ZZ Top, Cheap Trick & Camping 10/16 – 10/18/2019

I’ve never been camping in a tent and my husband has been wanting to do it with me for as long as I’ve know him (17 years).  He’s camped in a tent and always told me about how much fun and relaxing it is. As for me, sleeping in a tent seemed extreme.  I mean, could we get an RV, please?

He planned this whole trip and made it as “Stacy Friendly” as he could. “Stacy Friendly” meaning a place where I could go to the bathroom, a blow up mattress and many other odds and ends that I use, eat or drink on a normal basis at home. He knew that would be the only way that I would say yes.

We arrived at Anastasia State Park in St Augustine on Wednesday, the night of the concert, at about 2pm. We began unloading the truck and setting up camp just as it decided to start raining. Luckily it didn’t last long and we were able to finish setting up. I called it our homeless camp. Ha!

We got cleaned up at the restrooms/showers that were really close to our campsite and had a few beers while we walked to the venue.  YES, we were able to walk to the concert!  There were trolleys that were available for free to take you there too. It was perfect. No driving and no traffic!

We arrived at our seats and they were pretty good although I usually try to get closer to the stage (budgeting with a concert addiction can be nerve racking sometimes! Ha!) I wasn’t disappointed though since we had a nice view of the lighthouse and a beautiful breeze being up so high.

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Cheap Trick was the opening act and this was my first time seeing them. I enjoyed their setlist and appreciated that they played The Flame which is my favorite song by them.

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ZZ Top was great as usual. We saw them a few years ago in Tampa and I think they were even better this time.  It could be because we saw them in a smaller venue, but I’m not sure. They played all the classics and I was dancing most of the time.

 

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After the concert, we stumbled…uhhh…walked back to our campsite and got ready for my first night sleeping in a tent. When we went to bed it was about 78 degrees so we only had shorts and shirts on. At about 4am we were woken up by the sound of our teeth chattering because it had gone from 78 degrees to 60 degrees within a few hours. PLUS, we had a fan blowing on us and only had sheets.  Luckily, we brought a comforter with us since the forecast said that it would get cool so I sent hubby (you didn’t think I was getting out of that tent did you?) to the truck to get it, along with my sweatshirt. Normally I enjoy cold air, in fact I LOVE it, but when you’re not dressed for it, it sucks! When we had the comforter and our sweats on, life was much better and we fell back to sleep.

A few hours later I woke up to the smell of coffee and realized that I had made it through a night in a tent! I was so proud of myself and fell in love with camping the moment I opened up the tent and saw this view.  img_2064

So quiet, so peaceful, so freeing.

And then breakfast was served in a cast iron skillet on a butane burner. Bacon, bagels and coffee. I can get used to this!

After breakfast we trekked down to the beach and did some metal detecting, fishing and relaxing. We didn’t find any treasures and hubby didn’t catch anything but it was a beautiful day nonetheless.

After our beautiful day on the beach, we went back to the campsite and got ready for dinner at one of our favorite places to go for fish tacos, Sunset Grille.

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After dinner we went back to the campsite, started a fire, drank beer and enjoyed the pleasant weather and moon.

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Again we were woken up in the middle of the night but this time it wasn’t because of the drop in temperature but two raccoons! If anyone knows me, you know that I hate raccoons, well, I heard some rustling outside and the sound of beer cans. I woke up hubby and he went outside where he saw two raccoons trying to get into our garbage full of beer cans!  He shooed them away and put the garbage in the bed of his truck. Sorry guys, you chose the wrong site, those cans are empty!

In conclusion:

  • Camping in a tent is not as bad as I thought it would be especially when you have a blow up mattress, warm clothing and a comforter when the temperature drops 18 degree within hours and a bathroom/shower building within walking distance to your site.
  • Going to a concert where you can walk there and back is the best!
  • Bringing the luxuries of home to your campsite like a coffee maker, butane burner and a fan made my first camping experience wonderful (aka Glamping but with a tent).
  • Enjoying the company of your hubby while relaxing by a fire and drinking beer in complete silence is PRICELESS!

