Top of the Box: Edition T+T

The creative coaching minds at Crossfit Troika put together a competition style event in which teams are randomly created and athletes of all fitness levels can work together in a multi-wod event. The event is held once a month, typically on a Friday, and is hosted by various boxes across the Central Florida area. The purpose of the event is to promote community building and teamwork while having fun!

Crossfit Taino hosted the Top of the Box event this month and it was such good fun!

I’ve missed the several of the previous events (including when my home-box hosted) so I was very excited to attend this event. I was initially very intimidated to take part, as the majority of the athletes were experienced and advanced athletes (I’m very much a beginner!). Thanks to my teammates (I was lucky to have been randomly paired with a long-time teammate) and the assistance of those around me, I did very well and the nerves quickly dissipated.

I continue to be in awe of the crossfit community. Everyone is friendly and supportive. It is the one place that for just a little while I feel as if I’m not being judged by how heavy I am, rather I’m seen as just another athlete. Don’t get me wrong, being surrounded by six-pack abs, hot-squat booties, and overall athletic bodies that are made for fitness magazines, is a little overwhelming … but the focus is on enjoying the journey, supporting each other, and being good ambassadors for the sport and community. Music, laughter and fitness are paired with good vibes and, in my mind, that is the formula for a good time!

The turnout was great, the event was organized, and everyone had such fun. I managed to grab some clicks after my team’s heat was up (lucky for me we competed in the first heat, so I could take pics the next couple rounds). I’ve never multitasked as both competitor and photographer before, so it was rather interesting!

A special thanks to Crossfit Taino for allowing me to photograph and to all who were so friendly and supportive!

(Hopefully all facts regarding the event are correct! I apologize profusely if I missed giving any credit to where it is due!)
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Artegon Marketplace

A movie afternoon with the roomie, was in the books and a Saturday matinee was chosen as the day/time, with Cinemark at Artegon as the location. Why these deciding factors? Have you seen the price of going to the movie theatre lately?!? You need to hock a kidney! $7.50 for a 1:50 showing was a deciding factor. Bonus: Recliner seats! (The cheapest and most comfortable movie experience ever!)

Neither of us had never been to Artegon Marketplace (formerly known as Festival Bay), so we arrived a little early to walk around. What a treat! Artisan shops, all individually designed and decorated make up the interior of what once was a traditional indoor mall. Various open hallways hosts game stations with games like ping-pong, air hockey, giant checkers, etc. There is an indoor ropes course along with trampoline fun and putt-putt golf. There is a blown glass studio, where you can get lessons!

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Art work lines the walls and there are sections that showcase art by high-school students. There is even a postcard station!

The best part? It is dog friendly!!!

The only downside is that there are minimal food spots, so I recommend dining before and stopping at the bakery or waffle stop for a sweet treat.

Overall, this is a great spot for girls day/night out, a date spot, or just an afternoon out and about. I will be going back as I’m excited to do some Christmas shopping, with Ruby, and finding interesting, non-commercial, gifts.

Christmas in Ft. Meyers…In July

Impromptu adventures are the best kind of adventures!

My partner in crime had a bowling tournament in Ft. Myers (a Christmas in July themed tourney!). So I joined the fun as “the cheer-squad/personal assistant.” It was a blast! He did very well (setting a higher tourney average for himself and placing!), I got a crash course in bowling (no, I’m not ready for a pop quiz) and met some wonderful people!

Friday night after checking into the hotel, we decided that we were going to have a nice dinner and watch the sunset over the water (when you live on the East side of the state you see the sun rise, so watching the sun set is a treat!). We landed at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill.

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Every good adventure needs a handsome partner in crime

The vibe is beach/resort casual. The bottom deck is open seating, however for the upper deck, or inside, you do need to check-in with the hostess. Live music was playing on the bottom deck, just know that it is hard to hear from the upper deck.

[Hint: Take advantage of the complimentary valet parking, and don’t forget to tip your valet driver.]

