Author Archive

13 Jul 2018

Live Out Loud and Have a Blast: New BlastZ by GoGo squeeZ

No Comments Healthy Living, Kids On Vacation, Lifestyle, Mama Loves, Raising Children

I tell you what!  My kids are definitely living THE life.  We are half way into the summer and my kids are soaking up every last minute of vacation. With a few more beach weekends, a mountain weekend and a new pool in our own backyard, we are livin’ life out loud for sure!

And being the good/ cool mom that I like to think I am, I am always on the hunt for the best most awesome (healthy) snacks for my kids.  The newest line from GoGo squeeZ, BlastZ, has my kids LOVING this healthy, on the go snack. The flavors are awesome and they are even a little bit bigger too!  I seriously cannot keep them in stock in my house. (So far the favorite in the house is Raspberry Rush!)

Made from 100% fruit and with 2 new bold flavors- Tropical Burst, Raspberry Rush and Berry Madness, all the cool kids are going to love this healthy snack! My kids have grown up on GoGo squeeZ and we are so excited about this new line!

Watch out for more from my kids and how our family lives out loud!  We are always sure to have a “BlastZ” wherever we go!

Make sure to follow BlastZ on Instagram and more on our travel adventures on Instagram at Kids on Vacation too!

Disclosure: I am an employee of Materne, but as always all opinions are my own!

23 Jun 2018

Kids Learn to Code with Code Ninjas Tampa

No Comments Lifestyle

Opens June 23rd in Carrollwood! Code Ninjas will teach kids how to code and write their own games!

22 Jun 2018

Top Tampa Things To Do This Summer With Kids// Tampa Mama

No Comments Lifestyle

 

Nothing says summer time like swimsuits and pools!

It’s summer time in Tampa Bay and we can’t wait to explore our city! I’ve got the best tips on how to survive, how to simplify and just be this summer! Check out my article in Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine!

Here’s my top list of 75 things to do this summer with links so it’s an easy find!

 

