Perfect Saturday = Monster Trucks, a 10k, free Jimmy Johns, and non-judgmental cocktails before 9am

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So, I’m already cheating (See New Year’s Resolution regarding blogging once a month). I wrote this over a week ago but I’m just now posting and choosing to call it a wash… this shall be the February post that ya’ll aren’t seeing until March 1st 😉

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There is much to love about Lakeland actually IN Lakeland but one of the big positives is it is close in to both Tampa and Orlando (and by extension either coast as well).  Well, I feel like I took full advantage of that on a recent Saturday. My day started bright and early to meet a friend at 4:45am to start our journey out to Safety Harbor for The Best Damn Race – Safety Harbor 10k. One of my favorite people in the world lives in Safety Harbor so I was already aware that this little hamlet was super cute and the opportunity to take over the streets for 6.2 miles only solidified that.

Hellllo Sunrise across the Bay

Hellllo Sunrise across the Bay

Beyond the fact that I PR-ed at the 10k distance with 58.59 (woot woot! PR Bell!)

What an awesome idea!

What an awesome idea!, My eyes may or may not be closed…

I mostly want to RAVE about what an awesome job the Best Damn Race organization does putting on a race. This is my first experience with the series but even prior to the race they inundated with super helpful emails.  Everything felt organized before and during the race. (Yes, there were lines at porta pottys but they went quick and seriously… how many do we really expect people to get when they are literally only crowded for about an hour out of the total event time??) The route was gorgeous. The weather was a very chilly 46* at the beginning which felt great about 2 miles in. And I felt great! But let’s get to the good stuff.

My brilliant idea at this point was that "gear check" should actually involve chucking cold weather gear into a pile as you crossed the start.

My brilliant idea at this point was that “gear check” should actually involve chucking cold weather gear into a pile as you crossed the start.

The post-race was where      it     was      AT! Fun running vendors, BEEEER (there was no line after the 10K, that changed quickly after the 5k runners came back), FREEEEEE jimmy johns (seriously lucky I didn’t get sick stuffing my face with those tiny sandwiches), free pollo tropical (I stuck with Jimmy Johns), AND get this… a cocktail tent. A Greyhound (vodka and Florida grapefruit juice) before 9am is perfectly acceptable when being dished out post running, duh. Basically, based on my experience at their Safety Harbor race, if you are looking into possible runs I fully endorse Best Damn Race affiliated ones.

When you see the race photographer you want a memorable pic... but not this probably ;-)

When you see the race photographer you want a memorable pic… but not this probably 😉

After returning to Lakeland I took a much needed nap for the exciting evening ahead. As a present for that special guy-o-mine I bought tickets tooooo, Monster Jam! But first we started with excellent Cuban Food at La Teresita right around the corner from the stadium. If you are in the area and have not experienced La Teresita you are missing out. It is a landmark. Setup diner style with all counter seating. You order from a server behind the counter. They are very efficient and it’s pretty hard to order wrong.

Cuban smorgasbord

Cuban smorgasbord

Now, onto the show. I must admit, that when I was first thinking of purchasing these tickets I had considered buying them for my guy to take a couple friends and have a night of it. When he first mentioned interest in it though it seemed so nostalgic and fun so I figured I’d give it go. Well, what a FUN night. Great show! I even found myself cheering on the one female driver on the course. I would definitely recommend it as a fun night out.

Yes, yes they do serve Chardonnay at Monster Jam!

Yes, yes they do serve Chardonnay at Monster Jam!

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Well there you have it, my diverse Saturday appreciating the entertainment options just a bit away from the City of swans.

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New Year’s Resolutions

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Why hello there blog! It’s been sooooo long with so many interesting things to write about and remember but alas the culture of “busy” has taken over the past 6 months or so! I desperately want to blah blah blah about things I want to improve on that have kept me from wanting to share the happy. As if that makes any sense at all BUT hopefully that will be a topic for future journaling post improvement. 🙂

On that note! I’ve been a part of that very popular club that believes that you don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day or your Birthday or whatever to make a change. That being said, that’s mallarchy! While true, it’s up to each of us to make a change at any moment that we see fit but where is the bad in making that moment New Year’s Day or your Birthday? So last year I made resolutions for the first time I can remember. Most of them were way to broad and good things to keep in mind but no real way to determine accomplished. With that in mind I went into this year with a goal of coming up with more measurable outcomes in my resolutions 🙂

Not from this New Year's...this pic just cracks me up ;-)

Not from this New Year’s…this pic just cracks me up 😉

1) Spend more time with my parents. Call or see one or both at least 1 time every 2 weeks. No judgment here! My parents are SUPER busy and travel out of town A-LOT. And I currently find myself being selfish with my downtime from work and my out of work hobbies. We text from time to time a few times a week but we could definitely improve on actual interaction.

