Orlando, Florida: What to Eat, Where to Stay, What to Do

So my husband and I got to attend DEMA (Diver’s Equipment & Marketing Association) 2017, Go Dive Now. This is a yearly show that bounces between Las Vegas and Orlando, although I’ve heard a rumor that they are adding New Orleans into the mix in a couple years. But this was the year that DEMA was in Orlando. That means we hopped a plane with Deb and Grady and flew to Orlando, Florida.

Where to Eat

The first question is…. Where to eat in Orlando. Oh gosh. We were there at the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive. Let me just tell you there were gobs of GREAT places to eat, but here’s what we chose… And let’s just say, YUM!

Dunkin Donuts

7440-A International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

We actually had a Dunkin Donuts almost right outside our hotel room. Not quite but pretty darn close. In fact, we had a lot of breakfast places right in that area. The first day we were there, hubby and I chose to walk here and get breakfast. Good choice!

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Super 8 {Metropolis, IL}

Last month we went to Mermet Springs to SCUBA dive. Mermet Springs is about 10 miles from Metropolis, Illinois. Now Metrpolis, Illinois is just across the river from Paducah, Kentucky, so that’s how we wound up going eating in both Metropolis, Illinois as well as Paducah, Kentucky. But where did we stay, because obviously we didn’t sleep in our truck, right? I’m so glad you asked where we stayed. We stayed at the Super 8 in Metropolis.

A few years ago we tried staying in another hotel and were kicked out at 2am. Why we were kicked out, well we were asleep so it’s not like we did anything. It was a screwy deal that I’d rather not rehash. But when we needed a place to stay at 2am, the Super 8 took us in with open arms. And I’d like to note that the hotel that kicked us out, the last 2 years we’ve been there, they haven’t had any cars in their parking lot. How they stay in business I’m not really sure.

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Monroe/West Monroe, LA: TownePlace Suites by Marriott

Abug and I got an opportunity to head to Monroe/West Monroe, Louisiana last Monday, and we took the opportunity. This is driving down I-49 through Arkansas just south of Fayetteville.

She is the best traveler. She just naps. When she’s not napping, she’s usually happy as a lark. I think out of the 14+ hours in a car (total both ways) we had one melt down.

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Hotel Cozumel & Resort, Cozumel México

Oh my goodness, this hotel was so awesome! Deb and Grady definitely didn’t steer us wrong! This is a view of the lobby. Seriously, the lobby!

As we were checking in, they brought us this drink. I’m not really sure what it was, although I do know that it was virgin (aka no alcohol). It had a pineapple taste and it was good and interesting! At check in they took a copy of a credit card and a copy of our passport or our drivers license. And then we were off to our room. Hubby left me to get the luggage to the room while he and Grady went off to get weights for our shore dive that afternoon, but we had a bell hop to help with that. I was so lost though so Deb took me under her wing, thankfully!

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Mother’s Day

Since becoming a mother, I’ve not had a normal Mother’s Day yet. With Tbug I never got to have her Mother’s Day, although her mom did share her a couple Mother’s Day mornings. With Abug, I’ve had her the whole day, no questions asked! but still have yet to have a common Mother’s Day :).

This year proved no different. I actually got my Mother’s Day present the day before because it was a graduation/Mother’s Day present. I got a Nikon AW130 underwater camera. It’s awesome! I had the AW100, but this one goes further down and it has built in wifi. Very cool!

We bought our Mother’s presents so we made sure to pack them up in bags with tissue paper and take them around to the mother’s.

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Here’s a Story of a Trip to Mermet

Put the title to the theme of the Brady Bunch tune!

Yes, yes I just said that.

Last Thursday after I got out of class, we had plans to meet up with some friends and head to Mermet Springs for a weekend of scuba diving.

When I left the school I was supposed to be reading/listening to The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and all I could do was sing the Brady Bunch Theme Song.

When I got to Jared and Karen’s house, I mentioned that and the rest of the weekend, EVERYONE was singing it. We met up with a bunch of friends at Mermet Springs (Metropolis, IL) and they got involved singing it. Craziness!

Half of the larger group left different times on Thursday, the rest left on Friday. We left around 11:30 so we didn’t have to haul tail to get there.

Once we got to Springfield, everyone in our truck (there were 6 of us… Hubby, Jared, Karen, Memaw, Abug and me) was hungry. I started listing different restaurants we could eat at. Eventually we chose Red Robin, YUMMMMMM! 🙂

Now our trip was 6ish hours and I drank at least 2 glasses of Sweet Tea. Not my smartest move :).

Now unless people are just meeting me for the first time, they’ve learned that I take pictures of everything. But I tried not to get on people’s nerves this trip so I mainly just stuck to pictures of my food and/or hubby’s food. I just try not to annoy people too much. Just because I like blogging and pictures doesn’t mean others do…

I went with the The Southern Charm burger. Black Angus patty glazed with brown sugar and topped with candied bacon, honey BBQ sauce, sharp Cheddar and caramelized onions on a toasted Ciabatta bun… although they were out of ciabatta buns so I got it on a jalapeño bun. I got a side of Parmesan Fries. Squirrely girly loved the fries. I couldn’t get her to eat hamburger though. Some days you pick your battles :).

