Excited this place is open! Bamboozle Cafe open a tea lounge in the Channel District. I didn’t have a chance to eat, I grabbed a pumpkin spiced ice tea, snapped some photos & was on my way.
Excited this place is open! Bamboozle Cafe open a tea lounge in the Channel District. I didn’t have a chance to eat, I grabbed a pumpkin spiced ice tea, snapped some photos & was on my way.
I had the amazing opportunity to volunteer and attend the Gasparilla Music Festival this past weekend.
A few weeks beforehand I decided to sign up to volunteer since in my experience I get more out of an event if I’m apart of it, and it’s a great way to meet some new local people. The Thursday before the Festival I met up for the Box Office training. The first thing I noticed was that the people organizing this event were ORGANIZED. After volunteering at quite a few local events, I always feel like that’s one thing that is always lacking.
The next thing that completely took me back is the Gasparilla Music Festival is a Non-Profit 501c. Their mission is to create a sustainable community event for the Tampa Bay region while promoting arts education and benefiting local organizations and businesses. – Yes, yes, yes! Supporting the Tampa community!
I arrived around 2PM. My shift started at 3, but I wanted to check-in, grab a beer, wander around & change into my volunteer shirt. The morning had started pretty rough, it was dreary and overcast. By the time I got there, things really had cleared up. The sun was shining and people were coming in by the droves!
The Festival had so much great food that really focused on what Tampa has to offer. Each local restaurant focused on one or two items, which was nice! It gave festival-goers the option to try lots of things.
The Festival had three stages. Two main stages, one in Curtis Hixon, and the other in the corner of Kiley Gardens. The third stage was the Kiley Gardens Amphitheater to showcase local acoustic/singer/song writers.
I ended my shift at roughly 7:30 and went to meet up with friends. The sun had set, and this is where the magic began. Walking around the park, I felt that familiar sense of pride I have, I love Tampa. (Side note: If you’re newer to Tampa, Curtis Hixon Hall once stood on these grounds. Artists like, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Rush and Cat Stevens played there!) The lighting was fantastic and created a wonderful atmosphere. I stood at the top of the amphitheater just taking it all in for awhile.
Ra Ra Riot closed the day on the main stage. They were a fun group with tons of energy. Hello string instruments!
I really enjoyed that this festival gave me the opportunity to hear of a lot of bands I hadn’t heard of before. I really enjoyed the Distinguished Men of Brass and Rebirth Brass Band, who I would have never heard of otherwise! I hope this is something to stay with the festival over the upcoming years.
Overall this was a great night, and I can’t wait to see what Gasparilla Music Festival has to offer for future. I look forward to volunteering again and rocking out :]
After seeing Carlo’s Eats post about this sushi place close to my place, I knew I had to take my sushi loving boyfriend… STAT!
Above photo was my dinner the “Tempura Tofu Bento Box”. ($8.25) We added a miso soup for BF for an extra dollar, — it was miso soup, nothing to rave about. The salad was basic- romaine, carrots and cucumbers with a great ginger dressing. The tofu came with sauteed broccoli, onions and mushrooms. I enjoyed the tofu, although wished the tofu was cubed a bit smaller. They were about two bites each, a bit unwieldy with chopsticks! I don’t typically enjoy/eat plain white rice, I tried a bite and it seemed good.
Here is why you come to Soobak…
This was Gregg’s dinner. He got a sunomono salad, which is seafood medley, romaine, cucumber, scallions, masagao & a rice vinegar dressing. ($4.95) Gregg was happy with the amount of seafood on the salad, most places are pretty skimpy. He ordered the veggie roll ($4.95) and the Mexican roll.($5.95) I got to try a bite of his veggie roll, it was very good, I enjoyed the texture of the wakame (edible seaweed) in the roll, I had never experienced that in a veggie rolls. Gregg is the sushi aficionado & rated Soobak an 8 out of 10. (Which means we’ll be back!)
Soobak also has frozen yogurt. ($.49/oz.) I considered myself lucky because they had a non dairy watermelon flavor. I added pineapple & these juice “bursts”. (I really hope this is molecular gastronomy, fingers crossed.) It was tart & I enjoyed it very much.
I had two problems with Soobak.
