An Art Full Night

Hello hello! Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.

This past week has been fairly easy going and I am grateful because this week is going to be crazy busy!

I got my hairs cut with my mom on Wednesday. Shout out to Number 9 salon for always being awesome. My mom always comments on how everyone who works there has tattoos and it makes me laugh. Everyone that works there is awesome! Frank, the owner, knows how to run a great team. You can’t get a bad haircut there…it’s impossible. I’ve been seeing Morgan lately and she rocks. She’s also so fun to chat with.

After our haircuts we grabbed dinner at Tijuana Flats. I try to avoid chains, but this place is fast and cheap and fairly good. But what is truly awesome about this place is it’s service. It’s stellar. You are instantly greeted when you walk in and everyone is SO genuinely nice and pleasant. And they always make sure to say goodbye to you as you leave too. The only thing I don’t like is how it seems to be a requirement for girls to wear booty shorts.

Thursday we had our first volunteer St. Pete Shakes meeting, which was wonderful. A great meeting of the minds. It was awesome to see a group of people who love our group and want to help us succeed.

Friday my friend Lora subbed a yoga class at YogaBlu. I love doing yoga when it’s raining outside…extra peaceful. The power went out for a few minutes, which made me think how cool it would be to do yoga in the dark! On my way home I picked up Taco Bus for dinner and later Jon and I ended up hanging out at Joe and Mandy’s. I was so zonked from the day that I fell asleep on the couch while watching Natural Born Killers.

Saturday we woke up and took our new friend Zach to get dim sum. After a few errands and a nap at home we got ready for a fun night out. Every second Saturday of the month there’s a gallery walk in St. Pete, where galleries stay open late and you can peruse the latest exhibits for free. Cool, right?

First stop was the Morean Arts Center where they were having their opening reception for their street art exhibit, Leave a Message.

So much amazing work…

I loved reading the artist bios for these artists…they seemed the most in tune with art than most artists. They talked about where they grew up, how street art had influenced them and how they see art in everything. They all had great outlooks on art and what it means for them.

They had a tequila bar set up. The co-curator of the show also designed the image on this tequila bottle.

I had a tequila and grapefruit soda drink, which was delicious! Def my new favorite drink.

They had a really cute snack table too full of candies, yogurt covered pretzels, peanut butter filled pretzels, chex mix, etc. I grabbed a Twizzler and was transported to childhood.

Then we were off to an opening party for this new gallery called The Space in the Warehouse Arts District. This new found district has a few art galleries in an area where there’s a lot of run down warehouses (hence the name). I was so pumped about this event. They had promised aerial dancers, sword swallowers and all kinds of crazy stuff. But when we got there nothing was going on except a band playing. We stayed around for a bit, but eventually made our way next door to the Duncan McClellan studio. I’d heard a lot about this place, but hadn’t been yet so was glad we had the chance to check it out.

So many cool pieces!

I fell in love with these little guys hard.

They had a bunch of different animals. If they hadn’t cost $750 each I would have brought them all home.

After Duncan we realized we needed a meal. We stopped at The Burg Bar and Grill, which was close by and another place we’d been meaning to try.

This place used to be the Cider House and we hung out here all the time with friends. Lots of fun times. It was a little weird to be there in a different atmosphere.

We both got the gyro. I was skeptical, but it was actually really good! The meat was excellent and so was the tzatziki. The pita could have been better though. It was served with a side of chips, which they clearly make in house. Love that extra effort, but they would have been perfect with some seasoning.

After filling our bellies we realized it was only 9 p.m. We had done a lot in a few hours! Needless to say we ended up ending our night and went back home.

Sunday I had to go into work…what was supposed to be 4 hours turned into 8 hours, but it was fun. I got to help with a proposal!

How was your weekend? Have you ever helped out with or witnessed a proposal? Any fun art events in your area that you like to go to?

Food, Friends and Fun

Well it must have been a fun weekend because I took no photos 🙂

After an awesome yoga class at YogaBlu and a quick dinner of leftovers at home I met up with Jon at our friends’ Joe and Mandy’s place for some hang out time.

Saturday was the ultimate of lazy, but I did have the energy to whip this out.

Homemade banana bread! This came out GOOD.

I used this recipe, but added a 1/2 cup of chopped walnuts to the mix and a tablespoon of vanilla. I also realized we were out of milk, but found the chocolate milk that I haven’t been drinking. So I used that and it didn’t seem to make any difference 🙂 Out of the oven it tasted a bit dry, but it was much more moist the next day. Great mixed in with plain Greek yogurt and fruit!

