A Day with the Tampa Bay Rays

I've been to five different stadiums now, six if you count the spring training game I went to once, and it's so crazy to me how different each stadium is from each other. For me, the craziest thing about Tropicana Field was the fact that it was indoors. Y'all I could seriously not get over the fact that it was indoors. It's so different from any other baseball stadium that I've been to before. 

The reason that I went to this game was because Cooper's team is the Giants and they were playing the Rays. Cooper loves baseball, and much like Christian if she had the ability to visit every baseball stadium, she would. So I jumped at the opportunity to see what this stadium looked like. Getting to the stadium was relatively easy, but if you're coming from the Orlando area prepare for a little bit of traffic especially as you get around the Ybor area. 

Once you get off the interstate, parking at the stadium is really easy. We parked at one of the close lots that was a literal five minute walk into the stadium. We used the app Parking Panda, which I had never used before but Cooper had. Apparently a lot of other people used it too because as I was walking around I saw a ton of people with print outs like ours. 

Once we walked into the stadium, after tailgating for a minute, we were transported into a different world. One that none of us were ready for. It was so weird walking around inside, but really nice because air conditioning. In the Florida heat, I can understand why there's indoor baseball but at the same time it's such a weird experience (have I mentioned that before haha). 

We walked around looking for the best food and drink options, after finding a full bar we picked up our drinks and looked for food. All I wanted was a hot dog, because you have to have either a hot dog or nachos at a baseball game. It's practically law (well, my law anyways). We then headed to find a store with baseball caps (47 brand specifically), per my request. I was looking for an adjustable, one size fits all, NO VELCRO hat. Unfortunately, they didn't have any. I'm not a fan of velcro, I think it's kind of tacky, and I don't like the way that the women's hat fits. I didn't find one, but later I went home and found this hat online that I'll probably buy at some point. I was sad that I didn't have a hat to take home to commemorate the game, but it's all good. 

We ended up being walked by one of the security people to the touch pool, which was closed for the hour unfortunately and we didn't really feel like waiting. There's a deck bar that is over by the center/left field and we hung out there for a while, drinking and making friends. That part of the game was so much fun. Then there was a concert, the first of a series, that the Fray was putting on. It was a good, fun concert but by that time I was ready to go home. Cooper and I split some dippin dots, a kind of tradition, and then headed home. It was STORMING on the way home, much like Florida does. 

I liked the game, but honestly in the raking system I have going on in my head, I would have to say that this is probably my least favorite stadium so far. A lot goes into it, but the fact that it was inside, the "grass" wasn't real grass, the fan's cowbells were OBNOXIOUS BEYOND BELIEF, the fact that it was insanely loud for a game that was maybe 1/3 of the way full, and so many other things just puts it at the bottom of my list. 

Updated Stadium Standings, in my opinion: 
1. PetCo Park (Padres Stadium)
2. Turner Field (Braves Stadium)
3. Angels Stadium (first time) / (second time)
4. Dodgers Stadium
5. Tropicana Field (Tampa Bay Rays Stadium)

There's also: ESPN WWOS [Wide World of Sports] where I saw the Braves play the Tigers

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All About Aquariums: The Georgia Aquarium

When we decided that we wanted to go to Atlanta, besides going to the Braves game at Turner Field, going to the Georgia Aquarium was at the top of our list of things to do. Christian and I's first "real date" was actually to an aquarium near San Diego. I know there is a lot of controversy in going to aquariums/zoo's but I love them. I think that, for the most part, they do good things. But that's not what this post is about. It's about our love for aquariums, and always trying to go to the nearest one. I had been to the Georgia Aquarium years before, but it was Christian's first time and I could not wait to show him around. 

Being Memorial Day weekend, the lines for everything were absolutely insane. I would definitely recommend buying tickets online before going to the aquarium. We ended up buying them online for a slight discount and then going to will call to pick them up. While Cooper and I were doing this, Christian ran over to the World of Coca Cola and picked up tickets for that. The line was basically nonexistent for the World of Coke so we ended up doing that attraction first, and then headed over to the aquarium. 

