French toast, cheddar biscuits and fennel garlic sausage gravy with eggs, huevos rancheros, eggs benedict with a sun dried tomato hollandaise … and many more mouth watering choices. The coffee is fresh, the service superb, and they have outdoor seating where you can enjoy the awesome California weather. Fog City Diner is also steps away from Coit Tower … if your legs aren’t too tired from spending the morning at Golden Gate.

After breakfast, head down to the Cable Car Turnaround on the corner of Taylor and Bay Street (near Columbus Ave) and pick up a daily passport. It is only $11 per person and allows you to hop on and off the cable car all day. (Ghiradelli Square also has a Turn Around, but the one on Columbus Ave will not have long lines or a wait.) The Cable Cars not only have a stop for all the major sites including Financial District, through Chinatown, over Nob Hill and stops at Van Ness Avenue, but riding one in San Francisco is a must on your to-do list.

Another "must-do" everyone told me about was tasting some of San Fran's best Deem Sum. I had many recommendations, but the one that popped up the most among locals was Yank Sing at the bottom of the Rincon Center at 101 Spear St. After dining there, my recommendation would be to do a little research ahead of time to decide what you want to try. There are no menus and staff swing by with cart fulls of items that will have your belly growling yum yum. It is very easy for me to over indulge and become a victim of my eyes being bigger than my stomach.

Later that afternoon, pack your bags, pickup a couple more loafs at Boudins and head out to the charming town of St. Helena in Napa Valley. Not only will you ride over the Golden Bridge, but the late afternoon warm "golden hour" hues of the sun setting in the valley will make a gorgeous drive. Roll down the windows, open the sunroof or let the top down and enjoy the ride. Check in at Glass Mountain Inn and rest up for the ultimate in wine tasting.

Tomorrow: Day 3 Itinerary ... tasting the juice of the vine.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Weekend In San Francisco: Day 1 Itinerary

Yesterday I talked about our spontaneous food and wine filled weekend trip to San Francisco. Read more about that by clicking here. Want to know how to see San Francisco in just one weekend? I've got the itinerary that will guide you through the best of the city. Read along ...

Day 1 Itinerary: Fisherman's Wharf

Check in to your hotel and walk down to Fisherman’s Wharf. We stayed at the Radisson on Beach Street. It’s an old hotel, very reminiscent of 1950’s pop culture with sharp angles and concrete columns. But despite the building’s age, it is newly renovated and clean. There is a great fire pit outside in the courtyard with cozy chairs to snuggle on, sip some wine and enjoy the cooler weather. My only complaint would be that the entrance was not very well thought out. You have to do sort of a u-turn on the sidewalk (yes, the sidewalk) in order to get into the parking garage and there is only an elevator/staircase at the end of each extraordinarily long hallway. Be prepared to schlep your luggage. But the location more than makes up for the small inconveniences. Just downstairs you are waking distance to all the popular tourist “must-sees” including Alcatraz, Ghiradelli Square, and a Cable Car stop where you can hop on board the famous moving Historical Landmark.

One of my favorite stops was to Pier 39 where there is a great view of Alcatraz and more barking sea lions then SeaWorld. Also a short walk away is the Ferry Building which has a wonderful farmer’s market on Saturdays so you can stock up on cheese, fruit and other finger foods to snack on or to pack in your Napa picnic basket.

At Fisherman’s wharf, seafood is king. While it’s touristy area and chalk full of franchises, for dinner take a walk and check out the local fisherman concession stands and try some boiled crab legs, seafood chowder and San Fran’s famous sourdough at Boudins.

Tomorrow: Day 2 Itinerary, more great finds in the city including the best Dim Sum, and two parks you can't miss.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Weekend in San Francisco

When you’re trying to see the world … and I do mean THE WORLD … in one lifetime, sometimes you gotta squeeze the most you can out of one weekend. The 24,901 miles around the globe is a lot of ground to cover with your own two feet. So I’m a big fan of weekend trips to big cities such as NYC, Paris, and Rome.

Life is short, so when a friend invites you to a party, even if it’s on the other side of the continent, you should go. This friend happens to be one of the top food bloggers, Jaden Hair with Steamy Kitchen. So even if San Fran wasn’t enticing enough alone, tasty morsels of chocolate and silky wines are more than enough reason to hop on a plane. We packed our suitcases for a spontaneous weekend trip to San Fran full of serendipitous moments and excellent food. And now from experience I can tell you that food bloggers definitely know how to throw a party. I’ll tell you all about the serendipity, the food and how to squeeze a big city into three days … so follow along

First, the cool coincidences ....

Serendipitous Moment #1:
Meeting the Murphy Gooooooode guy, Hardy. And he really truly is a “goode” guy. Brian submitted a video for their Lifestyle Correspondent contest awhile back and it was awesome to meet the winner. Not only is he a brainiac about juice of the vine, he’s got some rockin dance moves as well. He satisfied our pinot envy with a lovely glass of red. Cheers Hardy!

