The Mighty Mule Party Ticket Giveaway

Thursday, July 18, 2019
Around 7 years ago, I was introduced to a delicious spicy ginger cocktail called the Moscow Mule. It was my drink of choice and I turned many friends onto this beverage, typically served in a copper mug. It was only a matter of time before there was a festival celebrating this cocktail and it is coming to Tampa next week!

The Mighty Mule Party is an indoor festival that will take place on Thursday, July 25, 2019 at The RITZ Ybor. The Mighty Mule Party will feature unlimited samples from local Tampa restaurants and some of your favorite Vodka brands along with a food tasting. Each guest will receive unlimited samples of Moscow Mules from 12+ vendors and you will get to take home your very own official Mighty Mule Party copper mug.

Click here to buy tickets to The Mighty Mule Party
General Admission Tickets $35: General Admission ticket holders will all receive entry into the event, one Mighty Mule Party copper mug to to fill with unlimited Mule samples at any of the participating Mule stations, and complimentary bites from local Tampa Bay restaurants and caterers.
VIP Tickets $75: VIP Experience ticket holders will all receive one-hour early admission into the event, a VIP-only entrance, one Mighty Mule Party copper mug to fill with unlimited Mule samples at any of the participating Mule stations, one drink ticket for a full-sized Mule at any bar, complimentary bites from Tampa Bay restaurants and caterers, a VIP swag bag, and access to the VIP-only areas.

Mule Tasting

Enjoy unlimited Mule samples in your very own Mighty Mule Party copper mug: EFFEN® Vodka, Tito's Handmade Vodka, 7th + Grove (Grove Mule), The Bricks, Ella's Folk Art Café, Garrison Tavern, Hiro Sake, The Lure, Osteria Bar + Kitchen, Summer of Rum Festival (The Perfect Storm), Zukku Sushi (SOTO Sake Mule), MORE to be announced!

Food Tasting
Taste delicious bites provided by Tampa Bay's favorite restaurants and catering companies: 7th + Grove (Afro-Cuban sandwiches), Anise Global GastroBar (Candied Bacon + Caramel Popcorn), Garrison Tavern, New York New York Pizza, Zukku Sushi (Mini Poke Bowls), MORE to be announced!

General Admission Ticket Giveaway!
Head over to my Instagram account to enter to win a pair of General Admission tickets to the Mighty Mule Party. Look for this picture and leave a comment letting me know what your favorite drink is!

Melanoma Update and what Melanoma looks like

Tuesday, July 16, 2019
This post is an update from one I did in January regarding Skin Cancer and what I am currently going through. Over the past few months, I have been diagnosed with multiple location Melanoma and want to share my story (which is no where close to being over). Let's just say I won't be running for wine anytime soon (but will continue to drink it)! This is a long read, but I hope it will help educate others about Skin Cancer and what to look for.

