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When Tara Met Blog



Celebrating 13 Years Blogging!



Last Build Date: Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:49:25 +0000

 



Rum Distillery Guide for Southwest Florida

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 16:23:00 +0000

Florida might be known for its craft beer breweries, but it also has its share of craft rum distilleries too. Really good ones.Why? Like Caribbean rum, the sub-tropical temperature is ideal and Florida has plenty of locally grown sugar and molasses too.Distillery lineup of Mr. Tom's Spirits in Fort Myers, FloridaBest of all, you can try FREE samples for tasting, get a tour of the facilities and learn about the process of how the drink is made from aging to bottling. You can also purchase your favorite bottle after without the liquor store markup. It's a great place to take visiting friends and family or to spend a Saturday afternoon.We did a tour of all three distilleries for my 35th birthday (make sure you have a designated driver). Cheers!Below is your guide to the distilleries of Southwest Florida:Alligator Bay Rum, Punta Gorda, Florida  allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhelloswfl%2Fvideos%2F1901024623559145%2F&show_text=0&width=560" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" width="560">www.alligatorbaydistillers.comTip: This brother-run distillery is near the Punta Gorda airport off of 75. It's charming and chill. I love sipping their award-winning Dark Rum and their Gold Rum the best.List Distillery - Mr. Tom's Spirits, Fort Myers, Florida Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Gin, Liqueurs and Herbal src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhelloswfl%2Fvideos%2F1906761732985434%2F&show_text=0&width=560" width="560" height="315" style="border:none;overflow:hidden" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowTransparency="true" allowFullScreen="true">www.listdistillery.comTip: Their setup is the real deal and I love their logo & branding. My favorites are their cream liquors and key lime vodka. Their is a charge however for their tours & tastings and reservations are required, but they often run Groupon specials.Wicked Dolphin Distillery, Cape Coral, Florida allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="315" scrolling="no" src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhelloswfl%2Fvideos%2F1842485399413068%2F&show_text=0&width=560" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" width="560">www.wickeddolphinrum.comTip: Loved their Coconut Rum and don't worry it's not like the cheaper Malibu you might have tried in college.[...]



5 Easy Tips for Staying Fit While on a Cruise

Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:44:00 +0000

Cruises get a bad rap when it comes to food and gaining weight. People often joke that you come off weighing more than you did when you went on.You may be picturing cattle lines to the buffet, but that's an outdated image. You can actually be quite active while on a cruise.I've gone on 10 and 15-day cruises and have been able to maintain my current weight and still have fun... and eat extremely well by following these five simple rules.5 Easy Tips for Not Gaining Weight on a Cruise & Still Have FunTake the stairs, no matter if you're going up or down one deck or eight. Bonus, you'll avoid the lines and waiting around for an elevator to arrive and get a workout in the process.Book adventurous shore excursions. From hiking to biking there are more options than just going around on a motor bus. During an Alaskan cruise, we had an amazing tour on kayaks where we spotted bald eagles, saw a salmon hatchery and more. We definitely earned our dinner that day. With Princess Cruises, each shore excursion lists the activity level from easy, moderate to difficult.Kayaking in AlaskaHave breakfast in bed and skip the buffet. To avoid temptation, we fill out the breakfast card in our cabin the night before and hang it on our stateroom door for a healthy meal to be delivered to our room in the morning. The choices on the card usually are minimal and include things like yogurt, cereal, and fresh fruit. We also use this delivery as our wakeup call each morning. Take advantage of a continental breakfast in bedRoom service on cruises are typically free, so why not take advantage? You can order a pot of tea or coffee too and have it on your balcony if you have one. Same goes for lunch. Instead of an over the top buffet, we usually go for another lunch option in the cafe, dining room or the grill area if they have it. When we have less options, we tend to not overeat. Plus, the dinner buffet is usually the best, but even then we tend to opt for eating in the dining room for a more luxurious and fine dining experience.Do a lap or two around the walking track at sunrise or sunset. It's great for breathing in the fresh sea air, taking photos, and can help those feeling seasickTake in the views from the walking and jogging trackGo to the gym on at-sea days. The funny thing is that I don't hit the gym when I'm at home, but I do while cruising. It's usually never crowded and peddling on an elliptical that looks over the ocean isn't much of a hardship.  [...]



