Reflection

So I’m sure I’m not the only person who tends to do a lot of reflection on their birthday. It wasn’t until last night that I said out loud, “Holy crap I’ll be 26 tomorrow”. I’m definitely not saying that I’m old because I know I’m not…but there is a certain feeling you get when you start to reach your late twenties. You want to feel like you’ve gotten the best out of your “younger” years before you fully become an adult and “settle” down. At least I do. As I started to think about the things that I want to do and haven’t done yet, I told myself to focus on the positive. Focus not on what I hadn’t accomplished this year, but what I had accomplished this year. And since I have a blog it’s easy to look back and see just how much I’ve done over the course of a year.

I…

So after I looked at all of this, I’d say I’ve had a pretty fun and eventful year!

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday 🙂 I love birthdays and (so far) this has been one of the best in a while.

We actually celebrated Saturday. Normally the thing to do in our group of friends is to have a party at someone’s house/apartment, but I decided I wanted something different this year. I didn’t want everyone having to worry about bringing food, drinks and then cleaning up afterwards. I just wanted something easy and fun.

The day started with go-kart racing at Tampa Bay Grand Prix. So fun! I wanted to do something I’d never done before and go karts sounded like a blast to me.

Tampa Bay Grand Prix was a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be! For some reason I expected a go-kart place to be a run down hole in the wall kind of place. But it was really nice, clean and the service was great. And easy! First they send you to a computer to register, then you pay and then you wait for your race to come up. Simple as that.

I called a few days before to inquire about a good time to come on a Saturday. Of course they said it’s the busiest day of the week so we decided to come at 11 a.m. right when they opened. No one else was there except a little kid’s birthday party (ha).

I wish I had gotten pics of us in our huge helmets. So funny. They give you a few practice laps and then off you go at 45 mph! It took me a bit to get the hang of it, but once I did I was zipping around all the corners. That didn’t seem to help though since I came in last 😦 (Don’t let this photo fool you. My friends were nice and let me be #1 since I was the birthday girl :))

After racing I wanted to get a new dress for our night out later so it was off to the mall. I didn’t actually end up getting anything. I hate shopping when I’m looking for something specific! And I’m so picky. Oh well.

Boba tea and banh mi on the way home-made me happy 🙂

 

After filling our bellies we rested up for the night.

I was so glad that our friend Nick and Jon’s sister, Alyson, were able to come up from Cape Coral to celebrate with me! Nick spent the weekend with us, but Alyson could only stay for dinner 😦

I originally wanted to go to Red Mesa Cantina, but they wouldn’t let me make a reservation (even though I had over 10 people) because of the weekend and the RNC. So my friend suggested Ceviche, which turned out to be a lot better. We sat downstairs in the Flamenco Bar area, which has an awesome atmosphere.

The food was delicious as always. Our server was not exactly Mr. Personality, but that didn’t stop us from having a nice time.

Jon asked the band that was playing to play “Happy Birthday” to me. So sweet 🙂

And then a huge piece of tres leche cake came out with a birthday candle. Didn’t snap a pic, but it was quite yummy.

Then it was off to hit the bars!

First stop was Mandarin Hide for moscow mules.

Then Tryst, which I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I got the signature Tryst martini, which was delicious, but overpriced at $10. However I probably won’t come back anytime soon. It was a little stuffy in there and the staff kept eyeing us…we didn’t feel very wanted.

Last stop was Ale and the Witch…always a fun and friendly place to be!

So, overall it was a great night with great friends, food and drinks. Couldn’t have asked for a better time!

The next day before Nick hit the road we headed to The Burg Bar and Grill for lunch. I decided to go for the Chicken and Waffles. Oh my goodness.

This was ridiculous. Really yummy, but after a while it got to be too much. I was defeated and could only eat about half. Probably a good thing 😉 Also had a bite of Nick’s pulled pork sliders, which was the best pulled pork I’ve ever had out at a restaurant. Tried a few of the wings he got as well. They were spicy, but really good.

The rest of the day was pretty lazy. Today we’re keeping an eye on the weather to see if Issac will ruin dinner plans or not. Hopefully not, but if it ends up being a pizza and cake kinda night that’s fine with me too 🙂

What has been your best birthday celebration so far?

You Say It’s Your Birthday

Birthdays are so underwhelming.

You spend at least a month (if you’re like me) thinking and trying to plan fun stuff to do. And then (if you’re also like me) you end up with no good ideas. Then the day comes and your happy and excited. You check your Facebook constantly to see who has wished you a “happy birthday”. You get friends together for food, drinks and go out to your favorite bar. But at the end of the day, it just seems like any other day. You don’t really ever feel “different” like you always expect to.