Seven months ago, I received my first phone call from Pathology regarding a few biopsies I had taken in early December. I was told one of my 3 biopsies came back as Basal Cell Carcinoma Skin Cancer and I needed to come in for an excision. I was really upset and most people said "at least it's not Melanoma"...
The day after Christmas I had the Basal Cell removed by a different APRN than I originally saw in early December. The guy who did my first round of biopsies had a family emergency so I went to the next available location as I wanted the Basal Cell excision done prior to January 1st for insurance reasons. Prior to removing the Basal Cell, my new APRN did a routine skin check and made a statement that will be eternally burned in my memory "I don't like the look of that spot at all, I want to take it now" and proceeded to take 3 more biopsies. I was thrown off as I just had biopsies done 2 weeks prior and these were not new spots.
Basal Cell Carcinoma right thigh - before, healing and scar
Two weeks later, I received my second call from Pathology. This call happened a few days before I was going on my annual girls cruise with my best friend Keri. The results made my world stand still. Two of the spots removed on December 26th came back as Melanoma, Stage 1 and atypical severe and was told they both needed to be surgically removed. Hearing those words crushed me. I sat and stared at the wall in my living room for over an hour. How could I go from being petrified of Basal Cell to having Stage 1 Melanoma within a matter of 2 weeks? I thank god everyday that my APRN was switched.
The last time I wore a short dress
Being I was about to leave for a cruise to the Caribbean, my Melanoma excision was scheduled for when I returned home. I stressed out the entire cruise but made sure all of my spots were covered from the sun by wearing waterproof bandages and wearing SPF 50. In the photo above, you can see a white bandage peeking out on my right thigh, covering the Basal Cell removal. If you look closely at my left shin, you can see the small bandage which was where one of my yet to be removed Melanomas were. On the cruise, a few strangers made comments about my bandages, one even asked if I recently learned how to shave. That was the start of me becoming very self conscious about all my marks. Little did I know what was in store for me. My stage 1 Melanoma looked like a freckle. It wasn't raised so I never thought anything about it - but looking back at the before picture, you can see discoloration. Here are a before and after of the stage 1.
Stage 1 Melanoma left shin - before, healing and scar
It was decided I would start coming in for full body scans every 2-3 months. I went back on Valentines Day and they took 10 more biopsies. Two weeks later, pathology called to report 1 of the 10 was early stage Melanoma on my left abdomen. It had positive cancer cells but was caught early enough that we could wait to have it re-scooped during my next body scan. I needed to heal from the other excisions and biopsies. If you catch Melanoma early enough, you may not need a full excision - they will scoop out more skin, removing the surrounding areas. This is why it is very important to get checked annually (or more often if you have a family history of skin cancer).
10 biopsies, February 14th
My next body scan was scheduled for May 1st. Along with my Melanoma re-scoop, I had 13 additional biopsies taken. That's 14 spots I had to take care of. I will tell you, if you know anyone going through this, skin biopsies are awful. They're painful open wounds that take forever to heal. Also, I am allergic to adhesive, latex and most medicated ointments - It's been a fun 7 months 😔.
13 biopsies + 1 melanoma re-scoop, May 1st
I went to Scottsdale on May 16th for a work trip. That date put me slightly over the 2 week mark of the 13 biopsies. Pathology calls with bad results within 2 weeks and for once, I was feeling positive that I was clear. When we landed I saw a voicemail pop up from Pathology. I didn't want to call them back until I got off the plane and we were stuck on the tarmac for an hour.  It was the longest hour of my life. Finally, I found a quite place in the Phoenix Airport and returned the call to learn I had 4 new Melanoma's. FOUR. I had to sit down because everything started spinning. Being I was on a work trip, I was alone in a strange place with no family or friends. However, I met the most fantastic group of women who gave me strength. One gave me a bracelet - which has a hidden scripture on the underside (now my motto). Receiving that phone call in Scottsdale was meant to be. I was in a situation where I couldn't dwell and I had to do as the bracelet says...
The 4 results were: Stage 1 Melanoma on my right thigh along with 3 positive Melanoma cells: right abdomen, left thigh and right inner thigh. I made an appt to have the stage 1 removed and abruptly cancelled our Memorial Day plans as we were supposed to go to our friends Lake House.
Stage 1 Melanoma right upper thigh - before, healing and scar
July 2nd was my next full body scan, 2 months following May's scan. I went in thinking that I would have less taken this time, being I just had 13 removed 2 months prior. Not the case... 12 biopsies were taken and I was left dumbfounded, angry, sad and oddly - somewhat amused. I was not expecting 12 more. My APRN didn't want to take more than 10. Her medical assistant alerted her when she hit 10, but there were 2 more she wanted. I clearly remember when she circled the 12th spot, a freckle I have been closely watching on my right inner shin. Over the last few weeks it started growing and changing color.
12 Biopsies, July 2nd
For the past 2 weeks, I have been waiting for Pathology to call. Unfortunately, I've become far too accustom and I've come to a point where I expect a call.  Well, they called me yesterday. One of those 12 biopsies came back as Melanoma and I go in next week to have it removed.  Guess which one - the right shin. I don't have a photo of it yet but will add a before during and after to this post once I've healed.