We did muzzle up the energy to attend my friend Julie’s birthday party in Safety Harbor at Whistle Stop Grill. We didn’t know anybody there, but thought “what the heck”. It turned out to be a great night.

Whistle Stop has all outdoor seating, but luckily it wasn’t too hot Saturday night. It has a cute, slightly diveish feel to it. The menu was your normal bar grill kind of food with a few twists thrown in. There were a few apps that got ordered for everyone to share like friend pickles, fried green tomatoes and corn fritters. All of which I loved. Nothing was overly fried. For my entree I ordered the crab and shrimp sandwich with sweet potato fries. The sandwich tasted a little off, but I ate it anyway. The fries were of course awesome. Unfortunately, I got sick later in the night…I had only had one glass of wine so I knew it wasn’t from drinking. Not sure if it was the food or what, but ugh what a way to end a night 😦

Sunday started with some pool time at my friend Lora’s with some other friends. Lora’s apartment complex has a lovely courtyard area with a pool, lounge chairs and a few cabanas. We had a lovely time chatting in one of the cabanas and enjoying some refreshing mimosas by the pool.

And of course there were snacks a plenty!

On my way home Jon told me we got invited to our new friends Alex’s house to hang out. We met Alex and her boyfriend, Reese, at Julie’s party the night before and had ended up talking to them most of the night.

So after a quick stop at Fresh Market we headed over for a fun night of hanging out with new friends. We had some great conversations…Alex is from Paris and Reese from South Africa, so it is always interesting to hear how different our cultures are…especially in terms of the way we live and how we approach food. Speaking of food I cannot get enough of fresh corn on the cob right now. It doesn’t even need butter! We had some fresh corn alongside some awesome bangers we got at Fresh Market. The guy at the meat counter recommended them for grilling. Always ask for recommendations!

A little laugh for the day…saw this guy in the sausage section at Fresh Market and it cracked me up. One of those things that makes you go “What the…??”

How was everyone’s weekend?

Hard Rock, Moscato’s and A Lazy Sunday

How was everyone’s weekend? I swear they are never long enough. I am one of those people who would rather work longer hours for 4 days and then have a 3 day weekend. Anyone else with me?

Friday started the weekend off wonderfully. After work I headed to YogaBlu where my friend Lora was subbing a yoga class. Had a great, energizing class full of hip openers (my fav). Afterwards I joined her for a lovely run along the waterfront. What a healthy way to start the weekend!

Saturday morning my mom and I headed up to the Seminole Hard Rock Casino for an early Mother’s Day celebration. We thought it would be packed on actual Mother’s Day so we decided to go this weekend instead. This was our first time going!

Parking was relatively easy. I have to say it was probably the easiest parking garage I’ve ever maneuvered around in.

Holy slot machines!

This is only one section of them. There were tons!

Does it bother anyone else that they take your favorite childhood movies and turn them into themed games…just seems wrong to me. Also, saw the Little Mermaid. They also had ones like Dirty Dancing and Sex in the City, which I think are more appropriate.

We played for an hour then headed to the food court for a quick lunch. I got a grilled chicken sandwich with fries. Your typical food court fare…wasn’t anything great, but it was edible.

We spent a good few hours at the slots. It was fun! I made sure to be smart and kept track of how much I was spending. I stuck with the 2 and 5 cent machines and never put in over $5. And most times once I doubled my money I stopped. Luckily, I ended up leaving with the same amount that I came in with.

Later at home mom and I decided to go out for dinner. We actually tried to hit up a few mexican places for Cinco de Mayo, but every one we drove past was crazy busy (go figure). So we ended up at Moscato’s, a quaint Italian place we’ve been to a few times before.

The last time we were here they had just reopened with an updated menu and we had Jon in tow. Between Jon being picky and them getting into the groove from their hiatus it wasn’t the best experience. But this time was better.

There weren’t a lot of other diners (I think they were all having mexican!) so it was pretty low key in there. They always have live music and that night they had a one man guitar player that transported you straight to Italy. They also had changed the decor a bit. They changed the tables around and added colorful pillows to the benches. I also loved the fresh flowers they had in wine bottles. You really can’t beat the atmosphere in here. It’s very cozy and everything from the decor to the plates makes you feel like you’re at someone’s Italian villa rather than a restaurant. And the service is always on par as well.

Now to the food. They make their own linguine and angel hair, which is wonderful, and you cans wap it with any dish that has pasta. I’ve had it before and loved it, but really wanted to try the baked penne this time.