Not trying to bring it to bummer town, because I DID have a fantastic birthday…just some insight 🙂

The weekend fun started on Thursday, where I celebrated my birthday dinner at KitchenBar, which you can read about here.

On Friday, my birthday was celebrated at work with my fav cake (yellow cake with chocolate icing). A co-worker also took me out to lunch. We had heard about Vida de Cafe for awhile and finally decided to try it. Vida de Cafe is a small vegan/raw cafe located on Pass-a-Grille. The service could have been better, but the girl who waited on us actually said she didn’t work there and was just helping out…?

I had the Vida de Salad, which was huge and topped with corn, pico de gallo, peppers and “meat”. Everything tasted wonderfully fresh and the colors were so pretty! Not sure what the “meat” was, but it tasted a bit nutty. It came with a chipotle creamy dressing. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…I don’t like chipotle, yet I always seem to order it in some shape or form…as if I’m trying to force myself to like it. It hasn’t worked yet. I would have preferred a more ranch type dressing.

Coincidentally an after work happy hour was also planned that day. Lucky me 🙂 We all met up at Harry’s Beach Bar at Sirata, which I’ve never been to…pretty neat place! I had a glass (or cup) of Chardonnay. Snacks were ordered…Gorgonzola cheese and balsamic drizzled chips and every flatbread on the menu. I tried a small piece of the BBQ chicken, muffalatta and a veggie.

I left after an hour since I had a friend’s dinner party I had to attend. After a quick shower and change at home I was off. My friend was hosting a girl’s night in party with Pampered Chef.

I’ve never heard of Pampered Chef, but the party sure was fun. Low key and just what you need on a Friday night. My friend had put together and adorable spread of finger sandwiches, cheeses and bruschetta. Wine and Skinny Girl margaritas were also in attendance 🙂 I enjoyed the Pampered Chef presentation, but didn’t end up buying anything. The Chef pretty much handles all kitchen purchases. Even though I was tempted to get a few things…adjustable measuring spoons? Genius!

Saturday (my actual birthday) was low key. The Chef took me to breakfast at Cassis. I’m in love with their andouille sausage and shrimp ragout, although it was not the best it has been on Saturday.

I also treated myself to an April in Paris drink. Elderflower liquor, Absolut pear vodka and champagne…delish.

After our meal we headed to Fresh Market so The Chef could stock up on supplies he needed to make for food for my party. I tried to help all day, but he insisted that I not lift a finger since it was my birthday. I finally convinced him to let me clean though 🙂

My friend graciously hosted my party at her apartment complex’s common room, which is a great space and has its own kitchen.

The spread…

The Chef made sausage stuffed mushrooms, panzanella (inspired from KitchenBar), sundried tomato dip (at my request) and chicken satay with a peanut dipping sauce  (also at my request).

My birthday cupcake 🙂

Friends slowly trickled in and a good time was had by all as we just sat around, talked and enjoyed one another’s company. Eventually we had to clean up and head out of the common room. There was only one place I really wanted to go…Wine Madonna! Newly opened, Wine Madonna is located next to The Ale and the Witch. A perfect pairing for ladies like me who love wine and whose boyfriends love craft beer 🙂 Luckily, my friend lives downtown so our destination was only a short walk away.

It was very cute inside, smaller than I thought. Despite the huge crowd at Ale and the Witch there were only a few wino patrons in Wine Madonna. I ordered the Sauvignon Blanc despite my excitement over their wine flights. I was just too full from all the goodies and the presecco I had been sipping on all night. Everyone else decided they wanted drinks from The Witch…but when I asked the guy behind the bar if my friends could come in with their drinks they said “of course” and stated they had an agreement with The Witch. Good to know. However, shortly after my friends entered we were asked to leave because we were too loud. There were only about 6 of us and we were in no way being rowdy, but I’m guessing everyone talking at once was too much for the few patrons that had already been in there.

A mexican restaurant and a sushi place is set to open in the same plaza, which is exciting. I love to see local businesses flourishing and glad to see this gem of a plaza being occupied after being empty for so long. Since BayWalk is still eerily quiet…

The next morning I had to go into work for a few hours, but The Chef got creative and made a yummy breakfast with some leftover panzanella.

And a smoothie!

It was a wonderful birthday weekend filled with good food, good friends and good fun 🙂