  1. Cool off! Take advantage of places like the YMCA Tampa pools (try it out for a day for free), City of Tampa Parks and Recreation pools (free with a REC card) or free splash pads like the ones at Curtis Hixon Park or Anderson Park in South Tampa. You might even have a pool in your back yard! Beaches are free and Florida has about 700 miles of coastline! Cooling off is essential for the summer!
  2. The Library Read! Learn something new! Free events or classes all summer at your neighborhood library. The perfect place to cool off this summer!
  1. Take your family out to a ball game. Head to a Tampa Bay Rays game on a Tuesday when kids at $2. Every Sunday home game at Tropicana Field is Family Fun Day! Enjoy pregame entertainment and post game races on the field!
  2. Find a NEW park. Did you know that Jullian B. Lane Park is the newest and biggest park in the City of Tampa! With so much to do here, you’ll have to come back a few times! A few of our favorites also include Lettuce Lake Park, Ballast Point Park, Curtis Hixon Park and Water Works Park!
  3. Take your camera and head to Downtown Tampa and be a photographer for the day! Hop on the Tampa’s Downtown website and make a scavenger hunt before you go!
  4. Have a lemonade stand. Make a poster! Make the lemonade yourself! Invite a friend over to help you build your stand! Then, take the money you made and save it up to do something fun!
  5. Find a new beach. Hunt for seashells. Bring a net to do dip netting and learn about the ocean biome! Go with friends for even more fun!
  6. Bake something! Work on fractions, following directions and patience! Bring them to a neighbor when they are done! You are sure to brighten someone’s day!
  7. Learn a new sport. Learn to golf through the First Tee of Tampa Bay through the YMCA. Enjoy a family night of golfing at Top Golf!
  8. Make a summer journal. Keep a diary of your adventures! Use brochures to make a collage of places you’ve been. Add in pictures you took and write about all the places you’ve been! Printing pictures from your phone has never been easier!
  9. Plant a garden. Take some time to plant a garden in the beginning of the summer. Herbs, peppers, eggplant and tomatoes are really easy to grow in the summer in Florida! Decorate your garden with painted rocks, gnomes and fun signs! BONUS! Make sure you have a garden party with your veggies when they’ve grown!
  10. Summer clean your room. Maybe move things around! Get rid of the things you don’t use any more! Maybe paint it a new color! It’s always fun to switch things around!
  11. Take an tour of Tampa Bay via the Pirate Water Taxi! What a fun day to explore and see Tampa from a new point of view! BONUS: Hop on and off to take advantage of the museums and parks in Tampa’s Downtown! **A MAMA LOVES FAVORITE
  12. Disconnect your phone and reconnect with the family for a staycation in Clearwater Beach! We love the Wyndhan Grand Clearwater Beach because it is right across the street from Pier 60 that has a nightly Sunset Festival! Every nigh, artisans, crafters and street performers will make this a perfect place to head to as the sun goes down. Bring your swimsuit, play in the sand and watch the amazing sunset from Pier 60 at Clearwater Beach! BONUS: Free movies nightly at the hotel while swimming in the pool! **A MAMA LOVES FAVORITE
  13. Bake something! Work on fractions, following directions and patience! Bring them to a neighbor when they are done! You are sure to brighten someone’s day!
  14. Head to Tampa’s Downtown for the Fourth Friday! Lots of deals at local businesses, free music, a free hour of Coast Bikes and just a perfect way to enjoy the Riverwalk!
  15. Plan a 1 tank trip! Explore a new city! Learn about the new city before your visit! Be a weekend warrior!  Lots of ideas on places to visit with kids in tow on VisitFlorida.com!
  16. Head to an outdoor concert at Curtis Hixon Park. Rock the Park is a free concert that happens every first Thursday of the month. Bring some blankets, pack a picnic and invite some friends!
  17. Watch the fireworks at Channelside
  18. Head to Lowry Park Zoo!
  19. Sign up to be a Girl Scout and learn about all that they offer girls in Tampa Bay! **A MAMA LOVES FAVORITE
  20. Ride your bike or roller blade on Bayshore Blvd. It’s the most scenic rides in Tampa! Don’t have a bike! That’s ok! Use the Coast Bike Share bikes!
  21. Bring your sports stuff and hit up Kate Jackson Park in Hyde Park Village! They have basketball courts, a playground and a splash pad for the babies! BONUS: Have lunch at Hyde Park Village! We love Bar Taco!
  22. Write a letter and mail it to someone. Make sure to tell them to write back too! CATCH: Go to the post office to drop in the mail box!
  23. Take an art class at Ybor City Art Studio.
  24. Go to a Farmers Market! Tampa Bay Markets have wonderful outdoor markets located all over Tampa Bay! Easy like Sunday morning, grab the puppy and head for a fun day at the market. BONUS: Shop for fruits and vegetables that you can use to cook dinner together!
  25. Make something to sell at The Tampa Kids Market! Spark entrepreneurship by creating something and selling it! The Village Square gives kids to have their own pop up shop at Westshore Mall once a month.
  26. Visit the Glazer Children’s Museum and pack a picnic lunch for a day in downtown at Curtis Hixon Park!
  27. Hit the Drive-In movies at Funland. Do a movie night old school at the drive in! Kids will think this is the coolest way to see a movie!
  28. Visit the Florida Aquarium.
  29. Learn to rock climb at Vertical Ventures. Saturday nights are 2 for 1!
  30. Visit Busch Gardens!  Lots to do each day and night!
  31. Head to Orlando and explore the city! Stay at the Gaylord Palms in Kissimmee where they have a water park and a super cool hotel to explore. Visit the Crayola Experience and get creative for the day! Then head to iDrive 360 where you can check out all of Orlando as you hop on the Orlando Eye, a 400-foot tall observation wheel! End the night with a sweet treat from the Sugar Factory! It’s a weekend the kids won’t forget! **A MAMA LOVES FAVORITE
  32. Redecorate your room (with ideas from Ikea when they have free lunch for kids on a Tuesday)!
  33. Hit the Drive-In movies at Funland. Do a movie night old school at the drive in! Kids will think this is the coolest way to see a movie!
  34. Take a backstage tour of Tampa Theatre and learn about one of the oldest theaters in America! Stay for a classic summer movie on a Sunday afternoon with their Summer Classic Movie Series! They also have summer camps too!
  35. Visit a National Park and earn a Junior Ranger Badge! Did you know that Fort DeSoto is a National Memorial! Not too far from Tampa!
  36. Hit Adventure Island for a day! Play some volleyball or ride the slides!
  37. Take a yoga class. Free yoga each Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park.
  38. Head to the Hillsborough River and go canoeing with Canoe Escape.
  39. Volunteer at Feeding America Tampa Bay with the whole family! Teach your kids about hunger and how they can help! Sign up at FeedingTampaBay.org
  40. Take an “Art Spot” class at theTampa Museum of Art(Free every Saturday from 11am-2pm)
  41. Visit LEGOLAND and/ or their water park! TIP: Teachers LEGOLAND Florida Resort, The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and SEA LIFE Aquarium offer Florida teachers one year of free admission with a Teach Pass.
  42. Visit the Tampa Bay History Center and get a lesson on Tampa Bay became the city it is today! BONUS: Eat lunch at the Columbia Restaurant!
  43. Start a fundraiser and write letters to people who you think could help you with your cause.
  44. Take a yoga class. Free yoga each Sunday at Curtis Hixon Park.
  45. Go fishing! Grab a reel and have some fun the old fashioned way! So many docks and places to fish in Tampa Bay! Learn more at TakeMeFishing.org.
  46. Throw a party! CATCH: You have to plan it, write invitations, figure out what to do, what you will eat and be the host! (That means you are in charge of clean up too!)
  47. See a Tampa Bay Storm game!
  48. Visit MOSI and give a ropes course a try!
  49. Exercise your brain with daily crossword puzzles free in the Tampa Bay Times.
  50. Have arts and crafts day at home! You don’t always have to be on the go! Make a day of painting and crafting at home! BONUS: Use recycled materials to create works of art!
  51. Check out aRowdies Soccergame in St.Pete!
  52. Try a new type of food! Have a fancy lunch at the Columbia Restaurant and watch the flamenco dancers! Try traditional Spanish or Cuban food like paella!
  53. Get everything ready for the new school year! Take your time and go shopping when school supplies come out in July! Find the best deals and just add them to your school box and cross things off your list! Once school starts, you’ll be 100% ready!
  54. Start a blog! They are free at blogspot.com and will help you with writing and you might learn a little coding too! Always ask your parents permission before you post!
  55. Turn off all electronics for 1 FULL day. Can you really do it? (YOU TOO MOM AND DAD!) Unplugging for the day is amazing, but even setting limits during the summer will be best for everyone! Especially during family dinners!
  56. Grill out! Fire up the grill and invite some friends over for an old fashioned BBQ! BONUS: Have the kids help decide the menu and help prep the food!
  57. Go scalloping in Crystal River! It’s like an Easter egg hunt while swimming! All you need is a bag, mask, fins and a snorkel! You’ve love this new family tradition once you start!
  58. Host a lemonade stand!
  59. Clean out your closet and donate what you don’t use!
  60. Explore a National Park and become a Junior Ranger!  There are so many here in Florida!

