Tampa

Last weekend CSP & I took a quick 4 day trip with his parents to Tampa.  The main goal of the trip was so CSP & his mom could go to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against CSP’s beloved Minnesota Vikings.  The trip down was fairly uneventful, if loooong. We found our hotel then went to grab a quick dinner at Mimi’s.

The next morning we got up and had the hotel provided breakfast.  We were in a Homewood Suites and it was quite nice.  CSP and I had one room, then there was a living room, then CSP’s parents in their room.  Great set up.  After breakfast we got ready for the day and hung out in the room planning our route for the day.  Once it was all figured out we headed toward Ybor City (pronounced EEE-bore) to go to the Columbia Restaurant for lunch.  IMG_5927

The Columbia is Florida’s oldest restaurant. IMG_5938 It’s SO cool!  And as you can tell by the pictures, it was a GORGEOUS day!!!IMG_5923 Such amazing details and architecture. IMG_5937 You could spend a whole day there looking at everything. IMG_5924IMG_5925 We arrived right at 11:30 am and it was a good thing because the place really filled up and had a wait by the time we left.  CSP was so excited to order a real, traditional mojito, complete with sugar cane!IMG_5928IMG_5929  They bring each person their own warm loaf of Cuban bread. And all the waitstaff are in tuxedoes.  Very nice.  I ordered the Pollo Riojana.  It was so good. IMG_5934CSP enjoyed his Bean SoupIMG_5933 and the 1905 Salad that they make right by the table.  So mad I didn’t get a picture of our sweet server tossing that up!  We even had desert.  We shared an incredible White Chocolate Bread Pudding.  The best I’ve ever had.

IMG_5935After lunch we went into the Columbia’s gift shop.  CSP bought the salad dressing from the 1905 Salad, some hot sauce and a cigar (which he still hasn’t smoked!). Then we hit the road looking for the beach!

CSP’s mom really wanted to see the Gulf of Mexico since we were so close.  We thought about going to Clearwater Beach where I used to go as a child.  Boy has it grown!  It was so busy you’d think it was the middle of the summer, not the end of October! So we drove over to Sand Key and drove until we found a public beach access. IMG_5939 It was such a gorgeous day IMG_5953I would have been happy to nap on the beach and swim but we had other plans. IMG_5948 We did get to walk around a bit on the beachIMG_5949IMG_5943 and put our toes in the water. IMG_5946IMG_5952I could have stayed all day!!!  But it was time to get back in the car and drive over to St. Petersburg. We drove around looking at the city a bit and went to a park for a little while.  Then we found a Starbucks for drinks.  I tried the Shaken Green Tea Peach Lemonade and it was delish! IMG_5954By now it was starting to get late in the day and we were thinking about where to have dinner.  There were a couple of ale houses CSP was interested in located in St. Pete so we did a quick drive by.  Oops!  They were having their Halloween parties a little early so they were packed with costumed party people.  We even saw a clown throwing up on the side of the road.  At 5:30 in the afternoon!  They party hard in Florida!!!  So we headed back to Tampa.  Let me tell you that each trip from Tampa to Clearwater to St. Pete were not short.  Traffic- the struggle is real in Florida.  And people drive like maniacs. So we spent the better part of the day just in the car trying to get places!

We found ourselves back in Ybor City (Tampa’s Latin neighborhood) for dinner at Tampa Bay Brewing Company, a place visited by Guy Fieri on Diner’s, Drive Ins, and Dives. IMG_5955IMG_5956I had the beer cheese soup and the Firecracker Shrimp.  Best beer cheese soup ever! IMG_5985CSP really enjoyed the wings and house brewed beer. IMG_5984 You can see the big brew tanks behind us.  After dinner we were all tired from our long day so we went back to the hotel and promptly to sleep.  I love sleeping in hotel rooms.  It’s so dark and the sheets are so crisp and smell faintly of bleach.  Ahhh.

Sunday was game day!  We woke up and had hotel breakfast again then I laid down with a nasty headache. CSP came in to say goodbye and he was off to his game.  I napped until about 1:30 then showered and got ready for the day.  FIL wanted to go to Mimi’s again for lunch so we headed over there. After lunch we went down toward the stadium to find a place to park and wait for CSP & MIL to get out of the game.  We found some shade in a grocery store parking lot and waited.  Then the game went into overtime.  Luckily I had my phone with me so I passed the time texting friends and cruising Facebook.  We were parked on the main drag so once the game let out all the fans were walking by our car.  So fun to people watch!  Drunk people, families, people all decked out in team wear.  We found CSP & MIL and they were starving.  So we went to Miller’s Ale House back near our hotel.  I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of CSP & MIL in their jerseys.  They looked really cute.  At Miller’s we heard a play by play of the game.  I needed a cocktail so I ordered a creamsicle.  Very yum. IMG_5987We hung out at the Ale House for a couple hours watching the late football game.  Then it was time to go back to the hotel and pack up to leave!

