What a WEEKEND!

Hey there guys!!! Things have been good and busy on this end…kiddos,work, extracurricular activities….all that stuff! Hubs and I were finally able to get away for a weekend, much to the chagrin of this guy…Aidan can STAND  when we go way! At 9 (almost 10) he still thinks we all need to be together…all the time! I explained to him that this was a late Anniversary/early Valentine’s Day celebration for us. He said “Isn’t an Anniversary and Valentine’s Day just one day? Why do you need a whole weekend?“😂 #thiskid

This kid is usually like…See ya!

That’s a 15 year old for you! 😂

We slipped away to Epicurean Hotel in SoHo, in Tampa.  This is the second time we’ve stayed here and I can’t get enough of this place!!! My photos do not do this place ANY justice! 

Hubs and I settled in and had a light lunch downstairs at Élevage for a light lunch and a cocktail. We haven’t been drinking since October (with the exception of a few on Christmas and NYE) because of Hubs diet. 

Hubs surprised me with a beautiful story about us and our life together-how we started, where we were and where we are going. It was the sweetest story and then….…he gave me a ring. Why is this special, you ask? I stopped wearing my engagement ring about 10 years ago because the prongs shifted and I was afraid I was going to lose the stone.  He found my hiding place for my important and precious jewelry and had it set in a new band. The two outer rings are my existing wedding bands and the center ring is my new engagement ring in the new setting!  Total UGLY crying went on at that moment.  I can’t think of anything more special that my husband has done for me…and he has done A LOT of special things over the years! Truly from his heart (and his wallet,too!😂😂).

The special afternoon set the tone for a special dinner at Ulele. (You-LAY-lee). 

It’s a restaurant with a fusion of Floridian fare right off of the Hillsborough River in Tampa.

This is Ulele….and her story….

Pocahontas ain’t got NOTHING on Ulele!!! #FLwins

The food was nothing short of perfection! We had two wonderful appetizers of Pulpo Carpaccio (yes…octopus!!) and Lollipop chicken…

The octopus was new for me and it was GREAT!! 

Dinner brought even better food….

Miguel had the 10oz filet (sorry…no pic!) and I had the Crackling Pork Shank.

OMG!! Died!!!!!

We had a blast at this place! Please…PLEASE make this restaurant a place to go if you are in Tampa!! 

Leyva STAMP OF APPROVAL!!!

Sunday started out in the AM with a fitness center visit for the both of us. Hubs was on the DREADmill for a 3 mile walk and 2 mile run for me….(PS…this was the first time EVER that Hubs and I were in the gym together! Like in the 20+ years we have been together….#mindBLOWN)

I have a 8k in 2 weeks (Gasparilla) and a 10k a week after that (Promise Run). 

After breakfast, we did some walking around the mall…did a little shopping ( I may or may not have sneaked into Tory Burch and picked up an item) and before we knew it…lunch time!!! We stopped at Miguelito’s Taqueria y Tequilas.  Both of us have wanted…craving Mexican food.  This place did not disappoint! I’d never been to the place before but Hubs had and he always steers me in the right direction when it comes to food!! Sorry I have no pictures because I scarfed it ALL down! 😂

Hubs had another surprise up his sleeve for the evening.  At the Epicurean, there is a theatre where events are held, cooking demonstrations and so on. Hubs signed us up for “Love by Tipsy Candle Light“.  It was a candle making session, with wine and cheese, hosted by a local company, Tipsy Candle Company. This company uses 100% soy wax and essential oils to make candles.  All natural and all good!!!  Why the name Tipsy?? Because they recycle the wine bottles from the hotel and use them as the candle holder!! How fun is THAT????

We were able to make 4 candles- picking one of the 4 essential oils they provided and then making a scent of our own from the other selection of oils.  And…if they liked any of the original candles, they would sell it!! Hubs selected “Mimosa” and his special scent was a combination of Tahitian Vanilla, Bergomot, and ? (which was a mystery scent). I selected “Vanilla Mandarin” and my special scent was a combo of Tahitian Vanilla, ? (the mystery scent), and Georgia Peach.  Sadly we didnt win…BUT…we walked with four candles!!! #winning.  They all smelled so good!! 