63. Summer Movies! Not only are there a ton of new movies coming to a theater near you like Cars 3, but many theaters offer cheap summer movies too! Regal Cinemas are offering $1 summer movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10am!

  1. Go bowling. Sign up at KidsBowlFree.com for 2 free games of bowling all summer long!
  2. Volunteer at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay!
  3. Visit the Tampa Bay History Center and get a lesson on Tampa Bay became the city it is today! BONUS: Eat lunch at the Columbia Restaurant!
  4. Visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and see Winter! Have a movie night with Dolphin Tale 1 or 2 before visiting! BONUS: Pair this with a dolphin watching excursion for an even more exciting and educational day!
  5. Head over to TradeWinds Island Resorts on St.Pete Beach and purchase a day pass! It’s a fun way to play all day in the hotel pools, unlimited rides on the High Tide Slide, mini-golf, paddleboats, beach cabanas and more!
  6. Eat ice cream & popsicles! We love Hyppo Popsicles in Ybor City or South Tampa, Whatever Pops in Seminole Heights and Revolution Ice Cream in Seminole Heights, and Astro Ice Cream in Tampa Heights!
  7. Take a train to…somewhere! It is all about the journey! Hop on the Amtrak from Union Station in Tampa and head to Charleston, SC or Svannah, GA! It’s more about the journey on this trip for sure!
  8. Test out your wings and go indoor sky diving! iFLY is the ultimate indoor skydiving experience. They even have STEM field trips where you can learn about the science of flying too! They definitely won’t forget it!
  9. Test your chess or checkers skills at Armature Works! Snag some awesome Astro Ice Cream (make sure to watch how they make it!) and head outside for a larger game of checkers on the lawn! Catch a sunset over the Hillsborough River and dine at one of the many electic inside Armature Works. It’s a total win for everyone in the family!
  10. Take a computer class at the Microsoft Store or Apple Store. Lots of free fun classes all summer long!
  11. Ride bikes along the Riverfront! Stop for lunch at the Sail Pavilion!
  12. Explore the mural art in Tampa and St.Pete. Stop the car and really take a good look at the public art now on display all over these cities! It’s just beautiful! TIP: Make a coffee table book with all the pictures you too of Tampa Bay art!