Techlicious Smart Tech Product Preview

Wed, 26 Apr 2017 03:10:00 +0000

Heading over to the other coast of Florida for a Lunch & Learn event in Miami with Techlicious and Consumer Tech Association, a group of 25 bloggers and I gathered to discuss how technology is helping make our lives and our homes better. I love tricking out my home with smart home tech, so this was right up my alley.All attendees received a TP-Link Smart Home LED Light Bulb to control your lighting from anywhere via an app. I'm proud to say that I installed it myself and it took not much more effort than screwing in a standard light bulb. I just had to take the additional step of downloading the free Kasa app first and connecting the unit to my home Wi-Fi.From the app I could turn the color of the light from a cool to warm setting. I preferred the soft warm yellow light over the clear, crisp white coloring for the living room where I put it in. You can also control the brightness from 5%, 50% to 100% intensity. As well as set schedules to turn on and off, which is great for when I'm traveling and want to appear at home. You can track power too and monitor real-time energy used to stay better informed on usage.However, it's supposed to work with Amazon's Alexa too, but although I was able to add the skill, my Alexa device did not discover or recognize the smart home device :( Overall though, I've very happy with the product, especially considering that it lasts for up to 22 years and the reasonable price of only $19.99-$34.99 depending on which model you purchase.    frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=tarablog-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B01HXM8XF6&asins=B01HXM8XF6&linkId=7ddcf74aa133d1a2086b84d80a76e4e2&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;"> frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=tarablog-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B01HXM8XHO&asins=B01HXM8XHO&linkId=982bd68f3dcfbda67c79341cf2c6500a&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;">The big scene stealer though were the fashionable tech bags on display from Knomo, especially their Beauchamp Backpack great for the everyday commuter toting gadgets. Sleek and durable, this backpack is splash-resistant, made of finely woven premium nylon, complemented by leather trimmings. Inside, a padded laptop section fits up to a 14-inch laptop, keeping your computer safe and separate from your other possessions. In front, there is an easy-access pocket with two zippers; the right has an anti-RFID lining, perfect for protecting you from digital theft. A second hidden pocket in front is perfect for storing cables and cards. The inner lining is also red!! LOVE! frameborder="0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=tarablog-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00LXT3RZC&asins=B00LXT3RZC&linkId=693b53ebb13559a851c505ac79110aa8&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true" style="height: 240px; width: 120px;">Another new product that I was introduced to were AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Bone conduction Bluetooth headphones, which delivers music through your cheekbones, ensuring ears remain completely open to hearing ambient sounds too. Great for joggers to hear tunes, but to stay safe too. It sits in front of your ear and not in it or on it, resting just b[...]



Mama's Got A Brand New Gig

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 13:32:00 +0000

(image) I'm excited to share that I now have a part-time gig as a Multimedia Journalist for the new E.W. Scripps publication HelloSWFL.com :)

I'll be covering the parenting beat for the local Southwest Florida area and am doing a lot of on-camera work, as well as blogging and behind the scenes producing too.

It's only been a month, but I'm enjoying being part of a newsroom again, especially one willing to experiment. I also like that it's given me the opportunity to better explore the communities around me and to discover new spots and activities while sharing my experiences with visitors.

Take a look:

allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hfXjMT3rdhs" width="560"> allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OdiQDldRnzU" width="560">
allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/xJd0xGO-Ti4" width="560"> allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Lcu9On-T94M" width="560">

What do you think?

Besides HelloSWFL and blogging here, you can also catch my adventures at TravelingMom and Huffington Post.