The first problem, which is a very common problem now that I’m vegan — is the lack of options. There was 5 options for a vegan. Honey Garlic Tofu, Tempura Tofu, Veggie Roll, Miso Soup and Edamame. I really was hoping they’d have a few different variations of veggie rolls. I do accept that I’m not the norm, so this is really only an issue with me.
The second problem is the size of Soobak. It is TINY. Like, uncomfortable tiny. Like, 4 tables tiny. Like, getting froyo & bumping into people dining tiny. I don’t know if we’ll go back to sit down & dine, but I can see myself picking this up on the way home for dinner, running over on the weekend for a quick lunch, or biking over to get my frozen yogurt fix.
Overall, I am excited about Soobak. The entire time we were there it was bustling & people were picking up to-go orders non-stop. I hope they flourish, move to a bigger location and add more options. Soobak knows how to make sushi!
All photos courtesy of badfriends.net (thanks!)
Sarah kept mentioning & posting to my facebook about this company that delivers organic fruits and vegetables to your door. Once I had made the decision to become vegan… It seemed no better time to try it out.
Their website is AWESOME & from start to finish took ten minutes to sign up. They allow you to make substitutions (don’t like onions? oranges? Get something else!) or choose vegetables or fruit only. (: We chose veggies only :)
Yesterday was the day! I was worried about delivery because our place is a bit of a hassle to get into. On their website they suggest to leave a cooler by your front door.
I got home & my cooler was full!
I think because of how our place is, they had to drop the brown box at the front desk & then someone from here walked it up & put it into our cooler.
1 Acorn Squash
1 Yellow Bell Pepper
4 Local Roma Tomatoes
1 Local Romaine Lettuce
1 Local Red Kale
1 bunch Sweet Onion
1 Hass Avocado (CA)
1 Baby Carrots (1 LB)
=$30 w/ delivery
The image everyone wants to see! It’s a TON of food, I am excited. The head of romaine is by far the biggest I’ve ever seen. I like that the box is a nice mixture of stuff. Gregg loves avocados & tomatoes. I am a big salad & acorn squash fan. :) The only thing I wish was a bit different is that it included some weird new/unusual to us veggies, but I’m sure that happens sometimes.
They included a few produce bags, and instructions on how to wash & properly store your veggies.
I liked their signature :)
I’ve only ordered once, but I would recommend this to anyone. People complain about the prices of organic food. Yes, it’s more than you’d spend in a conventional grocery store, but when you look into it, you see it’s worth the extra price.
Things I am planning on making:
Perhaps try Kale chips again, may they be edible this time…
The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is an annual celebration held in the city of Tampa, Florida. Held each year in late January and hosted by Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla and the City of Tampa, it celebrates the apocryphal legend of José Gaspar (Gasparilla), supposedly a Spanish pirate captain who operated in Southwest Florida.
The theme is an “invasion” by Gasparilla and his men, which begins when the “Krewe” (made up of residents of the city) arrives on a 165′ long pirate ship, the Jose Gaspar, in Tampa Bay and land near downtown Tampa.
The mayor of Tampa then lends the key of the city to the pirate captain and a parade ensues down Bayshore Boulevard, one of Tampa’s major streets. The krewes throw beads, coins and other items while shooting blank pistols from floats during the parade. The average attendance for the event is over 400,000 people.
Shoes: However cute you think those 3 inch pirate boots are… You’re going to be hiking all over town, probably walking 5 to 7 miles, at least. Oh & you’ll be wasted. Just say NO & grab something conformable. Also, yes, we live in Florida, it’s 75 degrees… but rethink the sandals. There are HUGE crowds & you’re feet will get stepped on, beer will spill, you may step in dog doo, no sandals.
Pants: Feel free to wear shorts, skirts, jeans, whatever. You have to think here, will you be just attending the invasion? (11am) The parade? (3pm) & after parties? (5pm++++) I typically choose to wear jeans, it’s still cool enough to not feel grosso. Also, you don’t look like a dirty pirate when evening rolls in. (Walking around downtown + of Tampa in skirts/shorts, you’ll get mud, dirt, yucky stuff on your legs.
Shirt: Tank top, strapless, cardigan, pirate themed tee, will all work. There will be sun, think about your shoulders!
