Tampa Bay Bucket List

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When you have lived somewhere a very long time it is easy to get comfortable and overlook the fun just waiting to happen in your own backyard.

Born and raised in Tampa, I know there is plenty of the Tampa Bay area and even Florida that I have yet to experience, so I decided to make a list.

I’ll continue to add to this list and check in on the blog when I finally get around to experiencing my home state! Here it is:

  1. Big Cat Rescue
  2. Stand up paddle board
    2a. Do yoga on a stand up paddle board
  3. Go to First Friday in downtown St. Pete
  4. Picnic Island Park
  5. Bike the Pinellas Bike Trail
  6. Run in the Gasparilla half-marathon
  7. Go to a race at the Tampa Bay Downs
  8. Kayak Weedon Island Preserve

Further out

  1. Coral Castle
  2. Caves in Brooksville
  3. Kennedy Space Center
  4. Sea World
  5. Neptune Memorial Reef
  6. Bok Tower Gardens
  7. The Ancient Spanish Monastery 
  8. John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park 

What do y’all think? Anything I forgot to include? Let me know!

Weekend Update: 1/18-1/20

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I had a semi-relaxing weekend. The apartment is starting to come along and feel like a home, rather than a few rooms with boxes and stuff everywhere. I even hung up my gallery wall- which I love so much!

One of my best friend’s, Marie got engaged. However, she scared the crap out of me telling me on the phone. She started with, “I need to tell you something,” then said, really fast, in between what I think were tears some mumbling nonsense with her boyfriend fiance’s name. My overactive imagination jumped to the conclusion that he was in a coma or got in a motorcycling accident, not that he even owns a motorcycle-  I just watch too much TV… Anyways, thankfully no one was in the hospital and I didn’t have to rush across the country to be by my friend! She just got engaged!

My friend Brooke and I decided to try the dive bar in an alley near our apartments. Apparently it’s “world famous”, only takes cash, and has a fabulous musical selection that includes Mickey Avalon’s “My D*ck,” Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn” and of course, Trace Adkins, “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” Just the classics, ya know…

I also made a stop at the beach to get a free microwave and coffee pot for my apartment! There I got some great antlers for the apartment and got to dip my toes in the sand for a smidge bit. I also got to go to my faaavooorite bakery in the world, well at least the Tampa Bay area. Cafe de Paris at Indian Rocks beach. I went there all the time a couple summers ago when I was living at the beach.

Last night, Brooke, Chelsea and I met downtown for free yoga in the park. There was a festival going on so the class was relocated to a section of the park I had never seen before! I love when I discover something/somewhere new in a place I thought I already knew well!

My friends and I also decided on a new rule that if it’s possible to walk somewhere, instead of driving, we walk. That way, it’s better for our wallets, the environment and our health 🙂

Love, Liv

Free Fitness and Health

“Letting down barriers to be open to existence”

I always feel better after yoga. However, when I get busy it tends to be the first thing to go. Plus, the cost of classes can add up fast, especially when you have an entry-level job and are trying to save your money!

A lot of cities have opportunities for free community group fitness classes. You just have to know where to look! Do a Google search with your city and the type of class you’re looking for. On the top of my head, I can think of two weekly free yoga classes, a couple running groups and a CrossBoot class just in the Tampa area.

This past weekend, my friend Angela and I went to a free yoga class in downtown Tampa being put on by Downtown Tampa Yoga. It was a great class on a beautiful Florida Fall evening and the perfect way to start my week!

Towards the end of the class the instructor recited this quote:

“Letting down barriers to be open to existence”

I love this because in order to live a life full of loving people and experiences, you have to be able to let down barriers and let others in.

It’s always nice to have a reminder. It helps keep your mind and heart balanced on what is most important.

Love,
Liv

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” – Rumi

Liv Learns: Post College

It’s been a hot minute since I updated this thing so I thought I’d catch everyone up with five things I learned about myself since my last entry.

