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Toes in the Water, Ass in the Sand: Tailgating at a Country Concert

31 Jan

I have never really tailgated much, mainly because I have never been that good at it. I’m never prepared the way I should be. Well, that all changed with the Zac Brown Band concert this past weekend. PoppaNut and I got completely prepared, and we reaped the benefits over and over again. And so, I’m sharing my tailgating wisdom for you!

1. You Must Have a Monster Vehicle: Leave the sports car at home. You need an SUV/Hummer-type vehicle for this. It’s not that you’ll get stuck in mud or something if you don’t have a big car, but there is no way in hell you can jam all the gear you need to bring in a little two-seater. Go big or go home. And so, we brought the Commander!

2.  Prepare for Disaster: While you monster vehicle may make it there, it could potentially die as you blare the finest in country music from its speakers for the four-hour tailgating festivities. And so, come prepared with some jumper cables! We sure put them to good use.

3. Bring Durable Seats: You are gonna want some place comfy to sit with a beer in hand, and the back of your vehicle is not the best spot. Bring some lounge chairs that you know are good. Our friend Sam brought an old chair with a busted leg, and just made the best of it. Ours were too low to the ground and super old … we should have upgraded before we headed to the concert. Lesson learned!

4. Find the Perfect Cooler: This is also a lesson learned for me. I went to Walmart that morning, and I picked up a cooler I thought was perfect. It would keep our food cold and it was deep. However, I failed to see the value of a locking lid and wheels at the time. Who knew those two features could make or break your tailgating day? I certainly know now.

5. You’ll Want Good Food: Yeah, you can bring your Publix subs and some chips, but you are going to want something special to put you in the mood. This is not a picnic. You need man food for a tailgate. And the meatballs I made that morning seemed to do the trick. Just throw meatballs, grape jelly and Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce in a Crock-pot on High for 2.5 hours, and then finished getting all your tailgate stuff together. When they are done, put them in a heat-safe bowl, cover and head on out!

6. Red Solo Cups Are Fun for Singing and Drinking: We listened to “Red Solo Cups” (It’s a country song for those of you who don’t know) on repeat again and again … all while drinking out of our red solo cups. They are great for holding limes, beer and whatever else you need. Plus, they are super cheap for your friends that need an extra cup.

7. You Need Protection: Protect yourself at all times. Bring a hat to keep your skin healthy all day long while you are in the sun. You probably thought I was talking about something else, but your skincare is just as important to me. Plus, your cowboy hat helps with the country-concert theme!

8. Fill that Cooler with Corona: There is nothing like a cold Corona at a country concert that just let’s you kick back and enjoy the day. I don’t even like to drink beer, but I can sip Corona until the cows come home. A cold Corona and a sliced lime is just that little piece of heaven you need to keep you going hour after hour in the hot sun!

9. Bring on the Tequila: You are gonna want to get rowdy, and tequila is the answer to that. We brought Patron and Jager to the party, and everyone was quite happy to have them there. In fact, I think some people were hoping their friend Jack Daniels had showed up as well. Bottoms up!

10. You Need Good Friends to Complete the Tailgating Package: You can have all the gear and food you could imagine … but without amazing friends, you might as well tailgate in your driveway. We had great people surrounding us, some that we met that night. We all had such a blast together!

And that’s life in a nutshell … tailgating can be an experience of a lifetime if you prepare in advance.


Remembering Dan Wheldon

18 Oct

Once upon a time, I was the managing editor at a luxury-lifestyle magazine in Tampa Bay. I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of famous people and interviewing notable celebrities. Every April, our issue would focus on famous men who lived in Tampa Bay and gave a lot back to charity.

And the April 2008 issue was no exception. We decided to feature Dan Wheldon, a St. Petersburg resident who had made a name for himself in the racing world. He was 29 at the time, and he invited several people to his home for the story. I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the shoot and interview as well.

At his home in St. Petersburg, Dan Wheldon greeted us all with a smile. With a writer and photographer in tow, we started setting up for our first shot. Dan had two cars out front, one that he won as the grand prize of a race.

Dan was smaller than I expected, but his personality was larger than life. In fact, he looked quite a bit like Tom Cruise in person. Susie, his fiancée at the time who later became his wife, was a delight. She helped set up several shots, and you could see that she really kept him calm.

