Adios, Soflo - Dana Chirps

3 blocks from my place.

This post is a little all over the place because there is just SO much to say. About 4 years ago I knew I'd be leaving my job, and knew I was also ready to leave Virginia. With the exception of a few years in northern Jersey, I had spent my life in VA, and wanted a change. So I applied for jobs in cities I liked. My top choice was Boston, but I didn't get any bites. I ended up getting the most job offers in South Florida, and that is how I ended up here. 

Moving to a new city where I didn't know anyone gave me a certain level of independence, and confidence that I am not sure could have been achieved any other way. With my immediate family and the bulk of my network being 1000 miles away - everything was up to me. It's been both scary, and invigorating. I have zero regrets in moving here, and have largely loved this chapter in my life. 

But it's time for the next adventure, and I am moving. In fact, this weekend is my last weekend living in South Florida. 

My experience here has been a mix of highs, lows, and a ton of sunshine. There will be things I miss, and things I don't. In regards to the negatives, even though they were challenging, I know I ultimately came out on top. The negative experiences only made me better. 

The lows and things I won't miss:

  • The amount of shady people down here, especially those disguised as "friends." But thank you for teaching me how to use a very sophisticated filter to determine who I allow in my life. 
  • The dating scene. (Though I have a boyfriend now). But thank you for teaching me to be fearless in addressing BS head-on, and for helping me figure out what I wanted (or didn't want) in a relationship.
  • Phonies in the workplace. But thank you for reminding me that it's always worth the bumpy ride to rise above.
  • The blatant obsession (not to be confused with the general liking) of money, cars, plastic surgery, and material things. But thank you for showing me that "keeping up with the Joneses," getting tons of plastic surgery, and owning (or pretending to own) a lot of shiny objects is (sometimes) just a very glossy way of hiding other issues and insecurities. Even extreme wealth doesn't buy happiness. 
  • The glorification of cheating/affairs. But thank you for increasing my respect for those who are loyal (and proud to be) to their significant others.
  • Drugs... this particular low is especially targeted towards the guy that I was once set up with on a blind date. The pansy roofied me. I literally woke up naked and alone in a hospital not knowing why I was here (had no memory of the night). Thank God for my guardian angels, as what often happens when a girl is roofied did not happen to me. But thank you for showing me that for every jerk in this world, there are at least 10 incredibly wonderful people. (Side note: I was also delighted to learn that somehow even in my drugged state, I was still seemingly determined to stick up for myself - I was told I broke the guy's hand. :)) 
  • The traffic.
  • The "palmetto bugs." ::::shudder::::
  • Aventura, Doral, Kendall. (lol)

The highs (Where do I begin?!):  

  • I learned how to search, find, and set up my own place - it's an empowering feeling to choose your very own home, in the city of your choice.
  • My career in marketing is (in a word) thriving. I attribute a lot of that success to the opportunities I was blessed with while living here. I can confidently walk into any industry, speak to any stakeholder at any level, and can provide them with revolutionary marketing strategies and tactics  - this is a sentence I would not have dared to put on paper 5 years ago. I have also had the privilege of working for some true leaders (DV, looking at you), and met some AMAZING friends because of work (ninjas, TA, network/industry peeps, I love you).
  • The newfound confidence of being on my own led me to travel to 8 different countries in Europe, solo. 
  • The friends I've made here! My goodness, do I roll with an awesome pack! 
  • How international South Florida is. I absolutely LOVE this, and love that I've made connections with such a diverse group of people. I would not have it any other way. 
  • The weather, and the surrounding natural beauty. This. is. everything. Almost every single week I have had a "I can't believe I live here," moment. It is PARADISE, people! Dining outside, all year round. Going to the beach, all year round. Never having to wear bulky annoying layers. Folks, it's not as good as it seems - it's better.
  • The brightness - between the sunshine, the rays coming through my bedroom windows every morning, and the general affinity to neon colors down here... I just dig the vibrancy. 
  • Living three blocks to the beach. This has been an absolute dream. I can walk to the beach, and to some of my favorite restaurants, and bars. I can go for a run up and down A1A, with the ocean on my side the whole way. Every day is a beach day.
  • How active people are down here. It is so motivating and invigorating to see so many people being active, and taking advantage of their environment. Shout out boot camppppp!!!! 
  • The "only in south Florida" moments. 
  • Being a blonde in Miami.
  • All the bad drivers - I'll miss them because this will probably have been the only time/place where I'll get to be classified as an "average" driver. ;)
  • 94.9 - lovvvve my latin music in the morning!!!!!
  • Cheap hockey tickets.
  • Being able to keep close tabs and be involved with marketing luxury real estate here!
  • Basketball on the beach.
  • Publix, and the dude there that hooks me up with extra crab legs from time to time.
  • Having tons of things to do - paddleboarding, biking, nude beaches, shopping, bar hopping, exploring, road tripping, rooftop pools, rooftop parties, rooftop bars, everglades, Key West, Art Basel, festivals, concerts, kite surfing, boating, boat parades, boat parties, renting yachts, clubbing, you name it, Soflo has it.
  • Burger Fi, Steak 954/The Living Room, S3, Grille 401, Houston's, Sushi Rock, The Alchemist, Bulla, Park Tavern, El Camino, Neuvos Cubanos, Wynwood Kitchen and Bar, Lure, Tap 42, Rebel House, Elbo Room (lol), and a ton of other spots.
  • All the different areas - Jupiter, Mizner Park in Boca, The Ave in Delray, allllll over Laudy, SoBe, Wynwood, Midtown, Lincoln Road, Coconut Grove, Brickell, and Little Havana.
  • Knowing that no matter how hard you try there is always someone weirder in South Florida!
  • There is really nothing quite like a wild night in South Florida. Drinking, dancing, partying, and just having a fun time. 