    1. I can go somewhere completely foreign on my own. Travelling on my own showed me how much I was capable of. Researching destinations, planning hostels, transportation basically everything is just the first half of going on a trip like that. Once you head out solo is you learn that, once you open your mind to opportunities you can accomplish anything.

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    2. I can run. While I’ve always been into working out and fitness I absolutely despised running. At the gym, I’d sprint for about five minutes at a time, go do something else, then sprint again. Coming home after Europe and graduation was going to be the first time in my life that I didn’t have a gym membership. That, plus the fact that I decided to grow out of my asthma this past summer, is what motivated me to learn to love running! Since, I’ve done a 5k, 10k and next month I’ll be running in a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot with my sister!
    3. I can kinda cook. Before I got my job, my life this summer consisted of these things: Instagram, running, Pinterest and catching up with old friends. But, mostly Pinterest. Therefore I spent a lot of time looking at food and recipes. Before this summer the only things I could make were strawberry pizza and tortellini soup. Thanks to the lovely invention of Pinterest I’ve now made cookies from scratch! And these interesting avocado chocolate chip pancakes! 
    4. I can get a job! After what felt like months and months of hunting for a job and feeling like I’d forever be living at home with my parents, I found a perfect one for me! Now, if only finding the perfect boyfriend were that easy.
    5. It’s possible to have a new beginning in an old place. If you had asked me six months ago where I’d be right now I would’ve said, “anywhere but Tampa.” Heck, if you had asked me four years ago I’d probably say the same thing. I changed my mind. I realized that my hometown is actually a pretty good place to be. We’ve got the best beaches nearby, amazing sunsets and plenty of interesting people to be entertained by. It’s all about perspective and how you see a place or situation.  Returning home having graduated college and having grown into who you are is a totally different situation then when you were 17. Like you would anywhere else, you’ll get a job, meet new people and have the experiences you want to have. You just have to go out looking for them.

Love,
Liv

PS- I also learned how to do a top bun! Wha wha!

What I Learned in College

For the past for years I’ve answered the same question countless times.

“So, you’re from Florida, how did you end up at Appalachian State?”

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Four years ago, when I was a senior in high school, I knew I wanted to get out. I wanted to have the ‘going away to college’ experience. I wanted to try something new and live somewhere new. I wanted to grow up and become the person I wanted to be.  So many people I knew from high school (not all though), went to the same college, hang out with the same people, went to the same parties– Personally, I just don’t think you really have a chance to grow as a person and mature if you don’t challenge yourself and put yourself in new situations that may even feel uncomfortable at first.

Everything I had hoped I’d get out of college, I got. I definitely have had a lot of lessons in the past four years and looking back I got everything I wanted for out of college. It didn’t happen as easily and smoothly as I had imagined (nothing does) but I got there and I’m better for it.

At the end of each semester the seniors in my sorority stand in front of chapter and read a letter to the younger girls. I really liked mine. It was more of a list of things I wish I had known four years ago and lessons learned. Maybe I have regrets. I’m not sure, I’ve always believed you shouldn’t regret anything. But lately I think people who have regrets are good. They’re the people who look back on their life and thought about how they could’ve done better, how if they’re in a similar situation in the future they’ll do it right. As long as you don’t dwell on regrets and use them to give you direction in the future and be a better version of yourself I think they’re healthy and a good thing.

Anyways as cheesy as it is here is my list of things I wish I had known four years ago.  Continue reading

Independence

I always get urge to write in the middle of the night right as I’m falling asleep. I plan on getting up and writing it down first thing in the morning but as soon as my day gets going a million other things are more important to get done and writing gets pushed further and further back on my to do list. So here I am at 1:30 in the morning with class at 8 but I’m going to type this thought out anyways.