I am using my blog and social media as a platform to educate others and as an outlet for myself. I've learned one thing through all this - Melanoma is not text book. It can look like anything. It can be a discolored mole or an innocent spot the size of a freckle. It can kill you. If you told me a few months ago that I would have 40 biopsies taken within 7 months, I would have never believed you. If you told me of those 40, 9 would come back cancerous, I would have thought you were crazy.

I get a lot of questions and comments from people around Melanoma causes and risk factors. Most assume I am going through this because I am a redheaded native Floridian. That isn't the case. Melanoma is genetic and my Mom had Melanoma once in 1999. Hers was successfully removed and she never had it again. My cousin who is the same age as me also had Melanoma in the same spot as one of mine, hers also successfully removed and never returned. I have a few uncles on my Mom's side who had Melanoma as well. While UV exposure is a major factor to Melanoma, it's not my main issue as I tested positive for the genetic mutation. I can stay out of the sun for the rest of my life and still end up with positive cells. Like any other chronic illness, I will have to deal with this the rest of my life.

I urge everyone who reads this to please make an appointment to get your skin check and keep up with it annually. If I was more pro-active with mine, I may not be going through this right now but I will say how thankful I am that we caught this at Stage 1.

The ABCDE's of Melanoma and what to look for

A: Asymmetry
The benign mole, left, is not asymmetrical. If you draw a line through the middle, the two sides will match, meaning it is symmetrical. If you draw a line through the mole on the right, the two halves will not match, meaning it is asymmetrical, a warning sign for melanoma.




B: Border
A benign mole has smooth, even borders, unlike melanomas. The borders of an early melanoma tend to be uneven. The edges may be scalloped or notched.




C: Color
Most benign moles are all one color — often a single shade of brown. Having a variety of colors is another warning signal. A number of different shades of brown, tan or black could appear. A melanoma may also become red, white or blue.



D: Diameter
Benign moles usually have a smaller diameter than malignant ones. Melanomas usually are larger in diameter than the eraser on your pencil tip (¼ inch or 6mm), but they may sometimes be smaller when first detected.





E: Evolving
Common, benign moles look the same over time. Be on the alert when a mole starts to evolve or change in any way. When a mole is evolving, see a doctor. Any change — in size, shape, color, elevation, or another trait, or any new symptom such as bleeding, itching or crusting — points to danger.

Buccaneers and Tradewinds Island Resorts Beach Bash with Billy Ray Cyrus

Monday, July 15, 2019
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and TradeWinds Island Resorts announced today a multi-year partnership agreement that features a wide variety of collaborative marketing initiatives focused on enhancing the in-game stadium experience for Buccaneers fans at Raymond James Stadium. A featured element of the new agreement is the Bucs Beach Bash, a family-friendly, beach-themed, music and entertainment event that will be held at the resort’s St. Pete Beach location on Saturday, September 21, 2019. The inaugural event, which will be headlined by music and entertainment icon Billy Ray Cyrus and feature platinum-selling group Parmalee, will be free of charge to the general public as part of the NFL 100 Fantennial celebration.

“TradeWinds Island Resorts is the quintessential beach resort destination that embodies all the great aspects of living in the Tampa Bay region that so many of our fans love,” said Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford. “We are excited about this new partnership, as well as the inaugural Bucs Beach Bash this upcoming September, and look forward to working with TradeWinds on additional ways to enhance the in-game experience for our fans at Raymond James Stadium.”
Other new partnership elements include integrated programs such as Family Pack ticket offers and multiple fan activation locations at Buccaneers home games, as well as the installation of TradeWinds Island Resorts brand signage and a tropical-themed RumFish Grill food location at Raymond James Stadium beginning with the 2019 season.

