Goodbye Holiday Bulge – Hello Healthy Recipes!

As promised, we wouldn’t leave our faithful HTBL readers without some healthy holiday recipe inspiration – ’tis the season for giving! In our recent Holiday Survival Guide we talked about the importance of a solid balance, and this still rings true. What we didn’t provide is a list of our favorite healthy recipes to help inspire and encourage you this holiday season, so without further adieu…here are our Top 10 picks!

Under the Big Top: KOOZA!

I was first offered the opCirque du Soleil St. Peteportunity to see a Cirque Du Soleil show several years ago. Immature as I was, I knew little about the show and forewent my opportunity to go … and have regretted it ever since. Cirque has since gained popularity, I myself have only heard rave reviews, so when I first caught wind that they would be venturing back to the lot of Tropicana Field, I was giddy with excitement to go!

This event was years in the making, so when the show night finally rolled around I was full of high expectations. I did my homework and researched the show beforehand, learning that it would be taking me back to the “roots of Cirque Du Soleil”. This was perfect, starting my Cirque Du Soleil journey from the beginning with Kooza!

Holiday Health Survival Guide

Guest post by Marc Yonker

It’s already November, I can hardly believe it! This time of year is great, don’t get me wrong, but is usually filled with a few too many desserts, calorie packed cocktails and an overload of extra servings. The holiday bulge. Yup, I said it…those two little words that we all dread every year, but for some reason can’t seem to dodge the extra lbs. That’s right folks, the holidays have crept up on us once again, meaning the stress and strain of traveling, shopping and visiting your local printer to collect Christmas cards.

Beat the Bulge!

For those of us that fight this battle each year, you probably recognize that tiny voice that says, “Does it really have to be this way?” Well, I say this to you in total confidence – it doesn’t. Take a deep breath and relax. This “festive five,” as I like to call it, is not only totally preventable, but dare I say, easy to avoid. Here is my Holiday Survival Guide to help inspire you to stay on track with whatever your current health-driven goals may be.

Be Prepared: isn’t that what the Girl Scouts taught us?

Then and Wow…A Weight-Loss Journey

For over a year, I’ve written about my journey through the healthy side of Tampa Bay, taking friends and strangers with me from within this blog. And while I’ve done it all using my own experiences, I can’t help but feel like I’ve used a pseudonym from time to time, leaving out perhaps the most important part of this journey…

The Freshman 15 (or so)

I grew up playing basketball, so workouts were always the norm. Unfortunately, my 5’4 stature didn’t aid itself to much of a career and I retired at the ripe of age of 18. And so came the college years…

With no forced workout regimen, I eased my way into my new college lifestyle. Like I would assume most college gyms are, ours was a hot spot on campus, so I frequented it, taking a Zumba class here or circuit lifting there… it didn’t take long to fall out of the habit.

South Tampa Welcomes Carmel Cafe with Fresh Palates

Remember when we went to Carmel Cafe for my birthday and couldn’t get enough?! Today we are excited to announce Carmel’s newest South Tampa location as well as a new guest blogger, Collin!

Collin Sherwin is a freelance writer and lover of all things Tampa Bay. He has a passion for small businesses and has written content for hundreds of businesses in Florida. He is currently the lead writer for

So this is supposed to be an unbiased review of Carmel Café’s newest location on Henderson Blvd. in South Tampa, but there’s one problem: I am totally and completely in the tank for them, and have been for a while. And as a frequent visitor to their location on N. Dale Mabry in Carrollwood, I am thrilled to have the new location just blocks from my home in South Tampa.

Fitness Recap!

We recently received feedback that you want more on fitness and outdoor activities that you can do around Tampa Bay. Well, they’re in the works!

2012 WAKA Tampa Spring Kickball Champs

Until then, here a few past posts to keep you active and entertained:




Always in Season at Seasons 52

seasons 52

Seasonally inspired dishes…have you noticed them? Seasonal menus are an ever-growing trend in the food world and popping up in even more Tampa Bay restaurants. More often, you’ll find seasonal menus in smaller, independent restaurants that strive to offer patrons a unique (and hopefully healthy!) dining experience. However, there can always be an exception and here in Tampa, that is Seasons 52.

