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?

 

Alumni Love, Philanthropy and Allergies

Hi all!

Some fun stuff has been happening around here.

I got my hairs chopped off. I’ve had long hair for quite awhile, but with the already hot and humid days we’re experiencing here in FL I couldn’t stand to feel it on my shoulders anymore. So off it went! I love it though…I really needed a change!

This past weekend was Eckerd Alumni Reunion weekend! I didn’t officially register (just didn’t have the $$$) but I was on a planning committee for a few of them and got to go to those those since they were open and free. One being the EC Night Out at The Hurricane on St. Pete Beach. I took my friend/neighbor/coworker Ashley with me who’s also an EC alum and we had a great time. I’m not a fan of The Hurricane’s food so it’s been awhile since I’ve gone there. The event was on the rooftop bar, which I never knew they had. It was so beautiful up there! It was a bit windy, the roof shingles kind of shifted below your feet but the view was wonderful and the drinks cheap.

The next day I planned to do my first outdoor run in my 5K training (I’m a treadmill runner) but because of a late night and cheap wine I didn’t think I had time to drive downtown so I just went down to the gym. Then it was off to EC Beach Day at Ft. Desoto. It was an absolutely gorgeous day out…perfect for the beach. I only stayed an hour, but wish I had brought Jon and my swimsuit to stay and soak up the beautifulness. P.S. BBQ food is so wonderful after a good run 🙂

 

That same night I had a team bonding event for work at a Lightning game. Once again I got to live it up in a suite which was fully catered with tons of yummy food, beer and wine.

Unfortunately, they lost, but it was a fun time all the same. After the game Ashley and I grabbed Jon and another work friend to keep the night going. We ended up at the new Wood Fired Pizza next to World of Beer downtown. I tried a few bites of the bianca pizza they got. The thin crust was really good. The pizza itself wasn’t too exciting, but I’d definitely give it another try. It’s pricey too! But they had a lot of cool sounding toppings including sirachi!

Sunday was a perfect day of relaxation that started with yoga at The Dali. It was a nice class with a great instructor. The atmosphere was neat, but since it’s not an actual yoga studio the space lacked a bit of the peacefulness that normally comes with a studio. Like people walking in during class and the sound of the cafe kitchen in the background. Still a nice experience though.

After yoga, Lora and I went to brunch at Cassis. I had a bellini with the smoked slamon BLT, which I’ve gotten before and it was just as good if not better. Cassis is one of my fav brunch places. It’s consistent and the atmosphere is so bright, airy and casual.

I’m a new member of the St. Pete Young Professionals, which is a part of the St. Pete Chamber, and they had a First Annual Philanthropy Fair yesterday. I ended up being “that person” who wore jeans and everyone else was in business casual…oops. Luckily, I’m not easily embarassed 🙂 What a great event though! As if I need another thing on my plate (I just want to say yes to every opportunity that comes my way). It was fun learning more about non-profits that I knew about and learning about ones I’d never heard about. I really do love volunteering. It makes you feel good while at the same time giving you added life/work experience. 

I did my first outdoor run on Tuesday, which actually went a lot better than I thought. 2.5 miles in 27:42 at a 11:13 pace. Not too shabby for someone who doesn’t run regularly right? I’m right about where I want to be. I know I’m not going to “win” the race. I just want the experience! Unfortunately, this week I’ve had post nasal drip, a scratchy throat and a hacking cough so that did not make my run fun. I went to a doctor yesterday though and found out I just have allergies. I never have allergies! Thanks loads of oak pollen flying around everywhere! I guess it’s really high this year so people who don’t even normally get allergies are getting them. Crazy.

Do you have really bad allergies right now? Do you like volunteering?

Elvis, Yoga and Birthdays

Needless to say none of the fun things I had planned for the weekend ended up happening. However, other fun things did ensue!

After I got home from work Friday, Jon asked if I wanted to go over to our friend’s house for dinner. We picked up some dinner stuff and headed over for a yummy dinner of BBQ chicken, potato salad and marinated veggies. They have a 6 year old daughter who is adorable and ran around in a Ninja Turtle costume for most of the time we were there. All I can say is…it’s going to be a looong time before we have kids 😉 Love her, but wow what energy! After dinner (it was around 10) I was getting sleepy so I went to lay down on their couch. We all started watching a movie and I promptly passed out.

Saturday was spent doing some errands with my mom. Then she mentioned that there was going to be an Elvis impersernator at The Palladium that night. I dig Elvis and I know my mom does to so we went! This guy was pretty impressive. He went for about 3 hours with only a 15 minute intermission! He sang just like Elvis and some people who had seen Elvis in person said they thought he was better than Elvis! The guy was really entertaining.

It was past 11 when I got home and I already had my jammies on when Jon’s brother (who had come up to St. Pete for the night with some friends) called us to come out and join them for drinks. We quickly rallied and headed downtown. After a few of my fav drinks at Mandarin Hide (The Brooklyn and the Moscow Mule…get ’em) we headed next door to The Garden and got our dance on. It has been agggeees since I went out dancing. I’m much more of a chill at home or a quiet courtyard type of gal, but given the right atmosphere and the right people I let my fun side come out 🙂 Especially when the DJ is playing everything from “Runaround Sue” to “Footloose” to Katy Perry to Run DMC. It was a crazy awesome mix.

I was supposed to meet my friend Lora for yoga the next day. When my head didn’t hit the pillow until 4 a.m. I was certain that that  was not going to happen. However, my eyes opened close to 10 a.m. and texts from Lora motivated me to get up. Before I knew it I was in my yoga clothes heading to Yogani in Tampa. So glad I got up! The class was great and just what I needed. I always have a hard time going to yoga…I have a very active brain and it’s hard for me to relax so I’m always afraid I’ll get bored. But then I end up feeling so refreshed. It has definitely been awhile since I’d been though…my arms were sore Monday! After yoga we had lunch at Whole Foods and I did some grocery shopping. I really need someone to shop with me at health food stores…I just want to buy everything! They call it Whole Paycheck for a reason.

We had an amazingly healthy and simple meal that night. Sockeye salmon (so pretty!), wild rice (WF brand is bleh) and asapargus.

Jon also made some pretty awesome soup for us to have throughout the week. Cannelli beans, bacon, greens, tomatos and shredded chicken. Mmm mmm good.

 

This week hasn’t been too exciting so far. Jon and I are not really celebrators of Valentine’s Day. We did have my mom over for dinner though. We made homemade butternut squash ravioli with a browned butter sage sauce. Um. Yeah. Delish. And of course some red wine and chocolates. I’d never been to Schakolad before and was excited to try these babies. They were very good, but Jon and I both agreed that we liked Sweet Divas better.

  

Jon and my mom also humored me by watching Glee with me. Well, Jon was on the internet the whole time and my mom kept trying to talk to me, but ya know. I’ve missed a few episodes and I clearly need to catch up on some of the stories!

Yesterday was my friend Lora’s birthday. A bunch of us went to BellaBrava for her birthday dinner. It was a fun time filled with good food, wine and conversation. I knew exactly what I was in the mood for too so ordering was easy. A glass of Chianti, Cesar Salad and Spaghetti and Meatballs please. Their cesar is very good with nice buttery crutons. The spaghetti was better last time I had it, but it didn’t stop me from devouring practicially the whole dish.

Tonight should be a quiet night. Lora’s having her actual party tomorrow night so I’ll be prepping some apps and outfit planning (her party is Bond themed!). I have a work event all day Saturday and nothing planned Sunday so we’ll see where the day takes us!