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.

This weekend - 30th Spring Daytona Turkey Run and Dock Dogs competition

Monday, March 18, 2019
When you think about Spring Break in Daytona Beach, a lot comes to mind (especially if you grew up in the 90's like me - hello mtv!). This weekend, things will go back in time full of classic cars and doo wop music at the 30th running of the Spring Daytona Turkey Run. This is the Spring version of their famous Fall Turkey Run.
I am sending my nieces this year so they can see the Dock Dogs, a fun new feature taking place at the Spring Turkey Run. Dock Dogs, is the world's premier aquatic canine competition. Yes you read that right! More information on these talented pups below!
Aside from talented canines, the headline of this event is classic custom cars, a massive swap meet, arts and crafts, delicious food, a beer festival and live music.

The family friendly Spring Daytona Turkey Run takes place at Daytona International Speedway from March 22nd - March 24th and is presented by White Diamond, sponsored in part by Spectrum. Admission is $10 Friday and Saturday and $5 on Sunday with free parking ((children under 11 are free). Visit www.turkeyrun.com for a full schedule.

Dock Dogs®
Kids and adults alike will have a blast at the world’s premiere aquatic canine competition. Set up inside the infield of the Daytona Speedway, dogs of all sizes will jump from a 40’ dock into a 40’ pool and compete in Big Air®, Extreme Vertical, & Speed Retrieve® competitions. Competition dates are March 23rd and March 24th.


Hops and Hoods Beer Festival
Taste test local, craft and domestic beers on Saturday, March 23rd from 12PM-4PM! Beer tasting tickets are $5 for 4 samples and $10 for 10 samples. Tickets can be purchased in advance or onsite. Advanced tickets include special Hops and Hoods parking.

Take a Kid to a Car Show
Spending quality time with a kid is the greatest gift we can give them. And sharing our appreciation for collector cars is a great way to nurture their interest in a hobby that can be enjoyed together for many years to come. The first 500 kids to enter will get a special Turkey Run gift. There will also be a Play Zone at no additional charge, including bouncy houses, an obstacle course, carnival games and more!

Annual classic car parade lap around the track
Registered show cars will enjoy a fun lap around the iconic Daytona International Speedway track on Sunday, March 24th at 2pm.

This was a sponsored post by Turkey Run. All opinions are my own.

Health Updates

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
To say 2018 was a whirlwind when it comes to health is an understatement. I started the year with over $6k in my Health Savings Account. I rarely went to the Doctor and considered myself a healthy person.
2018 in Thailand before everything went crazy
In March 2018, I had my first experience with Acid Reflux which resulted in an incorrect diagnosis of GERD. I was treated for this for months, taking two daily rx that weren't working. Then the testing began. Testing is still going on to identify exactly what is happening but it is esophagus related.

In November, I worked an event in Minneapolis. I fractured my foot in a freak accident. Although I am out of my boot, I can't run until June. I was really upset and that accident combined with my esophagus issues pushed me over my out of pocket deductible.

Knowing I could see any Doctor for free through the end of December, I made multiple calls, including a long overdue Dermatologist appointment. With my high deductible plan, if you go to the Dermatologist and if any biopsies come back clear, you are charged 100% as it is seen cosmetic. Being I have a billion moles and freckles, there has never been a time when I didn't have 5+ biopsies removed.

I asked for the Nurse Practitioner to take anything and everything he saw as a warning (nothing out of pocket, why not). He took 5 spots. I got a call 2 weeks later letting me know one of them was Basal Cell Carcinoma skin cancer. This is the most common type of skin cancer, caused by sun exposure. I have a lot of family members who have had many Basal Cells removed. Every single person said "At least it isn't Melanoma".

I had the Basal Cell removed the day after Christmas and saw a different Nurse Practitioner for this procedure. She looked at my left leg and instantly asked why two spots weren't removed. "I don't like the looks of these at all". I said, take them! I got a call on January 4th from Pathology.....

Stage One Melanoma Skin Cancer. Caused from genetic mutation, not sun exposure.

While Melanoma is common, it can be deadly. I caught it at stage one so luckily it is early. However when the Doctor went in to take them out, he saw multiple other spots that are within the melanoma line which is dangerous. I go tomorrow to get 10 more spots removed. My biggest regret is not getting every mole & spot taken off me on the 26th of December when I had the chance. Now everything is out of pocket until I hit my max again. Which will be soon.....

Up until mid-January, I didn't talk about this on my social media channels. I decided to post on my personal facebook as a PSA to my friends being I live in FL and we are frequently in the sun. I had multiple comments, some of which were uneducated. One person even said "Melanoma isn't a big deal but I will be praying for you".  I ignored him.....

After posting on facebook, many of my colleagues and friends let me know that they made Dermo appt's right away. I'm trying to stay positive through all this and if anything, become an Advocate, encouraging others to make appointments. While my Basal Cell looked suspicious, my Melanoma spots looked normal! While I was writing this post, one of my closest friends growing up wrote me. I haven't talked to her much over the past few years. She wrote me to let me know she was diagnosed today with Melanoma on her left leg.