One of my complaints last time was that the portions seemed too small. But I couldn’t even finish this big bowl! Yay for quantity!

The pasta was cooked very well. The cream sauce was delectable and not too rich tasting. The chicken needed to be seasoned, but the sundried tomatoes and mushrooms helped amp up the dish. We paired our meal with a lovely red wine from Sicily. I forgot the name, but it was smooth and on the fruiter side.

Sunday was Jon’s day off and it was a lazy one. We slept in until about noon. I started my day off with Captain Crunch and felt like such a big kid. Where are my cartoons?

We finally mustered up the energy to get a late lunch at Pho Quyen. BBQ Beef Vermicelli for me and Pho with everything for him. We then ran some errands which included Target and Total Wine.

Our goodies…We rarely go to Total Wine so when we do we stock up!

The rest of the day was spent lazing around in front of the boob tube. For dinner Jon made a pantry surprise of a bunch of things we needed to use up. Roasted chicken, quinoa, lentils, black eyed peas, carrots, tomato sauce, chicken stock, chipotle peppers and a few other random things went into a pot for a kind of stew/chili. It was really good!

What fun things did you do this weekend? Have you ever been to a casino?

lululovely

Good evening!

My day started off with a trip to the dentist. I’m not one of those people who is scared of the dentist or dreads it. It’s pretty much just like any other appointment. Don’t get me wrong the picking, scraping and flossing is not fun…but at least my teeth feel all clean and smooth when I run my tongue across them now 🙂

The real highlight of my day though was a class at YogaBlu. Today was special since lululemon was having a trunk show there today! I’ve only bee to the South Tampa store once, and even though I most of the stuff is out of my budget I still love to ooh and ahh at all the yogalicious clothes and accessories. I didn’t walk away empty handed though. I dropped $12 for this baby:

One of their no-slip headbands, which I’ve been wanting for awhile so I thought it was ok to get. I put it on right away for the yoga class and it worked perfectly! No hairs got in my face and it didn’t move an inch! And it’s a fun color 🙂

Guess what just happens to be across the street from YogaBlu?

Of course I had to make a trip in 😉 I did have some standard groceries to get, and I was pretty good at controlling my grabby hand. But I can’t help but go down each isle, slowly looking at all the wonderful and interesting products.

My cart was full before I knew it.

Here’s a look at all the goods.

I’m especially excited to pair these two together in a salad tomorrow.

That would be smoked mozzarella and sundried tomatoes…yum.

That’s all I have for today!

Conversation Starter: Do you ever go into stores after  a workout, or do you have to go home and change first? The shorts I wear for yoga are short, and ride up easily…I pulled on a thin sweatshirt over my tank top before I went into Fresh Market just so I didn’t feel too revealing. But I still felt a bit odd, even though it was clear I just came from yoga.

What I’m Loving Right Now

Things that I love right now:

YogaBlu

I’ve made an oath to myself to include yoga into my fitness schedule once a week. I have a friend who’s quite the yogi so I usually go where she goes, which led me to YogaBlu. Beautiful space, great staff and probably the best class I’ve taken in the Tampa Bay area. I go to Destry’s YogaFlow class, but unfortunately she’s moving in a few weeks 😦 Time to test out another teacher!

My fitness routine consists of a lot of cardio and some weight lifting, which leaves my muscles sore and tight. Yoga is pretty much the only thing that really helps me stretch out…plus I just love that “yoga high” you get after a class.

Fit for Fashion

I’ve been exercising regularly since I was 18. But I never really knew what the hell I was doing. I knew how to run and that’s about it. It wasn’t until I was out of college that I started getting into yoga and zumba classes, and thus realizing I really loved a group class setting. After my friend taught a zumba class at F4F I went on their website and saw all of the other types of classes that were taught. Most of the classes were boot camps and I decided to give one a whirl. It. Kicked. My. Butt. And I loved every minute of it. The setting was also very comfortable. It’s mainly an all women fitness studio…there are a few co-ed classes offered and the occasional guy will show up (usually dragged by his girlfriend). Most of the classes are taught by owner, Rebekah Reidy, but she just recently hired a new trainer to take some of the load off. The best thing about the classes is that they are always different, which means you never get bored. And it’s not all boot camps…there’s an awesome circuit style weight lifting class called Pink Iron (one of my favs), yoga, pilates and running clinics. Whether you’re just starting to get into working or you’re training for a marathon, this is a great place to go. The price is also the cheapest in St. Pete at $10 a class, but if you’re over your budget one week you can hit up an Open Gym, which is free.

