Vibrant Tropical Fruit Plate

We were extremely fortunate to spend time on Sugarloaf Key in January and February, and in addition to the amazing weather, ocean views, and palm trees everywhere, there are some of the most vibrant and delicious fruits available. Since we got to spend quite a while in the Keys, we got to know some of the neighbors in the neighborhood where our rental house was located, and we were so concerned for everyone during and after the hurricanes. We have touched base with at least one family and they said that no one in the area suffered too much damage, and we were lucky enough to find out that most importantly, everyone was ok. 

I was looking back at a few of our photos from earlier this year, and I even though I have of course been in Fall-Pumpkin-Everything Season lately, I still wanted to share this light and bright Tropical fruit plate with you because I am feeling nostalgic about Florida. 

Tropical Fruit Plate

Organic fruits and veggies at the grocery stores are sky high, but I wanted to embrace the tropical spirit of everything around me, and was super happy to find two awesome fruit stands. 

Keys Homegrown, the fruit stand that was much closer to our rental was located next to Keys Cuisine, unfortunately closed while we were there. I found star fruits, 4 for $1.00 there, plus TONS of amazing other fresh fruits. So sad that place closed!

Next, was Paradise Produce, a much larger and super well organized fruit stand which is luckily still there. They had friendly staff who explained a bit about some of the more exotic and unusual fruits, and their selection was incredible! (The photo below is one I grabbed from their Facebook Page).

Paradise Produce Stand

Keys Cuisine was definitely one of the best three restaurants out of the Key West area. The other two included the OMG-inducing Bavarian Bakery and Sandwich Shop called Sugarloaf Food Co. The other restaurant was called Bucktooth Rooster and served huge portions of delicious comfort food.

For this fruit plate, I knew I needed a rather large container, and luckily, I found one at the Dollar Tree that held everything extremely well. The plate is made of white plastic, and had a smaller round center part that you would usually use for dip or salsa. I placed the small watermelon bowl into the center and then built my fruit plate around that!


Green Grapes

Red Grapes

Gooseberries (The small round orange fruits)

Kiwi, cut in half into flower shapes (simple tutorial here)

Smaller Watermelon

Papayas (one with seeds removed, and keep seeds in the other for visuals)


Green Apples

Any other fruit yoru heart desires! 

Tropical Fruit Plate

1.) Cut watermelon in half, carefully making sure the cut is smooth. This will become part of your fruit plate display.

2.) Choose the more attractive half of the watermelon and set aside. Cut the other half into cubes, removing the outer skin as you go. With the prettier half of the watermelon, slice around the top with a sharp knife to remove as much of the red part as possible. Then, cut that into cubes. Place hollowed out watermelon half into the center of the tray, and refill it half way full with watermelon cubes. 

3.) Cut kiwi into flower shapes, by very carefully using a pairing knife to press into the kiwi in a zig zag shape all around the entire circumference of the fruit. This is an amazing way to add visual interest to your platter! Be careful to never cut toward your hand.

4.) Lastly, cut apples and any other fruits, and begin to arrange clusters of grapes, papayas, and any other ingredients in your own style and way. This would be amazing also served with fruit dip, but this is an amazing way to encourage guests or your family to eat healthier snacks.

Tropical Fruit Plate

Live Life Brighter with Outshine Snacks

Sponsored Post: This post is sponsored by Outshine but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. #SnackBrighter.

Do you ever eat a food that literally transports you to another place? Perhaps you tried the best dessert in your whole life, that time you visited Hawaii, and any time you eat something made with lime, it takes you back to that very dessert? Well, these Outshine Fruit Bars in Lime do that to me. These bars bring a rush of taste and chill to my senses, making me think of the awesome food we ate while visiting Waikiki Beach, other places on Oahu, and all around Kauai! This is why Outshine Fruit Bars help me Live Life Brighter! 

Where is your favorite place to escape?

Learn more about Outshine Fruit & Yogurt Bars here! They are made with real fruit juices and are non-GMO, which I find extremely important to the food I eat. 

Find out Where To Buy these bars here - I found mine at Kroger, and I believe they are also available at Walmart and Kroger Banner Stores, like Fry's and others. 

I also LOVE the Outshine Snacks Instagram Account, here. It's full of bright, inspiring images and you can also learn more about the brand's efforts to donate tons and tons of food. 

These Outshine Fruit Bars in Lime taste super good. They are not overly sweet, they are tarty and tangy, just like something made with real lime juice should taste like. I also really enjoyed the consistency and texture of these fruit bars. If you are someone who likes frozen treats that taste like real fruit instead of those fake flavors, these are a great option for you.