 

 

Watch my Instagram feed all summer to check out what we are doing!

21 Jun 2018

Kids on Vacation Presents: Reconnecting With What Matters- A #GrandReconnect at the Wyndham Grand Clearwater Beach

No Comments Family Time, Family Travel, Florida, Kids On Vacation, Lifestyle, Mama Loves, Raising Children, Tampa, Tampa Bay

All I have are 40 printed pictures and a headfull of memories with my family I won’t forget from a weekend that reminded me to put down the damn phone, get in the pool and just be their fun Mom for no one else but them.

“Mommy, look! Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” Teathered via invisible cord to a device that helps me live my life quicker, faster, smarter, better. But I have to question that last one. Better. What makes my life that much better when I’m seeing life through my screen instead of in real time? Isn’t that why we buy concert tickets, so we can see the artist in person? But what do we all do? Film the concert. Take the pictures. Capture the moment. For later. To share. But shouldn’t we LIVE the moment.

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14 Jun 2018

Can’t wait to be Wisked Off To Magaritaville Orlando Resort// Coming Soon to Orlando, Florida

No Comments Florida, Kids On Vacation, Lifestyle, Orlando, Travel, Travel Tuesday

“Wasted away again in Margaritaville…” Soon local Central Florida parrot heads will be just an hour away from wasting away again at the new Margaritaville Orlando Resort off US 192 in Kissimmee just outside of Walt Disney World.

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23 May 2018

#MarathonTraining: Week 1 Day 1- What am I doing?

No Comments Lifestyle

Well! It’s official. If it is online it must be true, right? I’m running my first marathon. And it’s the Chicago Marathon! In about 20 weeks. On October 7th. Why, you ask? I’ve partnered up with my company GoGo squeeZ and their partner Action for Healthy Kids and will run as a part of Team Action For Healthy Kids! Both companies are so passionate for healthy kids and I am super excited to help raise money for their programs!

The furthest I’ve ever run was a 1/2 marathon here in Tampa. The Gasparilla Distance classic. I did some crazy challenge where I did the 5k & 8k on Saturday and then came back to run the 1/2 on Sunday. Phew! That was about 5 or 6 years ago.

Listen- I’m going to need all the help I can get. October 7th is the big day in Chicago! I thought about doing a training journal, but decided I already have an online journal and I think this will be a great place to connect with other runners for tips, track my progress and maybe inspire others.

So today is Week 1 and today is day 1. I’m following this program (honestly first program in my Google search, but looked goo!) so here’s the link? Anyone want to join me?! Come on… it’s only 26.2 miles!

Tonight’s Run: Rivercrest Park- Tampa, FL

Solo or Group: Solo

Miles or Minutes: 20 minutes

Training: Weights after

Favorite Song Heard: Katy Perry- Firework

Day or Night Run: Sunset run

Motivation: The finish line. I’ve never done this before so I’m motivated to check this off my list.

Dinner: Vegetarian Refried Beans with tomato, red onion and cheese garnish.

Feeling: Really good. This will be good for me to show my kids dedication to a goal.

Please offer any tips, advice, etc on how to improve or just survive! I’ll be on Instagram too!

