Category Archives: Tampa/ St. Pete

Tampa Aquarium and St Petersburg Winery

FRIDAY!! I tried to look up some fun…Today in History…but didn’t find anything that jumped out at me. Then I looked for the National Food Holiday…and found out it was National Eat Something Bold and Pungent Day. Cool?? Pungent isn’t something that I really aim for when I’m cooking…to me that has a negative connotation.

So for some Friday fun…I thought I would share with you some St Petersburg Fun! About a year ago, one of my best friends from College came to visit and we stayed in St Pete for the weekend. I had been looking at all of the wineries in Florida and set it as my goal to visit each one of them! With Lakeridge Winery already on the list, I had seen the Florida Orange Groves Winery in St Pete. I didn’t really know much about the winery when we arrived but it was DEFINITELY not what I expected. The groves were not locate don site, so it was mostly a cute little store and the fermenting vats. We learned about the history of the winery and had a tour along with a wine tasting.

Source

The most notable fact about the winery is that their wines are NOT made from grapes for the most part. I think of wine and grapes automatically pops into my head. At the Orange Groves Winery they make wine from bananas, mangos, strawberries, coconuts, cranberries and anything else you can think of. They have champagnes, ports, vegetable wines, smoothies and more. It’s mind boggling the things that they do here. The tasting allowed you to select which wines you wanted to try, as well as a smoothie. Each wine tasted exactly like the fruit that was used in fermentation and varied from sweet to dry.

Each one was more surprising than the last. Brent and I bought the Festiberry Wine, which was a wine made from cranberries and Florida Banana, which if you can’t guess is made from Bananas. I brought both of them back with me for Thanksgiving for my family to try. The cranberry wine was extremely good, and went well with the Turkey dinner. I thought the Banana had a very surprising flavor. It wasn’t as sweet as you would have pictured but had a true banana flavor. And I just love things that aren’t typical. The more different the better 🙂

After the winery, we headed to the Tampa Aquarium. I had heard some great things about the aquarium and had some high expectations, especially with it being located on the gulf. They had a petting area when you first walk in where you can get your hands on some slimy sting rays.

And above they had some beautiful tanks with all different kinds of fish. One of the neatest things was how they lit the tanks up. It gave the fish a completely different look. Some creepier than others.

I know sharks aren’t particularly nice…but man does that shark look mean. The look in his eye isn’t something that I would want to mess with.

Oh HARROW!

They also had an area to check out a few UNIQUE little birdies. The different types of animals and their adaptations are really amazing to me. They’ve all got their different ways to survive and it’s so fun to learn about their habits because each one is so different from the other.

And clearly they aren’t afraid to get right up in your face. There’s no super zoom on my camera here. But then again, it’s probably better because otherwise you might be getting a close look at this guys nostrils.

CUTIES. It’s almost like they stop and pose for you.

Overall, the aquarium was a bit smaller than I would have thought and you can get through it in about an hour or 2. I’m still a huge Boston Aquarium fan. I haven’t met one that lives up to those expectations 🙂

To top off the day, we drove around a bit and headed towards Davis Island. Davis Island is right off the coast of Tampa and is where a lot of nicer houses are. It is also where my fav Yankee player has a house! Derek Jeter, whoot whoot! So I’m upping my creeper status by sharing a photo of his off season abode.

I wish I had a photo from the bay, because you can really get a sense of how large it actually is. It’s very…cement looking too.

Anyways, it was a fun little trip and something fun and easy for a Friday! St Pete is breath taking and all of the locals agree that if you are going to the beach, anything on the gulf side is the way to go.

NOW, OFF TO THE WEEKEND!!

Any big plans for the weekend?! What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekend?? Something low key or something thrilling?!

Tampa Bay Devil Rays and a twist on a Grilled Cheese

I’m not really a fan of this back dating posting, but I have been running around each night, which is making it hard to get something up. BUT, today I have a valid excuse…or at least  I think so.

Yesterday morning, I got up and putzed around for a little while before Brent got here to go for a run. He wasn’t too excited, but we really needed to go for a short one. This run, Brent decided to take the lead and we just started running into the sunrise. We were goofing off a bit at the beginning of the run and then Brent just took off. I went off chasing him and at the end of the block he just abruptly stopped. When I asked him what we were doing, he said, “This is what I call INTENSE CONFUSION.” And yea, that’s exactly what it was, until he got us lost.

For lunch today, I wanted to give a grilled cheese a shot. But, I felt like a good source of protein was desperately needed after “Intense Confusion”. So this is what happened:

 

 

Ingredients:

1 Slice Honey Wheat Swirl Bread 1 Tablespoon Chives
1 Slice American Cheese 1 Tablespoon Sharp Cheddar Cheese
1 Over Hard Egg

 

It’s pretty self explanatory on how to put this together, but I did grill the bread with some Vegan butter to toast it up like all o four favorite grilled cheeses. If you make it on a skillet, that’s where I think you get the best results.

After work, Brent and I went to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays game! I had never been to Tropicana field and was so excited to go! It had been on our bucket list for the summer, and we just squeaked in a game. The last one of the regular season. It is completely different than any other field in the majors. For one, it is covered. There are a few other covered fields, but they have the ability to open up. Tropicana does not.

 

Here’s a picture of the inside of the dome. It’s definitely a different game here. The players are playing balls off of the ceiling and the distance to the wall is a bit shorter, or at least it seems to be.

