Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers October Meet-up at PDQ St. Petersburg

October 22, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Yesterday after my fun Chevy Fit4Life Tour – Moms2Be Edition adventure I went home and relaxed for a few minutes, changed clothes, then headed out for Sunday fun day, part two. It was time for the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers’ October Meet-up.

I’ve been hanging out with my friends at PDQ Fresh Tenders quite a bit lately, like when they treated me to lunch at their South Tampa PDQ location, and when the St. Pete PDQ location recently had their grand opening training days.

PDQ St. Pete

When they offered to host the Tampa Bay Lady Bloggers meet up this month I was psyched…a chance to try another PDQ milkshake flavor! I’m definitely a regular at PDQ now.

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Five of my blogger buddies joined me and we sat outside in the beautiful Florida fall weather. I love the patio at PDQ.

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PDQ treated us to a meal, but I just opted for a small Heath milkshake since I had already eaten lunch with the GM crew.

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It was fantastic. Good thing they have fat straws for their milkshakes, because there were plenty of Heath bar chunks in there. I’m not one of those girls who thoughtfully stops at half way through an indulgence. Yay for them and their lack of muffin tops, but…

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The PDQ crew also brought several of one of their fall specialties out for us to try…sliced apples with a delicious dip.

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The apples are kept in pineapple juice to keep them from browning…so much better than lemon juice! I also had to grab a raspberry caffeine free diet Coke from the super cool touch-screen Coke machine that dispenses over 100 soda combinations.

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The girls and I sat and ate and chatted about all things blog and Tampa Bay. We laughed a bunch. I always have the best time hanging out with this group. Check out their blogs!

After we were finished eating Dan Schefer, the Operating Partner for PDQ St. Petersburg, took us for a behind-the-scenes tour of the restaurant.

This is the “hospitality room” as they call it, otherwise known as the drive-thru window.

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PDQ does not use staticky microphones and speakers to take orders. It’s all done through person to person direct communication.

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When a line develops at the drive-thru a PDQ crew member goes outside with a computer tablet and takes the order right at each driver’s window to help speed things up. PDQ is all about providing the best customer experience possible.

Next Dan showed us the huge walk-in cooler.

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Everything is prepared from scratch on site, including the hand-cut French fries.

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Nothing at PDQ is ever frozen. They don’t even have a freezer there.

Next we got to see the food prep area. This guy was portioning out the delicious blueberry cole slaw:

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We were introduced to Josey who gave us a demonstration on French fry cutting.

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Then we each got to demolish a potato.

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It was fun and I owned that potato.

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All of the crew was so friendly and everyone seemed like they were in a great mood.

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It was really cool how they had iPads mounted all over the place and they used them for everything. All of their top-secret recipes are right here at Dan’s fingertips…

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Jeff, the PR and Marketing Director for PDQ, and Dan answered all of our bloggy questions and were so welcoming to our little group. They can cater events and have awesome party platters. I’m definitely going to keep that in mind.

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Thanks for having us PDQ St. Pete! And thanks to my Tampa Bay Lady Blogger friends for coming and hanging out. Love you guys!

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Wonder what fun adventure we’ll have at our next meet-up?

Storage, Persian beef, yoga, peerFit

October 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Sometimes a bunch of stuff happens in one 24-hour period. This is one of those times. Warning: this one is long. I know most of my posts are long, but this one really is.

When I left off yesterday I was rushing out the door to take Cal to karate. We actually stopped by PDQ on our way there…

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where they are putting the finishing touches on things and training the staff for their grand opening on Sunday.

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I had to stop by to pick up our invitations for a special sneak preview…more on that later.

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After Mack and I dropped Cal off at karate…

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we drove out to our storage unit to get the Halloween boxes.

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Mack loves to go to the storage unit.

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There’s lots of important stuff in there, some of which I haven’t laid eyes on in over 10 years. Mostly it’s our holiday decorations. We have very little storage in our house since we don’t have a garage and basically no attic space.

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I think the main reason that Mack likes to go to storage is that I let him hang out the open slider door while I drive up the aisle at 2 miles per hour.

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Don’t tell hard ass, okay?

Chad was going to pick Cal up from karate, so Mack and I went home so I could finish up dinner. You may recall that I was making Persian Beef Casserole from a recipe that I found on the Le Creuset web site.

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This was the first time that used my new Le Creuset casserole dish that I won in a drawing from McCormack Spices at Fitbloggin’.

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Everything baked away for several hours and then at the last minute I added some chopped fresh mint and lime juice.

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It may look kind of gross, but it turned out great! I served it over some brown rice that I had made ahead of time.
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Mack gave it two thumbs up.

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I’ll definitely be using my Le Creuset pot to braise meat again. It’s a nice alternative to the crock pot.

After the boys went to bed Chad and I watched Sons of Anarchy. It’s so so so good. We are also loving the second season of Homeland. The last episode (especially the very end) was awesome. We have so much piled up on our Tivo right now. We only watch television an hour or maybe an hour and a half a few times a week, so we have way more recorded than we can ever watch. We are psyched to watch Nashville and see the return of Tammy Taylor (Connie Britton). Chad loves her. Maybe a little too much.