Good grief, the good outweighed the bad BY FAR. On more than one occasion, I've compared South Florida to the kind of woman you'd say "Thank God you're pretty" to... but I really have loved my experience here, and feel so grateful for everyone that helped make it so wonderful. It has been such an adventure to chase South Florida's sunshine for almost 4 years. I will most certainly miss it, but am excited for the next chapter. Stay tuned to see where I'm headed! (Those that know - shhhhh!!! don't give it away!)

I will miss this.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Calle Ocho in Little Havana, Miami - Travel - Dana Chirps

Calle Ocho really is as vibrant as this artsy tiled wall there!

I recently had the pleasure of hosting my little brother, Moose, and his girlfriend, Hannah, here in South Florida. Originally, we had all mentally planned for some outdoor activities, but Mother Nature had other plans. So we quickly decided we would instead head down to Miami, and visit Little Havana. Little Havana is the Cuban neighborhood in Miami. The main street is called "Calle Ocho," by both Latinos and gringos. It means "8th Street." It's likely you've heard this area being referenced in one of Pitbull's songs. It is filled with cigar shops, restaurants/bars, ventanitas (coffee windows), and basically all things Cuban. 

What I love about Calle Ocho is the history. Most parts of South Florida are new (at least in comparison). New and flashy is fun, don't get me wrong - and I wear those neon colors proudly! But it's awesome to have an area in Miami where you can be surrounded by deep history and culture, which Little Havana provides. The people, the food, the music, the cigars, the decor... it really does feel like you've been transplanted someplace else, even though you're just a few miles from Brickell.

This is the Cuban tile that surrounds the bar at Ball and Chain.

In this neighborhood, you'll see tons of different variations of Cuban tile all throughout. I loved trying to spot all the variations - I find them to be beautiful. You'll also see a lot of domino references because on 8th and 15th is Domino Park. It's fun to take a glimpse at the older gentleman in these tense domino matches. 

Domino Park! Don't let the grey hair fool you - it can get pretty rowdy in there!

Little Havana is ready for the holidays!

As far as food goes, man oh man... it is SO good. Muy autentico! As my Cuban friend put it, "you really can't go wrong." We opted to go to Ball and Chain, a spot with tons of history, and known for their excellent Cuban food and live music. We conveniently walked in right as happy hour was beginning - love when that happens. 

We ordered a handful of apps which included: Cuban Spring Rolls, Queso Frito, and Mariquitas de Maduros. All three were addicting, but my favorites were the spring rolls, and the mariquitas de maduros. Moose and Hannah (and Moose's friend, Greg, who ended up joining us) all ordered drinks which they enjoyed - I only took sips because I was driving, and thank goodness for that, because they were strong! :) Also - forgive the low quality phone pics... it was monsooning so I didn't want to risk my Nikon getting drenched.