I like making hard decisions. I always have. The thought of doing something because it feels comfortable or easy makes me nauseous. Aside from a couple guys with sports scholarships, I’m pretty sure I’m the only person I know from my graduating high school class that went to a school that not only was out of state but also where I knew absolutely no one. I don’t even think I had ever visited Boone before when I made my decision to spend four years of my life here. Not to mention, I went to a school where if I check the weather during the winter and its between 30-40 degrees I think to myself, “that’s not that bad.”

Now that I’m nearing the end of my college career people keep asking me if I’m going to move back to Tampa or go to Charlotte or Raleigh or somewhere else where everyone goes in North Carolina. As much as I love Tampa and my wonderful friends back home I feel like it would be a cop out if I were just to move there and work. I think Charlotte or Raleigh would feel that way as well because now I know so many people who will probably be moving back there too.

I don’t know why I run from everything/everywhere I know. I can’t tell if this is a character flaw or a character strength.

And most of my friends will live a die in this zip code and it might be for me, but until I go how am I ever supposed to know?”
The Band Perry, Independence

Summertime

So I’ve been insanely busy with my internship cause I’m out of my mind and agreed to work until August 16th when I head back to Boone for school the 18th. So while everyone else has finished up their summer internships I’m still working on mine! Which is great because I’m learning a ton and meeting so many wonderful people.. I just wish I had scheduled in a little vacation time before I start my senior year of college! I still have no idea how my senior year is already here but that’s a whole other story!

Some other very exciting news in the Life of Liv is that I have another internship already lined up for this coming winter break with Daytime on News Channel 8! I had my interview with their lovely executive producer last Monday and I am very excited about this fabulous opportunity. I am so excited to learn more about the broadcasting aspect of communications careers!

I’m trying to fit in as much fun experiences as I can in my last couple of weeks in Florida as I can before I move back to the mountains so I’ve been extremely busy. Last Saturday I went snorkeling through Tropical Island Getaway’s with my lovely friend Samantha Whiting and had the time of our lives! I already knew about Tropical Island Getaway through one of the Family Fun tours I had been working on through my internship with Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater. I included it on my tour of South Pinellas county so I decided to give it a try myself!

The guides/captains were so much fun and they gave us a heads up on the best seats on the boat so we could get the best view of the dolphins who came and played and jumped behind us for part of the ride. The ferry was BYOB and they had extra coolers to keep your drinks and snacks reallyyy cold. Then we once we got to Egmont Key the snorkeling gear (and noodle floating devices) were included and we got to see all the cool marine life around the ruins of the Fort Dade, which was used in the Spanish American War.

After the snorkeling portion of the trip we went over to the island which was incredible. You don’t see beaches like that too often. Everything was very natural feeling.  The only thing missing was Johnny Depp and Orlando Bloom from the Pirates movies!  We hiked around the old fort and saw the lighthouse which was built in 1858.  After our explorations then we went back and relaxed in the water with a couple noodles and brews.

There were private boats all pulled up and anchored right on shore.  If I ever move back to Florida for good: 1) I must live closer to the ocean and 2) I will have my own boat.

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After Saturdays sea adventure I went on a different kind adventure to Universal Studios. There was no way I was going back to North Carolina without seeing Hogwarts! I am a huge Harry Potter fan and had to see the new section of the park!

I think my favorite part of the day was going to Ollivanders wand shop. When you go to Ollivanders you can either wait in line and go in with a small group of other Muggles and have a chance at being picked by Ollivander himself to go through the whole process of finding the perfect wand for you or you can just skip ahead and just pick one yourself. I, of course, wanted the whole experience and luckily Ollivander picked ME out of everyone in our group to find the wand for me! Anyways the Ash wand picked me.. thats the same type of wand that Cedric Diggory had and it was also the same as Ron Weasley’s first wand.

It was such a fun day! I even tried fish and chips again. For those who don’t know me but I stopped eating seafood when I was nine years old because I ate too much fish and chips when we lived in Cambridge, England for a little over a month that year!

