Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

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For the last day of our Zumba Convention road trip, we originally planned to just hit the road straightaway. But, after getting rained out the day before, we decided to spent just a short time at the beach before heading home.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

The Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort is beautiful, and of course the weather was just perfect on the day we were leaving. From the beach to the pools, I definitely want to come back here!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

We decided to hit up the Omni’s Sunrise Café for a quick breakfast. I had no intentions of getting the breakfast buffet, but I decided to take a look at it out of curiosity. The Omni’s breakfast buffet turned out to be the best breakfast buffet I think I’ve seen, mostly because of all of the health-conscious options, homemade goodies, and local choices. I had to try it!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Look at this cool honeycomb contraption.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

The honey drips down and into this little jar. I took a small spoonful to put on top of some oatmeal. I love honey in oatmeal.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Do you see what I see? Almond milk, Chobani, and another great yogurt option. I don’t see these options often…maybe it’s where I live and travel, but still. I was impressed.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{Healthy dried fruit cereal toppings}

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{Homemade granola – nice!}

I added some of the homemade granola to my plate to taste. It was delicious!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I wanted a little bit of everything on this line of hot food, but I was short on stomach space. I did try the grits, which came from the Carolinas!

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Steel cut oatmeal is always a nice touch in my opinion. They had some great toppings just next to the big pot of oats, including some whole pecans.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

If I remember correctly, many of these breads are baked on site.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I think they made some of the jams, too.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{Pastries and specialty butters}

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

One of the best features of the Sunrise Café is that it’s on the beach side of the Omni Amelia Island, so you get a great view of the ocean…and if you wake up early enough – the sunrise.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Sarah got the French toast, which looked absolutely delicious and came with some sort of peach topping.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I didn’t take pictures of it, but there was also a cool omelet bar where you could get some great mixins, including local shrimp. I went for spinach, ham, cheddar cheese, and onions.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I only wished I had room to eat more. Everything looked so delicious.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

{The view from our hotel room}

After a quick change, we headed to the beach.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

I loved the canopy-covered beach chairs.

The beach was lovely – the sand, the breeze, the water! It was tough to leave, but soon enough, it was time to head home.

Omni Amelia Island and Sunrise Café

And I used one of the beach photos to create a quote graphic with a line from one of my favorite songs.

With our 2014 Zumba Convention road trip done, I was feeling very thankful for the whole experience. Everything happened so fast, it was almost like a dream. I did my best to enjoy every moment, and there were many to love.

Until next year!

Check out my other 2014 Zumba Convention Road Trip Posts:

Thanks for reading!

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

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After leaving Zumba Convention 2014, we headed north towards the last stop of our 2014 Zumba Convention road trip – Fernandina Beach, FL, which is on Amelia Island. We decided to stay at one of the hotels I’d researched previously – the Omni Amelia Island Plantation Resort.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

We’d planned to spend some QT on the beach, but almost as soon as we went out on the sand, a huge storm rolled in and we got rained out. So, we headed back to the room to plan dinner. We had no reservations at the time, so we had plenty of options to choose from. I remembered enjoying all the restaurants hubby and I had visited the year before in the downtown area of Amelia Island. But, with the storm going on, we decided to stay on the Omni grounds. They Omni had a sprawling area of restaurants, shops, and activities. I hadn’t realized how much the Omni had to offer until we got there. Bonus – everything was available via a free shuttle bus.

After researching the Omni restaurants, we decided to check out Verandah Restaurant since they were the one with the signature of using local ingredients. After experiencing dinner there, I can say we made the right choice.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

One of the things that drew me to their menu was their cocktail menu. They had some really unique combinations. I tried the Stormy Chai, which was really refreshing.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

Sarah and I spotted several things we wanted to try on Verandah’s regular menu, but we couldn’t pass on the Verandah Sunday Supper – multiple courses for only $24. It was a steal.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

We started with Verandah Restaurant’s house cornbread, yeast rolls, and signature corn coup. The bread came with butter with black salt on top, which was a luxurious and flavorful touch. I remembered seeing the corn soup on the menu and thinking it sounded interesting but not like something I would normally order. I would have been mistaken for not trying this one. It was delicious. I loved everything about it – the flavor, the texture, the creaminess, and how you could dunk pieces of the cornbread into the soup (a tip from our awesome waiter).