Sweet Mother of God... I think we all could have consumed our body weight in these Cuban Spring Rolls.

Mariquitas de maduros - these were thin and crispy, and sprinkled with salt. Delicious!

I normally don't talk too much about the specifics of my work on blog - but I definitely have to this time. I've been doing marketing for luxury apartments for some time, and one of the deals I've worked on this past year is a property called Intown, which is located on Calle Ocho. We paired off with a local South Florida interior design team, and I have to say - they nailed it. 

The first picture is a snapshot of the clubroom. I love the image that was blown up on the wall. Also, if you look closely, you'll spot some Cuban tile along the wall of the bar that was done so elegantly. But my favorite design element in this property had to to be the enormous light fixtures (there's two) outside of the clubroom. It's the type of fixture that really can't be done just anywhere, it has to be done in the right setting and atmosphere - but the vibe and style of it aligned so seamlessly with the brand of this property. 

Generally speaking, I think that Calle Ocho is a place that anyone coming to visit Miami should check out. It's so different than the rest of Miami, and culturally quite remarkable. 

There are three things I still would like to do in Little Havana:

  1. See a film at Tower Theater - historic theater that shows foreign, award winning, and independent films. 
  2. Attend Carnaval Miami on Calle Ocho - yearly festival.
  3. Go to Versailles.

 

 

 

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Did Something New

                                                                       A five minute walk away.

                                                                       A five minute walk away.

For the first time since college, I resigned a lease. Since the glory days (college), I have always been on the move - chasing new places, better careers, and more daunting challenges. It's nice to experience the ease of deciding to live in the same place, longer. But it's also kind of weird. And scary. Thankfully, living three blocks from the beach always seems to calm those doubting thoughts. :)

But honestly, living in South Florida has been a wild wild ride. The biggest challenge down here is meeting good honest people. I've learned to use a different kind of filter down here than I ever needed to in Virginia for finding friends, while dating, and even in the professional arena. South Florida is easy to move to, but it's a hard place to stay in unless you learn how to do this.

The thing that keeps me in Florida is obvious - the outdoor lifestyle. I'm outside all.the.time. I kick it at the beach. I bike up A1A (main road along beach), and go to the gym where there is a spacious rooftop to workout on that overlooks the beach on one side and the intercoastal on the other. I brunch, lunch, dine, and drink outside - all year round. There is just something about fresh air... it really makes me believe that humans are not meant to be cooped up inside as much as they are.

                                                                Fort Lauderdale Beach Life

                                                                Fort Lauderdale Beach Life

Will I live here forever? Not a chance. But for right now, I have every intention in embracing what South Florida offers.

                                                                                   Beachy keen

                                                                                   Beachy keen

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Single Lady Wednesday - 5

I don't even know what to say.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

A Dessert Like No Other

A couple of my girlfriends and I wanted to get dessert somewhere, so we walked around the corner from my apartment, and went to Steak 954. I saw a picture of their baked alaska on their instagram, and knew that was what I wanted to order. This was one of the best desserts I've ever had in.my.life. It's a light key lime flavored ice-cream that is surrounded by porcupine looking meringue. All of that goodness swims in a pool of berry blended amazingness. Also worth noting - this was the only time EVER that my girlfriends and I have been silent while together, because we were too busy inhaling this masterpiece.

Key lime baked alaska
Key lime baked alaska

We also ordered the chocolate souffle. Of course Steak 954 has to go over the top with it (in a good way). A server breaks the souffle open in front of us, which in turn fills the air around us with a chocolatey scent. Then he pours this hot chocolate sauce INTO the souffle, which is what you see in the picture below. Oh, and it is served with salted caramel ice-cream. I think I just found the cure to PMS.

Chocolate souffle
Chocolate souffle

With it being a "cool" 70 something degrees (oh how I love south Florida weather), I wanted a warm drink to wash down my dessert. I opted for their Vietnamese coffee. The bottom layer is condensed milk, then coffee in the middle, and foam on top. Once you mix it, it's like a light and sweet coffee.

Vietnamese coffee
Vietnamese coffee

I don't know for sure, but I'm convinced there is some sort of sugar genius in the kitchen of Steak 954. Also - shout out to our server, Kevin! He had such a friendly, and accommodating personality - we'll be asking for him whenever we go.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Taste of Venice

...Venice, Florida, that is. This past weekend I took a little weekend trip to the "other coast" of Florida - the west coast. It was a great time had by all (met up with some pretty awesome people).