Jewels: I like glitter & shiny things. Pirates like booty after all ;)
Etc: Sunscreen, TP & hand sanitizer (porta-potties), backpacks filled w/ snacks + flasks, sunglasses!
Having gone to Gasparilla pretty much since I was a fetus, I’ve got knowing what to wear and what to bring down to a science. If you are a wanderer, like me, who enjoys trekking several miles up and down Bayshore to party hop, comfy shoes are essential! I also like to make sure I have a large purse to carry around my booze, bottles of water, and my beads when they get to heavy to wear.
Rather than going full-on “pirate”, I’m a fan of a more subtle approach. These are two options using black and white striped tops and skull accents. The one on the left is more casual and appropriate for walking, and the right would be better suited for viewing the parade from a house party or VIP tent.
If you see yourself as less of a pirate and more of a wench, this outfit has a vintage and feminine feel, with a dress that gives a nod to a traditional pirate shirt, boots that would be perfect for pillaging and plundering or walking along a parade route, and a wide brimmed hat to protect you from the sun.
Last Thursday Gregg & I had the opportunity to attend a VIP Tasting Event at GrillSmith in South Tampa. I thought I’d share my favorites from the things we tasted. (I developed a very precise smiley-face rating system, each of the ones I’m sharing received 4+ smiles)
Stoil Ravioli - Stuffed with grilled chicken, spinach and creamy ricotta cheese tossed in a Stolichnaya Vodka tomato cream sauce.
This was my favorite dish of the entire night. I really wished it photographed better. I hardly ever eat pasta, but this was so delicious, & I definitely went back for seconds.
Chicken Milanese - Sauteed, herb-crusted chicken finished withe a lemon-butter white wine reductions, sun-dried tomatoes, golden raisins and capers, dressed with arugula and pine nuts in our lemon-feta vinaigrette, served over seasoned rice.
I love anything with citrus, so this was a HUGE winner for me. I’ve never had Chicken Milanese before, the sauce was outstanding. I even asked if they could make this with grilled chicken – they said yes!
Spicy Thai Chicken – Lightly battered, flash-fried chicken cutlets tossed in sriacha aioli, served with hot and sweet honey glaze.
Gregg & I talked about this one a lot. This chicken reminded me of Bonefish’s “Bang Bang Shrimp”. I was glad this wasn’t slathered in sauce, it was still crunchy. :) On Gregg’s notes there is “win” written by “sriacha aioli”, this dish still could have been spicier for me, but none-the-less yummy!
Voodoo Cheese Fries – Creole seasoned fries finished with a New Orleans style white barbecue sauce, smoked Gouda, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, Andouille sausage and green onions, served with cilantro sour cream for dipping.
This is pretty much what I wish I could eat everyday all day. It’s dangerously delicious. I want to buy creole seasoning asap.
Smoked Salmon Bruschetta - Smoked Norwegian salmon with capers, fresh basil, red onions, Parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and GrillSmith’s own lemon-feta vinaigrette on toasted crostini.
Last but not least… I did not try this. (I know, I know, not a big seafood/fish fan) But! This was Gregg’s favorite dish. Actually everyone’s favorite dish – the whole table kept going on & on about it how wonderful it was.
This made me laugh, Gregg was my +1, so they gave him my last name! ;)
GrillSmith did an amazing job with the entire night. I was glad to be able to try their new menu items. When I have thought of GrillSmith in the past, I think I really shrugged it off because I figured it was just a chain restaurant, but GrillSmith is definitely anything BUT mediocre.
Disclosure: All food was provided by GrillSmith Restaurant free of charge.
Friday evening I stumbled upon an amazing store that is just opening!
Duckweed Urban Market is located downtown on the corner of Franklin Street & E. Polk Street, next to The Hub and below the Sweatshop Urban Gym.
Duckweed carries a ton of local products, just from browsing I found many local brands! Buddy Brew Coffee, TeBella Tea, tons!!! of different types of Sami’s Bakery breads and Intensity Academy’s delicious hot sauces & sauces.
We met Derek who was manning this shop, he is incredibly knowledgeable! (Please make sure to say hi!) Every time I “Ooohed!” or “Awwed” at something usually he’d mention that it was either also made locally or it was special ordered. He made sure to point out a soda named “Hotlips” which has fruit pulp in it!