Serendipitous Moment #2:
We love wine, as if that wasn’t obvious. On several occasions we’ve had the opportunity to meet Gary from Dutch Henry Winery at wine dinners here in Florida. We knew from conversation they were from California, but didn’t know exactly where. Napa covers a lot of ground. So, we decided to look them up. Only an hour drive outside of San Fran. Wow! So of course we had to plan a road trip to Napa.

Serendipitous Moment #3: The same week we had the crazy idea to pack our bags and head to San Fran, I had received an email from the Glass Mountain Inn in Napa from a Twitter friend @Juliesnapa. We thought, “Well, we’re already going to Napa for some Dutch Henry Wine, let’s see if this B&B is close by.” And would you believe … it was only …5 minutes … literally 5 minutes … from Dutch Henry. Wow. I couldn’t have planned that if I tried! Julie is a trained chef and instructor at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone to boot, so I was uber excited to get to spend some time with her. She gave me an awesome recipe for croissant bread pudding that will be posted on later this month.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering how in the heck we even saw San Francisco with all this wine and food talk. I’ll share with you our itinerary and key places to see recommended to us by travel and food socialmedialites.

Next: San Francisco in a Weekend -- Day 1 Itinerary

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Rachelle and Brian escape to San Francisco for the weekend and take a road trip up to St. Helena in Napa Valley. Discover this charming town, find out how Glass Mountain Inn got it's name, and take a peak at the wine cave that gave Brian pinot envy.

Julie gave me an awesome recipe for croissant french toast. Check back with Inn The Kitchen to see the recipe and try it at home!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Interesting San Fran Facts

Just traveled back from an awesome trip to San Fran and am recovering from sensory overload. My brain is still swimming in the memory of the views, the food, awesome Fall weather. As I get back into the swing of things as an Innkeeper this week, I'll start daydreaming about this city while I'm cleaning and doing laundry.

In the meantime, here are a few intersting tid bits I plan to hide in my factoid arsenal for the next round of Trivial Pursuit in downtown Mount Dora at the Goblin Market. I tweeted them yesterday for #TravelTuesday. In case you missed it ... enjoy!

#1: The crookedest street is not Lombard Street, it is Vermont Avenue between 22nd and 23rd.

#2 San Francisco cable cars are the only moving National Historic Landmark.

#3 Alcatraz means pelican in Spanish.

#4 Mission Dolores is the oldest building in San Francisco, built in 1791.

#5: The Chinese Fortune Cookie was invented by Makato Hagiwara whose family operated the Japanese Tea Garden.

#6: San Francisco is built on 43 hills.

#7: Irish coffee was invented in San Francisco. YUM!

#8: Denim jeans were invented in San Francisco for the Gold Rush miners.

#9: Coppola wrote large portions of The Godfather Trilogy in Caffe Trieste, the 1st San Fran coffee shop

And the Final and most HILARIOUS fact about San Fransisco ...

#10 ... it was originally called Yerba Buena Cove. Good Herb. Seriously! That phrase as a totally different meaning this day and age. LOL!


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oregon Bounty

As much as I love a hot and steamy cup of joe ... it's time I end my relationship with coffee and move on to some smooth and seductive pinot noir.

I created a little video submission for Oregon Bounty's "Cuisine-ternship."

In it you'll learn a little about me, a little about my town, and hopefully drool over the finest glass (or two!) of wine I've had in awhile.

Enjoy! Forward along to your friends!

Fall Favorites

It's FALLLLLLL! The inner child in me just looked up at the sky, closed her eyes and fell back into pile of leaves as tall as she is ... creating a huge mess in the yard while smiling ear to ear. :o)

But I live in Florida. There are no leaves changing color and it's still hot and sticky outside. So the only way for me to tune in to my favorite season is to decorate the house, turn up the AC and start baking.

I've been giving my oven a workout ... and ... now I need to give myself a workout to burn off some of these calories I've been earning in the kitchen!

These are just a couple of the Fall Recipes I'll be posting on Inn The Kitchen this season ... and they happen to be my favorites.

Starting with the Autumn Sangria. This concoction for spirited sinfulness was given to me by my dear friend Maranda a couple of years ago when I had a group of girls over for a party. She brought over a big punch bowl of Autumn Sangria and immediately was everyone's favorite person in the room. The dangerous thing about this sangria is that it tastes so sweet and cinnamony (is that a word?) that you forget that it has lots of wine in it. An hour or two later you're all giggly and smiling wondering, "why the heck is everything so funny?!" It's just the merlot talkin.
Autumn Sangria

My next favorite recipe of this season is Christpher's Inn Own Bowl Pumpkin Bread. Although, I can never seem to get it all done in one bowl. But you could if you tried! It has nearly equal parts sugar to the flour ... so as you can imagine you'd probably be wanting to make a date with your dentist after a couple of slices of the moist and decedent pumpkin bread.

One Bowl Pumpkin Bread

And the final fall recipe shout-out for today is the Sweet Potato Muffins. This recipe was sent to me from the Beaufort Inn and is a healthy escape from the norm. They're sweet and every bit as fall flavored as the pumpkin bread with big chunks of orange sweet potato, cranberries and walnuts. But sweetened with honey and filling with fiber from flax seed, they'll be a little nicer to your waistline. It usually takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to whip these up, not including cook time. But I just did it in under 4 minutes on the show Daytime this week. Aaaaah, the magic of TV. Wish I could sprinkle some of that on my normal schedule!

