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)”
It all started with a ladder, deep in a cave in Belize, in 2015.
Having swum my way into a cave once used by the ancient Maya, scrambling my way up and down rocks, and wading through ankle deep water, I, along with the rest of the tour group, found myself standing in front of a ladder set against a tall rock cave wall. It was to serve as our mode of transportation to the cave chamber above housing a fully intact crystallized human skeleton.
For some reason, I became overwhelmed with fear. Yet I had no choice but to climb.
I made it to the top and forgot my momentary panic as I looked on in awe at Mayan pottery and a human skeleton perfectly preserved in the cave floor. Then it was time to come back down… Continue reading “Fuck Fear, Take the Leap”
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”
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”
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I started liking beer. (I lied, it was a house party in Columbus. I was tipsy on smirnoff ice, tried some PBR, and didn’t hate it.)
I’ve come a long way since then.
Ultimately, it was a birthday weekend spent craft brewery hopping in Tampa with John a few years ago that finally solidified my love for great beer. Tampa’s beer scene is amazing – unique breweries are nearby no matter where you are – but that influence is slowly creeping further in to Central Florida.
Should you find yourself thirsty in between Orlando and Tampa, give one or all of these breweries a visit and support a local brewer in the process. Continue reading “Central Florida Breweries Worthy of Your Dollars”