“The beach and football are two favorite pastimes of Floridians,” said Keith Overton, president of TradeWinds Island Resorts. “We’re thrilled to put the two together for fans with the upcoming Bucs Beach Bash, but also through this ongoing partnership with the Bucs that will bring many fun and exciting experiences all year long, including hotel discounts, family-friendly events and more.”

Bucs Beach Bash will begin at 11 a.m. with a variety of local bands kicking off Saturday’s activities, which include: DJs, trivia, unique partner activations, Buccaneers/NFL 100-themed contests with prizes, the Jr. Bucs Kids Zone, Street Team (including Madden gaming stations), Cheerleaders, Captain Fear, pirates and former players.

The highlight of the daylong event will be the free concert featuring multi-platinum selling recording artist Billy Ray Cyrus, who recently paired with Lil Nas X to perform the hit song Old Town Road. The single currently stands at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the 14th consecutive week, tied for the third-longest reign in the chart’s 60-year history. Cyrus, perhaps best known for his chart-topping hit “Achy Breaky Heart,” will take the stage at approximately 8 p.m.

Parmalee, whose 2013 breakout hit Carolina shot to No. 1 in Country Airplay, will precede Cyrus, beginning at approximately 5:30 p.m. In between the two acts, the show will pause for a Sunset Celebration to allow partygoers the opportunity to watch the breathtaking view over St. Pete Beach, annually rated as one of America’s top beaches. The night sky will light up with fireworks as the concert concludes and the RumFish Grill After Party will keep the celebration going into the early morning hours.

In addition to Saturday’s festivities, TradeWinds will also host a Friday evening country-rock concert featuring music from Pirate Flag Band, a renowned tribute band featuring the music of country star Kenny Chesney.

The TradeWinds is offering special two-night VIP experience packages for two with rates as low as $368 per package and including various extras such as stage front viewing for Friday and Saturday, exclusive restrooms, sophisticated lounge seating area and 20% off all food and beverage purchases. The package also includes the daily resort amenity fee, which includes unlimited rides on the High Tide slide, a hooded beach cabana, paddleboats, tennis court play, fitness center, self-parking, wireless Internet access and more. For reservations, please call (888) 345-9930 or visit www.JustLetGo.com/BeachBash. Buccaneers fans may also purchase VIP, hotel and concert packages via www.Buccaneers.com/beachbash.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical at Straz Center Tampa

Wednesday, July 10, 2019
On Tuesday night, Gabe and I headed over to Staz Center in Tampa to see The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical off-Broadway. The adaption of the best-selling Disney-Hyperion novel by Rick Riordan, celebrates being different and urges kids to find the strength in themselves. Both children and adults can learn from this messaging.
I was not personally familiar with the story prior to attending the off-Broadway musical at Straz. It's a story about a teenager named Percy who was kicked out of his fifth school. He quickly finds out his troubles have stemmed from teh fact that he is a half-blood - the son of Poseidon, god of the sea and a mortal mother. Reminded me a bit of Harry Potter!
Throughout the show, various mythical monsters try to kill Percy and he is sent off to Camp Half-Blood, a summer refuge for kids like him. Annabeth, the daughter of Athena; Gover, the satyr; and Luke, son of Hermes.
Percy was blamed for stealing Zeus' lightning bolt and along with the other Half-Bloods, he went off on a quest to clear his name and preventing a war between the gods.

The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical will conduct a pre-show lottery beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance.
Lottery details:
• 20 tickets available at $20 per performance
• Entries will be accepted at the Ticket Sales Office beginning two and a half hours prior to each performance.
• A Straz representative will distribute entry cards; entrants print name and number of tickets (1 or 2) on card and return to rep who will then place it in the box.
• Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets.
• Only one entry is allowed per person and two tickets per winner. Cards are checked for duplication prior to drawing.
• Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets.
• Tickets are subject to availability.