04 May 2018

Screenagers: Growing Up In The Digital Age, Comes To Tampa, Florida

2 Comments Featured, Florida, Girl Scouts, Movies, Raising Children, Tampa

I lead an amazing group of girls. Girl Scouts have become a huge part of my life with my own three girls and the opprotunities we have had because of their hard work and dedication what Girl Scouting is all about!

We are excited to announce that my Girl Scout Troop 30893, 6th grade Cadettes from Learning Gate Communtiy School, will be hosting a community screening of the Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age.  This film was chosen to help open the conversation between parents and kids about screen time, social media, and how our children are growing up in the digital age like no generation before.  We invite you to attend with your children and then stay for a Q&A with a special guest. Bark.us will have their CPO (Chief Parent Officer- Tatania Jordan) to help talk about social media safety and conversations we should be having with our children. (Bark is an app that helps keep kids safer online.) Mark your calendars for this event and invite your friends.  It is one that should not be missed. This is a free event and open to the community. 

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018 6pm. Film will begin at 6:15pm. Discussion begins at 7:15- 8pm.
FREE COMMUNITY EVENT
Learning Gate Community School
Hosted by: Girl Scouts Troop 30893
Hanna Campus- 16215 Hannah Road, Lutz, FL 33549
Open to the public- seating is limited. Doors open at 5:30pm.
Link to Facebook Event for more details.
Snacks will be provided by GoGo squeeZ.
 **Appropriate for adults of kids all ages and kids 10 years old and older. We will leave the choice up to parents who choose to bring their children. No childcare on site will be provided. 

About the Girl Scouts: The Girl Scouts Troop 30893 from Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, are earning their aMAZE Journey badges. This journey requires the girls to host a Take Action Project taking what they have learned about healthy relationships and passing it along to others. They hope to open up the conversation between kids and their parents and believe that healthy relationships online and in person could keep kids safe. 

29 Mar 2018

Easter Basket Fun and DIY Spring Crafts by Tampa Mama on Great Day Tampa Bay

No Comments Family Time, Gift Ideas, Great Day Tampa Bay, Raising Children

It was a fun morning on Great Day Tampa Bay talking about egg-citing Easter baskets and DIY Spirng crafts! Having 4 kids, I have a few rules for our family when it comes to gifts like Easter baskets. We love quality vs. quantity! We also try to curate the gifts to really mean something for the kids. It is much more meaningful rather than a bunch of $1 items thrown together. We also like to give experience gifts. Now, we don’t go overboard, but rather give items that would engage our kids in an activity where we could do it together- gardening, arts & crafts, a beach day, or even a sports game!
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13 Feb 2018

Tampa Mama Loves: Cirque du Soleil VOLTA Comes To Tampa

No Comments Grand Opening, Partnership, Sneak Peak, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Things To Do

In partnership with the Tampa Bay Bloggers.

I have been a Cirque du Soleil fan since I first saw La Nouba in Downtown Disney (or Disney Springs as it is now known) in Orlando in 2000. I feel in love with everything about the show. The music. The wonder. The entire show. I had never seen anything like it. I have traveled all over the country to see Cirque shows. 9 different shows to be exact. They truly are works of art unlike anything else I have ever experienced. From Vegas to NYC, and cities in between, Cirque du Soleil shows will never disappoint.

I am excited to be on board as a Tampa Bay Blogger to see my 10th show, VOLTA, coming to Tampa February 14, 2018 – March 18th, 2018. Cirque du Soleil VOLTA, written and directed by Bastien Alexandre and with Jean Guibert as the director of creation. International electronic group M83 as composer and musical director, brings his space-age future pop sound to the Cirque du Soleil stage for the first time ever. The show will be presented under the Big Top at the Tampa Greyhound Track February 14, 2018 – March 18, 2018. The name VOLTA refers to a sudden about-face, a change in emotion or idea often used in poetry. It also speaks to the jolt of energy delivered through the show.

From the Cirque du Soleil website: “Freedom is the ultimate rush. VOLTA tells a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves acrobatics in a visually striking world driven by a stirring melodic score.”

OMG!! I can’t wait!!! Annnddd…. I am giving away a set of 4 tickets on my Instagram account and I hope you’ll hop over and enter!

