Latest Blog Entries

Adagio Teas from Around the World

Each morning, I transport to an exotic place, simply by sipping from my tea cup. Thankfully, with sites like Adagio Teas, I'm able to buy loose leaf tea from around the world with at click of a button.

Adagio tea from around the world
Adagio tea from around the world
Adagio is actually my go-to and the easiest to order from. They make it simple to understand and navigate through the different varieties and provide Facebook messenger updates on your order along the way.

The site has a large collection of teas that are broken up by the type of leaf - green, white, oolong (my favorites), chai, black tea, pu-erh and herbals/roobios.

I especially enjoy their white blueberry tea, Jasmine yin hao, and fujian jasmine pearl master blend. You can also order sample sizes to see if you like it first before ordering more.

Adagio makes a great and reasonable tea maker for those looking to get started drinking loose leaf. Simply pour in the desired amount of loose leaf tea, add hot water, brew and then put over your mug and it drains instantly into your tea cup. I have two!

ingenuiTEA maker
If you don't have a tea maker or loose leaf container they also sell their whole leaf tea in mesh pyramid tea bags. I like the convenience of these for work and travel, so I can still get quality loose leaf without toting my tea maker around.

$5 Gift Certificate

If you'd like a $5 gift certificate to adagio, simply comment here with your email address or send me an email at Tara AT tarametblog DOT com

Adagio Teas from Around the World Review and $5 gift certificate

Disclaimer: I received a gift certificate in exchange for my honest review. Regardless, I have been an adagio customer for several years. 
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SWFL Dining Review: Bonefish Grill Bonita Springs

Bonefish Grill recently remodeled their Bonita Springs (26381 S Tamiami Trail) location with warm earthy tones and a sleek interior design. We went to check it out and as always were not disappointed.
Bonefish Bonita Springs fresh new look
What I like most about Bonefish Grill restaurants is I know that no matter what I order, I'm going to have a good meal. It's consistently good.

I also enjoy their Happy Hour, which is from 4:00-6:30 p.m. EVERY DAY! Even weekends! The happy hour menu offers $4 glasses of wine and bar bites and mixed cocktails for $6 each.
Happy Hour every day at Bonefish Grill
Our favorite appetizer is the Mussels Josephine, which we order whether we make it for happy hour or not. Be sure and save a piece of bread for dipping in the buttery sauce at the bottom of the bowl, yum!
Mussels Josephine from Bonefish Grill's bar bite menu
We also enjoy, an order of Edamame which comes with Matcha Green Tea favored Sea Salt, which is so unique. Even our boys tried some of the beans.

Bonefish Grill's Edamame with Green Tea Salt
We had never frequented Bonefish with our boys before, typically preferring to keep it as a date night location or for when other adult visitors are in from out of town. This time, the boys came with us and we were amazed at how child-friendly it was. They were provided with coloring mats and crayons. Their waters came with plastic tops to prevent spills (although it ended up being me who toppled over my water, opps!) and they have a reasonable Kids Menu to select from. We went with the fried fish fingers with broccoli and fries.

A kids menu and coloring is available!
A current summer special and fresh catch is a Crab Cake Topped Wood-Grilled Atlantic, which was outstanding.
Crab cake topped wood-grilled Atlantic Cobia
There is also a Naples and Fort Myers Bonefish Grill here in Southwest Florida as well.

Bonefish Grill restaurant review in Bonita Springs in Southwest Florida
Bonefish Grill in Bonita Springs

Disclaimer: I received complimentary Bonefish Grill gift cards to facilitate my dining review. However, we paid for our drinks, overage and tip. 

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Avocado Ice Cream Recipe

I hosted a fun mommy & me meet-up recently at Delicious Raw juice bar in Naples, Florida.

While sipping a yummy drink called Glow Raw (Carrots, Pineapple, Ginger, Parsley, Aloe, Coconut Water) I got to chat with other moms.
I also experienced for the first time a reflexology hand massage free from OMNI Balanced Life Center. It was super relaxing.