2) I’m leaving this one private for the time being. Hopefully with something to update on as I work towards this goal.

3) Blog at least once a month. Yup, cutting it a little close on this one already right?

4) Sign up for my first marathon. I pretty much know which one I want to do. One of my New Year’s Resolutions last year was to run a ½ marathon, which I had already signed up for and boy oh boy don’t you know I ran 2:)

5) Go on a picnic. I am a huge picnic fan and I just don’t do it often enough. It was one of my resolutions last year and in 12 months THAT was the resolution I didn’t accomplish. Tighten up Sherling.

Well there they are along with my first blog post in lord knows how long.

Watermelon Race III and other stuff

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Hey! Still alive! I have been more than slightly stressed at the workplace and I have let that distract me from everything. Downtime is lazy time the past couple months.

Any who! A week ago Saturday was Race #3 in the Watermelon series mentioned previously. (I missed the 2nd Watermelon run on what ended up being a vain attempt at scalloping the first weekend of scallop season.  Booooo!)

A little back story, the first Watermelon race this year was an insane anomaly performance for me with this series because not only did it go well but I ran a 5k PR of 28.36. Let me preface, I’ve only run under 29 minutes in one other 5k and that was my previous PR of 28.46. And that run, the Rotary Common Ground 5K, was in February, aka cooler, after dark, even cooler, and I was in the middle of half marathon training, aka running more and doing speed work.

I knew there was little chance of getting anywhere close to finishing that fast but I did have a hope in the back of my mind that I would hover around if not right at 29 minutes. Well, I won’t keep you waiting but my chip time was 29.17, which is a respectable finish for me.

A big thing I did differently for this 5k and the previous Watermelon was warming up. It has never made sense to me to use energy before a “race” in order to perform better but I read an article recently and it was explaining how it’s more important for short distances such as 5ks. (I cannot find the article for the life of me!) It actually makes sense when I think about a lot of my longer runs that didn’t feel great until after about 3 miles in. I park about a ¼ of a mile away from the start for this series because there is very little parking super close to the start and with the huge turnout for these runs that is taken quickly. So I jogged from my car to the start area. After getting my bib I did strides anywhere that I could find space. (Strides are basically quick, short distance sprints.)

No idea if the warm-up actually helped but my times were both pretty good. Especially considering how very little I have been running lately! Also, considering how ridiculously HOT it was!

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Funk!

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Soooo, I wrote this yesterday…..

Well it’s National Running Day and I am here to say that I am in a F-U-N-K, funk. A running funk to be sure but a workout funk overall would be a better description. I have not done any type of workout in just over a week. I’m trying not to beat myself up about it because it won’t do me any good.

This is occurring after coming out of a VERY active period, for me, of working out 4-5 times a week so I’m ½ way chalking it up to burn out. I envy those people that get in those flows and it becomes habit. While I always enjoy my workout surges when I’m in the midst of them eventually I end up having these childish selfish feelings about my time. Wanting that time to sleep in, or just go home from work and be lazy! I’m proud to say it seldom lasts more than a couple weeks but when I’m in it I try not to force myself. I want fitness to be a part of my life FOREVER and I think for that to happen I have to want to do it. Keep the fun! That being said, there’s always the place for motivating yourself and I’m always afraid of skating that thin line between giving in to the lazy voice that would go away once you get your butt in gear and a legitimate need for a break.

Good news, I am participating in beta Spin class at Kelly Recreation Complex today AND the 1st Watermelon run is this Saturday! So I won’t be toooooo Funky for the rest of this week.  Although I’d feel better if I got myself up for a run tomorrow or Friday morning. Hint, hint, innerself ;-).

Carillon Classic 5k & Mayfaire 5k race report

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Wow talk about 2 different race days. 🙂

Carillon Classic 5k

The Carillon Classic took place at Bok Tower Gardens and if you’re not familiar with this gorgeous destination please check it out! As I mentioned before, not only does it have breathtaking vistas and gardens but it is also an anomaly in the topography of Central Florida at 295 feet above sea level. The morning started out ominous with odd spring time storms a-brewin. I was basically sure that I would be running in the rain. I even left my headphone at home. No music for me for this 5k. (Yes, I run religiously with music. Another post perhaps but in short it keeps me focused on not over thinking everything else in my life.) Arrived bright and early ready to go! While cloudy and foggy, the rain seemed like it was going to hold off long enough for the run.

