the city of lakes

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Did you know Orlando is known as the "City of Lakes"? Did you also know Orlando is only like 30 minutes from the closest beach? I didn't. Geography has never been my strongest suit (although I'd love to go to every single place on the map!), so I learned a couple factoids on my trip to Orlando this past weekend.

Saturday was the final Taste of the Nation event for my region, and it happened to be in the home of Harry Potter world and those famous mouse ears. My manager, Jamie, and I didn't have time to visit any of the parks, but we did go to Downtown Disney on Friday night. We had dinner at House of Blues and the food was surprisingly good. I had prepped myself for stupid, touristy food. After dinner, we headed to the Boardwalk and checked out Jellyrolls Dueling Piano Bar before heading back to the hotel.


Random side story. Jamie and I went to Arby's for lunch on Friday. They happen to be a huge Share Our Strength supporter (so go eat their food!!), and I noticed they had one of our stickers in the drive-thru. Obviously, I had to take a picture, but it ending up being the world's worst angle for the teller. Sorry, lady!



Ok, back to the main event. Here's a quick rundown on Taste of the Nation Orlando that I wrote for our team's newsletter. It pretty much sums it up, so rather than re-explaining, here you go!


Taste of the Nation Orlando celebrated its 23rd anniversary by raising a record-breaking $240,000 – up 45%! The silent auction alone grew 16% and attendance was well over 2,000. Senator Bill Nelson and his wife, Grace, were in attendance as Grace works closely with one of our beneficiaries, Florida Impact. One of our other beneficiaries, Coalition for the Homeless, put together this 'thank you' video. Just another reminder why I love my job.  I get to help countless children gain access to healthy food.

Jamie tested out an auction item during set-up. 



We had a man on stilts welcoming guests.


Cadillac is our vehicle sponsor in Atlanta and Florida. I have seriously never seen a car so shiny in my life. This picture does it no justice.


We also had two Caddies outside of the ballroom, and this one held the amount of food one ticket can purchase. Pretty impressive, huh?


Celeste, Me, Senator Bill Nelson, Grace Nelson, Jamie
(And yes, that's a stain down the front of my dress. AWESOME.)


Me and Jamie post-event. We did it!

Needless to say, the event was a fabulous success!

I was able to spend all day Sunday with my good friend, Barbara, who moved back home to Orlando last year. We had such an amazing time, and it made me miss her even more! 

After receiving a full-on tour of Orlando (courtesy of Barb), we headed to Winter Park to kick off our Sunday Funday. By the way, Orlando and Winter Park are both such cute cities! I bet I'm not the only one who thinks of Disney when I hear Orlando, but there's really so much more to it. Disney techinically isn't even in Orlando. LOVED it. 

Our first stop was Dexter's. 

Blueberry and Raspberry mimosas - yum!


Round 3! Pineapple/Mango mimosas.


After a yummy brunch and numerous mimosas, we headed to The Wine Room. Holy cow, someone get one (or ten) of these in Atlanta! It's basically a huge room of wine taps and you use your pre-loaded card to fill 'er up.


Coolest idea, ever.




We tweeted this picture to Bethenny Frankel since we're drinking Skinny Girl, but didn't hear back. RUDE.


We made a pit stop at her apartment before we headed to the airport, and I got to catch up with Sam! Isn't he adorable? He's a Chihuahua/Yorkie mix.


What a FAB weekend! We raised a record amount of money to help feed children in Central Florida, and I got to spend a wonderful day with an old friend. I'll take it!


Did you also know Orlando isn't full of overweight people wearing short shorts? Turns out, those people tend to stay around Disney World. 

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