I can’t wait to see it opening night! Make sure to follow along for a sneak peak of opening night!

08 Feb 2018

Tampa Mama Loves: Most Romantic Things To Do in Tampa

No Comments Ad, Mama Loves, Partnership, Sneak Peak, Tampa, Tampa Bay, Things To Do

Yes, my loves, Valentines Day is upon is. Time to plan a most romantic date for you and your lover/ friend/ spouse/ best friend/ etc. But let’s be real about this day… You all know I have 4 kids and no time. Not saying that I wouldn’t want to do any of these most romantic things (because I seriously do), but seriously, I can barely find the time to take a shower and go shopping for an outfit, much less plan a much much MUCH needed date night for me and my man. So here’s the deal. This is my super awesome Most Romantic Things To Do in Tampa list that if and when I ever have the time, this is where I am going. I hope you will love all these date night ideas!

Dinner and A Walk Along the River

Riverwalk Tampa
Tampa Riverwalk

The Tampa Riverwalk is the hottest new place to be. With a gorgeous view of the Hillsborough River and a new hot spot, Armature Works, along the river, this date night will be amazing! Grab some drinks from Cru Cellars and sit under the stars on the patio at Armature Works and start the night out right. Walk over to Ulele (read all about why Ulele is my ultimate date night restaurant here) and dine with waterfront views and the most delicious food. Stroll along the river to Downtown and catch a Downtowner car back to grab your car.

Quick Bite and Brews

The Hall on Franklin Tampa Heights
The Hall on Franklin

The new Hall on Franklin has some delicious new taste options for everyone to enjoy. Casually grab a lux couch and sit down and relax. Walk over to Hidden Springs Ale Works and enjoy a locally crafted brew and just chill. Have a fun night together exploring a little bit of pure Tampa in Tampa Heights!

SUPER AMAZING FANCY Dinner and Dessert

Of course Bern’s Steak House will always be a top restaurant in my books (and many others) but dressing up for the occasion is always more fun when the ambiance will help set the mood for this uber fabulous date. Dress to the nines. Make it a real date. Dine on the finest food and sip the finest wine. After your meal, a must is the Harry Waugh Dessert Room, where you’ll order a banana fosters to share. The best of Tampa Bay is right here. One stop.

Off The Beaten Path

Seminole Heights
Seminole Heights mural.

Our favorite date night restaurant is in our little neighborhood, tucked away about 5 miles north of the city.
Rooster and the Till in Seminole Heights has made quit the impression on the food scene in Tampa Bay and beyond. Quiet yes, but you’ll definitely need a reservation to make this date night happen. Plan ahead and make that reservation for two. (Especially now that they just made the Tampa Bay Times top 50 Restaurant List). I have never had a bad meal here and we love every new item they add to the menu. It will not disappoint. If you are looking for a night cap, the Independent is a fun spot to go an have one more before you Uber home.

Sweet Dreams

Edge Tampa Epicurean
Edge rooftop bar.

If you love a rooftop bar, Edge or Bulla Gastrobar is where you’ll want to catch a famous Florida sunset with a hand crafted cocktail to start your night. Indulge in a fabulous four-course tasting menu designed by the two-time James Beard nominee Executive Chef Chad Johnson at Epicurean’s signature restaurant, Elevage. The menu is being offered from 5:30-10 p.m. Stay the night in the sweetest hotel, The Epicurean, right in the heart of South Tampa as you escape reality for just a night (along with the kids.) Sweet dreams love birds!

Dinner and A Movie

Centro Ybor City Tampa Florida
Centro Ybor

My favorite spot in Tampa Bay for Sushi is Samuri Blue in Ybor City. Slightly off the beaten path, the sushi is fresh and unique and the atmosphere is quite and intimate. Afterwards, walk over to Centro Ybor and see a romantic move…maybe the new Fifty Shade Freed*?! It opens in theaters everywhere on February 9th! Sounds like a perfect romantic night to me!

Lots of ideas and I have personally been too, seen and have dined at all the above. If I recommend it, I truly love it and wouldn’t say so otherwise. Enjoy your romantic night on the town in Tampa!

*I partnered with Universal Pictures to bring you this post. I was invited to the Fifty Shade Freed screening. As always, all opinions are my own.