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!
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.
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!
Ron and I just got back from a long weekend in Tampa for the Bob Segerconcert and St. Patrick’s Day festivities at theTampa Riverwalk We’ve never stayed in theRiverwalkarea and have never seen the River O’ Green which was an awesome experience! If you have never been to theRiverwalkduring St. Patrick’s Day, it is worth the trip for sure. I’ve posted the map below.
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 4FROM HELL! Normally when we visit the Tampa area there is bumper to bumpertrafficaround the Disney World area, then it clears upfor a while until you hit the Tampa area aroundInterstate75.
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 lostsuper fastand 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, cozycasino 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 thesedays..Iwon’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!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
Armature Works – Cool warehouse kind of vibe with food, bars and shopping.
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.
Hey hey HEY! Sorry I’ve been hiding for a while but I’M BACK!
I hope that everyone is having a good new year so far (I know, it’s May already!). I rang in the new year snoring in my bed with dreams of what 2018 will have in store for me. So far, so good!
Ron and I went to our favorite horse track on Martin Luther King weekend and had an awesome time! We arrived on Saturday morning and went straight to the track, grabbed a beer and got to betting! We had some wins here and there and then this happened….
…The same horse that I won on last year on New Year’s Eve WAS AT THE TRACK AGAIN THIS TIME! Yes, Ultra Brat was running again! The only difference was that last year I bet on her at the huge price of 35-1 and won $188.50, this time, she was 6-1 (well, actually 5-1 at the gate) and I won $36. I can’t complain that’s for sure and I was so excited to see the horse again!
We had a fun day of cool weather, picked up Steak and Shake (seems to have become a tradition on our first night, not sure why) and went back to the hotel. We usually stay at the Hampton Inn in Hallandale/Aventura 2 nights but our friends Jim, Karen and Jimmy were kind enough to invite us to their house to stay on Sunday night AND they were going to be meet us at the track the next day! We were so excited as we hadn’t seen them since Amy and John’s wedding last March.
On Sunday, Ron and I arrived at the track early and got a good seat right at the finish line. When Jim, Karen and Jimmy arrived, we started eating, drinking, laughing and betting! We didn’t hit too big but we had a great time enjoying each other’s company and fresh air! When the racing day was over, we stopped to have dinner and then went back to their house and enjoyed the night laughing and drinking 🙂
The next morning we got up early and headed back home.
Looking forward to going back soon!
Till next time…
Don’t know how to bet on horses? I recommend the book below!
Ron and I had been looking forward to seeing Sammy Hagar for months and then Hurricane Irma came through our area and the original date of September 20th changed to November 11th. In the long run, it worked out better because we didn’t have to take time off from work since the rescheduled concert landed on a Saturday. We were so happy that they postponed the date and did not cancel it!
Since St. Augustine is about an hour and a half from our house, we decided to get a hotel at the Hampton Inn (We are Hampton Inn freaks) on A1A and make a weekend out of it. We’ve never been to this particular hotel or seen beach side in St. Augustine. Every time we visit, we stay in the Historic District (I’ll be there in a few weeks for their tour of lights..stay tuned for that blog in about a month or so).
We arrived at the hotel around 1pm and I walked in to see if we could check in early. They said they would take our phone number and call us if the room opens up before check in time and gave us a parking pass. We were able to park at our hotel and walk across the street to a place called Sunset Grille. Ron and I both had the mahi tacos that were absolutely delicious. Along with the tacos, they serve beans and rice on the side that were very tasty. We ordered a few beers and sat outside since the weather was not humid or buggy. When we were finished eating we hadn’t gotten a call to check into the hotel so decided to go to the bar area of the restaurant to watch the UCF game and have a few more beers. We made small talk with people at the bar and the staff were professional and kind. I would definitely recommend a trip to Sunset Grille if you are in the area.
After lunch we walked over to the hotel since it was getting close to check in time. When we went up to our room we noticed we had a balcony view (it wasn’t of the ocean, but we had a balcony!). When we checked out on Sunday the woman behind the counter asked how our stay was. I said, “It was great! Didn’t realize that I booked a balcony room”. She said, “You didn’t, we upgraded you.” SCORE!!! Thank you Hampton Inn!
On to the concert…..
This was the first time either one of us had been to the St. Augustine Amphitheater. I knew that it was a smaller venue and that it was outside with an awning that covered most of the seats and I LOVE these kind of places! They are not as crowded. They are big but not TOO big where you can get lost. AND it’s a much more intimate setting. Sometimes arenas can be so overwhelming and annoying.
When I book tickets for concerts I ALWAYS book the premiere parking. ALWAYS! They run between $20-$40 and worth every penny! When we got there we were about 8 cars away from the main entrance. Again, WORTH….EVERY….PENNY!
Collective Soul opened up for Sammy Hagar & The Circle and I really enjoyed them. I remembered some of their songs from back in the day and other songs I forgot they sang like “Better Now”. That was a sweet surprise. I haven’t heard that song in ages! They are a good solid band and they mentioned that they were in the process of recording a new album.
Sammy Hagar & The Circle consists of Sammy Hagar (of course), Michael Anthony (bass player from Van Halen), Jason Bonham (his father was none other than the late John Bonham from a little ole band called LED ZEPPELIN) and Vic Johnson (he played with The BusBoys and Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas). Their set list consisted of Van Halen tunes, Sammy’s solo career songs and Montrose songs. One of my favorite songs is “Poundcake” and whoa….was it AMAZING live! Chills! Some of the other tunes they played were “Right Now”, “Dreams”, “I Can’t Drive 55”, “Best of Both Worlds”, “When Its Love”, “Heavy Metal” and a few Montrose songs that were before my time. Ron knew them though! Ha! They ended the night with a cover of “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin that rocked the place!
It was definitely a great concert and to think that Sammy just turned 70 is CRAZY to me! He has more energy than a 30 year old!