Showtimes for The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical at Straz Center Florida are as follows:
Click here to buy tickets
July 10 7:30pm
July 11 7:30pm
July 12 8pm
July 13 2pm & 8pm
July 14 1pm & 1:30pm

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa East Wing Hotel and Construction Update

Tuesday, July 9, 2019
This weekend, Gabe and I had the amazing opportunity to be one of the first people to stay in the brand new hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa. The new East Wing is part of a combined $2.2 billion expansion between Seminole Hard Rock Tampa and Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood. Over the past two years, we've witnessed all of the changes first-hand and it is exciting to see the final touches coming together. Tampa's expansion will be completed this summer with a grand opening date scheduled for October 3rd.
While we've spent quite a bit of time at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa over the years, we've only stayed overnight once before. I have to be honest, we were both blown away by the new tower. We stayed in a deluxe queen room and it was massive in size. I can't imagine what the suites are going to look like when they're completed! The bedding was amazing and I need to find out how to get those sheets at home. I spend a lot of time in hotels due to my day job and I can honestly say, this was one of the more comfortable rooms I've been in. Everything was spacious and very elegantly designed.
Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Rendering
The East Wing hotel will be 14 stories when completed which will include 562 new hotel rooms and suites. Once  the expansion is complete, Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Hotel will offer approximately 800 guestrooms (including 86 suites).
The Wallflowers
While at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, we were able to catch a concert at Hard Rock Cafe by the popular 90's band, The Wallflowers. Both Gabe and I are fans of the band and have seen them live in the past.
We loved being able to see a live band, then step out the doors to hit the slot machines! When the expansion is complete, there will be an event center with over 60 major entertainment acts each year and you can find upcoming concerts and acts on Seminole Hard Rock Tampa's website.
One of the really unique features about Seminole Hard Rock Hotel is focused around... music. You can take a self-guided memorabilia rock walk tour, finding apparel, accessories and musical instruments from some of your favorite past-time and present-day acts. The jacket worn by Lady Gaga during the 2017 Super Bowl is now showcased in the new hotel lobby. You can find memorabilia from Elvis Presley to Jimi Hendrix and to Britney Spears. Memorabilia is not where the music experience ends - those staying at Hard Rock Hotel can experience The Sound of Your Stay® inroom music amenity program which allows guests to customize their music experience. There are three offerings named: tracks®, picks®, and wax®. We received a card for picks® when our room was turned down which included a guitar pic, telling us to either rock out to an air guitar or dial 0 to have a Fender® guitar delivered to our room. As much as I wanted to press 0 - Gabe said tequila and Fenders are not a good combo!

tracks® – During their stay, guests have the chance to experience Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa through the lens of favorite artists and tastemakers. With the tracks® amenity, guests download curated music playlists to amplify their stay, listening to artists they know and love, while experiencing upcoming musicians on the cutting edge.
picks® – In true rock star style, guests of Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa channel their inner Santana or Clapton by reserving a Fender® guitar to be delivered to their room, including legendary Stratocasters, classic Telecasters and bass guitars for those looking to throw down a funky bassline. Guitars come complete with a Fender® Mustang floor amp and headphones to ensure maximum sound (and zero noise complaints!) during jam sessions.
wax® – The latest addition to the Hard Rock music amenity program, wax® offers guests the opportunity to tune into the magic of vinyl and experience music as it was intended to be heard. Partnering with Crosley, Hard Rock turns up the in-room listening experience with a carefully curated collection of iconic records chosen by Hard Rock’s team of music experts. A Crosley turntable will keep the records spinning as guests find their groove at their leisure.
Bathrooms in East Wing standard room
I fell in love with the shower inside of our hotel room. We are in the final stages of completing our third bathroom remodel in our house. The only negative thing about our stay is Gabe now wants to redo our master shower again to resemble Hard Rock Hotel's.
Grand Entrance
A large part of the $700 million expansion at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa has been completed, some of the new updates include
Mezzanine Level Casino A smoke-free Mezzanine level casino and gaming room
L Bar This bar is located between the property’s two hotel towers, has live music and a vast menu with craft cocktails, more than 30 different selections of bourbon, local and imported beer, wine and champagne.
The Center Bar Seating for 90 people in the center of the casino floor featuring 12 TV's and Hard Rock memorabilia from notable music icons such as Beyonce, David Bowie, Alicia Keys and Dean Martin.
Rise Kitchen & Deli Rise has a new home in the Mezzanine Level Casino. The newly remodeled hour restaurant features breakfast 24 hours a day along with classic and contemporary comfort foods.
New arrival experience The check-in and concierge has been moved to the East Wing side of the hotel. Guests will get a prime view of Elvis Presley's 24-karat gold leaf grand piano.
Hard Rock retail store There is a new retail store located adjacent to the new arrival and check-in experience.

