Guest Post: Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens

In last week’s Hidden Gems blog post, local fashionista Courtney of @_myownmelody_ shared a snippet of her experience with the Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens in Kissimmee. Read below for more from Courtney about the winery and why it should be on your bucket list for 2019.

Your Guide to Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens | WellnessAndWanderlust.net

By Courtney Dias, @_myownmelody_

You don’t need to travel around the world to be adventurous. Sometimes the best traveling you can do is right in your hometown. A short drive from home, I found a place I would love to share with you. Island Grove Wine Company has such a classic countryside feel with Parisian accent. Once inside, everything seemed so effortlessly placed to intrigue their guests, whether drinking around the bar located in the center or just wandering around finding the cutest trinkets, merchandise, and endless amounts of wine. You also could feel the warmth of the staff, which made them feel more like friends than strangers.

Your Guide to Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens | WellnessAndWanderlust.net

I was greeted by Chris, who served me a delicious sweet chilled white sangria. It was so smooth that to this day, I’m itching to have it once again for one of my day date adventures. I was taken around the venue by Haley, who is so charismatic I could definitely see why she is a wedding planner for the winery.

Your Guide to Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens | WellnessAndWanderlust.net

We started outside where you could watch the sun touch the earth during any special occasion. We made our way to the bright and spacious bridal suite accompanied with vintage pieces, followed by the rustic groom suite which Haley and I both agreed is a great space to work in as well. The reception hall can be fitted for any occasion of any size, which I love because the space is so versatile! What better way to end the tour, than by having a delicious pastry to complement my amazing French vanilla latte?

Your Guide to Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens | WellnessAndWanderlust.net

If you’re ever in Florida and want to explore something new or simply want to enjoy great hospitality, stop by Island Grove Winery Formosa Garden winery for a date night. You can do anything from dinner (side note: the food is so good), wine tasting with the girls, or a paint and sip event. Trust me when I say, this truly is a hidden gem that makes being away from home a bit more sweeter.


For more hidden gems in the Central Florida area, be sure to check out our recap!

Link Love August: From Van Gogh to Travel Essentials

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Photo Credit: Brooklyn Paper

Rise and shine! This weekend, I’m bringing Link Love back to Wellness & Wanderlust. For those of you who are fairly new to the blog, I used to regularly post a roundup of my favorite articles, videos, and other external links that I thought my readers might enjoy. As grad school began, the blog posts began to disappear, and so did weekly features like Link Love. However, now that I’m back to blogging, I’ve decided to bring back Link Love as well — this time on a monthly basis.

What are some great articles you’ve been reading lately? Share your favorites in the comments below!

Got any link love you’d like to share? Sound off in the comments below!

Link Love Thursday: Don’t Call Me “Bae”

Batman-Dick-GraysonHope everyone is having a fantastic week! Summer officially begins on Saturday, so I’m excited to log some more days by the pool on the rare occurrence that it’s not raining in Florida. How are you spending your summer? You can start with a peek at this week’s Link Love, and post your own favorite findings in the comments section below!

What are some of your favorite articles from the last few weeks?

Valentine’s Day Article Roundup

valentines_dayValentine’s Day is finally here – as if you didn’t already notice the towers of chocolate in the grocery store, the lovesick couples engaging in the most obnoxious of PDA or the embittered singles who keep griping about how they just want this day to be over. Whether you’re in madly in love or simply doing your own thing, this last-minute Valentine’s Day Article Roundup will provide you with 10 links that will make you laugh, smile, think and maybe even tear up a little bit. There is a little something in here for everyone.

Links are provided in the parentheses, and for last year’s roundup of articles, click here.

Valentine’s Day Article Roundup

1. The Love Stories of 10 Intellectual Power Couples (Flavorwire).
This list takes a look at some of history’s greatest minds and shows that like often attracts like. Sad that you’re single on Valentine’s Day? Don’t be. It’s because you haven’t met someone whose intellectual prowess and quick wit match yours… yet.

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2. Ada Bryant, Robert Haire (The New York Times).
When I came across this wedding announcement in The New York Times a few weeks ago, I couldn’t help but tell everyone about it (or at least post a link on Twitter and tell my roommates about it!). The announcement is for an elderly couple who fell in love after she painted a portrait for him. This one is so sweet that even the Valentine’s Day skeptics will smile.