 

The stadium is smaller than anything that I have ever been to before. Even as far as seating. Brent and I had some pretty fantastic seats just behind the Orioles dugout. TWO ROWS BEHIND THEM! You could see the frustration in their faces as they ducked off into the dugout. It was crazy, because up close they really look like just your regular person but in your mind you know they aren’t. I mean they are professional baseball players that make millions.

 

 

 

 

I absolutely love going to baseball games in general. It’s just the whole atmosphere. The franks, the beers that go warm after five minutes, the crackerjack, the whole crowd getting into the game and just about everything about the game. I love it.

For a little snack, I ended up getting some crackerjacks. I don’t remember the last time that I had them! What happened to the fun box of crackerjacks?! Why is it just a normal bag?? Not so fun.

But they still had a prize 🙂 I’ll share with you the jokes in the box because I thought they were little goodies:

  • Why do sharks only swim in salt water??

 

Because pepper water would make them sneeze!

  • Why was the frog happy??

 

Because he ate everything that bugged him!

Hahaha!

Brent, is a hot dog kind of guy. I HAD to get a picture of this sucker. It looked like a freaking rainbow on a footlong.

When it comes to snacks, I know there are the staples that parks need to have. But I have always thought that they should have a veggie option. Picture it, sticks of carrots, peppers, and celery sticking out of the french fry container with ranch as a dipping sauce! I can totally see it! Ball Parks, if you are reading this….get on it!

The little kid next to us actually got picked to play one of the games between innings. He lost, but they closed his eyes, everybody cheered and we made him think he won. CUTIEEEEE.

Look at the nugget!

The game overall was a goodie. The Rays ended up winning, pretty much because Longoria had 3 homers. Other than that there really wasn’t any offense by both teams.

There really aren’t any bad seats in the arena because it is such a small place. I really can’t argue with sitting behind the dugout though. I can see how the field wouldn’t be the players favorite. But, not having to worry about the rain and all of the crazy weather of Tampa is a serious plus. Fun Fact: Florida is the lightning capital of the country and Tampa seems to be the hub of that. There were over 1500 deaths due to lightning strikes in Florida. The number two…Michigan at around 700.

In case you were wondering, Africa has the highest in the world. I’m sure you weren’t but I figured I would throw it out there 🙂

 What are your favorite baseball fields?? My favorite just may be Fenway, even though I am a Yankees fan 🙂 

Rock N Run 5K and DeSoto Park

This weekend started off with a bang at the Rock N Run 5K in Casselberry. It was Brent’s first official race and our first run to jumpstart the half marathon training. I woke up on Saturday at 6am, which wasn’t easy and started to get ready for the race. I am big into eating as soon as I wake up, nor before a workout. But, I knew I had to eat something, so for a pre-race snack I had half of a Nature Granola Bar.

We arrived at the race at 645 and Brent was immediately taken back by how many people were showing up for this thing. There wasn’t too much time before the race.

While lining up, Brent wanted to stand at the 10+ minute marker thinking he really wasn’t going to run much faster than that. So that’s where we ended up.

You could tell he was a bit nervous, but excited at the same time. After all, the races here really aren’t true races. People go just to have a good time and get some exercise in. They are great for any athletic ability.

My goal going into the day was to be under 30 minutes. The race itself was a challenge. By the time we hit the mile mark there were already people starting their THIRD mile! That was just about 10 minutes in! I haven’t looked at what the top times were, but seriously?!

The third mile was definitely a challenge for both of us. There was a slight incline and we were just about dead tired. Towards the end, runners who had already finished were walking back out to the course to cheer the rest of us on. It really gave you the motivation to push through and run that much harder.

I ended up finishing at 29:20! It was 35th in my division! I was really pumped about that! Brent came in 50th in his division and finished with a solid 32 minutes! When Brent came in I had to snap a few photos!

(We started a little over a minute after the clock started)

Exhausted but really pumped he finished!

(My face isn’t that red right??)

After the race they were handing out ice cold waters. THANK YOU! Just what we needed. They also had a bunch of tents set up with information about all the different sponsors. The most important being Track Shack. 🙂 For all of the Orlando locals, Track Shack is the organizer for this run and many others. They also have a store on Mills Ave where you can get your run analyzed in order to make sure you buy the best running shoes for your body. FANTASTIC.

My favorite booth was the Banana Booth! A perfect snack post run!

Overall, fantastic way to start off the weekend.

This morning we ventured off to St Petersburg with the puppies. We stopped at Einstein Bros Bagels and picked up some Bfast. I ended up with an Veggie Schmear, with a eggs and cheddar cheese on an everything flat bagel, YUM.

Oreo sat in the front and stuck her head out the window for the majority of the way.

She looks hilarious with the wind blowing in her face.

In St. Pete, we went to DeSoto Beach, which is a Dog Beach that allows your dogs to be off leash! Absolutely amazing. I think all beaches should allow dogs. They just have the best time running and playing fetch in the water and the people are free to just sit in the sand and sun themselves. What’s better than that?!

I didn’t end up snapping any pictures, but Brent says that’s just motivation for us to go back. For your enjoyment, this is one of my favorite pictures of Oreo in the water as a pup…

It was her first time out there 🙂

On the way back, we stopped at Publix to grab a snack. I ended up with some Pasta Salad, Fruit, and a Hummus Snack Cup.

The pasta salad was actually extremely good.

Bacon and Oreo were EXHAUSTED. The best kind of dog.

Tonight, is going to be really low key. I’m going to make some Overnight Oatmeal because I’ve got an early morning tomorrow and some tea!

Hope everyone had a great weekend!