Until next time, I’ll see you soon!

~Stacy

Side note: This was my bathroom/dressing room and our shower. The shower may not look too nice but much needed when nature called in the middle of the night.  As for the shower, we didn’t use it to actually take a shower but we did clean our feet with it.  AND it does get warm when sitting out in the sun for a while which is better than ice cold water on your feet or body.

 

 

 

 

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Backstreet Boys 8.24.19

I purchased tickets for the Backstreet Boys concert approximately 10 months ago for myself and a group of friends. I have a Citi card which provides me with the perks of being able to purchase presale tickets to concerts, which has not only saved me money over the years but has helped in purchasing awesome seats! If you don’t have a Citi Preferred card and go to a lot of concerts like me, I highly recommend getting one! I use it ONLY for presale tickets and it carries a zero balance when the tickets are paid off until the next concert!

My friends and I discussed what time we should leave to get out to Orlando since there was not only the Backstreet Boys Concert going on but a Miami vs Florida football game at the Camping World Stadium. We knew that traffic was going to be bad and parking may be a challenge but something inside of me knew it would all workout. Intuition? Maybe!

On our way to BSB

When we got to the parking garage I asked the guy that was working there if there was any way we would be able to get 1st level parking. Low and behold, he told us where to go and BAM, 1st level parking! This would definitely be in our advantage when leaving the garage which in the end only took us 15 minutes or so to get out. Now on to find some food…

As you can imagine, most of the restaurants were packed and that is when my friend suggested pizza at a place called Gitto’s. The pizza was delicious, the atmosphere and the cleanliness of the place was a lot to be desired. When people were finished eating the staff didn’t wipe down the tables or chairs (which were filled with food and beer) and when we actually found someone, I had to help her because she was so slow. My suggestion, eat the pizza outside.

Now to the concert..

When we got to our seats we had an awesome view of the stage with no one in front of us, in fact, Brian Cittrell had walked passed us on our right. His son Baylee’s band opened for them who were just OK.

I wouldn’t call myself a die hard fan of the Backstreet Boys but I do enjoy their songs and have never seen them live. I have to say that I was very impressed by their performance. They sounded great and kept the audience entertained from beginning to end. During the show, each one of them talked about how thankful they were to the fans of Orlando since Orlando was where the Backstreet Boys started. It was very sweet and I may have teared up a little, MAYBE.

Our seats again
View from our seats
Being thankful

In the end, it was a great night of entertainment and spending time with great friends! I recommend going to see the Backstreet Boys if you are a die hard fan or are just a fan of a few songs. They put on an amazing show!

Till next time, I’ll see ya soon!

Stacy

My favorite song by the BSB

 

 

 

 

 

Our River O’ Green Tampa Trip

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Turning the river green

Ron and I just got back from a long weekend in Tampa for the Bob Seger concert and St. Patrick’s Day festivities at the Tampa Riverwalk We’ve never stayed in the Riverwalk area and have never seen the River O’ Green which was an awesome experience!  If you have never been to the Riverwalk during St. Patrick’s Day, it is worth the trip for sure. I’ve posted the map below.

 

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Map of the Riverwalk

FRIDAY

 

We left our house around 10:30am to trek out to Tampa.  The drive there from our house is about 2 ½ – 3 hours depending on traffic on the Interstate 4 FROM HELL!  Normally when we visit the Tampa area there is bumper to bumper traffic around the Disney World area, then it clears up for a while until you hit the Tampa area around Interstate 75.  

 

We stopped at Seminole Hard Rock Tampa because I have an obsession with slot machines. Even though I am on a mission to live a frugal life, save money and pay our debt off, I have a weakness for slots and some sports betting on occasion. Some people have shopping weaknesses, I have a slot machine weakness (I think I may be one of the small group of women who honestly HATE shopping!)