Coming Soon:
Rock Spa Renderingg
Rock Spa The expanded, 26,000-square-foot Rock Spa® & Salon will feature 13 treatment rooms – including a Rhythm & Motion room, Hammam, and two VIP suites – a hair and nail salon, barber shop, and co-ed aqua lounge. New signature treatments include HydraFacial and Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial, as well as a Hammam body treatment, Zemits Bionexis rapid body slimming treatment and LightStim light therapy. Hotel guests will also have complimentary access to a fitness center, which features complimentary weights, treadmills, stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, flat screen televisions and a mirrored wall.
Pool Complex Rendering
Pool Complex Seminole Hard Rock Tampa will be home to three new outdoor swimming pools: one private, one adult-only and one for families. The new 60,000 pool complex will be located on the second level of the hotel and casino complex and will feature 20 cabanas, 600 lounges and daybeds, two DJ booths and more. There will also be a new full-service pool bar and grill on the pool deck.
Constant Grind Rendering
Constant Grind There will be a new grab and go coffee shop which will offer gelato, pastries, sandwiches and artisanal chocolates.

Italian Fine Dining Joining Seminole Hard Rock Tampa's restaurant scene will be a brand new elegant Italian restaurant opening this fall which will be an elevated Italian dining experience at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa.

More games An additional 1,000 slots and 41 game tables will be revealed throughout the gaming spaces, joining the current 4,000+ slots, 138 table games and  the state-of-the-art poker room with 46 poker tables.
Event Center Rendering
Event Center 
Hard Rock Event Center will have seating for 2,000 guests and will be located on the second level of the casino complex. A companion 17,000-square-foot grand ballroom will host conventions, trade shows, private events, large-scale poker tournaments and concerts, including 60 major entertainment acts each year.

The new East Wing of Seminole Hard Rock Tampa is currently available to book in the future, which you can reserve by clicking here. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel offers all guests staying overnight:
• Property-wide, Hi-Speed Wireless Internet
• 24-Hour Rockin’ response service
• 24-Hour In-Room Dining
• Signature Hard Rock custom “Sleep Like a Rock” bedding with Egyptian cotton linen
• Sweetgrass Body Products
• Self or valet parking options
• Pet-friendly

A special thanks to Hard Rock for giving us an opportunity to check out the new hotel before anyone else! I was not required to write this post - we're just very excited to share the expansion updates with everyone. As always, all opinions are my own.

