Weekend Happenings

27 05 2014

And just like that, it’s Tuesday! I hope you all had a lovely long weekend! Thanks to all who have served and are currently serving our county. Freedom isn’t free.



I thought I’d share some of the highlights from my weekend, which included two new (to me) places!

My weekend started out with (of course) a long bike ride! I met up with Meghan, Courtney, Heather, and Chris at the crack of dawn (7am) for a ride along the Suncoast.


We busted out almost 102 km – great way to kick off the weekend!

That afternoon I chilled by the pool before meeting up with Chris, Courtney, Heather, her hubby, and some of their friends at The Getaway.


This was my second time at the Getaway, and I think it’s a pretty sweet spot. It’s right off of Gandy on the St. Pete side, and the owner has really tried to make this bar on the water truly feel like “a Getaway”. You can pull up a boat at one of their docs, lounge on their home-made beach, or chillax under one of their thatched roof tiki bars. During the day they also rent stand up paddle boards.


When we arrived there was a musician playing and it definitely felt like I stepped into vacation. They don’t have a kitchen on site, but there’s always at least food trucks there (order from the bar). The Big Bang BBQ Food Truck and Renny’s Oki Doki Food Truck were there on Saturday. I ordered some of the pork nachos from Oki Dokie and they were awesome! The kimchi sauce on top definitely had a kick, but I would definitely order them again. Later, I shared some sliders from Big Bang, which were also quite tasty. It was a fun night with friends that ended with some dancing at Hula Bay 🙂

On Sunday, I slept in (glorious!), went for a hot ride on Davis island, and then met up with some other friends at the Sandbar! So, if any of you have seen the (awful) movie Magic Mike, there’s a scene where they go out to the Sandbar to hang out. Yes, there actually is a sandbar in the middle of the bay where boats drive out, toss an anchor, and everyone just hangs out.


My friends took their boat out which only had room for 4, and despite an offer to come back and pick me up, I opted to rent a kayak and paddle out. Why not get an extra arm workout in? I really wish I had taken some photos while paddling, because it was so pretty going past the mangroves, and I spotted a fish or two jumping out of the water.


I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going (just go left around the point and then you’ll see everyone was my direction), but soon after I started paddling, I saw the crowds of other kayakers, and then TONS of boats off in the distance. After about a 20 minute paddle, I made it! And luckily I spotted my friends pretty quickly, because there were definitely over 100 boats out there.





(Yes, the dog, Scooter, has a life vest on)

I roped my kayak to their boat and cracked open my new favorite beer- Rivertowne’s pineapple beer. This is SO yummy- it’s light and refreshing with a hint of pineapple. It’s not actually made from pineapples, nor is it one of those super sweet, high alcoholic beers. The pineapple is added in the perfect proportion. I highly recommend it if you’re a light beer drinker. (And don’t worry, I kept myself hydrated with water/Skratch throughout the day- I wasn’t only drinking beer!)IMG_4703

The cool thing about the sandbar is that it’s not entirely exposed in that there’s dry sand (at least where I was), so you’re constantly in the water, which helps to cool you off. The water ranged from shin deep in some places, to waist deep in others, like where we were anchored. The tide was actually dropping, so by the time I left close to 5, it was thigh-deep. We hung out for the rest of the afternoon, listened to the band that was playing (a special event for the holiday weekend) and went for a walk to people watch. People/boat/animal watch we did! There was a boat that had a tiki bar built on it, people with floating coolers, lots of pups running around, people who had set up tents with a table and a grill, lots of fake boobs (this is Florida, y’all), and someone even brought their pet boar out there! I kid you not! I really wish I had my phone with me at that time, but there was a woman who was feeding her boar (ring in nose and everything) on her boat! And this was NOT a little 10-15lb thing. Oh no, it was a year and a half and I would guesstimate over 100lbs! So. Bizarre! Now that’s not something you see every day!


And of course, I had to photobomb this lovely selfie of my girlfriends. They were sitting in the boat and I was in the water, jumping up and down. I just so happened to perfectly time this jump with the click of the shutter. 🙂 (PS check out all the boats in the background!)