Sweet Potato Muffins

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Balancing Act

I don't know how Mom's do it. Divide their attention and love equally among their children. Seems like a tough balancing act. I have two blogs ... and I can't even split my attention between the two ... let alone add real children to the mix!

Inn The Kitchen has been receiving all the love while little ole Innside Story has been left cold in the corner. Small twinge of guilt. Mea Culpa.

I promise to be more diligent in spreading the love, and spending some time writing about things outside of the kitchen. PROMISE!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Great Monday Morning Laughs

I usually hate getting chain letters and spam email, but when one of my friends sent me the following I was so glad I opened it instead of immediately dragging it to the trash.

It had me laughing so hard I nearly spewed coffee all over my keyboard. This is going to be a great week if I had that kind of belly buster moment first thing Monday morning. Not to mention ... the week started with a holiday so it's going to only be a short little while till the next weekend.

Have you ever said the right thing ... the wrong way ... and ended up with a hysterical Freudian slip? Well, here are 5 that will make you feel better about anything you could have ever possibly said!

Think before you speak ...

Testimony #1: I walked into a hair salon with my husband and 3 kids in tow and asked loudly, "How much do you charge for a shampoo and a blow job?" I turned around and walked back out and never went back. My husband didn't say a word.

Testimony #2: I was at the golf store comparing different kinds of golf balls. I was unhappy with the women's type I had been using. After browsing for several minutes I was approached by one of the good-looking gentlemen who works at the store. He asked if he could help me. Without thinking, I looked at him and said, "I think I like playing with men's balls

Testimony #3: My sister and I were at the mall and passed by a store that sold a variety of candy and nuts. As we were looking at the display case, a boy behind the counter asked if we needed any help. I replied, 'No, I'm just looking at your nuts. My sister started to laugh hysterically. The boy grinned, and I turned beet-red and walked away.

Testimony #4: While in line at the bank one afternoon, my toddler decided to release pent-up energy and ran amok. I was finally able to grab hold of her after receiving looks of disgust and annoyance from other patrons. I told her that if she did not start behaving 'right now' she would be punished. To my horror, she looked me in the eye and said in a voice just as threatening, 'If you don't let me go right now, I will tell Grandma that I saw you kissing Daddy's pee-pee last night!' The silence was deafening after this enlightening exchange. Even the tellers stopped what they were doing. I mustered up the last of my dignity and walked out of the bank with my daughter in tow. The last thing I heard when the door closed behind me, were screams of laughter.

Testimony #5: Have you ever asked your child a question too many times? My three-year-old son had a lot of problems with potty training and I was on him constantly. One day we stopped at Taco Bell for a quick lunch, in between errands It was very busy, with a full dining room. While enjoying my taco, I smelled something funny, so of course I checked my seven-month-old daughter, she was clean. Then I realized that Danny had not asked to go potty in a while. I asked him if he needed to go, and he said 'No'. I kept thinking 'Oh Lord, that child has had an accident, and I don't have any clothes with me.' Then I said, 'Danny, are you SURE you didn't have an accident?' 'No,' he replied. I just KNEW that he must have had an accident, because the smell was getting worse. Soooooo, I asked one more time, 'Danny did you have an accident ? This time he jumped up, yanked down his pants, bent over, spread his cheeks and yelled 'SEE MOM, IT'S JUST FARTS!!' While 30 people nearly choked to death on their tacos laughing, he calmly pulled up his pants and sat down. An old couple made me feel better, thanking me for the best laugh they'd ever had!

Bonus: This had most of the state of Michigan laughing for 2 days and a very embarrassed female news anchor who will, in the future, likely think before she speaks. What happens when you predict snow but don't get any! We had a female news anchor that, the day after it was supposed to have snowed and didn't, turned to the weatherman and asked: 'So Bob, where's that 8 inches you promised me last night?' Not only did HE have to leave the set, but half the crew did too they were laughing so hard!

Now, didn't that crack you up? Pass it on to someone you know who needs a laugh and remember we all say things we don't really mean, so think before you speak!!!!!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Packin up the kitchen ...

The dust has settled ...

the photos are hung ...

and there is something much more fresh and tasty than cold leftover pizza for breakfast during this move!

My Inn The Kitchen blog has moved to WordPress. While the neighborhood here at Blogger has been warm and friendly, we just needed room to grow.

Check out it's new home at


Monday, August 17, 2009

Grocery Wars

After a hot cup of coffee and some homemade scones, my friend Jaden shared this with Brian and I this morning. Thank goodness it was after the coffee ... or else I might have stained her rug spewing in laughter.

This is looks like an oldie, but it's new to me so I'll have to share. It combines some clever writing ... with fresh produce and some guys that looked like they had way too much fun in the making of this video.

