Summer Ends/ Wedding Season Begins

This weekend could have been spent many ways.  All of our travel plans fell through with the craziness of life lately.  It was necessary to stay local, but we both really needed some time to just be together and enjoy life, so we decided to take a mini “stay-cation”.

We took off work Thursday and Friday.  Thursday was very low-key.  We slept in.  I did some household chores.  I went to the spa to get a facial peel  Then we went to my sister’s to see my loves.

Gracie got sleepy and passed out on me. Love!

Sees-ter got us take out from Friday’s.  Boneless buffalo wings and hibachi chicken skewers:

We also picked up some Pho on the way home for a late night snack;

Friday was a fun day.  We woke up early to take care of some final business with my old apartment.  I sold my dining room furniture and turned in my keys from my old apartment.  It is official.  I live with the sweet man and I’m loving it!  It’s been really great!  He is actually really easy to live with.

After turning in the keys, we stopped at the consignment store to turn in more clothes, then we stopped at the Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company.

Ybor City is rich in history.  It was founded by the cigar making industry, so a visit there is not complete without a stop at a famous cigar maker.

We did have a special reason for our visit.  A gift for a very special birthday boy.  Happy birthday Josh!!!! Hope you have received the gift already, or I have really blown the surprise (sorry no country music cd’s)

To continue the cigar theme of the day, we decided on an impromptu visit to a very local brewery.  We have driven by Cigar City Brewery several times  and usually see a crowd and a food truck out front.  I decided it would be fun to stop in and check it out, and I was right!  For 5 dollars, you get a pint of beer (you get to keep the glass), that you can sip while enjoying the brewery tour.

We got to taste a “zwickel” beer, which is a fresh unfinished brewed beer straight from the vat.

It was such a fun tour, a great place to take the beer lover!  Great beers too.  In the bar area, they offer flights of beer.  We were able to sample 8 different kinds of beer:

By the way, Cigar City Brewery really has nothing to do with Ybor City, but it was a fun way to tie the day together.  I love themes.

A glorious nap following the tour and tastings.  Then a pizza and cigar smoking ensued.  By the way, I am definitely not a cigar smoker.  I asked the gentleman at Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company for a “girly” cigar and he recommended one they call the “Tom Cruise” cigar.  It is apparently the one he smokes from this particular Cigar maker.

Side note: Ybor City has a big Scientology church, beautiful building. I have heard that Tom has a home in Tarpon Springs which is very close to the Tampa bay area.  Clearwater also has a visible Scientology presence.  Come to think of it, even Plant City, the little tiny country town that I lived in has a Scientology church.  Things that make you go hmm?

I puffed on that cigar for less than 5 minutes before I was done, it’s just not for me.  But it was a fun experience, and I’m sure they were great cigars.  And the people at Tampa Sweethearts Cigar Company are very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly.  I will definitely go back there for more gifts.

Saturday morning, I woke up with cramps. Boooooo!  Our plan was to leave by 11:00. An hour an a half later we were finally on the road.  not even half way there, we had a tire blow out.  Luckily, there was a Tire kingdom about half a mile away. Unfortunately, they were busy and we had to wait 3 hours.  That doesn’t stop me from enjoying my vacation. Margaritas and fajitas, then a massage chair and pedicure are the perfect way to kill 3 hours and cramps:

Then some coffee and donut holes, and we were back on the road:

Finally we made it to Naples, just in time for dinner.  “Dad” and Hilda treated us to a wonderful meal at USS Nemo. It’s a great little Asian/seafood fusion restaurant.  To start, we got the edamame:

Then I ordered the FRESH HERBS GRILLED TUNA with warm goat cheese with roasted tomato puree, grilled asparagus,lobster risotto and balsamic reduction. delish!!!

We all split the key lime cheesecake for dessert:

After a good night’s sleep, I was feeling much better Sunday.  We went to the beach in the morning and I learned how to find the perfect shells:

Look at his tiny little guy I found:

After the beach, we went to breakfast at Dolly’s Produce Patch and Eatery. I ordered eggs, hash browns, and toast and ate every bite:

They had a little produce stand outside, so I got some awesome looking tomatoes;

After breakfast, we ended our short trip with a stop at Trader Joe’s:

Oh and a quick stop at Royal Scoop for the best chocolate chip ice cream cone:

A car ride and nap later, we were home sweet home. We relaxed for the rest of the night.

Monday I was up early to prepare for my housewarming/early birthday party.  I went to the gym for a much-needed run. Then I cleaned, did laundry and stopped at Whole foods for a few supplies.  I did a wine and cheese tasting party with a few different kinds of flatbread:

My family came over and we had a great time:

I had a great time!!! What a way to end the summer.  Today starts wedding season with our first wedding this weekend.  I’m ready 🙂

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