Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Florida Fun, Family and Fur!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Rachael Ray Nutrish.   As always, thank you for reading and supporting our sponsors.



Sitting here writing this post in a sweatshirt, hat,  and jean jacket, freezing my butt off is making me long for the warm temperatures and picture-perfect sunshine that I left behind when I departed fabulous Ft.Lauderdale after spending three days there thanks to Rachael Ray Nutrish. The objective of the trip was to attend the one day Miami-Ft.Lauderdale Pet Expo that took place Saturday, November 15th, but since I have family in both Plantation and Miami, I added a couple of days on to enable me to spend at least a little bit of time with them. To those (which includes MOST everyone), who are sitting and freezing as I am, sit back, relax, grab a beverage and enjoy some photos that just might warm you up a bit!

I arrived Thursday, November 13th at 5pm and was greeted at the airport by my sister-in-law, Nancy, who resides in Plantation. Nancy brought me to the Sheraton Ft.Lauderdale Beach Hotel where I would be enjoying the next few days.

The hotel has everything you could ever want, a bar, restaurant, coffee shop, gift shop, pool, a Zen garden and more. It was a high energy, bustling venue full of folks who were either leaving for cruises or just enjoying the Florida sunshine.

My brother and sister-in-law, (Glenn and Wanda),  who reside in Miami, were scheduled to arrive Friday morning to spend the day with me. I only get to see them every couple of years, so I was excited beyond belief to see them again. 

When I arrived the day before, it was dark and I never realized that the beach was right outside of the hotel. When I met Glenn and Wanda on Friday, this is what greeted me!





The day was a day that would make the Florida Chamber of Commerce proud. Low humidity, a gentle breeze, the temperature stayed at a steady 80 degrees (warming up yet?) the entire day.

We spent our time together, talking, laughing, walking the beach, and taking selfies!


My brother, Glenn, my sister-in-law, Wanda and me!
Glenn and I
We had a fabulous lunch at Bahia Cabana Waterfront Restaurant and Patio Bar  and later an equally superb dinner at the Islamorada Fish Company Restaurant in Dania Beach, Florida.  Eating fish at every meal was a real treat, there is NOTHING like eating fish in a state with an ocean, it is fresh and delightful, unlike the fish we get up North!

All too soon they had to head back to Miami, I missed them the second they pulled out of the parking lot and vowed that it would NOT take me another two years to visit them again!

Friday morning I took a cab to the Ft.Lauderdale Convention Center where the Expo was held.  The center is HUGE and the grounds are just beautiful.


The inside hallway was beautiful as well, MUCH prettier than the venue that I will visit this Friday when I attend the Novi Pet Expo here in Michigan.


No sooner did I enter the Expo (which had less vendors than I had anticipated, but it in NO WAY took away from the incredible time that I had there meeting and speaking with vendors and rescues. A number of the vendors you will see featured on our blog over the next few months), than I literally shrieked and jumped up and down like a little kid when my eyes spotted the GORGEOUS and sweet Deb Barnes and Christine Michaels at their booth promoting their rescue Pawsitively Humane, Inc.


I laughed my head off when Deb spotted me and yelled "Caren Gittleman what in the HELL are YOU doing here??!!" It was such a hoot and a complete delight to be able to connect with two of my most favorite and greatly loved cat women!!

The Expo (as is the case with many other pet events), was quite "dog-centric", (hence the few photos that were taken of the actual event, you can see more photos on Dakota's blog on Thursday), but there were of course, MANY rescue groups there with some precious cats available for adoption.


I wanted to take each and every one of the cats that I saw there home with me. It broke my heart to have to leave them.

My sister-in-law, Nancy, was looking forward to meeting me at the Expo, but unfortunately, what should have been a 15 minute drive, turned into a TWO HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTE FIASCO where she was stuck in traffic due to an accident. Nancy had never attended an Expo and was heart broken when she FINALLY arrived and couldn't find a place to park. She picked me up outside the venue, and she was finally able to calm her frazzled nerves, that through a comedy of errors found us at Bahia Cabana Waterfront Restaurant and Patio Bar  yet again! 
Cody and Dakota were there too in Flat Pet form!

After lunch, we headed to Nancy's home in Plantation, where after I bestowed an assortment of cat toys on Cody's look-alike cousin "Oscar" and Nancy's  English Springer Spaniels, (Molly and Max), Oscar adopted ME as his new BEST friend! (I think Oscar thought I was one GIANT cat toy as well! Nancy and her husband Allan also have two other cats, Jennifer and Rosie, who  aren't as social as Oscar, and chose to not make themselves available for photos).


Me, Cody's look-alike cousin "Oscar"
and Max the English Springer Spaniel


Oscar's resemblance to Cody
is uncanny!
They both have loving
personalities as well!
While I was at Nancy's home I could NOT get this song out of my mind, I crack up every time I listen to it!


Just for the record, Cody would be Patty, and Oscar would be Cathy since he is more refined than Cody!