Most people don’t know that Dan was a bit of a neat freak and wasn’t crazy about shaking people’s hands. And a a room full of magazine types probably didn’t help. But you wouldn’t have known it from Dan because he was just as gracious as could be.

Susie kept in touch with me after the shoot, and she had invited me to the Grand Prix in St. Petersburg the following year. I couldn’t attend for some reason, but I appreciated the gesture anyway.

There are some eerie quotes in the article, which I’ll share here. “The moment you lose respect for speed, you’re in big trouble.” “Imagine having a dream and then actually achieving it. A unbelievable feeling.” “People see us zipping around at speeds that are otherwise illegal. That adds to the thrill, of course, but it’s definitely dangerous. I’ve literally seen drivers pass away.” “The life I live is because of the fans. Any time I can give back, I try to.”

Dan Wheldon went on to marry Susie and have two beautiful children. My thoughts are with his family through this very difficult time. It was a pleasure to have met Dan and I appreciate all he gave to our community.

And that’s life in a nutshell … you never know when your number might be up so life it to the fullest each and every day.


MLB Chic

14 Jul

So, everyone knows that PoppaNut is a HUGE Yankees fan. In fact, we have an entire room in our home dedicated to the Yankees. From autographed balls to pinstriped M&M’s, this room bleeds blue. And PoppaNut couldn’t love it more.

Since the Yankees have a huge presence in our lives (during the LONG nine-month season), we certainly go to our share of games. PoppaNut usually wears one of his million NY Yankees shirts with his Yankees flip-flops and Yankees watch. Then, there is me. I don’t have a thing to wear. I have two Yankees shirts, but I don’t really love either of them.

So, I went on a hunt. I’m not letting a Yankees game keep my fashion choice down. After some lengthy researching, I found that Victoria’s Secret has Yankees shirts. In fact, they have a ton of MLB clothing for us gals as well as college attire! Problem solved. I ordered one Yankees shirt and one IU shirt (I can’t pass up a shirt dedicated to my alma mater, now can I?). I would have loved to order it all … and since we are only half way through the season, it’s likely I’ll make another purchase soon. Which one would you chose?

And that’s life in a nutshell … see every opportunity as a chance to make your own fashion statement.


Yankees Pride

12 May

It is quite possible that when PoppaNut reads this post, he will want to change our phone provider to AT&T. Turns out that AT&T has a partnership with PoppaNut’s favorite friend in the whole world: The Yankees.

AT&T is asking Yankees fans to “Join the Team” by texting YANKS to 4663, and winners of the promotion can receive a slue of Yankees prizes. You can always register to win at (PoppaNut, don’t worry; I already registered us for the prizes but you can register as well for extra luck!).

Now, I call the Yankees PoppaNut’s best friend because, well, they are. He sees them a few times a week, follows up on what they have going on, can’t wait to see them again and even has pictures of them up in our home. For all intents and purposes, you could say that the Yankees are like family to us.

MommaNut, PoppaNut

Our First Game Together

When we first began dating, I took PoppaNut to a Yankees spring training game for his birthday. You would have thought I gave him a million dollars the way his eyes lit up when he saw the tickets. We had a great time, and we keep going back for more. I can’t even tell you how many games we have been to together, but he probably could. You’ll see some photos of the games we have been to over the years in this post.

Just eight days after we tied the knot,

PoppaNut, MommaNut

Go Yankees!

we went to our first Yankees spring training game as husband and wife for PoppaNut’s 29th birthday. And I had a special surprise in store … the marquee lit up with “Happy Birthday, Steve. Love, Your Wife” during the seventh inning. It was such a blast seeing PoppaNut’s face during that moment. Now, I wish I had a photo of that.

Even more than visiting stadiums to enjoy the Yankees, we have a spare bedroom in our home dedicated to the team. You’ll find framed photos, an autogr

MommaNut, PoppaNut

Almost Saw a No-Hitter at This One

aphed ball, a M&Ms machine and a ton more lining the walls: all themed Yankees. We live in a townhouse so this is PoppaNut’s mancave in leu of a garage. He loves it, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

So, that’s life in a nutshell … truly loving what your PoppaNut loves because it makes him happy. Now, I’m going back to texting AT&T … I want that grand prize!


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