SLOT MACHINE SIDENOTE: My advice to people who are on a budget and like to gamble every once and a while, DO NOT go into the casino with a credit or debit card and only play penny slots! I’ve won over $200 a few times on penny slots so it’s not impossible to risk small and hit big once and a while. Now that doesn’t mean that I ONLY play penny slots but if you are on a budget, penny slots allow you to play longer with less money.

 

Now back to the trip….

 

The casino gave me $15 of free play which I lost super fast and then we lost what we had budgeted for the day too! It was frustrating but at least we were able to see all the new renovations that they’ve made with the money that they have taken from us for the last decade!  Ha!  It is very easy to get lost in this place now.  It went from a small, cozy casino to approximately 4 more casino areas with one being a non-smoking casino.  They are also adding more hotel space in addition to the hotel space that was already there and a much needed parking area (maybe they’ll send me a free room one of these days..I won’t hold my breath).  There were also more restaurants and bars too. It was nice to get my gambling fix for a while…well, until Sunday!

We left the casino and were on our way to the Westin hotel to check in. Since I work for local government, we get a discount on hotels as a perk. We were able to score the hotel for HALF OFF! Thank God for that because everything else was so damn expensive! I can’t remember the last time I stayed at a hotel and the breakfast wasn’t free but more on that later. The hotel was absolutely beautiful and it was a requirement to valet park (which was $28 a day). See where I’m going with this? Every where I turned I was either swiping or dishing out cash. I know, we’re on vacation but I was getting tired of having mini strokes every time people asked me for money! I blame this on not preparing ahead of time to find cheaper prices. I’ll never do that again!

 

FRIDAY NIGHT

 

We had tickets for Bob Seger and were really excited to see him since both of us have never seen him live. We purchased floor seats (which was my first time on the floor) and had seats on the end of the row which Ron and I prefer. Everything was going great. He sounded amazing! We had comfortable seats and were enjoying some great rock and roll until I started to feel really sick. I hadn’t been feeling too well for the last week or so to begin with but the combination of a few beers, two really tall and bulky guys in front of me and the body heat making it feel like I couldn’t breathe really got to me. I felt like I was going to have a panic attack and all of a sudden my stomach started to churn. I had to get out of there and fast! Ron followed me out to the hallway and I told him I wasn’t sure if I can go back in there. Fortunately I didn’t puke, unfortunately we had to leave early. We were able to see a little over an hour of the show which was good though. I told Ron to stay but he wanted to make sure I got home okay. I’ve got a good egg!

Bob Seger

SATURDAY

When I woke up in the morning I was feeling sooooo much better and craving a nice, big cup of coffee!  Ron and I went downstairs to the breakfast buffet, piled our plates with food and just as we were digesting, along comes a bill to our table.  We both looked at each other and thought…hmmm..this is odd, we don’t pay for breakfast when we stay at a hotel, this has to be a mistake.  As I looked at the bill, I thought I was going to have a stroke!  $43 for a mediocre breakfast buffet?!?!? WTF! As I was catching my breath, I thought, if I would have done my homework on the Westin I would have known that breakfast is not in fact FREE and checked out where we could get a cheap breakfast elsewhere.  What a bummer and it could have been totally avoided if I would have been proactive.  Take note peeps!

We usually stay at the Hampton Inn and they provide a free and much more appetizing breakfast in their room rate.  The closest Hampton Inn to where we were was about 15-20 minutes away and we really wanted to be within walking distance to everything at the Riverwalk and did not want to get into a car to go anywhere so we chose the Westin.  Granted, I’m not badmouthing the Westin because their rooms were super clean, we had a nice view and the staff were very helpful and sweet, but, charging people for breakfast and mandatory valet parking is not my style. IM ON A BUDGET!

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We met up with Gina and my niece Ava for the day (You may have seen them in some of my previous posts). We walked, talked and had a delicious lunch together. It was great to see them and catch up! After they left we made our way back to the hotel to take a snooze, shower, and decide what we were going to do for the night.