What was nice was, that among the truffle oil, quinoa “burger” mixes, gluten free awesomeness, numerous of delicious cheeses, freshest produce I’ve seen in Tampa… they also have staples! Out of eggs? Drop in on your way home. Need milk? Just walk over. Yes, they also had cheapie macaroni & cheese too :P
I loved that Duckweed has everything I have been dying to try! I will obviously be a regular here! Derek also mentioned they soon plan to carry beer & wines!
Here is some pictures to share:
Omg how cute is the front of this place?!
They even have animal food! :)
305 E Polk Street, Tampa, FL 33602
***Big thank you goes to Renee! for taking all these pictures while I was chatting it up w/ Derek!<3 <3
There has been a lot of tweets/mentions of Freshley’s Cafe that has just opened in Seminole Heights last week. Freshley’s offers breakfast & lunch Monday through Saturday, I woke up this morning knowing I wanted to stop by on the way to Gregg’s office to check out all the hype.
Freshley’s is located at the northwest corner of Florida and Hillsborough in Seminole Heights.
Have I mentioned I love airstreams?!
It is surrounded by a ton of newly planted plants, as well as a cute dining area with shade. (I wonder if they have wi-fi? ;)
I sneaked a picture of the inside. :) It’s a Mother, Daughter and Grand Daughter team!
Showing all the cute plants in bright planters. So cheery! Gregg has coffee :)
This is the specials board, condiments table, and tea! (Sweet & Unsweet)
Gregg got “Good Morning New York”
- Smoked salmon, light cream cheese, red onion, sliced tomato, and capers on fresh Pumpernickel bread. $5.95
It got raving reviews from Gregg.
I got the “Egg White Frittata”
- Baked Arugula, garlic, green onions and turkey sausage (salmon was a choice too), served on wheat toast, with fresh fruit. $4.50
Can I say how EXTREMELY OVERJOYED I am? Freshley’s food was amazing. They have healthy portions. Food is perfectly seasoned. Fresh. Good pricing. -There was BLUEBERRIES in their fruit salad. When have you ever seen that?
I will for sure be a regular at Freshley’s Cafe. :)
Hello! This past Saturday was Train Day! Train Day is all about bringing life to the rich history of how trains have transformed America. The free event feature live entertainment, interactive & educational exhibits, kids’ activities, model trains & tours of Amtrak equipment. I was probably the most excited person in Tampa for this event. I love the railways, even though I have never taken a train trip! This will be remedied ASAP.
Here is some photos from the day.
I’m shocked how cheap rail is. From Jacksonville to Charleston ROUND, w/ two nights in a hotel there, was UNDER $300 per person! I think it would be a perfect vacation! OR an awesome 5 day? Tweetup ;)
Cabin window, bottom bunk folded up.
Bottom Bunk, folded up.
Sink, very tiny -cute!
The dining car downstairs.
Toilet/Shower combo, every man’s dream in life.
Overall the event was awesome. I had a great time, there was lots of swag. :) Please take some time to stop & check out Tampa Union Station. It’s a beautiful building that was opened in 1912 & served railroad passengers through the Great Depression & both World Wars. In 1974—it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. It’s a GORGEOUS building, with so many intricate details. It also makes you feel like you’re stepping back into time. :)
Also!!! attached is an amazing open space building called the “baggage building“. I have been posting that link everywhere, it would be an awesome stop for a coffee house, bar, restaurant, art gallery…etc. Tampa Union Station will anchor one end of a planned rehabilitation of Zack Street into an “avenue of the arts”.
“Gratitude feels so good because it is the state of mind closest to
your natural state in which you were born to live.”
I’m constantly sharing my thankfulness for all the things I find “magical” in my life… sunbeams, dust looking like glitter in sunlight, my kittens sandy tongue, a leaf on the ground shaped like a heart, a child’s high-five in the grocery store checkout line… It allows me to recognize the beauty and blessings of our cosmos to grow within me, to soften me, to inspire and fill my heart with joy.
The saying, “Count your blessings” is *so* simple and extremely powerful. Gratitude is that feeling in your heart which allows you to observe and take in all the astonishing, remarkable things you have and forgetting for a moment all you may lack. It connects your brain with your heart and gives you the ground to be more giving, effective, loving human. Being grateful allows generosity to flow. Many believe it also makes us more receptive, the more you love what you have, the more you get what you want.