Being that it was Friday night, we were a little worried about the wait time, especially as we opted for an outside table. The hostess gave us an estimated time of 30min, so we headed downstairs to the bar to grab a drink. (MUST TRY: Key Lime Pie Martini)

…15min later our table was ready! Score!

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It was tough deciding what to order.  The food is well priced, given that it is fresh seafood and a upper end-casual atmosphere (starters range from $8.95 – $12.95; sandwiches $9.95 – $17.95; entrees $19.95 and up).

As a starter we split 1/2 pound of peel-n-eat shrimp (cold) and steamed mussels. The mussels were divine! They were served in a red sauce with fresh garlic and onions (at one point we both were just drinking the sauce by the spoonful). The shrimp was also rather delectable and I probably could have downed another 1/2 pound. For my main, I went with the blackened grouper sandwich (great flavor and a good portion size) and a side of sweet potato fries.

Doc’s has an extensive drink menu, including 3 pages of rums (a “rum flight” is an option). The wine list is, well…crap…but who goes to a Rum Bar to drink wine?! I decided to try the “Happy Gator Mojito” as it had the Don Q rum and Key Lime Liquor that was in the Key Lime Mojito. Sadly, all I really tasted was sprite with a hint of mint and rum, but I really liked the mason jar it was served in! The drinks were well priced and there are daily drink specials and features. Definitely a little something for everyone.

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Happy Gator Mojito

Overall, the service was just ok. Our server seemed to forget about us at times. When he did come to the table he was very helpful and had a wonderful demeanor (his multitasking skills just need a touch bit of work for him to move from being ‘ok’ to ‘very good’).

We thoroughly enjoyed the view (it is worth the wait time…be it short or long) and the food. It was a fantastic evening and I would most definitely recommend Doc’s to anyone passing through Ft.Meyers.

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Lunch Treats: a la Persia

Friends of mine invited me to lunch. I was going to say no and go workout, but the location was a Persian restaurant in Longwood. I rarely say no to new experiences, especially when they include food!

The location was Ali Baba House of Kabob in Longwood, FL. For my first Persian dining experience, I was happy! They offer a lunch buffet and even though we came in late, the kitchen made sure to have fresh kabobs out for us. The owner was very polite and let us know that even though the buffet was closing, whatever we needed would be brought out fresh from the kitchen.

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Time for lunch, Persian style

I feasted on:

  • Persian style rice (saffron basmati rice mixed with lentil):
    • YUMMY! The rice was moist and the lentils added a subtle surprise. It should be paired with everything.
  • Gormeh sabz (green onion, parsley, spinach and herbs sautéed and cooked with beef)
    • I enjoyed this dish, it had good flavor without being overpowering with spices
  • Mirzaghassemi (baked eggplant blended with tomatoes, garlic, eggs, and spices)
    • I’ll be honest, not really my favorite. However, I was told that it is an acquired taste, so I felt better.
  • Kibbe (oval-shaped ground beef, bulgar wheat, herbs and spice;  deep fried and served with yogurt sauce)
    • This was a yummy treat. It is definitely best eaten with the yogurt.
  • Mast-o-khriar (chopped cucumber mixed with creamy yogurt)
    • Good for cutting any spice on anything. Is good with the fresh pita style bread.
  • Shirazi salad (chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, onion and mint mixed with lemon juice, olive oil and spices)
    • Eat it, love it, you are welcome.
  • Chicken and Beef Koubideh (charbroiled minced seasoned meats)
    • A lower end cut of beef. This was probably my least favorite. The meat wasn’t very well seasoned and had an odd texture to it. However it pairs well with mast-o-khriar.

To finish it all off we had chai tea and baklava (YUMMY!)

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Time for lunch, Persian style

As an introduction to Persian food, I was satisfied. The service was good and it was a pleasant dining experience.

However, the best part of the day for me was getting to spend time with wonderful friends. It was so great to get to experience food from their homeland, share stories of different cultural experiences, and get to know each other better.