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

The simple salad (succotash greens, and red wine vinaigrette) was light but tasty. The succotash seemed like another signature item, so I was glad we got to try it. Succotash seems like one of those things that can often be overcooked, but this was version was nice and crisp-tender.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

The real statement came with the next course. The main dishes were stacked on cylindrical pieces of wood for a beautiful presentation. The sides were served just in front. Everything tasted as good as it looked. For the sides, we had: mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts. At the top, you see local fried shrimp and pimento cheese hush puppies (oh yes, they went there!). The mains were pepper crusted steak and mahi mahi.

Upon ordering, our waiter told us the steak would be served medium rare. I know it’s not very foodie, but I like my steak medium well thanks to growing up eating steak cooked well done. Medium to medium well is about as rare as I get these days, though I’m working on going more rare. Since our waiter didn’t ask us how we wanted the steak, I figured I should just roll with it. I’m glad I did. I’ve had steak accidentally cooked less than medium before, and I wasn’t a fan. But this steak was perfect just like the chef made it. It was tender and delicious. Yup, Verandah’s chef made me like medium rare steak.

Sarah and I thoroughly enjoyed working our way through all the other dishes. We were at a food party, and we were partying hard, enjoying each and every bite.

Verandah Restaurant, Amelia Island

We were stuffed after the previous course, but we had to make room for dessert – banana pudding. I was glad this dessert was on the light side since I was already trying to figure out the best way to roll myself out of the restaurant. The banana pudding was the cherry on top of this fantastic meal. Somehow, we had little trouble finding space for this tasty dessert.

Before I wrap this post, I have to add that we loved the ambiance and service of Verandah. Our waiter took great care of us and the feel of the restaurant was upscale but still relaxed and somewhat casual – a tough balance. We liked how the restaurant was surrounded by lots of greenery. Sitting by the window, you almost felt like you were dining in a garden.

From the excellent service to the delicious food, we really enjoyed our dinner experience at Verandah Restaurant. The Sunday Supper is a great deal I recommend taking advantage of if you’re in the area and they’re still offering it. But, I’d absolutely come back here on any other night, deal or no deal, just to enjoy the food and overall dining experience.

Check out my other 2014 Zumba Convention Road Trip Posts:

Next time – my ideal breakfast buffet and a couple beach photos!

Roy’s Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

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At last year’s Zumba Convention, my friend Sarah and I visited one of my favorite restaurants, Roy’s, where they feature Hawaiian fusion cuisine. The experience was so good, we said we wanted to come back and do it all again next year. And we did!

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

This year, we had some special guests!

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

We weren’t kidding about getting all of the same things this year. We started with Roy’s signature pineapple martinis.

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

And I still love their take on edamame. The simple addition of a spice blend, shichimi togarashi, really amps up the flavor.

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

{Lobster dumplings to share}

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

I got the “Teppanyaki Shrimp” with togarashi noodles, sambal, tomato, garlic, thai Basil, and asparagus. It was just as good as last year!

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

Though Roy’s still had the pineapple upside down cake we ordered last year, we opted to try the molten cake, which was so delicious! We loved it!

Roy's Orlando {Zumba Convention Road Trip 2014}

Not only did we get to do dinner with our dance friends from back home, Angie and Jennie, one of my best friends, Serena (who was a co-maid of honor in my wedding!) met us for dinner, too! I hadn’t seen Serena in too long so it was great to catch up with her in person!

Although the Zumba Convention schedule is crazy-busy and oftentimes a little hectic, I was really thankful that we were able to break away for a dinner out with great food and fabulous company. Serena – I need to come to Florida again soon! Just a little further south next time! ;)

Back to the Zumba Convention posts after this – one more ZinCon to go and one more road trip post left!

Check out my other Zumba Convention 2014 Posts:

Thanks for reading!

