Dec 22, 2014

Phantom of the Opera on Tour.



A little #tbt for you...

One of the first things my mom noticed about me right after I was born was my long fingers. She knew her little girl would play the piano -- and she was right. I started at the ripe age of eight and played until I was sixteen.

They say you should live with no regrets.
Well, I live with one...
Looking back, I never would have given up letting my fingers dance across those beautiful keys. Yes, I am bragging, I was good. Music is definitely a niche of mine and was a big part of my life from the age of eight until eighteen.

Besides banging out the theme song to Mission Impossible, 
the music of Phantom of the Opera was my favorite.
"Think of Me"
"Angel of Music"
"The Phantom of the Opera"

I strongly disliked practicing. However, I loved to zealously play when my parents were not home. And I would even sing...
Oh, if the walls of our previous house could talk.
I would belt out those three songs (and others), while playing the piano -- my dogs were the only ones to experience those mini concerts.

Needless to say, experiencing the Broadway play, The Phantom of the Opera was more than just a night out embracing the arts.

Photo credit to: Straz Center
Words cannot do the set and stage justice. Each scene was elaborately decorated with detail; it was as though you stepped into nineteenth century Paris. The architecture of the staging and props combined with the intricacy of how the pieces moved from scene-to-scene was amazing.  There was one large circular piece used throughout the musical that allowed each scene to revolve into the next. 
It took us from the theater -- to the street -- 
-- to the dressing room -- to the Phantom's lair. 
Of course the costumes were at the same caliber; 
there was not one detail forgotten.

Photo credit to: Straz Center
I do not want to give too much away... but how can I not mention the music??
Since our seats were near the top, I was able to see into the orchestra pit and watch the conductor's every move. I still knew every word by heart and the talent exuded on stage was powerful. Each individual sang with such emotion and hit every note. I was thouroughly impressed with the soprano women & men who effortlessly jumped octaves without hesitation. 

The presence that was radiated from the stage gave you chills; it is amazing how a masterpiece written over one-hundred years ago and still make that impact. 

Obviously, I loved it. The music has always held a special place in my musical soul and it was amazing to finally experience it in it's true form, as the way Gaston Leroux &
Andrew Lloyd Webber intended... (giving both credit here; Gaston was the original writer & creator, ALW brought it to life and allowed it to receive the credit it deserved)
The entire company of The Phantom of the Opera did a phenomenal job with the production and the Straz Center was quite the exceptional host.

______________________________________
The Phantom of the Opera is currently at the Straz Center in beautiful downtown Tampa until January 4, 2015. It is a powerful performance and I highly recommend paying a visit. You can find out more information for dates by visiting here
______________________________________ 
 

#starstruckmoment -- Three members of the musical 'favorited' my tweet, pretty sweet! 



*As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I did receive complimentary tickets to attend The Phantom of the Opera at the Straz Center in exchange for my review and social media love. All opinions are my own. 

Dec 1, 2014

four things.



Happy belated Birthday to me! 
Yes, I said it. Don't you wish yourself a Happy Birthday?!?

My birthday was pretty awesome. 
Orange Theory to start. Jason kicked my butt. 
Taught Insanity & PiYo.
Chipotle for lunch.
Road trip to Melbourne. 
Dinner with Nanci, Corinna & Natalie
Dairy Queen Blizzard, yum!
Drinks on the beach with Nat.
Then up in the AM to cheer on my friends running the Space Coast 1/2 & Full Marathon!!



I'm really quite simple, lol. Give me Chipotle, some sand, a race atmosphere and my heart is happy. 

I was not tagged by anyone for this, but saw that the lovely & spunky Beth from Discom-BOB-ulated Running and I wanted to join!