The run starts in the parking lot and then takes you “down” through some pretty awesome gravel trails in the area surrounding the drive up to the Tower. Those are purposeful quotes there because while we were headed down the hill the trail meandered up and down and around with decent steep inclines and declines.

 

On the way "down" the hill

On the way “down” the hill

Rain, rain, stay away

Rain, rain, stay away

The turnaround was just past the first mile marker down and we were taken to the opposite side of the road to head back up. (I was pleasantly surprised they had time counters giving out the time at each mile. Even with my app on my phone there’s something reassuring about hearing their time.) Once returning to the parking lot we were led on what would have been a beautiful tour of the pine bark paths of the gardens around the tall Carillon tower. Up and around the tower, and then back down to the parking lot. Wooohoooo. This was a fun, interesting run. The only thing I would have loved was better weather. It was muggy and all kinds of Florida weather and with the clouds you couldn’t really see all that the landmark has to give.

At the Carillon! Pic from the Carillon Classic 5k Facebook page

At the Carillon! Pic from the Carillon Classic 5k Facebook page And no, you’re not seeing things the woman behind me is wearing the same shirt from the Gasparilla 15k, haha

 

Mayfaire 5k

I was given one piece of advice prior to Mayfaire. Do not do anything the day of. Well, in my world I thought that was what I did! I hung out with friends at the pool, enviously watching them down delicious cocktails. Yeah, that “nothing” was not enough to prepare me for the unforgiving Mayfaire 5k 😉 (So dramatic!! Haha) First and foremost, I am a morning runner. I love being up and at ‘em before I’m fully awake preferably :). I get all discombobulated wondering what to eat when, sunglasses or a hat, etc. (I say this and my current 5k PR was an evening race.)

It was decently warm (definitely could have been worse) and I honestly wasn’t terribly excited to be there, despite multiple of my favorite people participating as well. My splits were fine. I didn’t feel great but I was able to push well. At the end I felt lightheaded in a way that I wasn’t familiar and ended up making a quick exit.

 

In the parking lot as I was rudely trying to sneak away too fast.

In the parking lot as I was rudely trying to sneak away too fast.

Mayfaire is a special experience as far as Lakeland races go specifically regarding spectators. They were out in force throughout the course. (I can totally see how rallying the kids to the front yard at 6:30pm is easier than 7:30am.) Also, you finish at a HUGE party on the Lake Mirror Amphitheater with a stage and screen showing the finishers.

You can sorta see the crowds and beautiful Lake Mirror in the back

You can sorta see the crowds and beautiful Lake Mirror in the back

Savory Steel Cut Oatmeal

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I loooove eating and I usually like cooking so I think I may try and share some ideas here and there. The main problem? I generally don’t use a recipe per se. Sometimes I cook based on past successes and other times I’ll look at a bunch of recipes and pick and choose techniques and ingredients that work for me. Anyway, I’ll do my best to share successful favorites. One of which is most definitely savory steel cut oatmeal.

 

Now, oatmeal having sweet accoutrements is as ingrained as just about any American foodism buttrust me here, this stuff is THE JUNK.

 

Ingredients

Oats (I use steel cut oats)

Low sodium chicken stock

Cheese

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Green onions (optional)

Breakfast meat (optional)

 

1) I start with whatever serving size I would like to end up with. I usually like to make enough to have leftovers. Believe it or not, oatmeal actually reheats pretty well.

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2) I follow the same liquid to oats ratio as recommend on the package but I substitute low sodium chicken stock for water (I KNOW!) – brings a smidge bit of protein, a tiny bit more calories but not much, and a TON of flavor. (I do not add any suggested salt due to the chicken stock and the cheese.)

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3) Now, I bought “quick” cooking steel cut oatmeal and it was nowhere near done in the time span recommended (5-10 minutes). I usually just start the oats when I wake up and check on it simmering for the rest of the morning while I get ready, between 20 and 30 minutes usually.