Here are some of my blessings to be counted:
Family – I have a very small family; just my mother, father, brother and grandmother. I love them all so much. My grandmother’s memory is getting pretty bad, so I am thankful for every story she shares and all the precious time I am able to spend with her. My mother is the strongest and most motivated person I know; she’s always there for me, always smiling. My father is definitely where I picked up my empathetic heart, sense of humor and adventurous spirit; such a blessing to have received these traits! I’m thankful my brother is a huge nerd, and the only one who will ever understand, “where I’m from”.
Friends – My friends are the family I’ve chosen and they are a constant reminder of who I am, where I’m going, and what I need and deserve. With my dearest friends I share my life, listen, cry, laugh till I can’t breathe, and stick around for the darkest and lightest hours. I can picture all the people who have taken an interest in my life and helped guide and direct me. I don’t know how I could possibly repay them. I cannot express my thankfulness for all the amazing friends (new and old) I have, they are everything.
Emotional Strength – These past few months have been quite crazy and hard for me. I am honestly IMPRESSED how well I have handled everything. The mind is so amazing and adaptable. I will admit though, I’m sure I’m doing so well from what I’ve learned from the past year or so, funny how that works. :P I love waking up happy, radiant and thankful for my inner peace.
Faith in God – I don’t talk about this much, but knowing that there is a higher power I can turn to when things become too difficult for me to deal with on my own is a blessing. Everyone has their own thoughts about this from time to time and most seem to return to the idea that something much more powerful than we are has had a hand in making this all happen.
Epic Thanks Tampa Bay – If you don’t know by now, I’ve been volunteering with Epic Thanks Tampa Bay for the past six months to help recognize a local Tampa Changemaker who is working hard behind the scenes, but never gets the full recognition and support they deserve. Our team took open nominations and held public voting; this year’s Changemaker is Mike Halley’s K9′s for Veterans. They take rescued dogs and train them to help disabled veterans. These people’s lives are changed drastically by the companionship of a service dog. The experience has been one of the best in my life. Late night Tuesday meetings, meeting the runner-ups, helping plan an event… it’s been life changing and has brought me into contact with the most amazing individuals.
Hope - I am ready for 2011. New beginnings! I’m finally not dreading and now excited for my twenty fifth year. I also hope to be involved in anything I can be, volunteering is probably the most amazing thing ever.
Smaller yet still beautiful random blessings:
Starry nights, Garbage the cat, porch kisses, great music, cold beer, rooftop parties, ice clinking on the side of a tall drinks, hot coffee, pictures that remind me how beautiful I am, my neighborhood (Seminole Heights), twitter & twitter friends, free tables, scary downstairs refrigerator jokes, Orson, having a car w/ cold AC & heat, windchimes chiming as I drift off to sleep, snuggly quilts, cute shoes, scalding hot showers, men in button up long sleeved dress shirts, shooting stars, cooking dinner for friends, the smell of a old bookstore, 6pm!, having everything I need & more.
I have no idea what your upcoming holiday weekend will be like, I do know it isn’t about externals; it’s about having an appreciation for all that it is and to be able to feel it regardless of external situations. Simply remember that gratitude as an inherent part of who you are & be joyful. Happy Thanksgiving!
Also! This flood of gratitude has been inspired by Epic Change. I cannot to forget to mention them and how they are back at it again! Their annual 48-hour event, Epic Thanks (formally Tweetsgiving) is happening right now!
They are seeking to harness the power of social media for social good, recruiting people to “lend a tweet to amplify the voice & impact of grassroots global changemakers who need to be heard”. This is social media done right!
You can read the story of three Epic Changemakers that Tweetsgiving supports (One is Mike Halley’s K9′s for Veterans!!), or log in using your Twitter or Facebook accounts to create a custom thank you note (mine is above!) that shares your grateful heart with the world, along with an optional donation.
Ps. I have so much epic love to Stacey Monk & Sanjay Patel and their team for using their amazing talents to the greater good. <3 <3
I went to Howl o Scream Friday night w/ some of the best people! Tony & Laura, Mitch, Amber, Gabi, Mike & ! I had a crazy amount of fun. I drank many yards of beer, won two HUGE gorillas in a ball throwing game, won a guitar in a raffle(!!!), took pictures with sexy nurses & schoolgirls w/ Gabi. It was an insanely great time… A PERFECT way to end my hectic week, that $15 beer tasted so good!