So anyways, I’m at my parents right now recovering from my wisdom teeth removal surgery and after going a little stir crazy the past couple days I decided to go run some errands around town with my mother.  We went and looked at the lot where they are going to be building their new house. It’s really beautiful and has a woods in the backyard which are going to be nice for barbecues and get togethers. Hopefully it’ll be done being built by the end of December!

Then we had to go run some errands in Temple Terrace (the part of town where we use to live.) I feel really bad because I kind of made my mom go and drive by our old house even though she didn’t want to and it looked terrible.  It was so depressing to drive by. The new owners were not taking care of it at ALL. There was crap all on the roof, the lawn needed to be mowed, they tore out some of the bushes so the yard looked bare and ugly, there were bouncy balls and toys all over the yard… The entire front of the neighborhood looked HORRIBLE because of the jerks that moved into our old house! The house I grew up was entirely TRASHED. It was beautiful when we sold it to them. My parents worked so hard to make it nice and they literally just killed the entire house and made the entire neighborhood look awful. I really hope that somehow the new owners of —— see this post and realize what assholes they are for killing an already beautiful home. I hope they realize that the entire neighborhood of Raintree Oaks probably thinks they’re douche bags for doing so.

Okay, well that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I’ll upload some pictures from one of the tours I’ve been working on later! Summer is almost over!

Love,
Liv

Liv Learns:

As I come to the end of my fourth week interning I’ve only just begun learning about all the ways PR techniques work their way into many of the different aspects of organizations and companies, especially those related to tourism.

One of the main projects I have been working on during my time at the CVB is planning  familiarization tours, also called a FAM tours. The point of the FAM tour is to help give those who work directly with tourists (concierge, bus drivers, hotels, etc.) an idea of different suggestions for activities that our location offers that they may not already know about.

The FAM I’m currently finishing up on is one that focuses on family fun activities that are offered in our county… and there are a LOT! There are so many that we decided to divide the county into North and South sections and do a tour for each part of the county. So I’m actually finishing up on two FAMs (after this I have to work on two more.. actually four more possibly)! In order to come up with fun family activities I have to do research through internet and making phone calls to various venues and companies.

Mapping out where all the different places are located and possible routes for the two tours are also part of what I have been working on. Also, since there will be two tours mapping possible routes and itineraries are also part of the process. We decided that it would be really neat for the the North tour to instead of using a boring regular bus to rent one of the old fashioned beach trollies instead!

Networking is also a huge part of public relations and promotion. Whether it is relating to tourism or anything else. Meeting as many people as you can and making connections to other groups and individuals in your community and elsewhere helps to create mutually beneficial relationships that will help build your company while creating a positive reputation for others to see.

Another project I have been working on is actually with helping out the film commission. Many of the photos on their database are out of date and need to be updated so on days when I’m not working on the FAM I’m driving around the county taking pictures of what it has to offer. I love doing this because A) I love taking pictures and this is a great excuse to do that! B) It helps me learn the county better and C) I learn another aspect of of the CVB and something else I may enjoy. What I DIDN’T like about it was walking around all day on Clearwater Beach when it was 150 degrees outside (or at least it felt like it)!! All I wanted to do was to RUN as fast as I could into the ocean but I couldn’t because I did not have my bathing suit on and I had my expensive Canon Rebel around my neck… Not to mention, it might have been a bit odd if I returned to the office soaking wet. Not sure what kind of impression that would have left on everyone there.

Also, I’ll be uploading my favorite photos from my film commission scouting every few days hopefully! The previous post was actually from my first day working on that!

Meanwhile, one of my favorite parts of living at the beach this summer are Florida sunsets every night. Even if I’m just watching them with girlfriends or Harry Potter (reading the book, obviously), Florida sunsets are by far the best in the world.

BTW, my sailing lessons begin this Saturday at one of the marinas downtown! There are four days of class, two weekends, each day begins at 2 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. ! I’m really excited about adding yet another new experience to this summer!

That’s all for this evening.

Love,
Liv