This is 40

Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Two weeks ago I turned 40 years old. 40! When my parents turned 40, I remember the house being decorated with over the hill balloons and tombstones. It's honestly surreal. I don't feel 40 and I surely don't act it - but my birth certificate states otherwise. My best friend Keri and I are 11 days apart and celebrated our big day together (at a wine bar of course) along close friends and family.
When I turned 30 (which feels like yesterday by the way) I remember sitting on Keri's floor, crying my eyes out. I was disappointed at where my life was and felt like a failure. I had just gone through a major break-up. Most of my friends were married and had kids. A few months after I turned 30, I lost the first house I purchased thanks to the real estate market crash of 2007. The company I worked for from 2003-2009 had just closed it's door and I found myself over qualified and unemployable in the midst of a recession. I was lost.
In January of 2010 (six months into my 30th year), everything turned around, a full 180. On the 18th of January, I started a new (temporary) job AND had a first date that night with my now husband. A year later, that temp job ended up introducing me to the company I currently work for. The last 10 years of my life were a whirlwind. We moved across the state so my husband could go to grad school. My company had an office in Tampa at the time so it was a perfect transition. Over the years, I moved up the corporate ladder and my husband now has a great job at a hospital. We bought a house and are still remodeling it (3 years later). We travel as much as life allows us to, trying to live each day to it's fullest. I assumed by now that we would be parents, but life doesn't always end up like you expect it to.

I sit here at age 40 and can honestly say I've been through a lot. I've learned a few things over the years and life tragedies and accomplishments have helped build who I am today. Everyone says life flies by and to enjoy your youth while you can. This is 100% the truth. Life can and will change at the blink of an eye. You will likely experience many things you never thought were possible, both positive and negative. Heartbreak and health are two H words that go together more often than not. It's impossible to prepare yourself for the things you will go through in life... you've just got to know how to hold on.

While my life at 40 is completely different than I envisioned, I wouldn't change anything. I've been blessed with an amazing husband, family and friends. I can truly say I love my job and not many people can honestly say that. We take each experience, learn from it and grow from it.

So cheers to you 40 - I hope this next 10 years are my best yet. 

Rock of Ages - Straz Center Tampa

Wednesday, June 12, 2019
The Sunset Strip has arrived in Tampa Bay. Broadway's best party Rock of Ages is celebrating it's 10th anniversary on tour and we got to see it last night at Straz Center. From the beginning, I knew we were in for a great time.
This was the perfect Broadway show to see for the last week of my 30's. I grew up with this music and sang along to songs such as “Every Rose Has It's Thorn,” “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” “Here I Go Again,” “Don't Stop Believin’,” and more! I promise this - the tenth anniversary production will have you ready to rock!
Rock of Ages has been nominated for five Tony Awards® and was quick to jump into my top 5 Broadway shows we've seen.. There were times where I forgot I was watching Broadway and thought I was at a concert.
The musical follows the story of a small-town girl who left home to be an actress and a city boy who has dreams of becoming a famous singer. The love story with some drama along the way features a group of rockers who work together to save a local bar - and save the music. There was a ton of laughter and singing from the audience along the way.

You can see Rock of Ages at the Straz through Saturday and tickets start at only $25! Click here to purchase tickets.
June 13 7:30
June 14 8:00
June 15 2:00 and 8:00


I received tickets to Rock of Ages through my partnership with Tampa Bay Bloggers. All opinions are my own.

