Out and About: Erasure ‘The Violet Flame’ Tour at House of Blues Orlando by @GoEpicurista

Andy Bell of Erasure at House of Blues Orlando - photo by Christina Thomas

House of Blues Orlando witnessed synth-pop is alive, and doing quite well, with iconic 1980s band Erasure on Saturday September 13.

Orlando, the second city of ‘The Violet Flame’ 58-stop tour, welcomed Erasure with open arms. The tour, promoting their 16th studio album, runs through December. The album is due September 23. Listen to an early preview here: soundcloud.com/erasureinfo/the-violet-flame-continuous-dj-mix/ or scroll down to hear it.

NINA at House of Blues Orlando - photo by Christina Thomas

Opening act NINA, supported with strong percussion and vocals by Laura Fares, stayed in line with the synth beats the crowd was there for, yet paired them with spiritual and soulful voices that gave us a trance-like, almost ethereal feeling. Their music, described as a blend of dream pop / moody disco, with songs like ‘Dark Rider’, ‘We Are The Wild Ones’ and ‘Sweet Surrender’, got us started on this retro-modern kind of evening.

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Moe’s Southwest Grill Offers Free Queso Day September 18, 2014 #TeamQueso

Moe's Southwest Grill Free Queso DayMmmm…queso. The only thing better than queso is free queso.

If you feel the same, get yourself over to your nearest Moe’s Southwest Grill for their Free Queso Day on Thursday, September 18.

Everyone who shows up during regular business hours will receive a free 6oz cup of queso.

Visit moes.com for a complete list of Moe’s locations to find one closest to you.

Orange County Library System Annual Fall Book Sale Returns September 18-21, 2014

Enjoy super savings at the Orange County Library System‘s annual Fall Book Sale the weekend of September 18-21.

Orange County Library SystemThe book sale takes place at the downtown branch of the library, and features a great selection of fiction and non-fiction, recorded books, DVDs, CDs, and more for 50% off.

There is a members-only preview sale September 18, from 5-7pm. Members also get an additional 10% off all purchases. Not a member? You can join at the door for a $15 annual membership.

The sale continues September 19 and 20, from 10am-5pm, and September 21, from 1:30-4:30pm.

The downtown Orlando branch is located at 101 E. Central Blvd. For more information, visit oclsfriends.info.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios Extends Frozen Fun Through the Holidays

For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

This summer, one of the biggest hits at Walt Disney World was the Frozen Summer Fun event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Last month, it was announced that the promotion was being extended until September 30.

This week, Disney announced select elements of the Frozen Summer will be staying at the park through the holiday season.

Among them are “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” show, and Wandering Oaken’s Frozen Funland, which will move closer to the show and feature a larger play area with real snow.

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One Direction to Promote New Album with Appearance at Universal Orlando November 17, 2014

One Direction

Universal Orlando will be taken over by global pop sensations One Direction on Monday, November 17, which happens to be the same day their new album, Four, drops.

One Direction will start the morning with a performance at Universal CityWalk, that will be aired live on NBC’s The Today Show. If you’re willing to get up extra early to see them, public viewing of the performance will be available throughout CityWalk, and it will be free to all.

Dial it up a notch and head into Universal Studios. With your paid admission, you can ride on Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit coaster to the tunes of One Direction. Not enough 1D?? There will also be a special One Direction version of the Universal Cinematic Spectacular nighttime show.

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Walt Disney World to Close Maelstrom at Epcot in October for Frozen Attraction

Maelstrom to become Frozen

Looks like Epcot is saying goodbye to long-running attraction Maelstrom in October so a new Frozen attraction can be put in.

According to Walt Disney World, the final day of operation for Maelstrom will be October 5, 2014.

It will make way for the Frozen-themed ride that will take guests to the kingdom of Arendelle, using many favorite moments and songs from the film to bring the story to life. The pavilion will also include a new royal greeting location where Anna and Elsa can meet guests.

What do you think of this change? Are you happy to see a Frozen attraction, or are you a die-hard Maelstrom fan?

Usher Brings The UR Experience to the Amway Center December 12, 2014 #URXTOUR

usher

Hot on the heels of a blockbuster performance at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards and the release of his new single/video “She Came To Give It To You,” global megastar Usher announced today he will tour North America this fall, bringing The UR Experience to the Amway Center in Orlando on December 12.

Packed with an impressive repertoire of smash hits spanning his 20-year career, the critically-acclaimed showman will give his fans a unique experience that only the multi-talented Usher can deliver. His show will include a fresh take on early and recent songs as well as new music from his anticipated forthcoming eighth studio album.