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In comparison to Fort Lauderdale Beach, Venice Beach had lighter colored sand, clearer water, a larger shore, and more of a "low key, vacation" vibe to it. It was kind of nice getting out of the hustle and bustle my neck of the woods for the weekend.

On Saturday, we grabbed some brunch at a charming place called Nokomis Breakfast House. It's a tiny little yellow house converted into a tiny little restaurant. The interior was simple, but bright. Every table had a white tablecloth, and painted chairs - green, orange, pink, blue, purple, yellow, etc. We were sat at the "purple table," which matched the nail color on my toes perfectly, might I add! Aside from my table, I would estimate that the average age was 72, and I honestly would not have it any other way. I loved it. I ordered Eggs Florentine (seen below). But I'd have to say that the chocolate chip pancakes that my friend ordered stole the show! (But only if you REALLY like chocolate ;) ).

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The highlight of the trip was when my buddies and I went to the beach during sunset. At first I wasn't going to go in the water since it had gotten a little breezy. But I ended up getting thrown over someone's shoulder and chucked playfully into the water. Not gonna lie though - I'm glad I was. :)

The ocean itself looked like a sea of gold. It was just spectacular.

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I also snapped this picture of a fellow swimming in the ocean solo. It's nice to have those moments of solidarity with ol' Mother Nature. Whenever I have those moments, I feel like a tiny fleck in this gigantic world of ours. It's humbling but still incredibly gratifying each time I get the chance to feel this way.

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It was also refreshing to see so many people come out to just watch the sunset, and appreciate the magnitude of its beauty.

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This trip made me realize a few things though:

  1. I love going to quieter places to "re-charge." But I could never live in a quiet place.
  2. I have a moderate obsession with pretty skies. So I am considering getting a "real" camera instead of my 5s (iphone) to better capture them.
  3. I have awesome people in my life.
  4. Road trips are always a good idea.

I'm already ready to go back again.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Single Lady Wednesday - 4

Gentlemen, here is a simple example of what not to do. I can assure you she won't be interested in spending time with you if you start a conversation off by proclaiming that you're not good at starting conversations, and then ending it with "i would like to know you more?" The question mark is the kicker.

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Stop and Smell the Sunsets

The title of this blog are words that I live by. Or at least try to live by. Although I'm a bit of a realist, I do my best to make a point to have a positive outlook. But especially when there are some negative things going on in life, it can be difficult to do so. In fact, sometimes you want to be angry/upset/etc. There's nothing wrong with feeling natural emotions, but I think it is important to not let those negative feelings prevent you from appreciating the good in life. I've noticed in my worldly 28 years (I'm being partially sarcastic) of roaming this glorious earth that sometimes "the good" isn't slap-you-in-the-face-good. Meaning, I've learned that sometimes you need to look for it.

Recently I had an average day - not bad, not amazing. However, I went to get gas after my workout. I often end up at this particular gas station because it is right around the corner from my condo. This is a gas station that always boasts a collection of people you intentionally avoid making eye contact with. It's also filthy. And only about half the pumps work.

After I moved my car from a broken pump to another, my day went from average to amazing after I glanced up at this sky.

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I literally found myself smiling at the beauty. It was a powerful feeling to put life on pause for a couple minutes to admire the magnificence.

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So whether it is a wildly bright sunset, or a grey thunderstorm - there is something to appreciate. But sometimes it requires you to take notice.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

S3 (Sun Surf Sand) Review

I have a new favorite restaurant, and it is right around the corner from me! It's attached to the Hilton Hotel, right on Fort Lauderdale Beach, and called "S3" which sands for "Sun Surf Sand." My girlfriends and I went to this tapas style restaurant on Friday, and we all loved it! First up, the almond crusted Goat Cheese Croquettes, served over a red chili guava sauce. I can't even begin to describe how delicious these balls of holy goodness were. The sauce it was served with was unlike anything I've ever had before. Also, it was not spicy (I'm a huge wuss with spicy things, so I get scared when I see the word "chili" in the description). Absolutely fantastic.

                                    Goat Cheese Croquettes ~ Almond Crusted ~ Red Chili Guava

                                    Goat Cheese Croquettes ~ Almond Crusted ~ Red Chili Guava

Next came the Rosemary Fittes, served with a parmesan aioli.  They were "good." But I've had better fries elsewhere. I liked the aioli more than the fries. 