Rollin’ Oats

I’m really on a health food kick right now so after a sweat session at F4F on Monday I headed to Rollin’ Oats for the weekly grocery shopping. I hadn’t been in there in ages so it took me a bit to find everything I needed. Plus their aisles are so narrow that two carts can barely fit down one. But I was all googly eyed at all of the different products and definitely got a bit grab happy, which showed when all of the goodies were rung up. I want to keep shopping at local health stores, but going to try another one in the area to see how prices compare.

MyFitnessPal iPhone App

I’ve always hated counting calories. And a lot of times for a lot of reasons I think it’s silly. At the same time I practically do it every day. I’ve tried a food journal and online website, but I’ve always fallen off the wagon. But ever since I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app on my phone I’ve been going pretty strong. They make it so super easy to find different foods, and they have even added a barcode scanner feature. It’s important to note that I’m not a crazy calorie counter who is doing it to loose weight. I in no way am looking to loose weight (my fitness focus is strictly in the tonage area). I mainly like to track my cals so I know that I am eating enough. Or it’s nice to know that I have extra wiggle room at the end of the day for dessert or an extra drink 🙂 Anytime I go out to eat I pretty much stop counting for the day, because please…it’s pretty much worthless at that point. You can also keep track of how many calories you burned during a workout, and it automatically adds it to your allotted calories.

Cafe Vienna

The boy and I have driven past this place a few times and it’s always been on our list of “places to try”. So this week when they popped up on Groupon I snatched that puppy up right away. After a long few days and lack of motivation to cook we decided we wanted to go out to eat last night. I remembered the Groupon and the decision was made.

What we drank:

The boy drooled over the draft German beer selections and promptly ordered one 🙂

He also chose one of their premium house wines for me, which was a really delish Riesling. Light and fruity and not too sweet. It was also served in the most adorable glass I’ve ever seen:

What we ate:

Escargot

Not the best I’ve had, but you can never go wrong with tons of garlic butter 🙂

Spaetzle

Noodles were very tasty, but were under seasoned. We doused it with salt and pepper and it was much better.

Agramer (mine)

Pounded breaded pork loin stuffed with swiss cheese and prosciutto served with lyonnaise potatoes, cooked carrots and the most amazing red wine, mushroom sauce.

Wurst Plate (his)

Mine was good, but next time I want this (I’m truly a meat and potatoes gal at heart). Bratwurst, Debrizinger and Veal loaf sat happily on the plate alongside sauekraut and german potato salad.

Viennese Nut Cake

Lots of nuts and buttercream, but we both wished it had more cake.

Overall, everything was delicious. And the atmosphere was wonderful…the decor is adorable right down to the antique cuckoo clock. And authentic German music played through the speakers sealing the deal that I want to visit Germany/Austria one day. To top it off the staff was super sweet and it definitely felt like a great neighborhood place…while we were there the staff seemed to know everyone who was walking through the door, welcoming them with hugs and boisterous hellos. We could definitely get used to that.

Things that I definitely don’t love:

Gratzzi  

I remember Gratzzi being one of my first dining experiences when I moved to St. Pete.  I remember walking up the stairs of BayWalk and entering the restaurant and being impressed by the simple elegance of the decor. And I remember the food being really good. This was six years ago so I can’t really get any more specific than that. But as the years went on in their BayWalk space the food got worse and worse, and eventually I stopped going. So when they closed it was not a big surprise. But ever since they reopened in their new location I’ve been highly curious…everytime I walk by the dining room seems to be full and I’ve heard rave reviews both from critics and people walking out of the restaurant.

Finally, after a long yoga class my friend and I decided to give it a whirl. The decor resembles their old space, but with a bit more of a modern flair. I really liked how they had smaller booths for two rather than chairs. Our waiter was very nice and accommodating. The menu looked exciting and filled with classic Italian favorites. I ordered the Rigatonacci alla Vodka, one of my favorite Italian dishes that I rarely let myself order. My friend got the Chicken Piccata. Needless to say neither one of was impressed. I still can’t pinpoint what I didn’t exactly like about my dish…it was definitely too salty and lacked much other flavor. My friend picked at her chicken, which she said was too oily. We determined that we may come back, but only to sit at the bar for happy hour and maybe sample some apps. More frustrated than disappointed by Gratzzi since it’s so hard to find a good go-to Italian place in the Tampa Bay area.