“With The UR Experience, I want to give my fans an ever-changing live show full of surprises and special guests,” says Usher. “I am really excited to be with my fans and give them an Usher experience like they’ve never seen or heard before.”

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Out and About: Mitchell’s Fish Market #ItalyUncorked Wine Dinner Review by @GoEpicurista

Italy Uncorked wine dinner hosted by Mitchell's Fish Market in Winter Park. Photo by Christina Thomas of GoEpicurista.com.

Mitchell’s Fish Market in Winter Park has been on my “someday list”- you know those places you say you want to go to someday but never find the time go? – so when I was invited to cover their #ItalyUncorked Wine Dinner, on behalf of CitySurfing Orlando, I jumped at the chance. Four delicious courses paired with wines, taking me on a culinary journey along the Italian coast, sounded like Epicurista heaven to me! And it was…

Our tour guide for this journey, Mitchell’s Fish Market General Manager George Grigor, introduced each dish and told us about its preparation and ingredients, making sure that any food allergies were addressed. The question “anyone allergic to bacon?” was met with a collective gasp through the room! The wines were expertly presented by E&J Gallo Winery Field Marketing Manager, Daniel Rowland, who also provided a beautiful slide show of winery landscapes which transported us on our imaginary travels around Italy.

Italy Uncorked wine dinner hosted by Mitchell's Fish Market in Winter Park. Photo by Christina Thomas of GoEpicurista.com.

Trio of Crostini topped with Fresh Tomato Bruschetta, Olive Tapenade and Lobster. Photo by Christina Thomas.

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Out and About: Ink Master Season 5 Premier at Plaza LIVE! Orlando

Ink Master Season 5 Premier at Plaza LIVE! Orlando

Last week Tuesday (September 2) marked the fifth season premier of reality TV show Ink Master, and there was a free party held at the Plaza LIVE! Orlando for fans, with several stars of the show in attendance.

This season’s theme is “Rivals,” where contestants are paired off based on personal beefs. For one of the pair of “Rivals” we get to see familiar faces, Joshua Hibbard and Jason Clay Dunn from season 3. I’m excited to see Joshua in action again. Despite having been a prick, he was still a great artist. I hope that Jason has amped up his skills, though. He’s a very sweet person, but he was weak as an artist.

This season has quite a few contestants from Florida, which is why this party was held, sponsored by H2Ocean. I’ve got to say right off the bat, this was NOT a well-organized event. Doors opened at seven with “festivities” scheduled to start at eight. There were three people there when the doors opened: me, my partner-in-crime, and one guy in a beanie. We killed time by watching people set up the bar and cupcakes. It was very hardcore.

Ink Master Season 5 Premier at Plaza LIVE! Orlando

Ink Master contestant Aaron Is with daughters Molly and Mina; Robbie Ripoll with Chantal

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Out and About: Second Sundays at Mennello Museum of Art

Mennello Museum of American Art

Nestled among lush, shady trees lies Mennello Museum of American Art. A place that provides a dog-friendly walking area and free (though limited) parking. Once inside, the staff are approachable and always eager to make the guests time there a pleasant one. Though the space isn’t as open as Orlando Museum of Art, the hard wood floors and warmly painted walls make it far more welcoming.

On the second Sunday of each month they have “Family Free Day.” This is an event where all are welcome to visit the museum, absolutely free of charge, and soak up the artwork on display. There is also a crafts area for the kids where they, and their parents, are encouraged to participate in making their own piece of art they can bring home.

Mennello Museum of American Art Second Sunday

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James Taylor and His All-Star Band to Play the Amway Center November 18, 2014

James TaylorJames Taylor and his All-Star Band will play the Amway Center in Orlando on November 18, for an intimate and memorable night.

As a recording and touring artist, Taylor has touched so many with his warm baritone voice and distinctive style of guitar-playing for more than 40 years, and has also influenced generations of fellow musicians.

Over the course of his celebrated songwriting and performing career, Taylor has sold more than 100 million albums, earning gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards for his classics from “Sweet Baby James” in 1970 to “October Road” in 2002.

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Out and About: Yard House Orlando Offers Great Happy Hour

Yard House in Orlando

I recently visited the Yard House in Orlando for a Central Florida Lady Blogger meetup, and I arrived a bit early so I could try out their Happy Hour.

The Yard House Happy Hour runs Mondays through Fridays, from 3pm to 6pm, and Sundays through Wednesdays from 10pm to close. During these time periods, all drinks are discounted, with Shortys starting at only $2.25, Pints at $3.75, and mixed drinks and wine at $2 off or more.

Select appetizers and pizzas are also half-price during Happy Hour.

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