Behold, Grocery Wars ...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Top 10 Most Unusual Hotels

Last week for Travel Tuesday I had a boat load of fun researching the most wild and crazy types of accommodations there are for travelers ... from capsules to caves and even one underwater hotel. I posted the trivia below ... and realized there is one REALLY COOL one I forgot ... Treehouses! I can't think of a better way to bring out your inner kid than sleeping in a treehouse! Check it out along with the other unusual and weird places to rest your head at night.

#1) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: Ever consider sleeping underground in a cave ? Try this ...

Dessert Cave Hotel

#2) Top10 Unusual Hotels: If you're not claustrophobic, how about a Capsule Hotel.

Capsule Hotel

#3) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: If you're ok with being chilly, try an Ice Hotel!

Hotel de Glace

#4) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: Hotels famous for landscaping? Ever try a Garden Hotel?

Garden Hotels

#5) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: Have you ever slept underwater? A hotel where you need scuba gear to enter:

Jules Underwater Hotel

#6) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: Library Hotel? Yes indeed. Each floor is themed after a category of the Dewey Decimal System

Library Hotel

#7) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: Here's 1 built on an artificial island & structured in the shape of a boat's sail.

Burj Al-Arab

#8) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: Take a look at this retired 1936 Ocean Liner that became a hotel.

The Queen Mary

#9) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: How about staying in a posh room ... that used to be a jail cell?

The Liberty Hotel

#10) Top 10 Unusual Hotels: While its not quite a hotel, its definitely the best Green/Eco lodging in Central FL: My Inn!

Tremain Street Cottages

BONUS: For all the Tarzan types ... Treehouse Hotels!

Cedar Creek Treehouse
and Treehouse Out 'n About I think I'll take the Serendipi-tree.

Be sure to take a look on Twitter today to see what other unusual trivia I find!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Blueberry Stains and Yearbook Memories

I've been cross-eyed from all the technical jargon of picking up a website and moving it from one server to another, so I needed to take a break. The fun parts of the web stuff have felt a little like high school yearbook class ... photos... layout ... putting things together. But the last two days have been more like highschool trig and algebra. Code. Numbers. Bleh! I'm all hunched over like Quasimodo and my fingers scrunched from being glued to the computer.

So what does a girl do? She bakes. Most people would consider that more work. And maybe it is ... but there is delicious goodness produced at the end. And at least I'm standing at my countertop instead of sitting at my desk so I can give my numb butt a rest.

I have blueberry juice stained fingernails ... flour and sugar all over the floor ... and the jitters from all the coffee I drank this afternoon to wake me out of my computer coma while baking up a storm. Coming right out the oven ... some made-from-scratch blueberry scones with bowl-lickin-good citrus glaze. Photos, recipe and kitchen mess soon to be seen on

Now, with my sweet tooth satisfied ... back to the code and numbers ...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Code. Bleh!

I've been working on moving my blog over to Wordpress.

Code. CNAMES. FTP. Authorizations.


Looking forward to getting running so I can get caught up on my photos and recipes.

Glad I'm drooling over Food Network while someone's making a nutella, marshmallow and banana sandwich. I think that's gonna be what's for dinner tonight.

Why not?

Just don't tell my Mom that I had dessert for dinner. Shhh!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Highwaymen Weekend

Some feel-good-karma for the week ...

Rachelle & Brian,

We had a WONDERFUL time this weekend! We'll definitely be calling to book with you again.

--The Cheathams

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Girls Night Out & 80's Trivia


80's Trivia.

More Martinis.

Sinful cheesecake.

Could there be a more perfect girls night out?

I recently had a group of friends over for a night out in Mount Dora. We laughed, we ate, we drank, and we walked ... eh hem ... I mean ... crawled home. Well, not quite so literally. Would have ruined our dresses. But you get the picture.

Instead of a boy-style pub crawl, we did a pinkies up wine/martini crawl around Mount Dora. We ended up in the upstairs lounge of Goblin Market. First of all ... Mike just happens to be the best bartender in Lake County. Plus, he's charming to boot. Second ... The upstairs lounge of Goblin looks like an traveler/adventurer's library. Stacked with books, candles, games and the mysterious Magic 8 Ball we settled into the couch in the corner and ordered a round of martinis. Everything from a peach Bellini martini to German chocolate cake with a swirl ... and then one of us girls classed it up with a bud light. (wink) The desserts were melt-in-your-mouth sinful ... but the 80's Trivial Pursuit is what really rocked!

Here are 10 of the best. Study up on these before heading to Mount Dora, challenge your friends to a drinking game of Trivial Pursuit and WIN!

1) What 80s pop queen got her start on Star Search, but did not win (she came in second)?

2) What was the name of Punky Brewster's dog?

3) What was the name of the school mistress in The facts of Life?
Mrs. Edna Garrett

4) What actor was famous for the line "nanoo nanoo"?
Robin Williams for his character Mork from Ork

(bonus if you tweet a photo of your hand showing the "nanoo nanoo" symbol!)

5) Who shot J.R. Ewing?
Sue Ellen's sister, Kristin

6) What is the name of the Dukes of Hazzards car?
General Lee

7) In Knight Rider, what does K.I.T.T.'s name stand for?
Knight Industries Two Thousand

8) In "Family Ties" who was Alex P. Keaton's idol?
Richard Nixon

9) What planet did Alf come from?