It was incredibly crowded the day we went, and just getting into the aquarium took about 30-45 minutes. You stand and walk through a crowded queue line zigging in and out. They can only let in so many people every 30 minutes because of fire code, and they do their best to stick to it. The only thing I can say would be remember to put on sunscreen. I was a little grumpy at this point because I was hungry, hot, and getting sunburnt, but my saint of a boyfriend and best friend still put up with me. 

As soon as we walked into the aquarium, both Christian and Cooper looked like little kids in a candy shop. There were so many people that we kind of just had to stop and take everything in and figure out which part to go through first. All in all, I think we spent about two hours in the aquarium. There are six different areas for you to visit: Coldwater Quest, River Scout, Georgia Explorer, Tropical Diver, Ocean Voyager, and the aquarium entrance/exit area. Honestly, it was just so nice walking in there because of how cool it was. The air conditioning made us not want to leave because we knew how hot it was outside. 

Personally, I would pay the money just to go and visit the touch pool that they have. If you know me well, you know that I'm obsessed with Sting Rays. I love them, and any kind of rays to be honest. There's something about them, they're all just so happy looking all the time. 

The aquarium is HUGE, and really beautiful. If you ever are in the area, or have the chance to visit it I would definitely say it's worth the time, and the money. 

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Celebrating Christmas in July!

Christmas is possibly my favorite holiday. It goes up there with Halloween and Thanksgiving. Basically starting in September, I start getting into the holiday spirit big time. From September 1st to January 15 our apartment is a holiday explosion. Growing up, after my parents got divorced, Christmas was always the easiest holiday (because it spans over two days). Christmas Eve was spent with one parent, while Christmas day was spent with the other. 

Now, Christmas (and holidays) are a little more tricky - my brother is a chef, my little sister is in nursing school (and finishes soon!!), and I'm all over the place. I don't know about you, but flights back home for me are not cheap. I can fly into my hometowns airport for an arm and a leg, or fly into an airport a mile away for a little bit less. I like to go home as much as possible, but it's not always easy for me to take off work. Previously, when I as working for Disney it was almost impossible to take off on a holiday, and even then why would I want to when all my friends would be working anyways. 

I'm still not sure what I'm doing for Christmas this year. Last year I stayed in Orlando, and went to California in early December to have Christmas with Christian, then went home back in January to have Christmas with my family. Christmas in January was so much fun. I got to spend time with my family, between both houses, who both left the Christmas decorations up for me. I spent a lot of time hanging out on the couch, going to doctors appointments (because I didn't believe I would be in Orlando for so long), and spending time with my best friend. 

Going home and celebrating Christmas in January has some perks too. This past year, Mardi Gras fell really early (because Easter was early this year) and it was oddly warm, which mean that I not only got King Cake, but also crawfish. To say I was on happy girl would be the understatement of the year. Shipping a King Cake is incredibly expensive, so it was nice to actually buy one at a normal price. 

This year, I'm thinking we'll probably celebrate Christmas in January again and I'm hoping that I'll maybe be able to bring Christian along with me. We'll see how it goes, but I'm excited for this holiday season.
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The Last Season at Turner Field

If you missed the first part of this post/series thing, you can go back and read this post. It'll tell you exactly what we did with our 36ish hours in Atlanta. Essentially the entire reason that we headed to Atlanta for Memorial Day weekend was to see Turner Field for the first and last time. This is the last season for Turner Field, and since the Giants were in town we thought what better time to go see the field. One of my best friend's Cooper is from the Bay area originally, and grew up with the Giants as her team. She's moving out to New York the first week of August, and since the Giants were out for Memorial Day, there couldn't have been a better time to drive up to see Turner Field. 

Turner Field is absolutely stunning, and honestly I can't tell you why they're shutting it down. According to Christian, the stadium isn't that old and it's in good condition. His theory is that they're trying to bring more revenue into the city and since the Braves haven't been doing especially well lately maybe a new stadium will bring in more fans. This totally seems like a reasonable explanation to me, but of all the stadiums I had been to so far Turner Field was definitely on the top of the list. 