Although we don’t typically review chain restaurants, Seasons 52 considers itself a “change” restaurant, which peaked our interest. The Seasons team says, “as chain restaurants tend to minimize fluctuation, our brand is special because we’re all about celebrating change and innovation. Guests will see this concept of change interwoven throughout their experiences with us: changing seasons, changing menus, changing flavor combinations, changing wine vintages and changing perceptions about a dining experience that is completely enjoyable while simultaneously offering positive lifestyle benefits.”

Bam! Positive lifestyle benefits…now we’re talkin’. So we embarked on a multi-course culinary journey through Seasons’ Summer inspired menu offerings. I will let the pictures speak for themselves…

seasons 52

seasons 52

seasons 52

And with every item less than 475 calories, we did not feel guilty having a bite or two (or three) of each! Not sold on the 475 calories? Here are some more fun facts:

The Summer Olympics of DTSP

In the spirit of the 2012 Olympics, we’re bringing you a local version of some of our favorite events. They don’t require an Olympic size pool or arena, in fact, you can win your own gold on the streets of Downtown St. Pete.


You may not have the speed of Usain Bolt, but what if there were an ice cold [light] beer at the finish line? Running for Brews is a local running club that meets at Push Ultra Lounge every Thursday night. Runners and walkers of every caliber join to get in shape while getting to know each other. No boring track here, the run is mapped out throughout the streets of DTSP, ranging from 1-5 miles, depending on your ability. Of course we encourage you to remain hydrated during the run, but there’s nothing wrong with a sipping on a brew to celebrate your hard work at the end!


If individual events aren’t your thing, put together a team and jump aboard the PedalPub! Hailing from Amsterdam, this “party bike” will take you from restaurant to bar guilt-free, burning calories as you burn rubber! Customize your own Tour de DTSP, starting at Ferg’s and ending… wherever the day takes you!

Fit for a [Smoothie] King

What do you think of when you think of protein? Chalky powder? Tasteless meal-replacement bars? The occasional overly-tanned muscular dude at the gym? I, for one, am guilty of all of the above. That is… until I found Smoothie King.

This smoothie chain has been offering tasty, healthy options and saving Floridians from the summer heat since 1973. Whether your goal is to Stay Healthy, Trim Down, Get Energy, Shape Up, or Snack Right, there is an option for you. …Yes, there is an Indulge menu, but we won’t even tempt you.

What makes these smoothies even sweeter? We’re going to give you one! They say nothing tastes as good as skinny feels… unless of course, it’s free!

How to Win:

  1. Visit our Facebook page
  2. Comment on our Smoothie King status, telling us what kind of smoothie you would be and why!

I’ll start! Some might say I’m a High Protein Pineapple. Why? I’m sweet like a pineapple, but lemony sour if you get on my bad side, and most certainly, a little bit nutty!

Think you can beat that? Head over to our Facebook page and try your luck!

Wrap It to Lose Inches

Tighten, tone and firm in as little as 45 minutes. Sound too good to be true? We thought so too and needed to try it to believe it.

When our friend, Kerri-Lynn, from KLynergy Massage & Wellness wanted to demonstrate her newest service, The Ultimate Body Applicator AKA detox body wraps, we couldn’t pass up this cleansing opportunity made so popular by the rich and famous… especially with beach season in full swing.

It couldn’t have been easier! First, we selected 1-2 areas (stomach, legs, butt, back, sides or arms) that we wanted to slim down. Once determined, Kerri-Lynn measured our target zones to help prove success. Just how much success can be expected? Some have lost up to 6 inches after their first wrap! She then applied the cloth-wrap, infused with a botanically-based formula, designed to tighten, tone and firm the selected area(s). This was followed with a tightly-wound layer of saran wrap to prevent movement.

Within minutes we felt a tingling sensation, similar to that of Icy Hot. Now for the science lesson: This sensation was the herbal gel penetrating our skin, creating heat to open our pores and cells, expelling toxins. It is recommended to leave the wrap on at least 45 minutes, but it can be left on for hours if desired.  Personally, I think the the longer the better! You also do not want to shower for up to 8 hours after the wrap as the gel continues to penetrate.