4 Fun Facts

Four names that people call me other than my real name
  • Cait
  • Peach
  • YaYa 
  • CC (CeeCee)
Four jobs I've had
  • Sandwich maker @ meat shop in Plant City
  • Retail sales lead
  • Makeup Consultant 
  • Real estate assistant 
Four movies I've watched more than once
  • Despicable Me 
  • Sweet Home Alabama 
  • Nightmare Before Christmas
  • Punisher 
Four books I'd recommend, haha, let's do songs to shake your a$$ to...
  • GDFR
  • Uptown Funk
  • Booty
  • Blame
Four places I've lived
  • Carrollwood, Tampa, Florida 
  • Brandon, FL
  • Downtown Tampa, FL
  • Town n Country, Tampa, Florida -- notice a trend??
Four places I've visited
  • Germany 
  • Spain
  • Ireland 
  • Hawaii
Four places I'd rather be right now
  • The gym 
  • The beach 
  • Disney 
  • My bed. It's comfy.
Four things I don't eat
  • Lima beans 
  • Brussels sprout 
  • Asparagus 
  • Tofu
Four of my favorite foods
  • Chipotle 
  • Sushi
  • Eggs
  • Ice cream 
Four TV shows I watch
  • Gotham 
  • Flash 
  • Catfish, both dudes are hot 
  • WWE Divas, don't judge 
Four things I'm looking forward to next year
  • Spartan race: Tampa Sprint
  • Spartan race: Jacksonville Super
  • Spartan race: Carolina Beast
  • Grandma's Marathon in June
Four things I'm always saying
  • Yay! (Always as a text)
  • Seriously?!
  • Woohoo! 
  • Jes. It's more fun than saying yes. 
Four peeps I'm tag to answer these questions:
1. Nanci
4. Jackie 

Nov 28, 2014

a birthday post.

I expected 30 to be different.
Not gonna lie. 
I'm not disappointed at how my life has turned out, so don't take it that way :)
But...I anticipated things differently. And, that is how we get let down, damn expectations. 
If you asked me at 20, where I'd be at 30 -- a home, married, a little mini-me running around. 
However, I could not be more flabberghasted by what I'm about to type...
I'm a fitness instructor, able to travel, living life - my dream. Not many can say that.
Yes, there's still things I need to work on, but I definitely cannot complain. 

But back to 30. 
It's happening tomorrow. I have done a lot of thinking, and I have realized quite a few positives towards this new number.

Last year, on my birthday, I was all alone, sad, 
& threw myself quite the pity party. 
It sucked. Was my worst birthday to date. 
And entirely my fault. 

This year, I'm doing things different. 
I am doing my best to put all of my favorite things into one day.
Orange Theory.
Teach Insanity/PiYo.
Dinner with some amazing friends.
Then I get to watch those amazing friends complete their first marathon!

But back to 30.
If you follow me via social media -- you've seen what I've done ;)
I got a new tattoo. 



I have a drastic new hair color.


I even got a new piercing in my ear.
Sounds like a mid-life crisis?! 
NOPE!
Just finally being me. 

There is my biggest piece of advice. 
Be you. Unapologetically. 
Don't care about what others think.
Make you happy. 
Yes, easier said than done. 

But that is what I finally started to do...and couldn't be happier.

Happy 30! 


Sep 30, 2014

Spartan Race:::A Giveaway!

*disclaimer: I was contacted by Spartan Race to promote a few races, they supplied me with a free entry for a giveaway. 
All opinions are my own. 


Do you remember this post? 
I did a little mud run -- the only one to date. 
I kept my hands clean the entire time...
...didn't like the mud.
But powered through the obstacles and ended up having a blast.

However, I vowed to never do a mud race.Why?
I had this running thing down. I could run a half marathon on a whim and was going [at the time of this decision] was planning on having marathons under my belt. 

Fast forward to the present.
I have 20+ half marathon medals hanging in my room.
I've covered over 150 miles with six marathons. 
But I need more. I want more.
I'm about to hit the 'dirty thirty.' 
I want a new way to push myself and need a new goal to train towards.

Enough about me, onto Spartan Race

I was talking with a friend last week about Spartan Races.
[honestly] I had an epiphany. 
I was always under the impression that 'mud runs' were a 'show-off' race, only crazy peeps ran them. I could not have been more wrong -- I stand corrected.

When you participate in a Spartan Race, you're family. 
Yes, you're out there for yourself. 
Pushing your body to it's limits and shutting up your brain when pain may kick in. 
You could be marking off a bold item on your bucket list. 
Maybe someone dared you to sign up.
Celebrating an upcoming age... Or just to push yourself.

But you are out there for everyone else. 
To help them :: To push them :: To cheer them on :: To celebrate.

Unlike a typical road race -- which I've done so many of, completing an OCR is not just you against the clock. Yes, that clock is ticking, but that isn't the only thing on your mind.

And this is when I decided this would be my next endeavor. 

Here's what coming up next: 


The first Spartan Race is hitting Wisconsin in just four weeks! 
The Sprint will be held at Miller Park on Saturday, November 1, 2014. 



Heading south, you can mark two races off your list towards your Trifecta in Dallas. The Beast is Saturday, November 1 and the Sprint follows up on Sunday, November 2, 2014. 