 

4) When it’s done, the real magic happens. I am a spicy fan so a palm full of red pepper flakes goes in first followed with cheeeeeese! I don’t know how to give ratios for the cheese though. I’d say I’m probably adding about ¼ cup shredded cheese per serving. I just shred until it looks like a good size pile? If you have any precooked breakfast sausage or bacon it can get added as well. (Also, it is not a bad thing if the oatmeal is still a teensy bit watery. The cheese will tighten it up.)

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5) Oh! And green onions. I like the flavor and the flecks of green it adds. Totally optional especially if you aren’t a fan of raw onion flavor.

 

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I have done this with SO many different combos (Pepper jack and turkey sausage, cheddar and bacon etc) but the most inventive has to be pesto and parmesan cheese. (I omitted the green onions and breakfast meat on that one.)

 

I have not tried using traditional oats but I can’t imagine the taste would vary. Bonus! This really reminds me of cheese grits! But made with a complex carb?!? Divine.

First time cruiser (part 2)

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Sorry this has taken so long to get out! I absolutely couldn’t wait to describe EVERYTHING about the cruise in minute detail but what I pretty much disliked every way I was describing everything, mrrrr.

Left off with drinks and where better to go from here but to food! Part 1 to refresh your memory.

Food:

First thing I realized a couple days in, I took ZERO pictures of any of our fabulous dinners. Honestly, I didn’t bring anything, including my phone, to most of the meals to avoid having to carry a bag. This was especially true at dinner when my pocket-less dresses kept my carrying ability to a bare minimum. So, sadly there aren’t really any pictures to go along with this! There were 5 basic options on the boat for eating and we did a decent job of trying them out through our quick 4 night jaunt.

Buffet: This place was truly overwhelming! So many options for each of the meals. Breakfast we had eggs, and bacon, and sausage as far as the eye can see. Any kind of bread or pastry option you can imagine. The only thing I had that wasn’t good was a hard biscuit with weird flavored gravy but other than that I’ll give thumbs up, nothing extraordinary but good. The only warning I would give is that it closes… now, how did I think they would transition from meal to meal without down time? The answer to that was, I didn’t think about it. I was the consumer and just assumed I could stuff my face with buffet food during the day anytime the mood hit. I was apparently not the only one with a hankering during off times in the afternoons because we watched from the lounge outside as MANY fellow cruisers desperately gazed through the locked windows wishing for some French fries.

Café: Perfect segue to one of the other food options. There was a small café in the adults only pool area that filled the gap while the other free larger restaurants were closed. The options here were premade sandwiches that could be either pressed or cold, cookies,  a carving station for hot sandwich, and soup.  All of these were good the only issues were that the lines would get SUPER long at points. They did a great job of shuffling us all through and honestly, where else in the world are you disappointed that your 2nd lunch is delayed J  Oh, yeah, and there was a pretty cool salad bar next to the café as well. They don’t let you make the salad, I’m assuming because of Norovirus concerns, but they do a great job of throwing it together. I’m a snacker and a planner so the café is where I went to stock up for random food cravings. (We emptied our mini bar fridge the first day for storage of said foraging. We alerted the room attendant and left a note in the fridge should they come to inventory the $10 nuts we did not eat.)

Room service: FREE ROOM SERVICE?!? OMG!! Haha, but seriously, that’s pretty cool. With exception of a few hours in the very early morning (read late night) room service was free. They had a breakfast menu to hang up before going to bed. Right up my alley. Pre-breakfast, am-i-right?? Seriously ordered 2 “bacon” for the very first morning, with pastries and fruit. Unaware of what 2 bacon meant… Sure as heck right after arriving back to the room after a quick gym visit the first sea day, 2 orders of bacon, pastries, fruit, and coffee arrived at our door. Brilliant. The caveat, the rest of the time room service took a while… 45 minutes to over an hour the 2 times we ordered it outside of breakfast. Which pretty much meant you might as well venture to whatever happened to be open.

Main Dining room: Drum roll… this was where to go for pretty dadgum awesome food any meal of the day. There was prime rib, and duck, and escargot, and eggplant parm to name a few entrée options at dinner. (Warning, I had heard you could get lobster. That was not true for Royal Caribbean or at least the cruise we took. There was an up charge for filet or lobster.) The appetizers were awesome and even not being a sweet person, I ordered a desert every night… soufflé and bread pudding = heavenly. The surprise, or maybe not, was that it was THE place to go for breakfast and lunch to get a great meal (included with your package). We went for breakfast and had eggs Benedict for him and smoked salmon with a bagel for me (with all the proper bagel trimmings). For lunch one day was fish with a spicey harissa coating for him and tomato risotto with shrimp and scallops for me. The only catch is that it’s group seating just like the assigned timed dining at night. Honestly, we met some of the most interesting people during all of our main dining room experiences. Including a couple that had been cruising since the 1960’s!! He was 94 years old, spry and wanting to live to be 100 :). But, if you aren’t in the mood for camaraderie this dining option may not be the best option. (They had a larger salad bar option than the café and a dessert bar.)