Hubby went with the Burnin’ Love. Topped with fried jalapeño coins, salsa, Pepper-Jack, lettuce, tomatoes and chipotle aioli on a jalapeño-cornmeal kaiser roll. It’s love at first bite. He went with a side of Sweet Potato Fries. I should have tried a bite but didn’t get to. He liked it though so that’s really what matters!!

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Pensacola Beach: Holiday Inn Resort

Oh hi, I’m home from vacation. Oh… you didn’t know I was on vacation? Well, I may have kind of omitted that. I didn’t want someone to break into my house while I was gone…. haha! Yeah, we’ll go with that. Or maybe I was a little worried to wish my summer away to get to vacation because that means I’m just days away from school starting and I’m really worried about that to be honest with you! Either way, whatever, I’m home!

I only took a little over 500 photos in 5 days. That’s basically a little over 100/day on average. Definitely less than the 2,500 photos we took in Hawaii, but as I continue to weed through the photos… I’ll leave you with the hotel we stayed at while on vacation.

When our plane arrived we had a car service waiting on us to pick us up and take us to the hotel. My parents were on a different flight and they had to pick up the rental car, the rental car company wouldn’t allow us to, so that’s when hubby and my mom found this company and had a service waiting to pick us up. I would definitely recommend if you need a ride from the airport via a car service to use Pensacola Airport Shuttle.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Resort. It was great.

Our room was on the 8th floor. There were 3 elevators so we rarely had to wait long for one. We were up high enough we had a pretty darn good view. And the hotel has 11 floors. Some rooms are Ocean side with balcony’s, the others are bay side with just a normal window view. We were bay side. Hey we weren’t in our room all that much!

On our trip was my parents, my grandma, my mother in law, hubby, Tbug, Abug, and me. My aunt met up with us the next day. In our room was my MIL, Tbug, hubs, Abug and me. My parents shared a room with my gma and my aunt stayed in another hotel next door.

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Hubby gets to travel

So a while back hubby had to make a trip for work. They sent him to Allen, Texas. I really meant to blog about this like 2 months ago because let’s be honest, I like to blog :)… but I kind of didn’t. So I saw this sitting waiting to be blogged and I decided now was as good of time as any, otherwise it might be like next year before I get to it. That would be horrible! So with his help, here’s his work trip to Allen, Texas.

This was actually within that span of going to Kansas City for Service Tech training in Scuba Diving and a trip to Chicago. I’m pretty sure my wife felt like she was a single parent for about a month. Sorry hunny, I love you!

So work put us up in the Homewood Inn & Suites in Allen Texas. We got in later in the evening and didn’t spend a whole lot of time at the hotel. But the bed was nice and the room was nice too. Definitely a good stay.

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Burger Bistro & the Inn of Chicago

I didn’t mention that last week hubby was gone ALL. WEEK. LONG. This is the first time we’ve been separated more than a couple nights since we’ve been married. Crazy I know! And really this year is the first time we’ve been separated more than over night before too. I’m soooooo not digging this feeling of being a single parent and have a new found respect for them! This was finals week for me so I was kind of stressed because of that. whew! I’m still waiting on one grade too…. ugh!

Anyway I’m living vicariously through hubby’s trips. So this week he went to Chicago for a week for the Microsoft Ignite. I have no idea what that is so I plan on making him guest post and tell you and me about it 🙂

I did start his trip off with a picture of him and baby girl before he left though!

So now I’m going to turn it over to hubby!

My flight left Springfield around 4pm on Sunday so that I could get to Chicago at a fairly decent hour. The flight is around an hour and five minutes or so that’s what they told us on the system. Once we got to Chicago O’Hare we registered for the conference so that 25,000 people weren’t trying to check in on Monday morning.

We had enough people from work going that they rented limo’s to take us from the airport to the hotel versus making us have to ride the El. Our hotel was the Inn of Chicago. The night we got there it was raining so I didn’t get wifey a picture of the outside of the hotel. But I made sure to get her a picture of the inside of my room before I messed it up.

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Brag on Hubby Session: 1st & 2nd Stage Certifications

So I made the comment that hubby was out of town last week and I gained new respect for single parents. Boy oh boy did I!  Anyway, what was hubby up to you might ask? And maybe you didn’t, but I’m sharing anyway because I get to brag on my husband!

Hubby got the opportunity to take classes to become a certified ScubaPro Technician to work on first and second stage regulators. When it was offered to him, he jumped at the opportunity!

He and our friend Rachele made the trek to Kansas City Monday night for a product line demonstration, then stayed for Tuesday and Wednesday for the seminar classes. Rachele had to leave early though because she’s graduating nursing school (Go Rachele!!!) and won a prestigious award that was being presented to her at a banquet on Wednesday evening.

René Dupré and Scott Dawson came in to do the seminar.

And you know, if there’s food they will come.
Tuesday’s meal consisted of Lasagna, Baked Chicken, Salad & Cheesecake for dessert.

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