Just Let Go at Tradewinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach

I had the opportunity to check out TradeWinds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach. There are two properties that make up this grand 31-acre beachfront playground, Tradewinds Island Grand and RumFish Beach Resort by TradeWinds. Both were created with fun in mind and there are so many things for kids and adults of ages to do, there is no way anyone would ever get bored while visiting here. Upon walking into the resort, I noticed right away that their slogan is Just Let Go and for a few hours, I was able to do just that.
My friend Becca joined me at TradeWinds for a much needed girls day. Fun story with us, we met 10 years ago while we were both living in Daytona through a group of friends. We became "facebook friends" but didn't stay in touch, until I posted 2 years later that I was moving to Tampa. She had just moved over here with her boyfriend (now husband) and we became fast friends. A few months later, my Mom went to her High School Reunion and reconnected with one of her best friends, whose daughter had also just moved to Tampa. They tried to set us up on a friend date - well guess who her daughter is... Becca. Small world!!
We enjoyed our day relaxing in a covered Cabana and catching up. It was just what we both needed. The covered cabana is a perfect place to stay safe in the sun while enjoying the beautiful beach.
There are 14 eateries at TradeWinds Islands Resorts including casual and fine dining. We enjoyed a few adult beverages while hanging in our cabana. This is a 22oz margarita that I ordered from Salty's Tiki Bar and Beach Lounge. You are allowed to drink on the beach at TradeWinds and they have a beach buggy that goes around refreshing your beverages.
If the weather had cooperated with us, we would have experienced the 20,000-square-foot water park that is floating in the Gulf of Mexico! The water park offers more than 11 fun-filled features – from jumping and climbing, to relaxing and sunning - they have floating cabanas which is a dream come true.
Becca did take a ride on Bucky the Shark, a mechanical shark (like a mechanical bull). I was very impressed with her skills.
Right by Bucky, there is also a three-story High Tide Slide on the beach which was very popular throughout the day - I sat that one out but everyone looked like they were having a blast!
Becca has two kids and instantly stated she was going to bring them over for a staycation being there are some amazing deals this summer at TradeWinds Island Resorts (especially during the week), rates start as low as $243. The property has seven heated pools, stand up paddleboarding, hammocks, paddleboats, mini golf, trampoline park and a surf simulator. You can also purchase a day pass at TradeWinds to enjoy all the amenities.
My few hours at Tradewinds was just what I needed. A few months ago, laying out and going to the beach/pool was my happy place. However, when I got diagnosed with multiple location melanoma, I have not spent time outdoors and I am extremely self conscious about the melanoma scars all over my legs. I spoke with my Doctor about sun exposure and was told to live my life normally, just smarter. Although my cancer is genetic, I am fair skinned which puts me at higher risk for cell growth. I lathered up in dual spectrum SPF 50 and stayed under the covered cabana - I enjoyed myself and for a few hours, and was able to forget about everything going on... It’s time for me to take back my life and Just Let Go.
Special thanks to TradeWinds for inviting me out for a beach day. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.

Carnival Craft Beer now available Fleetwide

Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Cruising craft beer lovers rejoice! On Sunday, my husband Gabe and I headed down to Miami for a special announcement from Carnival Cruise Line on board the Carnival Magic regarding their craft beer line.
In 2016, the Carnival Vista was named the first cruise ship to have a RedFrog Brewery & Pub on board (her sister ship the Horizon also has one). This is a full working brewery where they brew their beer while at sea. When I sailed the Vista in 2017, I had the opportunity to visit the brewery and try their delicious brews firsthand.
Although I am a wine drinker, there is nothing better than a frosty glass of beer on a hot day and while on a week long Vista sailing, I found myself at RedFrog Pub & Brewery daily and even bought a growler of beer! Carnivals craft beers became famous among cruising craft beer lovers. However, when you went on a ship that didn't have a RedFrog brewery on board, you weren't able to indulge in their delicious brews.
So what does the RedFrog Pub & Brewery have to do with the announcement made on the Magic? On Sunday March 17th, Carnivals three most popular craft beers will be available fleet-wide, on all 26 ships! This includes the Parched Pig Toasted Amber Ale, Parched Pig West Coast IPA and Thirsty Frog Caribbean Wheat Ale.


Not only was Carnival the first cruise line to have a brewery on board, it is also the first cruise line to keg and can their own craft beers. If you are familiar with the Florida craft brew scene, you know who Brew Hub is. The Lakeland facility will be handling the production of canning and kegging the three beers for Carnival!
So next time you are on a Carnival Cruise Line, be sure to order yourself a Parched Pig or Thirsty Frog craft beer (I am a huge fan of both the Toasted Amber and the Caribbean Wheat)! Cheers!

Thank you to Carnival for hosting us in Miami for this press announcement. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.
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