Paid dining: No clue what to title this option. There were several restaurants onboard you could upgrade to for a fee per person. Now, the majority of the time this made zero sense… hello? I thought the point of cruising was mostly the all inclusive perks J That being said, by our last day, I was craving something different. One of the restaurant options was Izumi with Japanese/sushi options. Izumi was open for lunch so that is where we went on our last day. We were able to get miso soup, dumplings, 2 rolls, and 2 small carafes of saki for around $45. Everything was good! And definitely a departure from the room service buffet options. Also! The only place with a food pic 🙂

Izumi sushi

Raw fish looking out on the Gulf of Mexico!

Whew!  That took WAY too long to write. I still wanted to write about Cozumel and the off shore excursion we took but we’ll see. There are so many more recent things to write about!!

5k’s as Far as the Eye Can See

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Well, tis the season for 5k’s! I’m a little sad because in the past 6 months I’ve done my first attempts at any greater distances and I really really liked the races and the training. (GASP!) But I also live in the real world and in a couple weeks, maybe even days, it is going to be mother junking hot/humid and no one should be punishing themselves for miles in the sun any more than necessary. Anyway, thankfully there are some fun, errrr interesting, options approaching and I’m currently eyeing 6 in the next 4 months, wait what?

Carillon Classic 5K 

I heard about this one last year and I wanted to do it then! Not sure what my excuse was but this year I went out of my way to look it up and register. It is at Bok Tower in Lake Wales; absolutely one of the most beautiful, peaceful, breathtaking places in Polk County (from the mouth of a Lakelander Ok??). It is also one of the highest points of peninsular Florida. That leads to one of the more unknown challenges for a Florida runner, hills? It is also on multiple terrains including wood chip trails and gravel. My hope is I will be so overwhelmed by the beauty I won’t notice any of that and just bask in the glory that is Bok Tower Gardens………

Mayfaire 5k

This one I remember very vividly avoiding on purpose last year, haha. It is a race held in May, in Florida, IN THE AFTERNOON(evening-ish). Oh yeah, and its route manages to take advantage of a couple of decent hills in downtown Lakeland. It is also one of the most popular 5ks in Lakeland. I’m seeing just under 1500 finishers listed on the results from last year’s race. And, if I learned anything in the last 6 months of running it is to appreciate the challenge. Charge that hill! Tell those legs to stop their whining! So, I succumbed to a teeny bit of peer pressure and a lot of internal pressure and I’m giving it a go. I’ll be the uber red faced sweaty girl leaning against the sea wall at Lake Mirror at the end.

 

Watermelon series

Haha! Something I can speak from experience on. The Watermelon Series is a series of four runs over the summer at 7am at Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. It fed on my inner cheapskate, $40 (late registration) for 4 races?? I’m in! I was warned of the heat. Out loud: “Oh I bet it is hot!” In my head: “Can’t be THAT bad at 7am.” Yes, yes it can be that hot and that humid by 7am. Notice the caveat here though, I’m totally doing it again. There are 3 race shirts I currently prize: Sarasota ½ (DUH), Gasparilla 15k, and my Watermelon shirt from last year. Once you get 2 races in… you are getting that damn shirt! Did I mention you have to do all 4 to get the shirt? It’s a badge of Florida honor, I came, I ran, I sweat my butt off! 4 times! Oh, and there’s free watermelon at the end. 🙂

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Sweaty faces from last year!

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Children’s book must have! Gift Idea :)

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First, holy cow, I need to go to all of my favorite bloggers and give them props for posting even remotely as often as I wish they would! It is hard to make time all while wanting to keep the blogging thing fun! and I’ve barely even started. I have tons of things I’d love to write about and I get started but sometimes I’m rushed and just dislike what I write or I’m tired when I get home and I just don’t want to even open my lap top! Anyway, on to the actual post 🙂

I am notoriously dorky when star struck.  So what do you do when an acquaintance in the community gets a kick ass book deal with Penguin publishing a children’s book?! Well, in my case you totally fan girl out 🙂 I love Lakeland and due to my lack of creativity admire anyone making living in the creative arts which puts Fred Koehler pretty high on my list.