Heading even deeper into the dirty south -- Mississippi is on deck with the Sprint distance. 

What the h___ is sprint, beast, whaaat??

Spartan Sprint
Sprint: 3+ miles and 15 obstacles
Super Spartan 
Super: 8+ miles and 20 obstacles
Spartan Beast 
Beast: 12+ miles and 25 obstacles
There's also the Ultra Beast and Death Race. 
My only response to the distances & obstacles was O.M.G.
Spartan Trifecta 

Lastly, the Trifecta.
You received this beauty & bragging rights for completing 
the Sprint, Super & Beast within a calendar year.

Feel inspired? Maybe a little crazy?
Wanna join me in Tampa next February when I run my first Spartan Race?
You can save $$ and register with: SPARTANBLOGGER

You can also register to win an entry!
The code will work one time for any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any Spartan Race in the continental US. 
You know what to do...


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Join them for their October Challenge, my personal favorite:

Where else you can find Spartan Race: 


*disclaimer: I was contacted by Spartan Race to promote a few races, they supplied me with a free entry for a giveaway. 
All opinions are my own. 

Sep 29, 2014

my new goals.

this is a different type of post -- bear with me. 

First and most important goal: become a badass. 

alis volat propriis.

#keepingitreal
For the last two years, life hasn't 100% made sense.
relationships [lack of]
my parents situation.
my brother with a heart of gold [and doesn't show it :-/ ]

However, I've been blessed...
my health. 
the love from my family.
my amazing friends.
my passion. 

There are many times you have to be stronger than you want to be. 
You gotta pick yourself up and keep moving. 
Life is too short to be held back.

Remember that life won't always make sense. 
Worry about you, make you happy. Live life with no regrets.

Be unapologetically you. 
Those friends that always love you, love them back. 
They're rare, so let them know they're special to you. 

Those people that have always had a special & certain place in your life, keep in touch. They're still in your life for some reason -- even if you never figure that out.

Now that I've stepped off my soap-box. 
I'm going outside of my box, like waaaay outside of it.
I'm getting my last tattoo.
I'm starting Orange Theory to get myself in the best shape by my 30th birthday.
And to be in the best shape for my students & classes
I've decided to do a mud run. Why? Because I said I'd never do one. 
I'm finally taking that CPT exam... 

*cheers* to my next two months! 


...and thanks for listening. I know this post is not typical from me. I don't show my feelings often and needed to get this off my chest -- and give myself my own pep talk! 

Sep 10, 2014

Best Damn Bachelorette.

Better late than never... 
And don't they say you save the best for last?  

As a Best Damn Race ambassador, it dawned on me that I still had not written a recap for BDR Safety Harbor -- and being apart of the BDR Bachelorette weekend!
*use code: CAITLYN for a discount!*

Patrick and Tori are one of the cutest couples I know. He proposed at the finish line of Ironman 70.3 Augusta, their engagement pictures involved a tri bike, and they broke through finish line tape to enter their reception
 (guys, propose to me at a finish line and I'm all yours, lol).

As you can tell, fitness & running are a big part of Patrick & Tori's life, so it only made sense that Tori included a race for her bachelorette weekend.

One of the things I love about BDR races are the distances.
They offer a 5k, 10k, the 5K/10K Challenge, and a half marathon -- participants of any fitness level can join! This attribute worked perfectly for that weekend; since not all of the ladies joining for the weekend are crazy runners like Tori, we had options with BDR.

The weekend started with a quaint dinner in Safety Harbor, 
fueling up for our race morning. 

For this particular race, I had decided to run the 5k and try for a PR. At the time, Tori was marathon training (the new husband and wife were running the Paris Marathon on their honeymoon), so her and a few other ladies started early with the half-marathon.

Getting to the race & parking was a breeze. So many of my friends run this race it was like one big [no alcohol] cocktail hour upon arriving. 
Ran into Denise & Jessica - both doing the 5K/10K Challenge
The buzz created by BDR that morning was exhilarating -- regardless of the time that morning, you were able to see runners made their final turn to the finish line. I chatted it up with these two ladies, checked my bag, and headed to the start line. 

I had been itching for a PR lately, so I gave it my best shot. 
Since you're on pins & needles, I'll save you -- I did not PR, but was close and had a good race. Finished in 28:05 with a 9:02 pace, and 9th in my age group; this is pretty stellar if you ask me! I typically cannot say that my place in age group is a single digit!

the finish shoot & my hair whipping in the wind with my speed...
 -photo cred to @insanemarathon-
Loved the course, as I knew I would; most of it was along the water and through the quaint neighborhoods of Safety Harbor. The water stops were positioned perfectly along the course and there were quite a few spectators & cheerers along the course too! 