                                                           Rosemary Frittes ~ Parmesan Aioli

                                                           Rosemary Frittes ~ Parmesan Aioli

One of the girls that was at dinner, LT, truly cannot turn down an opportunity to order deviled eggs. So she selected the Deviled Fresh Farm Eggs which are served with smoked sea salt, and espelette (yea I don't know what that is either). I didn't try any, but Lauren said that they were very good. And unlike most deviled eggs, she said these were light, and had a good pickled flavor.

                                            Deviled Fresh Farm Eggs ~ Smoked Sea Salt ~ Espelette

                                            Deviled Fresh Farm Eggs ~ Smoked Sea Salt ~ Espelette

Then we had some mac & cheese with smoked gouda and crispy prosciutto. There was a lot of fuss made on yelp about how good the macaroni is here. I can see where a lot of people would like this dish, but it was not for me. Joy pointed out that the "crispy prosciutto" tasted just like bacon bits - we all agreed. But if you are someone who likes really "hearty" meals and flavors, you would probably enjoy this better than we did.

                                               Mac & Cheese ~ Smoked Gouda ~ Crispy Prosciutto

                                               Mac & Cheese ~ Smoked Gouda ~ Crispy Prosciutto

Last but not least, was my favorite dish of the night! Grilled octopus! It was served with gigande bean, tomatoes, and a salsa verde.  Hands down, this is the best grilled octopus I've ever consumed. It was not rubbery at all, and all of the flavors went beautifully together.

                                                    Grilled Octopus ~ Gigande Bean ~ Salsa Verde

                                                    Grilled Octopus ~ Gigande Bean ~ Salsa Verde

All in all, I'd give S3 a 4.5/5 . The dishes that we liked best were phenomenal, and the ones that we didn't like as much were still quite good. The service was good (Shout out to Dylan who wasn't our server, but stopped by our table and had such an awesome personality that we are going to request him next time!). They offer indoor/outdoor seating.

I'd order the goat cheese, and octopus again for sure, but also can't wait to try some of the other menu items!

                                                                               The view.

                                                                               The view.

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Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Rok Burger Review

Recently, I went to Rok Burger, which is a "burger bar and gastropub" in Fort Lauderdale.  I went with my friend Lauren, as we had both been wanting to try it for quite some time. It was funny because once I got there, I had realized I had actually been there before, back when I had first moved to Fort Lauderdale in May, 2013. Luckily, I remembered that both my mom and I had enjoyed it quite a bit when we went. So I was  excited to be back! Lauren and I were craving some fried appetizers. So we ordered three appetizers to share. We selected the truffle fries, fried pickles, and lobster corn dogs.

                                               Fried pickles on the left, lobster corn dogs on the right.

                                               Fried pickles on the left, lobster corn dogs on the right.

Out of the three, my favorite was the fried pickles! I LOVE pickles in general, so it was a treat to devour the thick fried slices dipped in the smoked ranch dip. The lobster corn dogs were good... both the breading, and the meat was bit on the sweet side. The dipping sauce they paired it with was a spicy mustard, which I'd compare to a smoother Goldens. They were good... but I wouldn't order them again.

                                                                                  Truffle Fries

                                                                                  Truffle Fries

I'll be honest. I'm not a huge potato person (weird, I know). But these fries were fantastic. They also had parmesan cheese all over them, which was awesome. The serving was huge, and enough for 3 people to share.

I'd give Rok Burger 4/5 stars. The service was great. The decor was really cool with lots of exposed brick, and lots of variety of seating arrangements (inside, outside, bar, regular booths, huge booths, etc.). The food was fantastic, but I just wish those lobster corn dogs were paired with a different sauce. But Rok Burger is definitely a place to go back to!

2 Comments

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Birthday Brunch - Steak 954 Review

So for my 25th26th27thOK FINE 28th birthday, I wanted to have a ladies birthday brunch at a place on Fort Lauderdale Beach. As soon as I saw Steak 954 post a picture of their homemade pop tarts on Instagram, I knew that was exactly where I wanted to go! I am SO glad my friends and I went there.

We sat outside because it was one of those sunny-but-not-too-hot days. You could see the ocean from the table, it was beautiful.