I had a great time at the sandbar, and I would definitely like to go back. I’m sure the water will be bathtub-like soon and not quite as refreshing, but if you’ve got an umbrella, a cooler, and some ice, it certainly makes for a relaxing afternoon!

That’s my weekend in a nutshell. How was your weekend friends?

Santa’s Twilight 5K

17 12 2012

I had never done a Christmas-themed run before. Until this year, December meant freezing temperatures and no motivation to run for a tee shirt with some jingle bells on it.

In Florida, things are clearly different:

Santas 5K(Photo courtesy of Meghann)

Shorts and tee shirts are much more appropriate attire. And, when you can pair that warm weather with some fun socks,  reindeer headbands, and some fantastic friends, I’ll gladly run a 5K!

On Saturday night, I went up with Mary, Marcus, Meghann, and Bill (<– so happy he was in town!!) to the inaugural Santa’s Twilight 5K on Honeymoon Island. I had only ever been to Honeymoon Island once before, when I cheered on Courtney and Felipe at the Dunedin Tri. It was quite different to arrive at the state park as the sun was setting instead of rising! I need to get out there in the middle of the day just to hang out!


(photo courtesy of Meghann)

We all rode up together and got to the race with plenty of time to spare. We were expecting quite a bit of a crowd and parking issues, but we had zero problems so we killed some time in the car.


About quarter til 7, we headed towards the start line. There were lots of fun costumes, including this guy, who won the costume contest:


His costume lit up too! How creative!

We were also given some glowstick necklaces, which became really helpful on the course.

We ran into Rachel, and were chatting for a few minutes, when all of the sudden the gun sounded and we were off! We had casually talked about staying together and having a fun group run. We started out in our small group, following the glowstick necklaces ahead of us. It was pretty hard to tell who was who out there- being on an island away from the lights of the city, with no streetlights at all to guide us, it was dark! The only lights were the glowstick lumineres that lined the course, the glowstick necklaces and the stars. That was not quite enough light out there for me. I was constantly fearing tripping on some unseen object or pot hole.


After about a quarter mile, Bill and Marcus split off from the group and Mary wasn’t too far behind. Meghann and I stayed together for a little while longer, until we were about halfway done. I checked my watch and saw that we were running about 8:20/mile.  Wow, I wasn’t expecting that! I’m still pretty out of running shape, and have been averaging about 9:00/mile on any running I’ve done in the past few months. I guess this was turning into more of a tempo run for me than a nice easy fun run.  I think the salt air paired with the perfect running weather helped.

So, I decided to see if I could keep it up for the rest of the 5K. Sure enough, I was pretty consistent!

Screen shot 2012-12-16 at 8.30.47 PM

I don’t think I’ve really trained for a 5K, so I don’t really know how to race one, nor do I know what I could really do for a 5K if that was what I was training for. I think I’ve broken 25 once before, but based on some of my 10K times at the tail end of a tri, I should be able to go sub 24. Regardless, 25:43 is a consistent time with what I’d done for some other 5Ks in the past when I was in shape. So, I was actually pretty happy with my time, all things considered.

One of the perks of signing up for this race is that they promised unique finishers medals. Very few 5Ks that I’ve done provide you with a finisher’s medal, so I was looking forward to adding this to my collection.


Unfortunately, there was some mix up with the medals, and they were “on their way” for the good hour or so we waited for them. Oh well.

While we stood around waiting for our finishers medals, we decided to check the results, just for fun. Bill, Mary and Marcus had all finished a few minutes before me, and Meghann crossed the line shortly after me. We had joked earlier that with the small turnout for the race (maybe 300?) Mary could walk away as the women’s overall winner. As it turned out, Mary WAS one of the top three female finishers! And because Mary took one of the overall finisher’s awards, that left the top spot in the 25-29 age group open:


HA! That’s right, yours truly won her age group at a 5K!

This really made me laugh because I am CERTAINLY not a runner! Ah, the joys of small races 🙂 What may have been even funnier was the fact that Bill was the first in our group of 5 to cross the line, and he was the only one in our group who didn’t get an award. Whomp whomp 😦 I guess his age group was a little more competitive than ours 🙂

At 8:30, the finishers medals still hadn’t arrived and they were just starting the awards, so we decided to get out of there get some overdue dinner.