Meaty Pizza and Vegan Dessert

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Hubby and I had a great date night on Friday…

Brixx Pizza

We wanted to take Bailey with us, so we hit up Brixx since we knew we could bring him to their patio. We split a spinach salad (that’s half pictured!) and a pizza. We shared a half BBQ chicken and half 4×4 (4 meats and 4 cheeses). We also tried a couple new beers with a beer flight. Brixx has my favorite version of BBQ chicken. I know they didn’t invent it, but I really like their take on it. I compare all other BBQ chicken pizzas to theirs. We’d never tried the 4×4 before, but hubby especially loved it. I enjoyed it, too, but like I said…nothing beats their BBQ chicken for me.

Lunas Living Kitchen Patio

I’ve been wanting to check out Luna’s Living Kitchen‘s new location but just haven’t made it there for whatever reason. We decided to check it out for dessert since I love the sweets there so much. I wasn’t sure if their patio was pet-friendly, but lucky for us, it was! I’ve been frequenting Atherton Mills for several years now, and it’s really nice to see it filling out (especially since it’s with some of my favorite places in town).

Lunas Living Kitchen Menu

It looks like Luna’s has pared down their dessert menu. I think they used to have 5-6 options, but they’re now down to 3. Luckily, two of my faves are still there: the cheesecake and chocolate pudding.

Dulce de Amor Lunas Living Kitchen

I’d never seen the third before, but we decided to try it – the Dulce de Amor. It was four layers of awesomeness. I think it’s a great addition to their dessert menu. Yum!

A latte sounded great, but they didn’t have any decaf espresso beans. But, they did tell me they could add steamed milk to their brewed decaf coffee. That sounded like a great idea, so I ordered one made with coconut milk. I didn’t even know you could steam coconut milk. You can, and it’s good!

Hope you all had a great weekend!

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I’ve been trying to beat the August 12th deadline for the 20% discount code that Spreadshirt is currently offering by getting as many of my designs out of my head and into The Chic Life shop. I’ve added a couple new designs (“Shop Local” and “CHIC”), plus some new products with the existing designs. I’ve had some requests for more designs on the wide neck sweatshirt (pictured above) which looks like it fits in a cute, off-the-shoulder-look. Can’t wait to get one of those myself!

I’ve been pouring lots of hard work and love into the t-shirt shop, so I hope you guys like it! I’m learning all kinds of stuff about the shop, Spreadshirt (in general), and graphic design. Oh, and FONTS! I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent researching fonts. They’re so important, and I kind of enjoy looking through them all anyways in a font-geek kind of way. It’s all a true labor of LOVE!

Click here to check out my t-shirt shop. Use code SUMMER14 till August 12th for 20% off orders over $30.

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Thanks for reading!

Food Dudes, Bonnie’s Bagels, Rundown Cafe {Outer Banks, NC}

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While Duck, NC wasn’t terribly far from our beach house and I loved our visit to the area, here are some of my favorite restaurants from the more central Outer Banks, NC area, which was closer to our beach house: Food Dudes, Bonnie’s Bagels, and Rundown Cafe.

Food Dudes - Outer Banks, NC

We went out to Food Dudes (link is to their Facebook Page) to celebrate my nephew’s birthday. This restaurant is in a tiny strip mall area on a road next to the beach in Kill Devil Hills, NC. The restaurant has a great, casual beach shack kind of feel. The upside is the food is delicious and the service is really friendly. The downside is that the inside of the restaurant is tiny. I think I counted about five four-top tables, plus a bar with about 8-10 seats. If you can get a seat here, it’s worth it! We tried a couple appetizers, which the whole family loved. I especially liked the cold shrimp rolls, which were really refreshing. For my entree, I had the mahi mahi plate. Our waitress even told me the fish was local! Major bonus points! It certainly tasted fresh, and I loved the crispy breading on the outside. The plate also came with a spicy slaw and waffle fries. I had hard cider to drink. This was one of the meals I thought about a couple times over the trip. I found myself wanting to go back to enjoy it again, it was that good!

Bonnie's Bagels - Outer Banks, NC

As you guys know, I’m a big fan of bagels, so I was thrilled to find a bagel shop baking fresh bagels close to our beach house – Bonnie’s Bagels in Kitty Hawk, NC.

Bonnie's Bagels - Outer Banks, NC

Bonnie’s Bagels had many stellar reviews online, so I was excited to check the place out. The restaurant definitely had a laid back feel. I even saw one surfer dude come in without shoes to order take-out! In addition to bagels, they offer a variety coffees and lattes, which the online reviews said were great. Paired with wi-fi, this could be a fun place to hang out if you’re looking for a coffee and wi-fi spot. I thought about coming back here myself to do some blog work.