After a nice visit, Nancy, her husband, Allan and I headed off to a gourmet dinner that they treated me to at Casablanca Cafe in Ft.Lauderdale.


My salmon and spinach
from Casablanca Cafe
My sister-in-law Nancy and my brother-in-law Allan

The blissful time spent with family and fur, all too soon came to an end. Early Sunday morning I jetted off to the frozen tundra that is Michigan. Dakota greeted me with his usual exuberance and Cody's eyes gazed at me as if he couldn't believe I was FINALLY home. I missed my boys and smothered them in kisses and both of them have barely left my side since I have returned.

One of my favorite purchases from the Expo were two ties from Fancy Pants Pet Accessories,  (one each for Dakota and Cody),  Dakota loved his:


Cody, was a totally different story.



Finally, he had ENOUGH...




Speaking of "having had enough", if you hung in through this unusually LONG post, I THANK YOU.........I hope you enjoyed seeing the photos and sharing my experience as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you.

While the sun and warm temperatures in Florida were the best, and seeing my Florida family, and  spending time at the Expo were a complete blast, whenever I am traveling, there is a void in my heart that can only be filled when I see my precious boys again. Observing their happiness in having me home, is the best feeling ever. When I stop and give thanks this year on Thanksgiving, I will be thanking Rachael Ray Nutrish for affording me the opportunity of attending the Expo, and for my patient husband who unselfishly stayed home to take care of the boys, and my Cody and Dakota who make our home complete.  Yes, there is MUCH to give thanks for!


This was taken about an hour after I returned home, having me home and Cody having his Nutrish For Cats, is all he needs to make him happy!

46 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a great time!

    Poor Cody - love his face! Dakota look really smart with the tie, though :)

    Purrs xx
    Athena and Marie

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  2. What a great trip! Enjoyed reading about it.

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  3. My human is so envious that you went to this pet expo! She wishes she could have gone - and brought ME!

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  4. Oh what FUN!!!! Looks like you enjoyed the expo, got to catch up with family and friends, AND took lots of great photos too..........glad you got to enjoy some warm weather as well because it sure isn't warm anywhere BUT Florida right now is it?!?!?!?!

    Hugs, Pam

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  5. It sounds like you had a wonderful time! And what a nice surprise to see Deb and Christine!

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  6. WOW! Looks like you had a fun time! Oh, and we LOVe the tie pics! So cute!! :D Happy Hump Day, sweetie! :) xx Roxy & Tigerlino <3

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    1. OMC it was THE BEST!! Thanks soooooooooooo much!!! Love you! xoox

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  7. You picked such a wonderful time to come to Florida - the weather was absolutely glorious and we are actually having a cold/rainy spell right now that you just missed! I had such a blast seeing you - I still can't believe it happened and it really shows what a small world it is!

    Wish I could have met Nancy and I am so sorry she had to be stuck in traffic - that really does frazzle one's nerves. But, I am glad I got to "meet" her via your pictures. This was a great blog post and I really enjoyed all the pictures of your family and reading about your experience here.

    The door is always welcome for you and hope to see you in Florida again soon!

    Oh, and on a weird, unrelated note, Christine, you, and I are all Libra's!!!

    xoxo

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    1. Oh God Deb I know!! I can't tell you how many times I have come in the summer and been slammed in the face by intense humidity the second I would step outside! I had heard a "cold" front was coming (actually I would have loved temps in the low 70s but not the rain). I know it is such a small world and it blew me away when I saw both you and Christine, it TOTALLY made my day! Thanks so much about the post, I was just sick that you couldn't meet Nancy, she even had her little T shirt on with pawprints and she looked darling. She had never been to a pet expo and was sooo looking forward to going! I actually DID think of the fact that we are ALL Libras!!!! I guess we were all meant to be there that day! Sending you much love and hopefully I will be there again in the not too distant future! xoxoxo

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  8. Except for your boys (I include your hubby -- lol), it's a wonder you came back. It looks like it was an amazing time all round, and blissfully, blissfully WARM and SNOW-FREE.

    ::Wistful sigh::

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    1. funny you said that, I was joking around with the taxi driver and hotel staff telling them I was going to get a hold of my husband and tell him to ship Cody and my clothes down and that he and Dakota could follow in a month or so and that we are all going to move there lol. Hang in there, I heard you guys got hit BIG TIME, more than us! We have maybe 2 inches...the cold is unreal (as I am sure it is there too).......it is WAY too early for this stuff! xoxo

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  9. WOW! What an adventure!! Sounds like everyone had a ton of fun! I always want to bring home every animal when I go to these type of events too, so I know what you mean! LOL
    I love your t-shirt BTW, and Cody's cousin really does look just like him! WOW!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

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    1. Oh we sure did!!! Thanks about the T-shirt, Cody is on the shirt too but didn't reflect in the window the way Dakota's did. The reflection was a total fluke but I LOVED it! Isn't that just amazing how Oscar and Cody look alike? lol!!! (((hugs))) back!

