Hello everyone! Today I am coming to you still on a complete high from an incredible weekend home in Orlando, Florida.
While I am not physically down south, I feel like I am still so surrounded by friends, family, and an amazing group of sisters I met dancing four seasons with the Orlando Magic. Over the weekend, twenty five years worth of Magic Dancers reunited for a special halftime performance and I will be sure to share that experience with you!
First, I wanted to highlight the start of my trip and include my favorite moments of the weekend off the court.
Since Scott already had his own traveling plans last weekend, my short trip home was officially deemed a girls weekend when my friend and teammate, Alex, flew down with me!
Alex is born and raised in Michigan, so I was anxious to show her as much of Orlando as I possibly could in two days. We were so excited to get down there and enjoy the warm weather!
After a flight delay, a baggage fiasco, and a ridiculously long line for a rental car, we finally arrived in my hometown of Longwood around 8 p.m Friday night. We drove directly home to my parents house, only stopping for a quick sunset picture of our neighborhood beach.
(So many memories of fun boating weekends here!)
I made sure to spend my first night at home and enjoyed a relaxing night in with my parents, my sister and her family, and a couple of close family friends.
I really miss being able to just drive thirty minutes or so to see them, and felt so grateful they were able to spend the night home with me.
Barre54 and Brunch in Winter Park
Saturday morning started bright and early with a pre-planned barre class at my old studio in Winter Park. I always say “barre this and barre that” up here, and I was so happy we fit in a trip to my old stomping grounds to show Alex the place I used to teach group fitness.
I really do miss that sunny studio!
Just as I expected, Amanda did a great job challenging us in class (welcome back, barre shake and burn!) and we all left feeling great. Okay, we also felt more than a little sore too.
Amanda had to stay at the studio to continue teaching, so Alex, Missy (<- a life-long friend I just found out is expecting! Remember her Bachelorette cruise? Where does the time go?!) and I walked a quick ten minutes over to Park Avenue, one of my favorite shopping districts in Orlando.
One thing I truly miss about living in Florida is the ability to go for a walk or run outside year-round. Coming down from temperatures in the negative lows and high of teens this week, walking in a tank top and needing sunglasses on our way over felt like such a treat!
Past the garden, we found our destination of Briar Patch to meet another friend for brunch.
Around 11 a.m. on a Saturday morning it was packed to the rim, but very much worth the wait!
Alex and I split our meals and I made sure to include a couple of Southern staples like fried green tomatoes and grits.
I’m still dreaming about those blueberry fiber pancakes in the middle.
Briar Patch is also known for their desserts and ice cream parlor that I never have room for. One of these days I have to get a slice of their gigantic specialty cakes!
As brunch came to a close, I said goodbye to Missy and also to Suzanne and her adorable baby girl, Joy.
I wish I had more time to see everyone.
Next on the agenda was a group rehearsal for the halftime performance we would be dancing the next day. Before going to the fitness center, we stopped over to a friend’s condo to see a few of my old teammates and bask in the sun!
I had never been so thankful for a sunny Saturday afternoon in my entire life.
Alex dropped me off at rehearsal soon after and met up with a local friend of hers while I practiced and reunited with a lot of awesome familiar faces.
I spent the majority of my time during the 2007-2011 NBA seasons practicing and performing with these women and felt absolutely elated for the opportunity to catch up with with all of them.
Saturday was a great turn out and we were all looking forward to the performance the next day!
Dinner on Church Street
After a full day of in and outside activity, it was more than time for Alex and I to shower and get ready for a reunion outing that night. Before hitting up the night spot, we grabbed dinner at one of Scott and I’s favorite tapas bars in the city: Civeche.
We ordered a variety of popular dishes (including these amazing patatas bravas, or seasoned potatoes) and also shared a pitcher of red wine sangria.
It was so much fun to see familiar faces pop in and out the entire evening!
Post-dinner, we walked right next door to Don Jefe’s and had a blast dancing and reminiscing well into the early morning.
Today I have a handful of errands to run, laundry to catch up on, and dances to review before tonight’s practice at home in Michigan.
Also, if you get a chance, could you please take a second and vote for Alex in the AKD Sports Model Search? We both appreciate any and all of your support. Always. Thank you!
Stay tuned for Part II of the Orlando Magic Dancer Reunion Trip coming up!