We hit the road fairly early the next morning but ran into major traffic around Orlando so we didn’t get home until about 11 pm.  CSP fell asleep as soon as we got in the car. IMG_5993The pugs were happy to see us and we were happy to see them!  They were very well taken care of by our BIL, who stayed at our house the whole weekend and sent us funny text updates throughout.

Now we’re all rested up and ready for our next adventure!

 

 

 

Day 14 of 30 Days of Thanks- The Internet

I’m thankful for the internet.  Not just for daily tasks (but we do rely on it for everything- I mean, when’s the last time anyone used a phone book?), but for Facebook and Twitter and blogs.  I’m on Facebook every day.  It’s how I keep in touch with so many friends and family.  It’s how I’ve reconnected with long lost friends.  And through Twitter and my blog I’ve met some of the greatest people!  I can’t imagine not being able to check in on my peeps’ lives now that I’m so used to it.  I’m also thankful for the internet for shopping!  I rarely shop at a brick and mortar store anymore for clothes, gifts, etc..  Love online shopping.  I love mail anyway so to get goodies in the mail is even better!

CSP turns 40! Day 2 of birthday bonanza!

After Saturday’s lunch CSP & I ran some errands, took a nap, then prepared for Sunday.  Sunday at around 1 the parents of CSP came over to celebrate.  CSP bought 100 oysters!  He wanted oysters for his birthday so he got em!  We spent the day preparing a million different kinds of oysters.  Oysters Rockefeller, on the half shell,  stew, and grilled.    I don’t eat oysters but my honey was kind enough to grill me some chicken instead.  It took a good while to shuck all those oysters!  In the meantime we told all the shucking jokes we could come up with!

CSP turns 40! Day 1 of birthday bonanza!

Saturday CSP & I met up with Papa, Gigi, Marc, Sara, Jacob, & Joey at Growler’s Pour House in NoDa for CSP’s birthday lunch.  Growler’s is this cool pub/restaurant that CSP really likes.  I like that it’s next door to the Crepe Cellar.  Papa & Gigi brought the birthday hat and some presents for CSP.   Then much food was ordered.  Wings, beer cheese, pimento cheese, brats, paninis, the works!   We couldn’t eat it all and had to get boxes to go.  Such good food!  The boys came to lunch right after their first basketball games of the season.  Joey had his hair in a fun mohawk!   We stayed about 3 hours and had a great time! I snuck in some 40 candles and gave them to the chef to put in a brownie for CSP.  We all sang and clapped.  Not something you often see in a pub! 

Full color creepy

I face paint at festivals and parties on occasion.  Sometimes I need an assistant.  So the other day (could have been a couple weeks ago by now) I was over at my sister Sara’s house.  She volunteered to help me face paint at an upcoming event but she wanted to practice first.  Luckily she has 2 children we can paint.   Someone had a fabulous idea of painting eyes on Jacob’s eyelids.  Then we did the same thing to Gigi.  It was incredibly creepy!!  Like they were watching us with their technicolor eyes!

Birthday Buffet

Tuesday afternoon we took Blanca to get a good wash and vacuum then went to pick up Papa & Gigi.  We drove down to Columbia and picked up Momo & Ian after a quick tour of their new digs.   Then it was off to Shealy’s for my birthday dinner!   Half the fun was just getting there as we somehow managed to pack 6 full grown adults into my little RAV4!   Can you see Ian in the waaay back?      Everyone got their fill of bbq and fried chicken.  SO YUM.   I think all the chicken gave Papa the crazies.  Look at this face!   I don’t know why CSP makes these faces, he knows he’s going on the internet!   We had a great time!  It was certainly worth the drive.

Shakes & States

The other night I went to see Horrible Bosses with my mom, Papa, & Momo.  Afterward we stopped by Steak & Shake for milkshakes.  We got to talking about who could name all the states and the next thing you know we’re all drawing out the map of the US and trying to name states and capitols.  I was impressed at how much we all remembered!