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  10. Oh that sure was such a great trip for you Caren. Loved all the pictures and the stories. Good stuff. Stay warm.

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    1. thanks so much my furiend it sure was! Thank you and I am so happy you enjoyed it!!! xoxo

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  11. Loved those 'flat pets' you took with you, MOL!!

    What a great time you had...and now we have a ton of snow...but hey, relax and feel blessed, we don't have 5 feet like in New York areas. OMC!!

    Stay warm cozy & safe!

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    1. thank you!! Yep, Cody and Dakota had a GREAT TIME!! lol. OMG Yes, Buffalo got over 6 ft and MORE is on the way there!
      You stay warm, cozy and safe too!
      xoox

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  12. It looks like you had great great time in Florida ! It's so cool you met other crazy cat ladies offline ! We're glad you had fun with your family too ! Purrs

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  13. I have a rule about fish, which is that I generally don't get it unless I'm within 5 miles of the ocean! That looks like it was a lot of fun, especially since you got to visit family! And the view of the beach is gorgeous! I'm so jealous! Certainly better than the weather we're getting in New York state (and I'm thankfully NOT in the part that got snow). Our little sheltie (well, not so little as her daddy keeps feeding her human food) is having her teeth cleaned today - paws crossed, as she's a grand dame at the age of 10! Ellie

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    1. You know what? That is a GREAT rule but if I went by the same rule I would NEVER have fish since I live in Michigan! lol. Yep it was a blast and you are right, the part about being able to see family was a HUGE bonus!! I obviously don't get to see them often (well, Nancy and Allan are coming to Michigan next week lol), so it was a special treat. Thank goodness you aren't by Buffalo, those poor people, over 6 ft of snow! Wow! Ohhhh wishing your Sheltie girl the best of luck!!!! Dakota is supposed to go in for his in December and I am going to be a nervous wreck. I will be checking to see how your baby did. Sending all of you much love and kisses to our special Sheltie girl! xoxo

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  14. Wow! Looks like you had a great time! Wish it was nice and warm here...

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  15. Glad you had such a great time and you picked a good time to arrive. Just before the Polar Express landed. Last night here in N. Fl it was 27°. But by this weekend it's supposed to be in the 70's. That's FL for you!

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    1. Thank you! I sure did! My family that lives there said it was one of the nicest weather weekends in months! I lucked out for sure!

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  16. Look like you had a great trip. And I am SOOOO jealous of the beach and warm weather! Even here in Georgia it is FREEZING!!!! I enjoyed reading about your expo adventure. I'll be posting about my Atlanta Pet Expo with Sophie this week sometime.

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    1. I sure did! I will be sure to check yours out! I heard that it was darned cold in Georgia while I was down there.

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  17. Sounds like you had a really awesome time!

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  18. What a great trip fro you Caren! Missing business with pleasure is the best kind of trip :)

    the critters in the cottage xo

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    1. Thank you I sure did! I couldn't agree more!

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  19. Most enjoyable post I've seen all week! The only thing missing was me. I would have loved to go. So happy to see you looking happy and warm plus Deb and Christine BONUS!

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    1. Awww THANK YOU!!! OMG you would have had a blast!! You summed it up, I WAS soooooooooo "happy and warm" with "happy and warm" people! Yep, Deb and Christine were a HUGE extra bonus!

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  20. After all that fabulous time with all those sights and sounds and food and friends, awww, Cody!

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  21. It's nice to see family and .... to have nice weather.
    I like the grey/blue cat.
    Bonne soirée
    Nat à Chat

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  22. Florida looks so gorgeous. Haven't been in many years. We were supposed to go last winter and then Tom got mono. Glad you had such a great time. and got to see your family. Hugs, Janet

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    1. Ohhh it was soo beautiful!!!! Put that on your list for 2015 for sure!!! (((hugs))) back!

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  23. So glad you had a good time in Florida and a break from the chilly weather up north!

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  24. So glad you had a great time. Thanks for sharing with us.
    Sue B

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  25. Hmmm, that Nutrish bag looks famillar. Glad you had a great time. You know what that salmon steak on your plate reminded me of. Heh heh. Friday you get to see what foto you picked in my Foto Frenzy.

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  26. What a fun trip! Too bad you had to come back to freezing Michigan.

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    1. omg it was the most cruel and unusual punishment. I am handling the cold much worse than normal and I think it is due to those 80 degree temps!

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  27. Sounds like yous had a gweat time. Wish we kuld get in on sum of these pawsum twips. :)

    Luv ya'

    Dezi and Lexi

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  28. It looks so nice there!! I'm kind of whimpering now. :) It looks like you had a great time, and how wonderful to be able to see family as well as friends on your trip.
    It's always good to get back to the "kids" though!

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  29. Gorgeous photos, Caren! So glad you got wonderful weather and had such a great trip!

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