Bonnie's Bagels - Outer Banks, NC

We ordered bacon, egg, and cheese bagels on whole wheat everything with a cinnamon bun. The sandwiches were delicious. You wouldn’t think that such a sandwich would be that special since you can get one almost anywhere, but I really liked Bonnie’s Bagels take on it. They had to-order fried eggs with just the right amount of salt on top, and the cheese was melted right into the bagel. It was delicious all the textures were spot on. If only I had one right now to enjoy whilst writing this blog post before work! The cinnamon bun was great, too. The layers were thick in size, but light in bite. Good thing we only got one to share, though. It was big!

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

We hit up the Rundown Cafe and Tsunami Bar in Kitty Hawk, NC for lunch one day. This restaurant had a great, playful atmosphere.

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

I love how creative they got with the anti-slippage tape on the steps (at least that’s what it looks like it is!).

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

We opted to eat upstairs, which is where the tsunami bar is. We almost ate outside, but it was pretty warm.

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

Look at the view, though!

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

Hubby started with the Rundown Soup (Their namesake soup – a traditional jamaican soup of fish, coconut milk, onions, tomatoes & yams).

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

Hubby had the fish bites for his entrée.

Rundown Cafe - Outer Banks, NC

Even though it was hot outside, it was cool inside, and I was feeling soup. I had the fish pho with grilled mahi mahi (which I could have gotten blackened if I wanted it more spicy). The soup came with sriracha and hoisin sauce on the side, which were great additions to the already flavorful soup to switch up the taste a little. The bowl was huge, and I just kept eating and eating it. This was easy to do because it was so tasty. I really enjoyed every bite. It was fun to get a little bit of each of the components in each bite…or to try to, at least! There was a lot of stuff in there: rice noodles, mushrooms, lettuce, green onions, sprouts, and of course the fish. I really enjoyed this soup. I loved all the ingredients, and the broth was really flavorful.

Duck Donuts - Outer Banks, NC

We found a Duck Donuts right down the street from Rundown Cafe, so we had to bring a box back to share with the family after lunch. Mmm…

Check out my other Outer Banks blog posts:

Thanks for stopping by! Do you have any favorite restaurants in the Outer Banks? Leave me a comment with your tips!

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

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Of all the places I visited in the Outer Banks, Duck, NC was my favorite. The two-lane street that takes you from one area to another in the OBX meanders through the cute cluster of restaurants and shops of Duck. I liked that it seemed less commercialized than some of the other areas. When we passed through, there were pedestrians galore with dozens of people on the sides of the street (I don’t remember seeing sidewalks). It made me want to spend more time exploring the eateries and coffee shops there. We decided to visit AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts on the way to the beach house.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant is right on the sound, and their porch area is pet-friendly. You also get a great view of the water and the sunset if you go at the right time.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

To drink, I ordered the HOOKED ON QUACK – Malibu Mango, Malibu Coconut & Fresh Juices. It was perfect for lunch on the water.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

I had a salad with heirloom tomatoes to start.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

And for my main dish, I had the crab cake salad with house-cut fries. The sandwich was so delicious, and I loved that the fries had the perfect sprinkle of salt on top.

We had a great lunch at AQUA Restaurant, and the service was wonderful, too! I could see myself eating here multiple times if I were staying a little closer. I also want to take a trip to the spa one day!

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

Look how cute Duck, NC is! We took a stroll down the road to get a quick dessert.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

We visited Duck Donuts.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

At the Duck, NC location (there are a couple in the Outer Banks), you order on one side of the building and pick up on the other. If you’re looking for a large display of donuts, you won’t find one. They make all their donuts to order.

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts {Duck, NC}

The donuts were served nice and hot. Hubby got cinnamon sugar, and I got chocolate glazed with rainbow sprinkles. These were delicious and reminded me a bit of those mini doughnuts you can sometimes get at street fairs…but bigger and better!

We had a great time eating at AQUA Restaurant and Duck Donuts. I definitely recommend both if you’re ever in the Outer Banks.

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