Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday Musings: Flying Solo

My favorite part about this print is how the quote is stamped over a black and white map of Manhattan!

via pinterest

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sunrise, Sunset

I have a sad confession to make. In my 30+ years of existence, I have never sat down and watched the sun set. Sure I have caught glimpses of the sun setting from the passenger seat of a car and windows of buildings, but I have never actually sat down with the sole purpose of watching daylight come to an end. 

On the last night of our Floridian adventure, our friends took us to the Sunset Grill for some al fresco dining. Located right on the beach, this restaurant provided the perfect locale to view the sunset. We got there early enough to scout out a place where we could view the sunset unobstructed. Success! From what we had heard, that night provided a perfect sky to showcase the free light show provided by Mother Nature. And boy, she did not disappoint. I loved it. And in true Stephanie fashion, I took an insane amount of pictures. Sound familiar?

It was the perfect way to end our vacation! (The food was pretty good too!)

And gone.  Thank you tanker boat for getting in the way.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Friday Favorites: Why I love Manatees

  • The manatee is generally a slow moving creature and is content to simply glide along, moving forward by using its tail and steering by using both its tail and flippers. 
  • Manatees spend approximately six to eight hours per day feeding. 
  • The manatee rests from two to 12 hours per day.

That sounds like a pretty good life to me, huh? Kinda jealous of you, manatees! Like snowbirds, Florida is a popular winter home to the manatee. During our recent trip, we took a break from relaxing (channeling the manatee, perhaps?) to see some in their local habitat. Hint: they’re pretty easy to find!

The Tampa Electric Manatee Viewing Center is located in Apollo Beach (make sure you enter ‘Apollo Beach’ and not ‘Tampa’ into your GPS, otherwise the address will come up as not found!) and offers free daily manatee viewing from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., November 1 through April 15. The waters by Tampa Electric are warm enough to provide a great environment for the manatee to hang out in during the winter. Observation platforms are set up along the water so that people can come to watch the manatees, fish and birds that call the area home.

Disclaimer: As you'll see, it was REALLY tough to get any good pictures of the manatees!  You can definitely see them in the below pictures, but they never surfaced long enough to capture their cute faces.

We didn’t realize it at the time, but the center features a tidal walkway that takes visitors deep into a mangrove habitat where hundreds of varieties of birds, fish and other animals thrive here amid native coastal vegetation. The center also features an environmental education building, an expanded gift shop, the South Shore CafĂ©, webcams during the center’s open season and more.

The Manatee Viewing Center is located at 6990 Dickman Road in Apollo Beach, Florida. You may make group reservations online and call the center’s automated line at 813-228-4289 for center information.

Wanna see the manatees RIGHT NOW? Check out their webcam here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Musings: Writing on the Wall

I saw these words written on a bathroom stall in Ybor City and had to share them.  You never know where you'll find some inspiration!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Travel Goals vs. Travel Realities: Florida

via pinterest
Now that we’re back from Florida, I thought it would be fun to look back at the goals we set for this trip and see how we did. 
  • Attempt to ride all the rides in the Magic Kingdom – I don’t know what I was thinking when I set this goal because every time we go to Disney, we avoid Fantasyland like the plague. And this trip was no different. There is just nothing about being lost in a sea of strollers that I find appealing. So needless to say, this goal was not met. 
  • Have a drink in Ybor City – Well, the good news is that we did make it to Ybor City. But there was a parade being set up and we could only stay parked there for a short while. No drinks were had. Another goal FAIL.
  • Take a dolphin watching boat ride – No dolphins were seen and no boats were ridden. We’re three for three here, huh? But we did see sea life! Manatees are just as good as dolphins. I’m counting this as a half goal met.
You’d think that not achieving travel goals would drive a planner like me insane. But sometimes, you just need to roll with the punches. Some of the best vacations are the ones where we flew by the seat of our pants!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Vacation, Here We Come!

If you've been keeping up with the ticker to the right, you'll see that we leave for Florida today.  Yahoo!  I can't wait to visit my pals Mickey and Minnie!  Needless to say, the blog will also be on vacation this week.  But stay tuned for fun recaps and pictures next week.


Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Family Affair

My dad recently took a quick road trip to New Hampshire for work, and what did he bring me back?  More "Welcome to..." pictures!  And as a bonus, he didn't realize the route he was on involved a short drive through Vermont - another state I haven't yet been to.  His pictures are below.  Excuse the quality - they were taken with a cell phone camera as he was driving.  Risking his life for the good of the blog!  Thanks, Dad :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Canyon of Heroes

(Disclaimer: Dan is a Giants fan and below is a recap from his trip to today’s parade. This New Orleans Saints fan continues to cry into her cereal while counting down the days until next season.)