                                                      View from the front steps

                                                      View from the front steps

In addition to a shitload of mimosas, I ordered the smoked salmon benedict served with dill hollandaise for brunch. It came with a small light salad, and some potatoes on the side. The smoked salmon benedict was phenominalllllll. The dill seasoning was not overpowering, it was perfect.

                                        Smoked Salmon Benedict

                                        Smoked Salmon Benedict

After we enjoyed the main course. We ordered a bunch of the homemade pop tarts to share. There was a strawberry crumb flavor, and a nutella and bourbon banana flavor. The five of us classy ladies straight up ravaged them. You would have thought we were a group of death row prisoners fighting over the last crumb of their last meal.

                                                        Homemade Pop Tarts

                                                        Homemade Pop Tarts

And just as I thought we were wrapping up the feast, our server (Hi Edward, we love you!) brought out a cupcake with a candle in it! I don't know if one of the girls told him, or if he overheard the birthday toast, either way - props!

                                    Birthday Cupcake

                                    Birthday Cupcake

Needless to say it was a successful birthday brunch. I was a little uneasy about this birthday, as it was the first one being away from my family (and The Pods are big on bdays). But my friends stepped up big time, and made the kickoff to my 28th year one I'll never forget.

1 Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.

Hell is the Color Orange

So one of my new years resolutions was to join Crossfit and go twice per week. My friend Brandy ended up telling me about this other type of fitness class called Orange Theory. Although Brandy works in advertising, I think she should consider sales, as she got me to completely change my mind and join Orange Theory instead. Orange Theory is sort of like the cardio version of Crossfit. They have three portions of the class - treadmills, rowing machines, and free weights/TRX bands. Every class is different, about an hour long, and lead by an instructor. What OT does that is different, is that they input your height, weight, and age, and strap a heart rate monitor to your chest while you work out. Throughout the studio there are several large, flat screen monitors that has your name, your heart rate, and the number of calories burnt listed. Obviously, the calories are my motivation.

                             Don't let the cheery yellow building and palm trees fool you.

                             Don't let the cheery yellow building and palm trees fool you.

My first class was somewhat traumatic...

Let me explain.

I'm not exactly the best at pacing myself... so naturally, I bonked on the treadmill about 5 minutes in. At 10 minutes I was totally exhausted. At 15 minutes, I was praying for my own death. At 18 minutes, I was certain death was imminent. At 20 minutes, it was over. And damn did it feel good. And then it was time to switch to the weight room, and after that I finished up on the rowing machine. At the end of the class, I looked up at the screen and saw I burnt over 600 cals!

I did OT for about two months. It did eventually get easier, or at least to the point where I was no longer convinced I was going to die from running on the treadmill at a 12% incline. In fact, my favorite part of the class ended up being the treadmill portion. But I have to be honest - I was not crazy about the free weights/TRX portion. I also noticed a big difference in the quality of my workout based on the specific OT studio I went to.

Overall, I think OT is a great option for someone who is looking to improve their cardio quickly. I loved the music, and the instructors were always awesome. But it fell short in the weight training, which is (annoyingly) something that my body needs to look fit.

Comment

Dana Podgurski

Hi everyone! I'm Dana Podgurski! 

I'm a foot in the mouth, tongue in cheek, head in the clouds, and heart on the sleeve kind of gal. I live for new experiences, but am a total sucker for nostalgia at the same time. I'm tough as nails, but am a complete softie for all things kids and animal related. I fly by the seat of my pants, and live for adventure. But I firmly believe that adventure is a mindset that one's self determines.

For work, I am a marketer through and through. Bringing brands to life, and content marketing are passions of mine. Many would consider what I do as nerdy, but I seriously dig it. I have been doing marketing contract work for years, and appreciate the variety it brings, and the relationships I've developed with my clients. To check out my work portfolio, or if you're interested in a partnership, click here.

For fun I love to create - writing/blogging, photography, and painting are my main three mediums of doing so. Feeling good and healthy is also high on my list, as it really lends itself to making everything more enjoyable. So I maintain a very active lifestyle, eat pretty healthy, and am outdoors as much as I can be. And if my blog didn't make it abundantly clear, I absolutely LOVE to travel. I spend any extra money I have on plane tickets, and feel so fortunate to have been to several amazing destinations both domestically and internationally. There's nothing more fulfilling than coming home from a trip and adding a been-there-pin to my map.