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?

Tampa Bay Watch, Spring for the Arts, Girls Day

I am a bad blogger.

I had such an amazing weekend. However, there are few to none photos to prove it :/ Sometimes I just plain forget. Others I feel awkward taking photos of every little thing. Either way I wish I had more to showcase my fun. Guess you’ll just have to settle for words 🙂

Thursday wasn’t so much “fun”, but still an experience I’d like to note. I volunteered with the Junior League at Suncoast Center’s Illuminating Hope event. Suncoast Center offers help to those who have suffered things such as physical and sexual abuse and Illuminating Hope was an awareness event and encouraged people to speak out. There were expressive art pieces on display as well as a series of speakers. Tears instantly welled up as the first speaker, a 20 year old girl, spoke about she had been through. It was some hard stuff to sit through, but I am glad I got to be a part of it.

On Friday my work had a volunteer day with Tampa Bay Watch. We met at Weedon Island where we were presented with a huge pile of fossilized shells. Our job was to shovel these shells into mesh bags, transport them down onto a boat and then go out on the boat and help place them along a shoreline to create an oyster bar. This oyster bar helps to restore lost habitat systems to the bay, prevent further erosion of the shoreline and improve water quality through natural biological filtration. We spent 3 hours in the FL sun doing real, physical labor. By back and arms were sore all weekend, but I loved it! I love that sense of accomplishment and being able to actually see the difference you make. Can’t wait until we do it again!

Saturday morning was spent at our Junior League Leadership Retreat. Our speaker talked a lot about different personalities and eventually we got seperated into our different personality groups and learned a lot about how we work and how to work with others with different personality types. It was really helpful!

That night I got to attend Creative Clay’s Spring for the Arts fundraiser on behalf of Creative Pinellas (I’ll be blogging for them soon). Never knowing how much food is actually available at events Jon and I went to Ceviche beforehand for a few nibbles. When we got there there was a half hour wait so we went downstairs to their Flamenco bar area where there were very little people…score! We grabbed some seats at the bar and enjoyed some lovely wine and tapas. We hadn’t been to Ceviche to eat in so long and we forgot how much we enjoyed it. And we definitely favor the downstairs area better…it’s less hectic and I just like the atmosphere a bit better. The service seems to be better as well for some reason.

We had the Tabla Mixta, which had Chorizo, Morcilla and Serrano ham with Mahon, Manchego and Tetilla cheeses, sliced fruit and homemade pâte. Piquillos rellenos which are stuffed red peppers with ground veal and chorizo served with a sherry sauce. This is by far my favorite dish here. The flavor is perfect and they’re just delicious! We also had an asparagus dish, which was a nice side…got to have those veggies!

Spring for the Arts was a great event.

Beautiful music and wonderful artwork.

Tons of raffle and silent auction items.

A good amount of food and drink. I enjoyed some white wine and snagged some bread pudding from Ricky P’s for dessert.

(Since I’m reporting on this event for Creative Pinellas I won’t give too many details away.) We ran into a few people we knew and ended up chatting away the 2 hours we were there. They had member artisits doing free portraits and unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to do that 😦 The event was on the third floor of The Pier, which is used for lots of events. Beautiful views of the water and St. Pete!

Sunday I joined some lady friends for yoga at The Dali. This was actually my second yoga class of the week…imagine that! Afterwards we had a late lunch at Red Mesa Cantina. Jon and I had gotten dim sum that morning so I only had half of my mahi mahi torta, but it sure was good. Complete with a pomegrante mimosa 🙂

This week is going to be quiet. Jon is working nights this week so I’m on my own meals wise…might try my hand at some dishes! But I also don’t have anything planned outside of work for once. The only thing I do have planned this week is taking my mom to Hard Rock this Saturday for an early Mother’s Day present so that should be fun!

What fun things did you do this past weekend? Have you done any volunteering lately?