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52-Reasons-Why-I-Love-You-Deck-of-Cards_thumb3. Budget Friendly Valentine’s Day Ideas (Peanut Butter Fingers).
Still don’t have a gift for your significant other? Julie from Peanut Butter Fingers has compiled a list of thoughtful gift ideas based on her own experiences, her friends’ experiences and her findings on Pinterest. There are a lot of creative gifts on this list – and you can make them your own!

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4. Very Definitely Not Dinner & A Movie: 50 Alternative First Date Ideas! (Gala Darling).
These are “first date ideas,” but it doesn’t mean you can’t apply them to Valentine’s Day with someone you’ve dated for a while. So go to an art museum, hunt for photobooths, take a really long one-way walk to an unknown place – the ideas are all here!

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5. How To (Really) Lose a Guy in 10 Days (Love Twenty).
Everybody familiar with the chick flick genre has seen How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, right? This article discusses how to -really- scare off a significant other! (Still need help? Click here for more on that subject!)

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6. Live Better: Fall in Love… With Yourself (Feather Magazine).
No one can really love you until you learn to love yourself. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, this article talks about ways to treat yourself better and increase your own self-worth. Definitely worth the read for anyone!

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7. 5 Ways to Reclaim Your Life After a Breakup (The Daily Muse).
For the heartbroken readers, this advice piece from the Why Don’t You Ask Molly Ford? column discusses some of the ways you can pick up the pieces after a breakup.

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8. The Top 100 Most Strange, Odd, Perplexing and Unintentionally Funny Vintage Valentine Cards EVER! (Mitch O’Connell).
These vintage Valentine’s Day cards are some of the creepiest things I have ever seen in my life. Had I seen them sooner, I would have printed up a bunch and sent them off to all my friends! Be careful – I literally laughed out loud when I saw these late at night, and I honestly hope I didn’t wake anyone up!

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9. Will You Still Love Me on Sunday? (Thought Catalog).
Not so much a Valentine’s Day post, but this piece is all about loving someone even when it’s difficult and not so glamorous. Chelsea Fagan is one of my favorite Thought Catalog writers, and this post does not disappoint.

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10. The Disney Prince Hotness Ranking (Buzzfeed).
If all else fails, there’s a Disney prince out there waiting for you! My personal favorites are Prince Eric and Flynn Ryder, but go through the list and decide who is worthy of your love. 🙂

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Any good articles you’ve read at this time of the year?

No Flash Mob Proposals, Please!

If there’s one trend in romance that I just don’t understand, it’s the concept of flash mob proposals.

Please don’t get me wrong – I’m not a complete Scrooge when it comes to relationships, even if my blog may lead you to believe otherwise. Like most other girls my age, I watch more chick flicks than I’m proud of, and of course I hope for my happily ever after. I’m not anti-grand gestures either, so long as they aren’t the results of constant fighting and dysfunction. If you want to declare your love for somebody in a big way, then by all means, you should.

But I’m still not on board with the whole “flash mob proposal” bit. For those who haven’t seen these on YouTube before (click here), a flash mob consists of a large, seemingly random group of strangers who suddenly break into dance and/or song in front of a group of unsuspecting passersby. Flash mobs contain elements of surprise and excitement (unless, of course, you watch Grimm, in which case they are simply a horrible cause of death), which have contributed to their popularity since 2009 or so. In the past few years, however, some men have integrated the flash mob into their own marriage proposals, involving other guests in the restaurant and people walking by on the street. When it is finally time for him to pop the question, the woman must answer in front of a crowd of perhaps hundreds of people.

I know a lot of girls who find this incredibly romantic, but while I appreciate the amount of effort that goes into a flash mob proposal, I can’t say I would ever want to be a recipient of something like that. After all, what if the woman doesn’t want to marry the guy proposing to her? What if she says “no” and flees the scene – what then? Even worse, what if she says “yes” because she feels an added pressure to marry him, but isn’t actually ready or willing to make that commitment? This also applies to big-screen proposals at major sporting events and other proposals that require an audience.

In a way, I get it. Flash mob proposals are (kind of) original and demonstrate just how far the person is willing to go to impress his significant other. But what comes after the proposal? Come to think of it, how much money are you going to spend or want someone to spend on a proposal? Even if it is true love, does it have to be so elaborate? To me, a few honest words are more important than any choreographed song and dance number, and the money you could have spent on a marching band and light show could instead be used for a down payment on a house. Saying “I do” or “I don’t and never will” should have nothing to do with an audience of expectant strangers and everything to do with where you see yourself in five, ten, fifty years..

In the end, these grand gestures are well-intentioned, but not nearly as important as the little things we may otherwise overlook.