How I Spent My Spring Break Vacation

First of all, can it still be considered spring break when you are 10 years removed from college? I’m voting yes. There’s nothing better than escaping the cold weather and heading south for warm air and sunny skies. The downside to that, of course, is coming back home to snow flurries. And that makes me want to turn around and head right back down. My Chief Culinary Consultant and I took a much-needed vacation down to southern Florida. We had a great time unwinding, enjoying the awesome weather and, of course, having a ton of fun.

Some highlights of the trip:

♥  We left on my birthday, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by hitting the road for vacation!

♥  Road Trip! We drove 2,020 miles round trip, about 15 hours each way. We had a blast and I would do that over flying any day.


♥  My Chief Culinary Consultant gave me my first tennis lesson! I loved it! I can’t wait to keep learning so I can play!

♥  Miniature golf, so much fun!

♥  Ice cream. Lots of ice cream! I enjoyed an ice cream cone almost every single night. My new favorite store-bought flavor? Edy’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup. YUM!

Some of the things we did included a tennis match in Miami, a Penguins away game and a drive through Lion Country Safari. Recaps of those with pictures below!

The Sony Ericsson Open in Miami

We were fortunate enough to be given tickets to the Sony Ericsson Open for the Thursday night match and got to catch the men’s quarterfinals and the women’s semifinals. First though, we had an accidental VIP experience…

Long story short, we made a wrong turn and ended up in the players’ parking lot. There seemed to be a flurry of activity in one end of the parking lot and in a flash, my CCC’s mom was on it. She nabbed some awesome pictures of Roger Federer signing autographs and getting into his Mercedes SUV (he drives himself!):

And then there was Victoria Azarenka, texting away:

We finally made our way in and got to our seats. Our view:

The first match was Nadal vs. Berdych.

Not gonna lie, I’m not much of a Nadal fan. A lot of it has to do with this, which he does before every.single.serve. (ew!):

Although he won the match and went on to beat Federer in the semifinals, I was happy to see Djokovic win in the finals. The next match was Azarenka vs. Zvonareva. This picture is pretty much a microcosm of the entire match:

Zvonareva was dominated. There was screaming, feet stomping, and talking to herself.

All in all, a fantastic time. I loved my first tennis match!

Lion Country Safari

We went to Lion Country Safari the last time we were in Florida and definitely wanted to do it again. You drive your car through a massive wildlife preserve and are able to observe all different types of animals. They have free reign around the park (in their respective areas) and, aside from the lions, can walk right up to your car. Such a cool experience, and it never gets old! Some of my favorite photos are below.

A massive ostrich:

I can’t remember the name of these, but I loved how it looked like the one was nuzzling:

I love the zebra, so pretty:

Why hello Mr. Water Buffalo:

And my favorite, the giraffe:

My First Penguins Away Game

One of the items on my short-term bucket list has been to attend a Penguins away game, and I finally got my opportunity when we chose the dates for our vacation and realized we would be there when the Pens played the Florida Panthers. Score!

There were more than a few Penguins jerseys, which was awesome to see. We went down to the ice to watch warm ups with a plethora of other Pens fans:

My favorite picture of Kovalev stick-handling:

Also saw Craig Adams sporting a mohawk. We concluded that he must have lost a bet ;-)

The game itself was great since we won and I got to see the Pens on the road, but the experience at Bank Atlantic Center was so very different than going to games in Pittsburgh. I’m not sure if it has to do with the fact that hockey just isn’t as popular in southern Florida as it is in other areas of the country and they are attempting to entertain folks, but it almost felt like a circus. Every single second when play wasn’t going on was either an advertisement or some gimmick. It was so crazy, and it really made me appreciate watching the Pens play at Consol and the Pittsburgh fans.

On another note, it was awesome to hear so many cheers when we scored! Felt great to bring home a win!

One Last Walk on the Beach

As we headed north on I-95 Sunday afternoon totally bummed to be leaving the awesome weather and relaxation behind, we decided that a stop off for one last look at the ocean was in order. Our plan was to drive 3-hour shifts then switch, and right around the 3-hour mark from when we left I looked at the road atlas and saw that if we got off at the upcoming exit we would only be about 5 miles from the beach. We took the Palm Coast exit, crossed the tollway to the ocean and proceeded to drive into paradise. We parked near a path to the beach and enjoyed the cool 5pm breeze as the tide rolled out and the sun was on its way down.

A perfect ending to a wonderful vacation.