Hubs had THE best weekend planned for us! I had a BLAST and it was nice to have the time away for just us!! ❤

Oh…let me just point out something. Remember I said Hubs and I have been on a diet since October? It started the last time we stayed at the Epicurean in October.  This is us that weekend….

And this is Hubs now…

70 pounds lighter (or later)!!! Can you believe it??? I am so proud of him!!! 

Hope you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day! 

What did you all do to celebrate??? ❤


****DISCLAIMER- I have not been compensated for anything included on this post. All of the opinions are my own.

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Heaven in Haven

My last post, I eluded to the fact that Hubs and I had a date night! And what a date that was!! We went into Tampa…whoa…like 30 minutes from home…to hang out.  We did some shopping for our upcoming Spring Break va-cay with the boys and my sister and her tribe. 

I had read about a resturant on a great blog Eat a Duck some time last year. SN: follow them!!!   We are always looking for other resturants, away from the “norm”.  It peaked my interest because of the extensive Scotch and Whiskey offerings they offered. I immediately knew Hubs would like this place.  

Haven in South Tampa is a different kind of dining.  Small plates, great offerings of meats and cheeses, a variety of cocktails and a huge variety of cocktails, wine, and spirits. #score 
   

We had a great seat because we were right in front of the huge TV for March Madness basketball! 

 We started off well!😉

  Hubs and I opted for red wine instead of scotch (next time, Haven…next time!).  A tasty Chilean Carmenere

 ….and a hand selected array of cheese and meats 

 Let me say…the funkier the cheese, the better.  And if you have the cheese coupled with the sampling next to it…oh my!!  The cheese in the forefront (the white),on the left, was cheese made with sheep’s milk. That was a first for me! It was like butter…like texture.  Our meats, Iberian ham, Hog head cheese (sounds gross but delightful) and Bison summer sausage. Double oh my!!!  And then…. 

 OLIVES!!!  My favorite…any which way you can give it to me!  They were pitted olives but who cares??? They were yummy!

The resturant has an array of small plates, very similar to tapas if you are familiar.  They don’t call themselves that type of resturant, but that’s the best comparison that I can give.  It’s typical that a part of our size have any where from 4-6 dishes for dinner. 

 From left to right: Malaysian pork ribs, Burrata & Cremer potatoes, Conchinita Pibil Tacos

  Lobster & Hog Jowl Fricasee and Lemon Thyme Gnocchi (with Crab)
  Skirt steak and Bone Marrow

For a complete menu description, check it out here.

I love the variety of foods and there were many things that I hadn’t had before!  I stepped out of my comfort zone during this meal!   The  seafood dishes were a real first for me, as I usually don’t like seafood.  The only thing I could not bring myself to ingest was the bone marrow.  I thought I could…ala Food Network style, but I couldn’t.  I’m thinking of it came to the table a different way or Hubs spread on the bread  before I saw it, I would have eaten it.  It’s smelled great! But I generally have a problem eating something that I am aware of the function in the body…like organ meats and such. 

We were so full, dessert was even an option! 

We had such a pleasurable evening during our night at Haven.  If you are ever in Tampa, FL, please add this to your list of places to eat.  

 👍The Leyva Stamp of Approval👍

Thanks for reading! Eat up!❤️

Any resturants you’ve tried lately you want to share? I’m all ears….!

31092 

Yep…you know when you see that title what that REALLY means…a race! This past Sunday, I ran in the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, FL.  

  For those of you who many not know (or live in the area), this is THE race in Tampa Bay!  Since I started running about 10-11 years ago, I’ve run this race every year for the past 5-6 years.  I always did the 5k, up until last year, when I decided to do the 15k. Yeah…well, that didn’t happen THIS year! I opted to try the 8k instead (4.97 miles).  I’ve learned a few things over these past few years with running:

  1. I really like the 5k and 10k distance.
  2. Just because I do like these distances, doesn’t mean I’m not a real runner. In the past (and most recently), I thought if you were a marathoner or a half marathoner, that meant you were a real runner. And if you didn’t do/like those distances, you weren’t! #wrong
  3. Now…I really like the 8k distance. “Am I real runner,now??” 😉

This was a first in a few ways…the distance, running on a Sunday, AND going to the race all.by.myself!!  No one drove with me, no one raced with me, and no one went to the pre-race Expo with me. So, go ME!! And I found a UA sign that was the inspiration and theme for this weekend… 

 …. I WILL do this on my own! 