Refreshing, lime after lime.

Made with lime juice

Excellent source of Vitamin C

No high fructose corn syrup

Fat-free, Gluten-free

No artificial colors or flavors

70 calories

No GMO Ingredients

Some of my favorite things about these Outshine Fruit Bars are:

Only 70 Calories per bar, 0g Total Fat per bar, and 25% of your daily Vitamin C. 

Photography Field Trip: Flamm Orchards

Last week, spur of the moment, I drove out to visit Flamm Orchards, in Cobden, IL. I had been wanting to go back for a while now, and I even called ahead to make sure they still had peaches. The peach season has pretty much come to an end, and the apples are almost ready to be picked. It is still a million degrees and also a million % humidity right now, so I am glad I took advantage of the cooler weather we had this day. Heading into September, I always feel like it should be cooling down and feel like Fall, but it sure doesn't just yet. Soon, though! My fingers are crossed that I get to take way more of these Photography Field Trips around southern Illinois soon! 

Here is one gem that we have in southern Illinois. It's super easy to get to, and the drive out there is gorgeous around sunset - rolling hills, orchards upon orchards of fruit trees, and just lots of green space. The day I went, the sky was bright blue with puffy, white clouds everywhere. 

Peach Jam - Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

I bought a jar of this Peach Jam, and cannot wait to use it with puff pastry and fresh peaches. What a good time to test out this recipe! Below, you will see their peach pie, a la mode. I snapped a photo of someone else's dessert at the pickup window, but I bought myself a couple of brownies and a couple of slices of the best Zucchini bread I have ever had in my life! I got therm all to-go, and Bobby made an exception to not liking to even eat sweets, and helped me eat them :)

peach pie + ice cream - Flamm Orchards - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

Flamm Orchards already have lots of beautiful gourds and pumpkins!

Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL
Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

And, if it had been a little bit cooler out, I would have enjoyed this little outdoor eating area that Flamm offers. All of the flowers looked so wonderful! (below)

Flamm Orchard - Cobden. IL

Nature Hills Nursery - A Special Plant Delivery, and an IZZE Cocktail Recipe!

Over the holidays, Nature Hills Nursery sent me the most adorable mini Christmas tree ever. Now, they surprised me with something much larger! This gorgeous philodendron arrived at my doorstep and I absolutely love it. It's on sale for over half off right now, Find It Here! These plants are gorgeous, and arrive at your doorstep super quickly. 


I think larger, more mature plants would make an amazing Valentine's Day gift! Send one to your loved one's office, or home, and brighten their day! Every time they see this gorgeous plant (it will last for years, believe me...), they will think of your love :)

Split Leaf Philodendron - Nature Hills Nursery

Tropical Charm for Inside or Out

Split Leaf Philodendron, Philodendron selloum, is one of many varieties of Philodendron plants with tropical allure and a hardy nature. Place one of these indoors where it will have space to climb and you can enjoy watching its progress.

Split Leaf Philodendron has been a favorite of gardeners for years—as a garden plant, but also as a lovely, indoor houseplant. The heart-shaped leaves are huge (almost 3-feet long), with an appearance reminiscent of something you’d see in a rainforest.

It’s like bringing a bit of the tropics into your home! Split Leaf’s delightful green leaves are deeply-lobed with a glossy finish that easily catches the light and presents a vibrant appearance wherever it’s planted.

In optimal conditions, your Split Leaf Philodendron will reach 12 feet with a 15-foot spread. Split Leaf Philodendron is a vigorous grower and easy to care for. It prefers humidity, but will tolerate some dry conditions. There are no pest or disease concerns and Split Leaf is quite hardy.

Split Leaf Philodendron’s positive features make it easy to see why it’s so often the choice of homeowners for both inside and out. Even if your climate isn’t appropriate for a Philodendron to live outside, why not bring one indoors this year. You’ll soon view it as one of the best houseplants you’ve ever owned!

*Cold hardy
*Great for containers
*Grow Inside or Out

I also thought that this fun IZZE Cocktail would look superb along side of the philodendron. 

IZZE Blackberry


IZZE Sparkling Raspberry, Frozen Blackberries, Vodka or Tequila (Optional), Cute Glasses


Fill glasses half way with ice, pour in 1 shot of alcohol (Optional), add IZZE Sparkling Blackberry (love the fizziness of this drink!), and garnish with 2 frozen blackberries!

Note: This drink is not incredible sweet, which is nice. But, you could add a tiny bit of Agave if you want! Enjoy!

IZZE Blackberry
Nature Hills Nursery
IZZE Blackberry
IZZE Blackberry
Split Leaf Philodendron