I had a great time at this race: I loved the lit-up finish line, the Christmas cookies and hot cocoa at the finish line, and you can’t beat a race by the beach. But there were definitely a few kinks to work out. Hopefully, next year, they’ll provide some more lighting along the course and the awards will be at the finish line when the first runner crosses.

Question of the day: Have you ever done a holiday run? Tell me about it!

Thanksgiving 2012

26 11 2012

My first Thanksgiving was a success!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving and were able to spend time with friends and family. I sure did!

A few days before Thanksgiving I decided that I was going to take the plunge and roast a whole turkey. We were planning on having 5 for dinner: me, Bill, and our friends Steve, Rebecca, and Rebecca’s bf Ben. Five people + the desire for leftovers + wanting a new culinary experience pushed me take the plunge and roast a whole bird. I’ll share the details of my experience in another post, but for now, here’s a little recap of my Turkey day.

The day started off with a little Turkey Trot in downtown Orlando. When we had picked up our packets the day before, the woman told us to get there early so that we could find a parking spot. Bill and I got up nice and early, braved the “cold” and headed to Lake Eola. We arrived around 6:35, easily found parking, and waited a few minutes before heading to the start. As we approached the starting line, Bill commented about how few people were there. Confused, I did a quick Google search for the race website and discovered the race actually stared at 8, not at 7 like I had thought. Whoops…Back to the car for a 45 minute nap!

After the race, we headed home to take a nap before the cooking began!

We were having a late dinner, so I started my cooking around 3. I pulled the turkey out of the refrigerator and let it rest while I prepared the stuffing.

I stuffed the bird and then put it in the oven at 425°F for 30 minutes, and then lowered the temperature to 350°F for the remainder of the 3 hours it cooked.

Meanwhile, I got started on the brussels sprouts. Bacon + caramelized onions + brussels sprouts = deliciousness.

I also prepared my sweet potato rolls for their 3rd rising.

Bill was in charge of the sweet potatoes, and took his spin on his grandmother’s recipe.

Cinnamon roasted sweet potatoes, brown sugar, butter, and a splash of tequila for good measure.

Topped with marshmallows, and popped in the oven at 350° for about 30 minutes.

A few hours later, our guests arrived with some yummy sides to add to the spread. Rebecca brought broccoli rabe with almonds, cranberry sauce, and wild rice with cranberries.

The only thing left to do was to carve the turkey! Since none of us were really all that experienced in the art of carving a turkey, we watched a YouTube video on how to do it…

We were apparently really nervous about carving the turkey, because we watched it 3 times, just to make sure we got it right. Finally, Rebecca took charge and carved the turkey.

By the way, Rebecca’s kind of a rock star. Not only because she did a killer job at carving the turkey, but she’s the friend Bill and I went and saw perform in Cirque Dreams. She recently appeared on MTV’s Made, as the coach for the girl who wanted to be “made.” Oh yeah, and in 2010, she was the US Pole Dance Federation East Coast Champion. No big deal. 🙂

Once the turkey was carved, it was time to eat!

Nom Nom Nom!!!

All the food was so tasty! I think we all stuffed ourselves pretty good. While we waited for Ben to arrive (he was at work) and for our food to settle, we made an army of rice krispie treat turkeys. What better thing to do when you’re full than to make more food?




A little after 11, we were finally ready for dessert. I had made a pumpkin pie the night before, and Ben had baked a pumpkin cheesecake. This wasn’t just any cheesecake, it was Wild Turkey 101 pumpkin cheesecake with a gingersnap crust.

This baby really stole the show!  I didn’t really get a great photo of it, but believe me, it was tasty!



My pie was pretty good too, but I definitely was looking forward to leftover cheesecake the day after 🙂

What a wonderful day! All of the food turned out so well, and I was so happy to spend the holiday with Bill and our friends. I can’t wait to do it again!

Question of the day: How was your Thanksgiving? Any funny stories to report?