Best of all, we learned other ways to sneak veggies and fruits into kid's diets. TIP: Add pineapples, watermelon or oranges to a juice to mask the veggies.

Their new yummy Avocado Ice Cream is available at Delicious Raw’s Pine Ridge, Pavilion, Coconut Point and Davie locations, but their Chef Scott Boyd walked me through how it's done.

I think it tastes amazing! Their strawberry topping drizzled over it makes it that more enticing for kids. You could opt for honey or other natural syrups too.

In the Delicious Raw kitchen
Avocado is high in healthy fats and provides a wide variety of nutrients, including 20 different vitamins and minerals. So, grab your kids and a spoon!

Also, follow me on Facebook for more local SWFL events.

Yummy Avocado Ice Cream Recipe - Vegetarian and Dairy-Free

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Hanes Father's Day Giveaway

Just in time for Father's Day, Hanes is introducing ComfortBlend Superior Softness Undershirts — now with Modal fabric.

The brand has taken its ComfortBlend fabric and added the smoothing benefit of Modal to create its softest tee ever. Just touch it, and immediately you’ll know that softness has reached a new level.

Why Hanes ComfortBlend Superior Softness Undershirts?

  • Cotton-Modal blend offers superior comfort
  • Includes FreshIQ™ advanced odor protection technology
  • Hanes softest tee ever
  • Quick drying and durable fabric shrinks less and keeps its shape
  • Tag-free for itch-free comfort
  • Lay flat collar
  • $12.00 for 3 Pack, in Crewneck and V-neck, available at and
  • Sizes S-2X, in Crew Neck and V-Neck styles 

  • Enter the following giveaway to win a set of Hanes ComfortBlend shirts and more for the dad in your life. The Hanes prize pack is valued at $75. Good luck!

    Hanes Father's Day Giveaway

    Also, here are some gift ideas for the dapper dadValentine's Day Gift Guide for the Dapper Man & Tech Obsessed Guy. Gift Guide for Him

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    An Elegant Date Night at Ocean Prime in Naples

    On date nights, Raphael and I like to head to Downtown Naples' 5th Avenue, which has many luxury restaurants, but not all are worth the prices or withstand the hype. Fortunately, the recently opened Ocean Prime Naples is the real deal.

    Ocean Prime is an upscale chain known for its sophisticated decor, long wine list, and classic steak and seafood menu. Yet, we had not been to any of their 14 locations before from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. Their Naples location just opened last December.

    When you enter, your eyes are drawn immediately to the modern lighting fixtures and clear glass walls filled with various wine bottles from wall-to-ceiling.

    Speaking of drinks, they boast an inventive signature cocktail list as well. Berries & Bubbles is a champagne cocktail/cosmopolitan that is both a tasty drink and a show. Poured over dry ice and into a chilled glass, the drink comes to life bubbling to the surface and leaving a trail of water smoke. Definitely Instagram worthy. This looks like we sped up the video, but no, that is how quickly the drink was percolating.

    Once you place your drink order, your biggest problem will be deciding on limiting your order to just a few options. For appetizers, the Scallops with Short Ribs came recommended as did the Tuna Tartare. We went with the tuna, which was great, but now I can't wait to go back and try the former too. We also split a Burrata Salad.

    For entrees, you can go either surf or turf. We went with an off-menu Halibut option, which was a special of the day but should be appearing on the menu this summer; and the Chilean Sea Bass. Both white fishes melted in our mouths like butter.

    Chilean Sea Bass
    Don't forget sides! I immediately knew that I wanted the black truffle macaroni and cheese and Raphael wanted lobster mashed potatoes, so we got both and loved each. I want to go back and eat two orders of the mac, lol! Raphael would have to agree considering he didn't want to order it, but then ended up fighting over the last bite.

