Today is my last day in Florida after spending just over two months here. Foregoing the nostalgia I'm sure I'll feel, I'd rather reminisce about the places I've visited and that are worth visiting again. NOTE: The following pictures aren't mine (I would have taken some but for some bizarre reason, I never go to...unfortunately).
1. C'est la Vie Bakery
If you're looking for a place that sells delectable treats or if you're a connoisseur of fine pastries, then this is the place for you. With its impeccable pastries, cakes, and French treats, homemade croissants, croutons, and breads, it is a taste of France in southern Florida. C'est la Vie truly is worth the money, with its zenith-standard quality. It also serves breakfast and dinner, classic French style. C'est magnifique! Definitely worth checking out and stocking up on food and treats (because they run out. Fast.) They're croissants are sublime and the pastries are nirvana.
2. Premium Outlets Ellenton
If you are scouring for quality designer goods for a discounted price, this is one excellent place to check out. It has Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, BCBGMaxAzria, Coach, Kate Spade, Kenneth Cole, Brooks Brothers, Lacoste, Juicy Couture, Cole Haan, Perry Ellis, GUESS?, Ralph Lauren, Cosmetics Company Store, Quiksilver, Pacsun, and other stores. While I cannot guarantee that you'll arrive at a mega sale (but if you gauge holidays, Boxing Day and Black Friday are good days to check out for major liquidations), most, if not all stores, usually have at least 30% off retail price as well as 50-70% sale so you receive discounts anyway. Personally, my favourite ones to check because there always seems to be a sale is Coach (every week there is a 30% off clearance items which are reduced significantly), BCBG (has dresses from $49), and Cosmetics Company Stores (it has brands such as Estee Lauder, Clinque, MAC, Bobbi Brown, and Prescriptives for at least 25% off). A worthwhile experience.
3. Premium Outlets Orlando
While it has all the stores (such as Coach, Banana Republic, Cosmetics Company Store, PacSun to name a few...), this mall is more--how should I name it?--better in certain perspectives. It has Burberry, Dior, DKNY, 7 for all Mankind, Diesel, Elie Tahari, Etro, Fendi, lululemon athletica, Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Salvatore Farregamo, Tory Burch, Barney's New York Last Call, and various other stores. So, as you can see, there are several brands that can be found at Neiman Marcus that can be bought for a fraction of the cost (I found a Marc by Marc Jacobs shirt--new!!--for $84 from $238). It's a really good mall to go to if you want to wise with your money yet still desire to look fashionable, as all of us do. Trust me, good mall. It has my stamp of approval.
4. Tampa International Plaza and Bay Street
If you like typical American stores, then this is the pinnacle of American malls. It has Macy's, Nordstrom, Dillards, and Neiman Marcus. It also has Zara, Hollister (on this particular endeavour, there were t-shirts on sale for $10, denim capris for $35, shorts and skirts for $20, and newer designs were 30% off), Abercrombie & Fitch, and a myriad of other brands that I fail to remember. Plus, if you're with your friends and you just want to enjoy yourself and have fun, this is an awesome mall to do that--it's massive. Plus, and although this detail is insignificant, I hear from various sources that when celebrities hit Tampa, this is a hot spot...I'm just saying...
5. TJ Maxx in Sarasota, Florida
You all know my amour for TJ Maxx but I have visited several others TJ's and none seem to be as good as this. Marc by Marc Jacobs swimwear in sale for $39? Tory Burch sunglasses for $35? Swarovski bracelets and necklaces for $50? Talk about a good deal. This TJ Maxx is likely one of the best I've visited so far. (I'll post an update once I visit a TJ Maxx in Virginia Beach, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York City. )
6. Siesta Key Beach
Paradise. That is the only world that comes to mind when describing Siesta Key Beach. It has powdery white sand, turquoise water, a myriad of activities, this is a must-visit spot for adventure goers, or beach bums. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful! The local scene here is superb!
7. HOPE Church
It went without saying but I felt that I should include it because it was worth it. A wonderful church with excellent worship, relevant message, and yummy treats and beverages afterward.
If you are visiting Florida, I hope you find this review helpful in assisting your decision of what to visit. I should caution that I spent time only in Sarasota and Tampa, not any other places. The aforementioned locations are worth visiting and worth your time.