I wasn’t sure what parking was going to be since the half marathon started about 3 hours before the 8k.  I left home fairly early 

 …only to find AMPLE parking! #ofcourse.   So, I took a snooze once I was settled and paid for parking.  

About 7:30, got my self together and walks over to the Convention Center to use the facilities (I hate Port-o-Potties!!), get my gear checked in and stretch.  

 …and I wait because line up in the corral didn’t start until 8:30!  But once I did, I got to see the half marathoners finishing!  Sorry I missed you,  Cupcake and Miles!!  One of these days, we are gonna meet!!😉

The race went well for me.  The 5k distance is familiar and a comfort zone, so I was fine. I’m still not as fast as if like to be/used to be, but I’m enjoying the process of getting back. Mile 4 was ok, no biggie, but between that and mile “5” (or .97), was a little bit of a struggle.  I wasn’t physically tired but more mentally tired. And as you know, most of this stuff is mental!  I haven’t returned to that place where I can block out the “pain”, the “thoughts”, the “doubts”, but I will!  

 I’m trying not to be hard on myself, but that struggle is real too!!  I’m proud of myself for doing the race and leaving the shadow of “I have to do it with someone” in order for ME to participate.   I’m a big girl, now!! 😂

All and all, I enjoyed this race and next year, I have a SCORE to settle with you, 8k!!!

Oh…SN- I’m walking to my car after the race and see… 

 ….apparently I didn’t as far or as fast as this person, because they ran out of their DRAWERS!! 😂😂😂
Have you run Gasparilla before? What distance? Would you do it again? And…can we plan bloggers “meet and greet”???

    Aarrrrgh!

    This weekend…..I had the honor of saying that “I ran a 15k” after running in the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa, FL.

    IMG_5451The best thing about the race series…you can pick from any distance. This series had a 5k, 8k, 15k, and Half Marathon. I’ve done the 5k before and was really looking at doing another 10k, but joke was on me…because they discontinued that distance. So, 15k it was….

    The race started at O’Dark Thirty (ie 6:45am) and it was COLD (by Florida standards…40 DEGREES!!!😁).

    IMG_5432Downtown Tampa…

    My friend, Sam, raced with me! It’s perfect because we are both competitive (with ourselves) and we race well together!!

    IMG_5431She’s still my friend!!!

    Anyone that doesn’t know, the race follows the pirate themed festival/parade celebrating the invasion of Jose Gaspar and his band of pirates. Living in this area for the last 13 years, I haven’t been brave enough to go to the parade. But I DO love doing the race!! I’ve always done the 5k, but CHALLENGE!!!….I did the 15k.
    There are all types of people racing in their pirate gear….

    IMG_5437AArrrghhh! Like THIS stuff!!!

    I enjoyed this distance, I have to say. The first 5k….no biggie!
    The second 5k….I’m good!
    The last 5k….
    Mile 7-good
    Mile 8- I’m getting TIGHT, my quads and IT band (ITB)
    Mile 9 – ITB is on FIRE and my pace seems like a slow crawl! #nothappy

    In my mind..I figured finishing 1:30-1:45. I wasn’t sure but I was basing it on my 5k and 10k times.

    IMG_5448We DID it!!!

    IMG_5434Our “we’re so HAPPY we didn’t DIE” faces!

    IMG_5436Is this thing REAL??
    I’m glad that I did it and honestly….I would TOTALLY do it again.

    As I sit here typing this post, I am now able to move like a normal human and NOT like a drunk John Wayne. #sore
    I’ll be back in the saddle tomorrow with a light run (hopefully with one of my running buddies😉) and planing my next challenge!

    PS…if you are curious…guess how many calories you can potentially burn running a 15k???

    IMG_5441