    Save room for dessert too. Although we didn't have much space in our bellies left at this point, we had heard amazing things about their Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake and Warm Butter Cake. We took what we couldn't finish home.
    Peanut Butter Chocolate Cake
    Disclaimer: I received a complimentary dinner to experience Ocean Prime, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.  
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    5 Ways to Save at Dollywood

    As a fan of Dolly Parton’s music and movies as well as being a theme park aficionado, I’ve always wanted to go to Dollywood, but with living up North I never had the opportunity until recently. Now, I know exactly what I’ve been missing – an amazing family friendly experience with thrilling rides and mouth-watering food.

    Savings at Dollywood Theme Park

    My First Time to Dollywood

    Dollywood home of the world’s best cinnamon bread. Dollywood is NOT hokey or little either. It's charming and quite big. I was actually shocked when I unfolded the theme park map and took in all the offerings.

    Personally, I also liked learning that 12% of the staff is over 70-years-old and 3 employees are over 90. The experience was very multi-generational and it's no wonder why it won Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Award for Friendliest Park. Be sure and say hi to 90-year-old Johnnie Crawford in the Chasing Rainbows Dolly Parton museum, she has been with the theme park since the beginning.

    Did you know Dollywood is home to the world's fastest wooden roller coaster? It's called Lightning Rod and it's awesome. Unlike other wooden roller coasters, it's not wobbly and didn't hurt my neck or box my ears like some coasters do. It was quite smooth. I went on it two times and tried to keep my hands up, but couldn't, lol. So much fun!

    Yes, the rides were impressive and the people nice, but my favorite part was all the amazing food! Make sure to visit The Grist Mill, home of the world’s best cinnamon bread.

    5 Ways to $ave at Dollywood Theme Park and Water Park

    5 Ways to Save Money at Dollywood Theme Parks

    1. Stay at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort - I have this as tip #1 for a reason, because guests and families staying at this affordable, yet upscale hotel, can save in numerous ways! Thre are more perks than you may even know about. Rates depend on seasonality but can be as low as $89 during the off-season (Jan-March). During peak season though, you can expect rates to start at $169, which I would still consider a bargain considering how luxurious the resort is. Basically, that's the same rate of a Disney budget hotel, yet offers the experience of a Disney luxury hotel (not even Disney's moderate range). I would also prefer these accommodations over the chain hotels in the area too. The pool is gorgeous, the beds plush and there is an outdoor playground for the kiddos. Oh, and their dinner buffet with fried chicken was amazing!

    Perks to staying at Dollywood's DreamMore Resort:
    • FREE TimeSaver Pass for all room occupants.  TimeSaver allows you expedited access to lines at select rides and shows. That is a savings of $35 (plus tax) per person, per day!
    • FREE Parking & Shuttle to Dollywood parks. If you were to park directly at Dollywood fees are $12 a day for a standard sized vehicle. 
    • Discounted park tickets. Two days for the price of one is a standing offer at the resort. However, if you’re buying single-day tickets, it’s $5 off the gate price.
    • Discounted tickets to Dollywood dinner attractions such as Dixie Stampede and Dolly’s new dinner theatre show Smoky Mountain Adventures.
    • FREE pink lemonade served in the lobby daily between 4-6 p.m.
    • So, a family of four, staying for two nights at DreamMore can potentially save over $300!!!

    2. Arrive late and get a free day - I’ve never heard of something like this before, but if you arrive at Dollywood after 3 p.m., the entire next day at the park is free. With this fabulous deal, you can squeeze in at least another half-day of fun at Dollywood without spending any extra money. Or you can even hit the park on your travel day for a bit. Simply save your ticket for re-admission the next day. (Note: During Smoky Mountain Christmas this offer is valid after 6 p.m.).

    3. Free Water & Soda Refill Options- Spending the day at any theme park will wear you out, especially at Dollywood since the terrain is hilly, after all, it is literally set in the beautiful Smoky Mountains. Luckily, Dollywood offers water—for free! Available at any food or beverage stand throughout the park. If you're a soda fan, the refillable soda mugs offer additional savings for families. The container costs $14.99 and is good for unlimited beverage purchases of $.99 fountain drink refills and $1.99 refills on all hot or frozen beverages for the entire season. Plus, it doubles as a nice souvenir.