To celebrate the second thrilling New York Giants Super Bowl victory in 4 years, today, the city of New York threw the team a parade down the famed ‘Canyon of Heroes.’ I took the quick jaunt (as in 2 blocks from my office) downtown to partake in the revelry of the victory parade. The parade originates next to Battery Park and makes the short mile or so north up Broadway to City Hall where keys to the city are given to the members of the team.

I definitely was able to learn from my mistakes from 4 years ago in regards to the parade route. Back then, I found what I thought was a perfect spot on Broadway, a little south of famous Bull. I was literally standing about 20 yards away from 3 empty floats, thinking I would get perfect shots of Eli and the gang as they were climbing up on the floats. However to my disappointment, the empty floats proceeded to drive right past me to pick up the players at another location. This year my luck was 100 times better. I found a perfect spot along the route and was able to get atop a few steps so all 5’7” of me could get an amazing view of all that went on. I hope there are many more to come!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Late Night Top Ten

For the past seven years, the Super Bowl MVP has made an appearance on David Letterman’s show the Monday after the big game. Tonight will be no different as Eli Manning becomes the eighth consecutive quarterback to visit Letterman as a World Champion. When Aaron Rodgers stopped by the Ed Sullivan Theater last year, Dan and I were seated in the second row. (Proof below. And even though you cannot actually see me, I am there. Near that arrow. Trust me.)

I've wanted to see the show for quite a few years, but getting tickets is no easy task. There are standby tickets available, but since I have a 9-5 job, hanging out by the theater isn't a possibilty. Instead, I opted for filling out the online form.  About six months later, I received a call back from the show.  That was part one - just because you get a call doesn’t mean you are guaranteed tickets. To be put on a guest list, you have to correctly answer a trivia question about the show.  Talk about pressure!  Thank goodness I knew my Letterman trivia!

Being in the audience was one of the cooler things I have done in NYC. For any of my readers who plan on visiting the Big Apple, I’d highly recommend trying to see a taping of Letterman’s show. 

For detailed information on how to get tickets, click here.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Friday Favorites: Big Sky Country

Ok, ok. I know that technically Montana is considered Big Sky Country. But I really cannot think of a better term to describe the massively large skies we saw while driving in Wyoming and Nebraska. In NYC, it’s pretty impossible to find a giant patch of openness where you can see nothing on the horizon except for where land and sky meet. Needless to say, I became obsessed with this phenomenon and compulsively took pictures of the sky during our drive. If only we had a chance to be there at night. I can only imagine how many stars come out to play!

A few of my favorites:

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

Perhaps one of the most recognizable signs in Las Vegas is the “Welcome to the Fabulous Las Vegas” sign at the beginning of the Strip. Located south of Mandalay Bay, this sign is a must see when in Sin City. On my first two trips to Vegas, I think I saw the sign once and from the car. That definitely wasn’t good enough for me.

Walking from the Strip to the sign isn’t a terrible walk. However, I wouldn’t recommend doing it in the blazing summer sun. As luck would have it, the day we decided to trek to the sign happened to be the hottest of the 4 days we were in Vegas. Big mistake on my part – I do NOT handle heat well. Luckily, a good deal of the walk could be made through the hotels. The furthest you can get indoors is the Mandalay Bay. Once you head outside, make the right onto Las Vegas Boulevard South. The sign is about a half-mile long walk away. Along the way, you’ll pass by the Little Church of the West Wedding Chapel and old McCarran Airport on the left and the Bali Hai Golf Club on the right.

The sign itself is located on the median of Las Vegas Boulevard South and for safety purposes, has a little parking lot for those driving out. (No need to play Frogger with the traffic!) To access the parking lot you must be going south on Las Vegas Boulevard heading away from Mandalay Bay. When we got there, there was a line of people waiting to take pictures, including a wedding party – so definitely be prepared to wait a bit. Even for an impatient person like me, the wait was definitely worth it. Minus the fact that the tourist I handed my camera too didn’t even try to use the zoom when she took the picture of Dan and I. Grr! Regardless, I got some amazing pictures of the iconic sign.

The "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign is located at 5100 Las Vegas Boulevard South.  Drive Carefully and Come Back Soon!