10) What ws Balki Bartokamus' occupation when he lived in Mypos?
Sheep Rancher/Herder

I'm having way to much fun with these ... here's 5 more for a bonus ...

BONUS #1: Who was the famous TV painter from the 80's?
Bob Ross

BONUS #2: What was the name of the home that Sofia Patrillo lived in before moving in with her daughter on the Golden Girls.
Shady Pines

BONUS #3: Name 3 Popular Fashion Styles from the 80's.
Parachute Pants, Neon Paint Splashes, & Reebok Hightops

BONUS #4: What was the name of Magnum PI's suave superspy alterego?
Sebastian Sabre

BONUS #5: What is MacGyver's first name?

For an even bigger trip down memory lane ... check out:

The next day I pampered myself with a pedicure for all the walking and a massage to keep the relaxing effects of the martini going.

No, that's not a picture of me to the left. I have a rule ... no makeup, no clothes, no photo.

Anyhow, with all the spas around I thought ... this would be an AWESOME bachelorette party! Except ... on this particular instance ... we were celebrating two divorces. Oh well. Whatever the occasion ... new job, bride-to-be, newly divorced, or just because. I would put martinis and pedis in Mount Dora on your list.



Wednesday, July 15, 2009

United Broke My Guitar

It seems I keep finding lots of funny videos about flying lately.

This one is an extreme example of why customer service matters. After having a bad experience with checking a guitar as luggage, this singer wrote a song about it ... and so far it has over $2.5 million views on YouTube.

I was a little nervous flying with my camera last week. Luckily, I didn't share his experience.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Destination: Oklahoma City

Just got back from a fabulous 3 day trip to Oklahoma City. The Heartland Hospitality definitely lives up to it's reputation. I've never met a warmer, more friendly group of people.

I was there shooting video for a destination guide and I was actually pleasantly surprised with how much there is to see and do.

All kinds of ways to get your inner Cowboy going ... the western winds, the scent of leather, custom boots & chaps (I tried on a purple pair. You'll have to wait for the video to see that!), and the quintessential steakhouse, Cattlemens. Celebrating it's centennial in 2010, this restaurant has seen it's share of card games and Clint Eastwood-types. Smack dab right next to Oklahoma's Stockyard City, you're sure to get the freshest, tastiest steaks in the country while rubbing elbows with real cowboys. They don't call it Cattlemen's for nothin! If you're feelin ballsy, be sure to try their house specialty, Lamb Fries.

And the cuisine is not just all meat and potatoes, although the meat and potatoes are pretty darn good! I would also recommend having a slice of peach pizza and sipping homemade lemon cello and at Trattoria. The lemon cello was even better than I remember it in Sorrento, Italy. I swear!

The ultimate quencher and adventure for your tastebuds is Pops on Route 66. This cool little gas station in the middle of the road trip has over 500 types of soda including unusual flavors such as celery, jalapeno, and mint julep. It's difficult to choose just one fizzy drink. With all the many colors and flavors you've got to grab a six pack and fill 'er up.

Starting to notice a lot of food references here? It's a good thing I love running just as much as I love eating. One more for my sweet tooth ... Sara Sara Cupcakes. Our first night there we ordered a green tea cupcake an some coffee to enjoy on their front porch. It was the best comfort food and quiet ending to a long day of travel.

We also explored downtown OKC's hoppin art scene. We stood in awe of the largest collection of Chihuly Glass and enjoyed live music during Cocktails on the Skyline at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. You can also catch an independent film from the Sundance Institute Art House project at the restored historic Noble Theatre. Be sure to look up in awe of the Chihuly Waterford Crystal Chandelier in the theatre lobby.

One absolute "must see" is the National Memorial. This is something every American should make the trip to visit. An inspiring story of hope and survival weaved through thoughtful symbolism honoring those who were killed, those who survived, and those came to help in the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building . The most memorable for me was the Survivor Tree. And gosh darnit I can't believe I didn't grab a picture of it! Probably because I was focusing on the video. Ah well. You'll just have to go see it live in person to experience it. After quiet reflection overlooking the Field of Empty Chairs, the Survivor Tree invokes a powerful feeling of strength and renewal that we all look for in our lives.

And there is so much more than I could possibly fit into one blog post. The Paseo Arts District and the unique and intimate dining experience at Paseo Grill. The beautifully renovated historic boutique Colcord Hotel. Rowing and cycling at the Chesapeake Boathouse. I loved Oklahoma City. The food, the culture, and most of all ... the people. Can't wait to visit again!



Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Carry On Travel

Flying out to Oklahoma tomorrow and Brian gave me a really weird look when I told him I consider flying a "spa day."

I know ... I know ... you're now wrinkling up your nose and questioning my sanity as well.

Here are my reasons:

A) It's a brief technology detox. I'm completely unconnected while in the air. No phone. No email. I can get lost in a book or movie without any interruptions and not feel guilty about not checking-in on things.

B) If I packed you a little "Jet Pack" the way I make 'em ... you'd feel pretty pampered yourself.