And a 5K with a medal?! C'mon, what's not to love about BDR??


Ran into this pretty lady...
Who knew we'd be so alike and such good friends a few short months later??
And needless to say the Best Damn Bachelorette crew was pretty popular -- we even had some paparazzi! 
The BDR races worked out so well for all of the Bachelorette crew -- everyone had a fun race! We took full advantage of the after-party before lounging at the pool for the afternoon. 

Of course, even though we were all up early to run -- we clean up well! 
[I seem to be the only one that dislikes shirts]
The crew of ladies hit up Ybor for sushi & a few adult beverages.


My St Pete ladies, Rose & Meghan

*BACK.TO.THE.BASICS*
- Packet-pickup is super easy and convenient with multiple locations -
- Awesome bling for every race distance - 
- When registration opens, you can get in for as little as a $1! - 
- All over Florida, in chronological order: 
Cape Coral, Jacksonville, Safety Harbor & Orlando -
- It's a race by runners, for runners -
[confused on that last one? Do one and you'll see what I mean ;) ]
- Kick a$$ after party with music, food, drinks and vendors -
- Easy registration process - 
- You can find the rest here: www.bestdamnrace.com -


And I did save the best for last -- me & the beautiful bride.



Have you done a race with a wedding party?


Aug 26, 2014

Summer of Rum Festival: A Review

some yummy rum...
an overcast day...
live bands a'playing...
two awesome ladies as my companions for the day...

We may have been a couple drinks in ;)
That about sums up this year's Summer of Rum Festival
This year, it was held at the Cuban Club in Ybor -- I loved this location; they also had one road blocked off for the food truck vendors to get some action.

As you walked into the festival, you were welcomed by live bands, and multiple venues for some delightful rum concoctions. However, I was rolling VIP, so we made our way to the Cuban Club, and up to the fourth floor. 

The fourth floor is where the magic was happening; you were able to taste test a variety of rum -- straight & mixed. The floor was completely lined with different brands of rum, all chilled, and ready to be put to the test. 


We slurped our way around the tasting floor.

Some of my favorites were:
Naked Turtle Rum Shack
Florida Caribbean Distillers [they use home-grown Florida Cane Sugar. I spoke with one of the originators and he had oodles of knowledge for me, I love that they only use Florida Cane Sugar]
Blue Chair Bay [Kenny Chesney's rum; I tried the Coconut -- amazing, but for a lower calorie option, use their Premium Rum] 
Koloa [Rum for the Big Island of Hawaii, continuing my trend and tried the Coconut Rum, this one was my fave] 



Making our way around the tasting floor, 
there were so many flavorful options to pick from.
You could try it 
~straight~
~mixed~
~blended with coconut water~
...and even lemonade! 


*I loved the setup of the Cuban Club for the tasting and other amenities. The refreshing AC was welcomed and each floor had something different to entice your senses. The first floor had a DJ with dance floor and walk-up mini bars; one flight up was the theater, strategically playing was Pirates of the Caribbean {Jack Sparrow would have enjoy the Summer of Rum Festival!} The tasting floor was the grand finale.

Venturing outside and back out into the music & sunshine action, we made our way to the VIP tent & enjoyed five signature rum cocktails. The crowd favorite was the Appleton Planter's Punch - a tangy mix of fruit & of course rum! 


A variety of musicians made their way across the stage -- five different bands carried their tunes into the evening. We took advantage of the Food Truck lineup and other vendors for some extra rum liquid-awesome. 

*Overall, an awesome event. The weather was perfect (the sun spared us by being overcast), there was able entertainment, the rum kept a'flowin and was delicious. My only suggestion (which I have already sent their way) was more seating -- this would have made it easier to stay longer and enjoy the Food Truck goodness. I felt it was well-organized and my guests & I had an enjoyable time! 

Did you miss the fun? There is one more event by Big City Events in December...
The Bourbon & Brew Fest is coming on December 6th! Keep an eye out for upcoming information!


What is your favorite to enjoy Rum?


*As a member of the Tampa Bay Bloggers, I did receive complimentary tickets to the Summer of Rum Festival in exchange for some awesome blog posts and sharing the info for the upcoming festival. All opinions are my own.