The first thing that you see when you are driving up to the stadium are the Olympic Rings and the HUGE Olympic Torch. Finding parking was super easy, especially since we had bought parking ahead of time (honestly, the best thing to do if you ask me). The parking people were extremely nice, especially when the barcode wasn't scanning on my phone. They let me check the Ticketmaster website and when they saw that I had purchased parking already, they let me go through. 

Just walking around before you walk into the stadium is absolutely beautiful. They have a ton of statues all around, and the HUGE sign for Turner Field is something you have to take a picture in front of (it's iconic - if you ask me). We strolled around, just trying to take everything in before we entered into the stadium. Once you walk in, there was SO much going on. It was super busy, probably because it was memorial day weekend, but they seemed to have everything under control. 

The first place that we stopped at (after taking a picture in front of the field of course) was the stadium's merchandise store. It's always a tradition for us (aka me) to buy a hat at every stadium that I go to. This is a different way of supporting the team/getting a souvenir. I figure it's something that I'll definitely wear, and it's nice to have. Christian & I are very partial to 47 brand "one size fits all" hats, and it's the only brand we'll wear. Usually only one of us will  buy the hat, but because they had a really awesome Turner Field hat, we both ended up getting one. I got the hat in red, and he got the hat in navy blue. 

After buying the hats, we walked around the stadium. We had gotten there super early just so that we could explore (one of our favorite things to do). It was cool to get to see a different vantage point of Atlanta. They had an amazing ceremony for the veterans, which made Cooper and I tear up a little bit. Then we found our seats after getting beers and pretzels. The game was INSANELY HOT. Like, I'm from the deep south in Louisiana and I even thought it was a little toasty. 

Christian ended up moving up into the shade around the fourth inning, only after hand delivering me dippin dots in a little baseball hat (queue heart eye emoji). Coops and I tried to stay it out but around the sixth inning I gave up and we moved up to the shade. I had worked on my tan enough, and even gotten a little sunburnt regardless of the THREE COATS OF SUNSCREEN that I put on. 

All in all, I would say that it was an amazing game with some great people. I'm glad that Christian has a list of stadiums to cross off, and we're slowly but surely making some progress.  

Updated Stadium Rankings, in my opinion: 
1. PetCo Park (Padres Stadium)
2. Turner Field (Braves Stadium)
3. Angels Stadium
4. Dodgers Stadium
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Christian Comes for Mardi Gras !?

Do you ever look back and think, oh my god where did the time go? Because, same. Guys we're in JULY. JULY! It's crazy to think that over half the year has gone already. Where does the time freaking go? The reason I'm saying that is because since I took some time to get my writing mojo back, I feel like there's a lot from this past year that I missed and want to write about. So this current post is about the time that Christian came to visit me back in February. It kind of only feels right because right now, he and I are sitting on the beach with my dads side of the family.

Christian & I have a ritual of sorts whenever he comes to visit me, and when I come to visit him. When he comes to Florida, we (now) always eat at Cracker Barrel and Waffle House because he loves them (breakfast food in general) and they don't have them in California. This trip back from February was where it all began. We always went to Waffle House, but this time since he had never been to Cracker Barrel we HAD to go. He loved it. So now, we always go to both places. 

Because it was Mardi Gras time back home, I had begged my mom to send a king cake for the time when Christian was here. She did, and he got to try it for the first time. We were "talking" around Mardi Gras last year but I had gotten a king cake and made gumbo for my friends in California before I had met him. So this year, we did the same thing but just the two of us. It was so good and so much fun. He loved the king cake, because who doesn't, and as always the gumbo too. 

We didn't really do tooooooo much while he was here, which is sometimes the best way. We spent a little time at Magic Kingdom, because why not. When you're in a long distance relationship, it's really hard to only get to see each other every two(ish) months, but we try and make the best of it. Sometimes we get to see each other for a week, other times it's only for a couple days. This trip was a lot of fun, and very needed; until the next time.
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