Here's what I stash away in my carry on Jet Pack ...

Note to Scott Gorman: betchya don't have THIS in your camera bag! ;o)

1) Biodegradable Travel Booties: This takes the "ick" out of going through security. With nearly 90,000 pairs of bare feet walking daily through security lines while their shoes are being scanned in a plastic bin ... wouldn't you rather have an extra layer between your skin, socks and the floor? Big bonus ... they're biodegradable so you don't have to feel the green guilt of using something once and then tossing it.

2) Airbourne and Juice Plus. I swear by it. Changing time zones and not getting enough rest can wreak havoc on your immune system. Last time I flew to Seattle I was awake for 26 hours due to the long flight, layover, time zone change and awesome late dinner plans I was not going to miss! As long as I've got these in my arsenal ... knock on wood ... I've never caught the flu or sniffles while travelling.

3) Giovanni Towelettes. Okay, after the first two you're now you're thinking I'm a germophobe. But really, this is aroma therapy in a tiny one inch packet. After spending the day getting from point A to point B ... a rub down with one of these on your face, neck and arms is the next best thing to a shower. Grapefruit Splash is especially refreshing. Nothing like the scent of citrus to feel clean. Added bonus ... they're organic and biodegradable.

4) After a psuedo in-flight shower with a little eco-friendly towelette ... this is the next step in waking up and feeling semi-fresh upon your arrival. Solid Perfume. I like Pacifica since it's compact and made with sustainable ingredients and natural oils. I also really liek Badger Balm headache soother. It smells like fresh peppermint and also doubles as a headache reliever (rub into your temples) or cuticle cream. Want to make your own, learn how at: WikiHow Make Solid Perfume

5) Eyemask and earplugs ... because really, how else are you going to catch a snooze ?

6) Tea & Coffee. I pack I own stash of tea bags for the plane. Greet tea. Mint tea. Earl Grey. Jasmine. Chocolatte Green tea (this one is my favorite). I usually bring a variety since once I open one up I usually end up sharing with passengers around me. I also bring a couple of mini gourmet coffees for the hotel.

7) Dental floss, toothbrush and tootpaste. Don't ever forget this in your checked luggage. One day of bad weather and delayed flights leaving you in a city you weren't planning on spending the night in ... you will never pack this in your checked luggage again.

Speaking of checked-luggage ... become a carry on queen (or king) and never check again. My friend Elizabeth just tweeted that she paid $15 for checking in one bag.
Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. I always max the carry on limit. I never check. Here are 3 more things that I carry on, pack light and still have everything I need ...

8) Dr. Bronner's Liquid Castille Soap. Their label advertises 18 in 1 uses and they're not kidding! This is a traveler's must have. It's shampoo. It's face wash. It's body wash. It's laundry detergent. It's dish detergent. It's toothpaste. Etc. Etc. Etc.

9) For the ladies ... Aveda Envirometal makeup compact. It has all the essentials you need in a thin little gadget that slips easily into your back pocket. The dual foundation contains sunscreen ... two-in-one means one less thing to pack. And it's refillable. Yay!

10) One color scheme of clothes. The more you can mix and match getting 3 outfits out of one, the better. Add a pashmina to use as a blanket, belt, scarf, shawl, etc and you've got plenty of options with very little packed.


Fun way to fly ...

Wish I would have sported the extra $40 to fly SouthWest after watching this video.

And the kicker is this was a flight to Oklahoma City! Ha! Headed there tomorrow.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Red, White & BOOM

What a relaxing evening last night ... hotdogs ... frozen slushi lemonade ... sitting high up on a grassy hill enjoying fireworks.

I love the 4th of July.

July 4th Guest Comments

I love little hand written notes. Here are two we received this weekend. Worth all the work and sweat it took to get things cleaned and ready early so we could enjoy our holiday too!

"Thank you for the stay! We felt like we were at home while staying at your cottages. Hope to visit you again soon!

--Conrad & Cindy

"We had an awesome time! The kids loved the hometown parade and we had fun just hanging out on the front porch."


Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Bare Essentials Safety from New Zealand Air

Oh my.

I wish more ads were this fun.

Or that air travel could be that interesting!

Love the comment in the end ... "I do love a man in uniform."

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer Warm & Fuzzies

An apple a day keeps the doctor away ... or so they say. But this recipe isn't one of those. Oh no. Loaded with "buttah" and "sugah" this is definitely not doctor's orders. But it is darn good comfort food!

Perhaps its the comfort of the quintessential scent of Fall that makes me all warm and fuzzy. And I know you're thinking, "Rachelle, why on this green earth would I need something warm and fuzzy in the middle of June!?"

Well, the answer to that is this recipe is extremely diverse. Swap out the apples for summer blueberries or peaches and you've got a great 4th of July family brunch or dollop on some vanilla ice cream for a backyard bbq dessert. I just baked it in it's original form, but one could definitely get creative with the fruit.

So turn off the latest news, turn on your oven and create some smiles with this recipe.

Check out the whole recipe and my baking photos here:



Saturday, June 20, 2009

Yappy Hour

The only thing that could possibly be better than happy hour ... is yappy hour.