I was browsing on my phone and saw that the Tampa Bay Lightning were playing so we decided to go to the Amalie Arena and see if maybe we could get tickets to see the game. When we got there we found fans sitting in their chairs outside the arena watching the Lightning on a huge screen! We didn’t have to go any further. We grabbed a drink from the outside bar, found a bench to sit on and watched the Lightning win. Go Bolts!img_0438-1img_0440-1

On our way back to the hotel we found a Starbucks that was actually right next to our hotel that we decided would be our breakfast destination in the morning before we checked out.

SUNDAY

The Westin provides free coffee (probably the only thing that is free in this hotel) so we grabbed our coffee and walked to Starbucks. Ron had an everything bagel with butter and I had a plain bagel with cream cheese. Total spent:  $4.50!  Now THAT’S what I’m talking about!

We went back up to the hotel after breakfast and grabbed our things and waited for our car to be valeted to us.  Honestly, the whole valet thing was a big downer for me.  I don’t like other people driving my car, RON doesn’t even drive my car!  And to require me to not only turn my key over to some stranger, pay for it, not be able to get to it if I forgot something, sucked.  On the brighter side, we didn’t use our car the whole time we were there so it was safe and sound in an underground parking lot.

Before we left the Tampa area we took a chance at Seminole Hard Rock Casino again. Total spent: ENOUGH!

I have to say that Tampa did it absolutely right with this Riverwalk creation.  I believe it is close to 2 miles worth of parks, restaurants, museums and beautiful breezes off the river. We will definitely go back !

And that’s all folks! I’ve posted a video from the River O’ Green below for you to enjoy!

Till next time, I’ll see ya soon!

~Stacy

SHOUT OUTS

Armature Works – Cool warehouse kind of vibe with food, bars and shopping.

B&B. Butcher n BBQ – One of the best chicken phillys I’ve ever had!

The Sail – Cool bar with beautiful views of the river

How “New” Music Changed Me

I was born in the 70s so I grew up listening to music mostly from the 80s and 90s.  When I moved back to New Jersey in 1999 and started mingling with people who were older than myself, I started to REALLY have an appreciation for 1960-1980 rock and roll music.  In fact, to ME it was NEW music!  I may have heard some of the songs before, but never really paid much attention since I was stuck in my own 80’s glam/R&B world.  To this day, when those oldies but goodies come on the radio, they bring me back to the local bars (okay, there were OTHER places too…not just the bar…I think?)

All of my life I’ve been a fan of many different types of music and as I’ve gotten older (not old, just older), I’ve come to appreciate classic rock so much more than I thought I ever would!  Not only because of the musicianship but it brings me back to a time in my life where I changed for the better.  A time when I was lost and confused but found my way.  When decisions had to be made.  When growing up had to happen.  When I had to depend on myself.  When I FOUND myself.  Who would have thought that “new” music could save me? Or was it that little town called South Amboy and the people? Either way, I will be forever grateful.

I’ve posted a few videos below of songs that make me feel good and bring me back to one of the greatest times of my life.

What genre of music had you not been a fan of that you took a liking to years later?

~Stacy

Sidebar:  There are many others that bring back the “fuzzies” but these are the ones that stand out the most at this moment.

Brandy – Looking Glass

Someone Saved My Life Tonight – Elton John

Hungry Heart – Bruce Springsteen

Big Shot – Billy Joel

Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meatloaf

Boston – Piece of Mind

Weekend Fun 7.20.18 – 7.22.18

Hey everyone!  Just got back from the west coast of Florida to visit Gina, Tony and my nieces.  It was a much needed weekend away!  My niece Sophia has her permit now and is driving really well (we didn’t die) and Ava is doing great with her YouTube channel.  Follow her at Ava Kathryn.

Below are some pictures from my weekend…..

Till next time…I’ll see ya soon!

Stacy