I will post my update after the next round of biopsies results come in. I keep saying, if it wasn't for fracturing my foot, I would have never known.

A Bronx Tale on Broadway - Straz Center Tampa

Friday, February 1, 2019
On Tuesday night, my husband Gabe and I went to see A Bronx Tale on Broadway at Straz Center in Tampa. It was a much needed date night out as I've been dealing with some health things that I will write about soon - along both of us being crazy busy at work. Having National Broadway shows less than 30 minutes from us is one of the things we love most about living in Tampa Bay.
A few of my co-workers raved about A Bronx Tale so we were excited to see it. Especially being it's called "Jersey Boys meets West Side Story". The second the show began, Gabe looked over at me and said "this is the intro of Jersey Boys" (we've seen Jersey Boys twice on Broadway).
Something I didn't realize ahead of seeing the show was that there was a movie adapted from the original play. A Bronx Tale was written in 1989 and during the original Off Broadway, Robert De Niro came to see the show, he took it to the big screen in 1993, where he starred in and directed the movie. A Bronx Tale was his film directorial debut and he is now the Director of this Broadway hit.
The musical takes place in the 60's, when everything was in the Bronx was all about Joe DiMaggio and Babe Ruth. A Bronx Tale story is about a young boy named Calogero (also known as C), who gets taken under the wing by Sonny, the neighborhood mob boss.
The story follows C as he grows up to be a teenager, having to choose the life he wanted, between his straight-arrow father he loves and the mob boss he’d love to be. The story took a Westside Story twist when he fell for his African-American classmate, Jane. A Bronx Tale is an unforgettable story of loyalty and family.
Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro and Tony® winner Jerry Zaks direct this streetwise musical – based on Academy Award nominee Chazz Palminteri’s story that The New York Times hails as “A Critics’ Pick! The kind of tale that makes you laugh and cry.”

A Bronx Tale will be in Tampa through this Sunday, February 2nd. Click here for tickets!

The Rez Grill Chef Pairing Dinner with The Ravenous Pig

Wednesday, December 12, 2018
In 2011, I decided to make the move from Daytona Beach to Tampa. I found a job, which I thought was going to be temporary (7+ years later not the case at all) and over the first six months while my relocation was in process, I split time between our Orlando and Tampa offices. My first day on the job, my bosses took me for lunch at The Ravenous Pig. This was back when I lived the life of only knowing chain restaurants. The Pig quickly became my favorite Orlando restaurant and I still try to dine there whenever in town.

Why am I sharing this piece of history with you? Fast forward to December 2018. I was invited to a Chef's pairing dinner at The Rez GrillSeminole Hard Rock Tampa featuring the talented Frank Anderson, head of Culinary at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa and James Petrakis, Chef-Owner of The Ravenous Pig. This dinner featured 6 courses, 3 created by each Chef, all with a pork themed. All 6 courses were paired with wine or a cocktail.

To say I was excited for this dinner is an understatement.  Ever since Chef Frank came on board to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, I have been very impressed. I have said it once before, and will say it again - he is doing amazing things not only for Hard Rock, but also for Tampa's thriving culinary scene. The price for this pairing was $99 a person. For 6 courses prepared by some of the best Chef's in Florida, all paired with drinks - that's a GREAT deal! Here's a recap of the amazing dinner we had at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa.

FIRST COURSE:
Stracciatella Cheese | Benton’s country ham, burnt honey, pistachio powder, Rez Grill
If I can say one thing and one thing only about this dish - Dear Chef Frank, please for the love of god put this on Rez permanent menu.

SECOND COURSE:
Tete De Cochon Brulee | Beets, Joyce’s mustard, shallot, frisée, Ravenous Pig
Ironically my first meal at Ravenous Pig was a salad called the Farmer. This popular salad is changed seasonally and during that trip was the first time I was introduced to frisée.

THIRD COURSE:

Braised Pork Agnolotti | Lemon brown butter, Parmesan, sage, Rez Grill
When I first saw the menu, this was the dish I was most looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. Seriously wishing I had a plate full of those pillows.

FOURTH COURSE:
Roasted Palmetto Creek Pork Loin | Gnocchi, pumpkin, apple butter Ravenous Pig
This dish was incredible. I loved every part about it!

FIFTH COURSE:
Frito Pie | pork chili, dirty cheese, pickled jalapeño, cilantro, Rez Grill
Oh Frito Pie! You had me at hello. I actually have served a dish similar to this at an event. I love the fun play on the amazing chili, using the Frito bag as a serving component.

SIXTH COURSE:
Tahini Tres Leches | Cardamom cake, grapefruit, larded toffee, chai meringue, Ravenous Pig
This was such a unique twist on Tres Leches and had so many flavors creating magic that you would never think worked well together.

The Chef's telling guests what to expect from the evening.

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Special thanks to Seminole Hard Rock Tampa for hosting us at Social Hour. As always, all opinions are my own.

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