The Wine Den and Piglet's Pantry had a genius moment when they started this event ... where tail wagging friends can bring their humans downtown for some wine while they bark about the latest news.

Each time I go it gets bigger and better! Every 3rd Friday ... come join us!


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top 10 Weird Luggage Items Revealed

There was an article recently that caught my attention. It was discussing the strange things TSA find in airport inspections.

It made me wonder, what are the oddest things people travel with?

Well, I googled it ... and then posted my favorite (or most jaw dropping) once on Twitter.

Here they are ... Top 10 Weird Luggage Items.

#1: For the cool stuff you WISH you would find ... go here: http://www.unclaimedbaggage....

#2: A bag full live roaches. Glad I wasn’t standing in THAT security line barefoot w/ my shoes in a bucket.

#3: A 40-carat natural emerald, & once $1.2 million in diamonds … wish I found that one!
#4: Eyeballs. Sure that was a sight! Ha! Starting to sound like an episode of Bizarre Foods

#5: A human skull And I was worried about a carrying on bottle of lotion that was an ounce too big!?

#6: Pigeons In Pants.

#7: Found ... A guidance system for an f-16 fighter

#8: A Live Cobra. Whoa.

#9: Full Suit of Armor

#10: Life-sized Jim Henson characters & the Muppet character Hoggle from the movie Labyrinth

We innkeepers usually don't find anything unusual left in rooms. Almost always there will be a cell phone charger left behind. If you are traveling ... when you leave ... double check to make sure you have your cell phone charger. We've collected at least 20 of those this past year.

Got any others you could add to this list? Let me know in your comments below.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Top 10 Travel Trivia Revealed

Last Monday, I ran a series of goofy (but interesting!) bits of travel trivia on Twitter. It was our first contest run through the Twitter machine, and I have the winner listed at the end of the post.

I hope you have as much fun reading these as I had collecting them! Keep watching Twitter on Mondays ... if I find something that makes Monday a bit more bearable by inspiring a laugh or a smile, I'll tweet it.

Travel Trivia Top 10

#1: Each US hh would pay $988 more in tax w/o the tax rev generated by the tourism industry. Go TRAVEL!

#2: In 1987, American Airlines saved $40,000 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first class.

#3: The word taxi is spelled the same in English, German, French, Swedish. Dutch, and Portuguese ... convenient!

#4: Hurricane Season now in Florida ... but did you know in Australia a hurricane is called a willy-willy?

#5: On an average day 102 people visit the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco, TX

#6: Covering 47 square miles, Walt Disney World Resort is about the size of San Francisco or two Manhattan islands.

#7: The Tokyo Zoo in Japan, closes down for two months every year to give the animals a little break from the people.

#8: There's only one mobile U.S. national monument: the cable cars in San Fransisco.

#9: The “you are here” arrow on maps is called ... an ideo locater.

#10: The country with the most number of islands ... Finland

And the winner is ...




Friday, June 12, 2009

Lake County Green Symposium

Every once in awhile we get the rare opportunity to look outside of our comfort zones and be challenged to break out of our regular habits and patterns.

This morning was one of those mornings.

I woke up early and walked down to Mount Dora Coffee House for a cappucino and then strolled across the block to the Lakeside Inn where Lake County hosted their first Professionals Turning Green Symposium.

The first panel of speakers, including yours truly, were discussing the green initiatives of the Florida Green Lodging Program. I discussed methods we used to incorporate the four main initiatives of the program which included Water Conservation, Energy Conservation, Waste Reduction and Clean Air Practices.

My perspective of these issues broadened while hearing from other industry experts regarding water and waste management issues. Sometimes the subject of conservation can be so heavy and dull with technical jargon that it seems far removed from our daily lives. However, today's speakers really painted a picture of what these municipal processes entail and how if each person really can make a difference just through making conscious choices.

I was reminded about small things such as vitamins, prescriptions and batteries that so often get tossed away, yet should be recycled properly. A handful of vitamins seems so insignificant, but when multiplied by the number of people in the state it does have an impact on our water supply.

This is just one of the many "ah-ha" moments I experienced this morning. It's always good to exercise the mind now and again to be reminded of the things we forget about in our busy day-to-day.

Rachelle Lucas & Sharon Tatum

Debi Dyer, Rachelle Lucas, Greg Mihalic


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Pillow Talk

To bleach,

or not to bleach,

that is the question.

The answer? I hope you've got some suggestions for me.

Soooooo ... one of our pillow shams snuck into a load of reds.

And what do you guess happened? I now have a pink pillow sham.

I like pink.

But I now have an un-matching white comforter and used-to-match sham.

What to do?

I can't bleach it. First of all, we're "green."

Second, it would have ruined the design on the other side.

Any suggestions for getting the pink out?

Otherwise, I'm just going to throw the whole dang thing in with a load of reds and call it my pink-dye experiment.

At least then I'll have a matching set!

Ah well. Back to laundry. A day in the life of an innkeeper ...


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Beer ... with Breakfast ...

So, it's been one of those crazy busy weeks where I just had to pop one open at breakfast.


Crickets ...

Gasps ...