I forgot to get Mack to draw a winner for my Pretty Muddy Women’s Mud Run entry giveaway last night, so he did it first thing this morning. He’s my random number generator. First he stirred up all the little folded pieces of paper.

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Then he closed his eyes and picked one out.

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And the winner is…

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Congratulations Pam! She has already been notified by e-mail. Thanks to everyone who left a comment and entered.

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Chewie and I walked Mack to school this morning in total darkness (except for street lights, stars, and the moon).

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After we got home and I got Cal off to the bus stop, I made breakfast.

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Then I drove to the gym for yoga. I drove instead of biking because I had plans right afterwards.

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The instructor, Emily, offered to take a picture of me “for the blog”. I agreed, because I don’t have enough pictures of me for the blog. Apparently this is my “I’m trying to balance” face:

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I skipped savasana (relaxation) so I could change shirts…

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and make it to Tampa in time for a luncheon at Seasons 52.

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I was invited by my friend Christie O. (of Average Moms Wear Capes) and by Fitz Koehler through Fitfluential to attend a luncheon hosted by peerFit.

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PeerFit is a new website (and soon to be released mobile app) where you can find your favorite fitness class in whatever city you happen to find yourself in, then share that you are going to it (if you like), rate the class, and review the class afterwards. PeerFit will give you prompts each time so that you are not just writing the same thing over and over about your favorite class (e.g. it will ask, “How was the music today?”). You can get feedback from the class instructors as well.

PeerFit integrates so many things that I love…fitness, writing reviews, social media. This thing is right up my alley. The mobile app should be released in the next couple of weeks for Android and iPhone, but the website is already live so you can go ahead and get started if you want to! I know that I definitely have some things to say about the new classes I am trying at LA Fitness (ahem). The website and mobile app are seamlessly integrated, so once the mobile app is live, it will automatically sync with your online account. Oh, and peerFit is totally FREE. Free is good.

My friend Christie arrived at Seasons 52 right behind me.

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I was just at Seasons 52 a couple of weeks ago for their autumn menu tasting event and it was amazing, so I was excited to get to go back again so soon.

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We got to meet lots of other fitness gurus from the Tampa Bay area as well the founder of peerFit, Ed Buckley, and the amazing Fitz Koehler (celebrity fitness expert and Florida girl).

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You know that I love group fitness, and that’s what this website and mobile app are all about.

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They are also hosting a HUGE fitness party on November 11th, and I hope to be able to attend (after completing my swim leg of the TriRock Clearwater Triathlon…yikes). I also hope that some friends will come with me. It’s on the roof of a huge garage in Hyde Park in Tampa, so there is no limit to the number of people who can attend. Please come with me!

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Ed told us all about the website and app…

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and then Fitz spoke about how fitness makes every aspect of your life better.

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Fitz has a great program called The Morning Mile that’s all about getting kids active and moving. It’s a before school running program with built-in motivators for the kids. One third grader completed 500 miles in one year and one kindergartner completed 300 miles! Fitz is very inspirational. Christie B., we need this program at our school!

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After Fitz spoke, we ate.

Garlic Chicken Flatbread:

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This is what bloggers look like at these events…phone in one hand, camera in the other:

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That’s why they invite us to these things. I got to sit and chat with some of my Tampa Bay Lady Blogger friends while we ate.

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BBQ chicken salad, served family style:

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We also had roasted vegetable sandwiches. Everything was delicious.

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And then of course they brought out the mini indulgences.

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At the autumn menu tasting event I tried the peanut butter/chocolate mini and took a pumpkin pie mini home for Chad, which of course I tasted. At the Taste of Westshore event last weekend I tried the red velvet cake mini and the pecan pie mini. So today I decided to try the coffee/mocha mini.

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It tasted just like tiramisu. Amazing. Now I just need to try the key lime pie mini, the cannoli mini, and the rocky road mini and I think I will have tried them all (not counting the fruit, haha).

As we were leaving we each got a goody bag.

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It was mostly promotional material, but we got a Larabar.

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It was a fun lunch and I am excited about peerFit. It’s like Yelp, but specifically for group fitness classes. Great idea.

After the luncheon I ran by the bank, then picked Mack up at school. We went home for a bit and I made a snack for Mack, lunches for the boys for tomorrow, and Mack did his homework. Then we headed to Cal’s school to pick him up in the car line.

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I really should clean that mirror. After we picked Cal up we headed to karate. Mack had class today and Cal did his homework there while Mack was in class.

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While they were at karate I went by Target to pick up some chocolate a prescription.

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After I picked the boys up from karate we ran home to meet Chad, then we all went to the new PDQ location in St. Petersburg for a sneak peek dinner before they open to the public on Sunday.

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Okay, this post is wayyyy too long and that catches me up over the last 24-hour period. I’ll fill you in on our PDQ dinner tomorrow. Hint: it didn’t suck.

Cya.