Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Key West vacation, day 1

There is so much to write in this post, I hardly know where to begin. In case you didn't know this about me, Key West is my FAVORITE place in the world! I love soooo many things about it. It makes me feel like it's a tropical New Orleans! For example, Duval Street to me is like a classier, cleaner version of Bourbon Street. There's so much to see and do, everything is both laid-back and fun and funky all at once... I adore the kitschy architecture, the tourists, the clear blue water, the sunsets, the predictably sunny weather... Just everything about it!
My friend Kelly Aline lives in DC, and she came to Florida for a work conference. My husband Nathan and I picked her up in Orlando, then took her to stay with us in West Palm Beach a couple of days. Today, I brought her to her training conference here in Key West, with the awesome benefit of getting to stay with her in this amazingly luxurious hotel, the Waldorf Astoria's Casa Marina. We livin' in high cotton, y'all!! 
Check out the view from our private balcony-- I was flipping out over it.
Of course we had to spend some time on the hotel's private beach...
I went sightseeing while Kelly Aline was in her conference networking get-together.
Choo choo! It's the Conch Train.
The Southernmost Hotel.
I heart conch shells. Did you know Conch are also people? Interesting info straight from Wikipedia: Bahamians in the keys continued to be known as "conchs". Other residents of the Florida Keys, especially in Key West, began applying the term "Conch" to themselves, and it is now applied generally to all residents of Key West. 
The cliche "I'm in Key West" photo. Had to do a Southernmost Point selfie!
Sweet and well-fed Key West kitty.
SUNSET!!!! This is from the private hotel beach... Can't wait to watch a sunset from Mallory Square. These Key West sunsets are legendary. These photos I snapped with my iPhone look fake to me, but they're so real.
Historic cigar factory...
There are bicycles, mopeds, and other modes of tourist transportation galore! These reminded me of my SmartCar.
For years now, I've been dying to try the voted-number-1-in-America dessert restaurant (don't laugh at the name, it's a brilliant marketing ploy), Better than Sex. FINALLY got to enjoy it with Kelly Aline!
Chocolate and Brie grilled cheese with a strawberry champagne dipping sauce. Dusted with cinnamon, cocoa and powdered sugar. My favorite thing!
Delicious! I was like, this restaurant has already surpassed my expectations!!
She ordered the Cookie Nookie, which was a chocolate chip cookie pie and ice cream. This description is under-selling the fantastic dessert!
I feel guilty posting these iPhone pics, because they just don't do these works of art justice. The restaurant is owned by a husband and wife team, Danny and Lynn Johnson. Lynn a is master self-taught baker- everything is created in-house! The decor is charming, very cozy and romantic. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

Check out my behind-the-scenes kitchen shots! This is where the magic is made...
I admit that my chocolate dessert, which won an award in 2013, was not the best pick for me. I should have gone with the Key Lime Cream Pie!

So, to make myself feel better, I ordered the Perfect Partner ice cream drizzled in white chocolate. :)
I'm sure you're not surprised to hear that after all of that indulging, I looked at Kelly Aline and declared, "I feel sick." Then we burst out laughing and kept on eating!!!
That's messed up...

Anyway, we decided to walk it off going down Duval Street.

Only on Duval will you see a water sports and Cuban cigar kiosks connected to a Denny's. Somehow, it works in Key West.
I've been looking for some cheap aviator sunglasses that perfectly fit my face, and I found these at a Duval sunglasses shop for $25. Do you like them?
Kelly Aline said, "Our futures are so bright, we're blinded!" That must be why we are wearing sunglasses at night. Or we just cray-cray.
Vacationing in a postcard spot is fabulous. I can't wait for Day 2!!!

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