Just kidding!

I had a fun afternoon in the kitchen last week shooting a couple of recipes with my friend Jim Hobart and his fancy schmancy camera. One of those recipes was deliberately paired with beer.

I'm not usually a beer drinker. I'm more of a wine kinda gal.

Specifically red.

Pinot. To be exact.

Anyway. The recipe is an apple and goat cheese omelet paired with a Brooklyner Weisse. I LOVE goat cheese, so I think that's what sold me on it. It was from the Brooklyn Brewery and I was inspired to give it a try after a visit from our friends Tom & Gayle. Read more about their visit here.

Too my shock and surprise ... the omelet was FANTASTIC with beer! Wow.

Try it for yourself. Test out the recipe posted on my other blog, Inn The Kitchen.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Travel Trivia Tweet Contest

Today I posted my favorite Top 10 pieces of Travel Trivia @Travelblggr.

Some are hysterical ... ALL are TRUE!

The 10th person to email TremainStreetCottages (at) gmail (dot) com all 10 of my trivia tweets will win a BOGO night at Tremain Street Cottages.

What is a "BOGO" night, you ask? BUY ONE night, GET ONE free.

How to participate:

1) Follow Travelblgger

2) Find all 10 Travel Trivia.

3) Email them to TremainStreetCottages (at) gmail (dot) com along with your Twitter ID.

Happy Tweeting!


Friday, May 29, 2009

Summer Inspiration & Persperation

The hypnotizing hum of cicadas ...

the sweet smell of freshly cut grass and a burning charcoal grill ...

the bead of sweat that forms instantly on the nape of your neck ...

and the other one that rolls down small of your back
whenever you step outside between 10 and 4 ...

making it at two or three shower day ...

yes, summer is here.

I'm usually a water conserver and eco-friendly tree hugger all the way ... but the stickiness of summer leaves me with only two options.

A) Run the AC at full blast all day long making my house a comfortable 75 while condensation fogs up my windows in contrast with the steamy humidity outdoors. Thus ... eating up electricity.

B) Taking more than one show a day. Thus ... using up extra water.

I pick B. And I don't feel guilty about it with all the rain we've been having. A total of 8 days straight. My drought tolerant plants have bloated up and exploded ... making them just as slimy as the snails that are now eating them.

Now that I'm off my weather soapbox and done justifying my need for extra showers ...

I had to rearrange my schedule a little to shoot some video in Tampa. Can't really show off the "sunshine state" when the weather is behaving like Seattle. We were back down to the bay this week and one of our stops peaked my eco-interest.

Considering I've got a speech to give mid-June on the process of becoming green certified lodging and an article due to a local publication on the "green scene" ... any eco-friendly subject matter peaked my interest and the new Tampa History Center had some jaw dropping facts.

The most interesting to me was that the atrium's double-pane exterior windows are filled with argon gas, providing extra insulation and wind-resistance to inclement weather off the bay.


They also recycled a lot of reusable material during construction, proving that it is not necessary to bulldoze and consume to create something fresh and new.

Guess I need to use this green spark of inspiration add a little perspiration and get some work done ... off to do some research ... and then to write.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Sometimes Guests Say It Best

As business owners we strive to provide our guests with the best Mount Dora experience possible and often enough the reward is this:

Brian and Rachelle,

"My Daughter, Diane and I want to thank you for the wonderful visit we had to your Nantucket Cottage and to the wonderful town of Mt. Dora. We wish we would have had longer, but we did have two great FULL days and a very restful sleep in your cottage. We have recommended it to several. The restaurants you suggested were awesome. Our last late lunch was at the Mt. Dora Sushi and we loved it. As I said in the note that we left you on the counter, we may make this an annual visit. Again, Thanks for all your help" -- Carol Taylor

Monday, May 18, 2009

Favorite Travel Quote of All Time

This to me, is the reason I love to travel. To have ordinary things seem fresh and new.

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” - Bill Bryson

One of my weird quirks is that I love to go grocery shopping in foreign countries.

Something about seeing a slice of life that you can't find in a magazine or travel brochure. The smells, the colors, the produce, what's popular, how things are labeled. It's usually the place that I buy all of my souvenirs to take home.

French lip gloss.

Kinder Eggs (the toy inside always makes me smile like a kid).


It's the little things we take for granted when we're at home. I think travel brings us right smack dab into living in the moment ... which is where we should always be in the first place.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Such A Wimp ...

Soooo ... I've been wondering why my shoulders have been killing me today.

And then Brian showed me photographic evidence of why ... am I really such a wimp?

Could a 3 lb camera really make my shoulders sore?

I guess it's more from being a work-a-holic and carrying it around for over 8 hours. Doing anything physical for that long is sure to be a work out ... but I was having so much FUN and was so absorbed in the process that I didn't notice my arm fatigue until today.

Ah well. Being a tourist in your own backyard can be hard work ... but someone's gotta do it!

When the videos are posted I'll include a link for you to enjoy.



How much do you LOVE breakfast?

I just posted two new recipes on Inn The Kitchen.


ps ... if you've got a secret to chopping onions without tearing up ... please ... let me know!