Fred is a super talented illustrator which I only can claim knowledge of based on Facebook pics of church and coffee shop sketching but he put that talent to work in “How to Cheer up Dad”. I won’t pretend to know the process from idea to real deal printed hard cover book published by fancy shmancy New York publisher but you can check out his blog for more of those details. http://superfredd.tumblr.com/

Elephant cache

Elephant cache

As soon as it came out though I quickly activated my Amazon account and bought multiple copies for little ones in my life! I contacted Fred and he was such a doll and said I could drop of the copies to get personalized for them!! (Best presents ever?!?) Anyway, go Lakeland, go Fred, go reading 🙂 haha

VIP!

VIP!

p.s. Yes I did read it! It was a very cute story and the illustrations are out of this world. And Little Jumbo may very well solidify my childless situation 😉

First time cruiser (part 1)

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Tada! Just back from a cruise to Cozumel; my first cruise experience EVER! Love of cruising is something that many take VERY seriously and I sorta found out why 🙂 Excited to get down my experience as well as what I learned. I may or may not have mentioned my planner-ness (I have most definitely mentioned this) but the biggest problem with this attribute is the super anxiety I get from new experiences because of my need to be prepared.  So hopefully this is helpful for anyone with questions about cruising. Now, every cruise is different I’m sure and this was a quick one by most people’s standards but something is better than nothing right??

The basics: We traveled out of Tampa with Royal Caribbean on the Brilliance of the Seas  4 nights to Cozumel traveling with my special guy. (Tried to make it a group trip but coordinating schedules just didn’t work. We did get a great deal on the cruise after the rates dropped a bit after a recent cruising incident with illnesses or something like that… )

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Headed out of Tampa

Departure: Not much to write here. It was way less stressful than I imagined. I pictured them going through our bags, long lines etc. Because we departed from Tampa I was able to work a ½ day. We were on the 3rd level of the ship and they didn’t want us there before 2pm. We arrived before 2pm but it was still smooth sailing, oh cheesey pun, but seriously, we made it through pretty quick. We each had a bottle of wine in our carry on (2 were allowed in our stateroom per pre-cruise paperwork) and they never even batted an eye or checked to be sure it was actually wine?? We did not set up a credit card on our acct but instead left a deposit. (They did end up messing that up and combining all of our expenses even though we requested separate accts and each left a deposit.) Our room was ready when we got on so we were able to go straight there and drop off our carry-ons. (This was most likely because we were one of the last levels to be allowed on.) I don’t remember when our checked bags showed up but before dinner which is all I was worried about so I could change out of my bummy boarding clothes 🙂 

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The main Forum on the boat.

Stateroom: Let me preface this with the ultimate warning that me and my special guy are always out for the best deal, some would say cheapskates but I’d describe it more as money management with thoughts for the future. That being said, we went super basic, interior, lower deck. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the size of the room and they make good use of the space with lots of nooks and crannies to store things. Dinner clothes were hung up and our suitcases slid nicely under the bed. Oh, the bed, my only complaint. They advertise that 2 singles get put together to create a California king… hmmm, well yes I guess that is true BUT on the underneath side these looked like cots with metal foldy type legs. They did not stay together and there was a gap in the middle pretty much as soon as you place yourself in them. I slept great! Don’t get me wrong! I slept well and had I wanted space I would have appreciated the moat in between?? Nuff said.

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Towel animals!!! (I was waaaay too excited about those)

Drinks :  I was going to start with food but I think that may have to have a post all on its own ;). After investigating the options for drink packages we finally decided not to buy a package. Neither me nor my guy drink a lot of soda so that package made zero sense. The alcohol package worked out to us having to spend a more than $55 on alcohol a day to break even. While I anticipated enjoying my fair share of beverages I did not want to feel the need to drink just to get my monies worth. Not to mention that we would be off the boat the majority of the day while in Cozumel so that amount increases. I found that drinks ranged from $6 – $8 even for frozen drinks. (The prices seemed to range from bar to bar or bartender to bartender.) With the wine in the room, I brought a corkscrew, pre-dinner drinks were covered. The last day is probably the only day I went over $55 and that day I ended up napping by 6pm, haha.

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a little bit of deck time in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico nbd