    4. Sign-up for the Mailing List & Look for Offers - Those in the Dollywood database are offered discounts and specials first and sometimes, exclusively. A subscribe form can be found at the bottom of the Dollywood website. Also, be sure and check out the Special Offers page for the latest deals.

    5. Join the Founders Club Premier program - Premier members get exclusive benefits in the hotel and a whole lot of free! Like FREE nights, FREE upgrades and a FREE park ticket to Dollywood or Dollywood’s Splash Country. This is obviously great for repeat visitors. Details can be found here.

    Bonus: Once you enter the park TXT Dollywood to 41411 and receive a special offer good that day. I discovered this tip on a sign at the Dollywood Express railroad station waiting area.

    Tips for Going to Dollywood With Kids

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    Interview with Barry Watson from Date My Dad

    While at the amazing blogging conference Mom 2.0 Summit I had the chance to interview actor Barry Watson.

    Known for his roles on 7th Heaven, What About Brian and Samantha Who? Barry is now taking on a new role in the upcoming series Date My Dad where he plays a widower raising three girls who try to fix him up. The heartwarming new family dramedy series premieres June 2 on UP TV.

    I've since watched a screener of the pilot episode and it's adorable. Everything I like in a TV movie, but made into a series.

    The show also stars Hollywood icon Raquel Welch as Barry's mother-in-law and as revealed in the below interview, Barry's real wife Natasha Gregson Wagner makes an appearance as one of the women he is set up with. How cute is that?

    While chatting with him I had to take the opportunity to mention that I was a fan of Samantha Who? and he revealed that he still keeps in touch with his former co-star Christina Applegate as well as other actors from 7th Heaven.

    Barry Watson interview on new UP TV show DATE MY DAD

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    7 Cool Things to do at Orchard Supply

    I recently attended the Noisiest Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Ever! Instead of snipping a traditional bow, Orchard Supply Hardware sawed a board in half to celebrate the grand opening of their 30,000 square foot store in Naples, Florida (3790 Tamiami Trail North). Video here.

    The West Coast lifestyle hardware & garden retailer is now available in locations throughout Florida and I'm loving all it has to offer.

    7 Cool Things To Do at Orchard Supply Hardware

    1.  If you buy a plant and a pot at Orchard Supply Nursery they will help pot it for you at their Potting Bench! Love this convenience and my fingernails do too. The nursery has over 100 different plant varieties at any given time to choose from including herbs and spices. I bought some spearmint to plant in my yard.

    2.  Get help for sick plants! I had an indoor Jade plant that started shedding it's plump leaves and a white film appeared on the branches. I thought maybe I was watering it too much and then maybe not enough. I moved it into the sun, I moved it out of the sunlight. No matter what I did, nothing helped. Fortunately, I brought my deteriorating plant with me to Orchard Supply and their gardening experts helped identify the real problem. The white fuzz webbing were actually microscopic Mealybugs. Eww! They recommended I spray their insecticide on it, repot it and wipe the pot clean inside and out.

    3.  The Workbench has neighbors covered on day-to-day maintenance like re-screening, knife sharpening (I need to do this!) and key duplication services.

    4.  The store also has a retro Sweet Shop with California's Red Vines and other treats and candies for purchase.

    5.  There is an aisle called What-Cha-Ma-Callits in the Nuts & Bolts section, lol.

    6.  Snag a FREE green apple 🍏   available for customers from their big wooden casks after checkout!

    7.  Buy reasonable home furnishings. I fell in love with several decorative pieces and cushions available. I couldn't help but pick up the pineapple candle holder below as I'm mad about all things pineapple. 🍍 I also purchased a garden cat sculpture too.

    7 Cool Things to do at Orchard Supply Hardware

    7 Cool Things to do at Orchard Supply Hardware

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