The theme this year is quite awesome as well, we all had the song stuck in our heads all night long.
Saturday I packed up, & picked up Garbage, she is so cute! In the car, she laid behind my head, I couldn’t stop aw-ing! She’s like a parrot, if I could only train her to do this ALL THE TIME.
:) :) :)
I moved into the apartment! I transferred the electricity to my name today. I wasn’t going to move in till NEXT weekend, but I think it would be better just to move, so Garbage can adjust. I love it so much, I think Garby & I will be perfectly fine here. :) She sides around on the wood floors. Here’s the only pictures I have:
Front door, going up!
Bathroom this morning, Garbage was splashing around the tub.
I got to figure out where to store those bins…
& I’ve had a ton of visitors! I love my friends for popping by; Kiera came by & helped me move/organize, we grabbed lunch & went to Target to pick up some stuff for the apartment.
Okay, Allie out! I just wanted to keep everyone updated, lol!
Meet Garbage! Gregg & I were volunteering for Coastal Cleanup Saturday morning-afternoon. We didn’t clean a beach though (tricked!), we walked down about three miles of road with our team picking up trash that drivers have thrown out their window. It was pretty sad how much people threw out their cars… lots of beer bottles, fast food cups, plastic bags… Early in the day, I found a dollar bill… I thought that would be the best “find” of the day…
After an hour or two, I pointed to a kitten about to cross the road. Gregg saw traffic coming and stopped it so he could rescue the kitten. Little did he know that she’d run into his arms! (Not exaggerating) I immediately yelled out, “OURS!!” and did a happy dance on the other side of the road.
Back story: I have been BEGGING for a pet (dog/cat/etc/whatever…) for over 6 months now. The deal Gregg and I made was when an animal found him, that would be our pet. Why couldn’t it find me? – I can’t be trusted, I’d “find” a puppy every day! We’ve even joked about me getting my friends to put a kitten in a basket and leave in on our porch…!
Our entire crew was excited. We made plans for me and another girl to take the kitten to the vet immediately to make sure she wasn’t mirco-chipped or had feline AIDS/Leukemia and get her baby shots. While we were waiting for the organizers to pick us up and take us to the car, we all started tossing around names. Someone “checked” and found out she was a girl. Cici (Coastal Cleanup) was suggested, then Gregg said… “GARBAGE!”, it stuck.
At the vet we found out she didn’t like dogs or water. She was perfectly healthy for a stray. A few fleas, no worms or diseases. She’s 11-12 weeks old and tabby/calico mix. She kneads (makes biscuits) constantly. (Even her food while she eats, lol!)
She’s not a very hyper kitten, but we suspect she’s resting and eating from being famished. She likes fake mice toys, doesn’t like balls with bells, feathers or laser pointers. We bought her a little kitty house with a scratching post, a bed, and a litter box. (Once she gets the hang of that, I plan on teaching her how to use the toilet! I detest litter!)
We’ve made up some silly stories about her origin. She likes to pounce on her toys a lot, so we’ve joked about her killing all her brothers and sisters to survive. We kid about her being half bobcat.
The vet also said she’ll probably stay pretty little, she has teeny tiny paws. That’s why we got this awesome reflective collar with a bell, we’d probably loose her in our 1 bedroom apartment!
I think her favorite thing to do for now is circle Gregg’s neck and forehead bump him. It’s pretty cute, I’m glad we saved her life, and I hope everyone excuses me for the slew of kitten/cat pictures/videos from this point onward.
I’d also suggest volunteering to pick up trash, you find money and kittens. INSTANT KARMA!
Hey Tampa People!
Just a quick notice, after talking to a bunch of people on twitter it’s decided that we are all getting together at 6pm on Sunday at ThePizzaOven on Waters. I’ve never been, but have heard from multiple people that this place rocks. I’m excited to see everyone there! I’ll be bringing name tags so we call all be geeky together & write our twitter names!
Directions are here: http://bit.ly/9ovkeM
& Make sure to follow @ThePizzaOvenTPA