Steph’s Taco Blog: Tako Cheena in Mills50 (Orlando)

Admittedly, I kind of have some beef with fast casual taco joints. In my experience, they can be super hit or miss. It’s a disappointment to go running for a taco stand only to end up with a sad, floppy taco with too much sauce and not enough filling in a sloppy flour tortilla. But then there are true hits, where fast meets fresh, and counter ordering doesn’t translate to depressing tacos. Tako Cheena in the Mills50 district is firmly in the latter category; a true hit and one I’ll return to next time I’m in the area.

The Mills50 district is one of my favorite nooks of Orlando. It’s the perfect mix of hip and urban, with street art adorning the buildings and affordable, quality eats found at every turn. Locals describe this area, among others, as the real Orlando, and I tend to agree. Venture slightly away from the theme parks and tourist hot spots, and you’ll find a community-oriented culinary scene thriving in and around the heart of downtown Orlando.

Tako Cheena is located amidst all the action. While the current location can be easily missed the first time you drive by, it’s worth locating this hole-in-the-wall taco spot best described as Latin-Asian fusion. Continue reading “Steph’s Taco Blog: Tako Cheena in Mills50 (Orlando)”

2017: Travel Plans and Ambitions

The general theme of 2016 for most seemed to be “the worst year ever.” I had my fair share of bad days and challenging circumstances, but there were also a lot of amazing things that happened.

I started the year unemployed, and ended it with immense personal growth. I expanded my comfort zone by leaps and bounds, started my own business, launched this blog, and built a budding career as a freelance travel writer and photographer. I spent an amazing week with John in Belize, went on a handful of fun day trips with my mom, traveled solo to Miami, and discovered new corners of Florida. I witnessed two of my best friends get engaged on Anna Maria Island, ate a LOT of delicious food, spent more time with family and friends, and grew tremendously in my personal and professional life.

While it’s been enlightening reflecting on 2016, I’m ready to look ahead to what’s in store for the new year. This time of year always has me feeling extra inspired and ambitious, and while so much is unknown I’m excited for the journey ahead. Especially the parts of that journey that include travel. Continue reading “2017: Travel Plans and Ambitions”

The Unconventional Guide to Taking Better Photos of Your Travels

Photos are my favorite souvenirs. Whether documenting a night out with friends or an international destination, I’m always thankful to have my photos to look back on the memories. Yet travel photography, or even photographing my own local surroundings, isn’t always an easy feat.

Even as a professional photographer, there are definitely opportunities I’ve missed, shots I haven’t taken, and moments I didn’t capture just because I was too self-conscious to whip out my camera or introduce myself to a stranger.

Improving my photography is an ongoing goal, but I thought it was time enough to share some of the more unconventional tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. Continue reading “The Unconventional Guide to Taking Better Photos of Your Travels”

2016: As Told Through the Food I Ate

I began 2016 with little to no direction, having recently left my full-time job.

Naturally, I turned to the Internet for solace. Search results for my situation resulted in three main narratives: do nothing, travel the world, or cry. (I did all three.)

Some days I expanded my comfort zone by exposing myself to new people, places, and experiences. Others I pushed myself to try new foods, or find comfort in the familiar. And on all the other days, there were cookies. A lot of cookies.

Great food is one of the many joys of my everyday life. So while I could easily have written a reflective and introspective recap of 2016, it somehow feels more appropriate to unveil the story through food. Here goes… Continue reading “2016: As Told Through the Food I Ate”

Orlando Eats and Treats Worth the Hype: Part Two

Think Orlando has nothing but theme parks? So did I before moving here, but after almost five years (!) living in a tourist town, I’ve come to understand Orlando as so much more than a theme park mecca. Case in point: Orlando was recently voted as the top foodie city in the USA.

Food is something our city definitely does right.

While┬áI can’t visit every eatery in the City Beautiful (#goals), there are some that create so much buzz I just have to go investigate. So here’s my latest recap of what I like to call “blog research” – give one of these Orlando eats a try and let me know your personal favorites. Continue reading “Orlando Eats and Treats Worth the Hype: Part Two”