Girls night.... sometimes we modify but we do not skip~!
When we started the tradition six years ago we needed to connect with our homegirls and make quality time for our selves! Girl power is a real thing. When the women get together it’s refreshing and restoring to our beings. It’s easy for busy working women mamas to get caught up in the day to day and lose sight our friendships and even ourselves. Our getaways were well planned weekends to include down time, good food, some exploring in the fresh air and a night out on the town we are visiting. A group of ladies who had all crossed path in different places, some life long bonds, others through work or kids, but we formed a tribe.
Previous Trip to Saint Petersburg, 2018
We’d decided to have quarterly girls’ nights. We would find a place halfway between all of our home, find good quality/ cheap hotel rooms, split the costs and spend a couple days together laughing, venting and enjoying the grown-up time. There is usually karaoke there is always dancing! In any event, we were on a roll! Quality good times makes for better moms/ women back at home.
At some point quarterly turned to semiannual, and then to annual ☹. Life gets busy. Kids get into sports and parents and households can be demanding to manage. But we all kept in touch and looked forward to our quality time away from the world just us being our tribe :-)
Our most recent trip was to Cocoa Beach and we had been missing each other...
We had already been planning something fun in April when Covid attacked in March - shutting down much of the country. Like the upstanding citizens we are, we did the responsible thing and postponed. All summer long we watched and waiting wondering if it was safe to get together? Was it a good idea to travel to another town? Was it a good idea to be around each other? What is one of us was asymptomatic and then exposed our friends and our friends took it back home to their loved ones? And of course, we are all in different modes of protecting ourselves and our families. But still as the year was winding down it had been well over a year since our last girls’ weekend and we were willing to modify, we were not willing to continue to just skip!
Enter the solution: Coming In Hot Boating Experience.
Based out of Tampa, this new business is a decked out pontoon boat that can services up to six at a time, making your good time their priority! Who does not need that in their lives? You choose the music and they DJ your occasion. There are disco lights and a dance floor. They set the table with champagne. They take all your pictures. They literally make it so you don’t have to worry about anything and can focus on enjoying the ride, the breath taking view of Tampa. and just having an adventure! Which is exactly what we did. We planned a night around a boat ride to get into the holiday spirit, but also to make a positive memory with those we cherish before this crazy year ended.
Being that we hadn’t seen each other in over a year, and we’ve all been working through the pandemic we did have lots to catch up with! We met at Ricks On The River for lunch. It was a warm day in Tampa but a bit breezy. We sat outside enjoying the live music and weather. The band had a good variety of music mainly popular rock songs, and we ordered some food and drinks, and enjoyed our view overlooking the river.
Ricks on the River
*Perfect pina colladas.
*I wish I’d gotten the bigger burger
I ordered the 1/4 lb burger and it looked like a slider the 1/2 lb was what I needed.
*Fries were good. Cajun fries were great.
*Great place to hang out for a while!
My friend Chrissy surprised us all with glasses made for each of us who came. They all had a saying she had made with a cricket. Mine read “I’m just here for the food” and on the back we all had a hashtag for #covidsucks. So true. Surviving 2020 meant we overcame the toilet paper shortage, and social distancing mandates. We don’t even want to talk about the masks, schools, or any other CDC guidelines! We did however keep our girls night out in the open fresh air.
While we were still eating, BJ and Barbara, the Captain and First Mate from Coming in Hot, came over to let us know the boat was ready when we were. They had docked behind Rick’s and decorated for us. A few pictures and we transitioned over to the boat. It was a short walk as they were able to meet us at our choice of location, how convenient! No driving!!
The pontoon itself has luxury features. Riding around on a 24-foot Avalon Tritoon watching the sunset behind beautiful Tampa, which lights up for Christmas time is one way to adjust your mindset. I have been all over Tampa before but never having seen it from the water. I now have a new perspective in appreciation of this city! How festive their Christmas lights are displayed. There are lit up trees on many rooftops, Santa’s everywhere you look, and Rudolph’s everywhere else! Nothing was undecorated wherever we looked :-) even the bridges change colors from red to green adding to the Christmas flair!
Before heading out we popped the bottle of champagne and cheers to good health and great times! We took a few pictures as a group and the all did our white elephant gift exchange. If you have never done this before it is a gift exchange system where each participant brings one gift. Each person is assigned a number and from lowest to highest they each pick a gift, opening it for all to see. The person assigned the next number is able to choose a new gift or steal one they like from another participant. I had purchased a bottle of cucumber mint vodka, which was stolen a few times! I picked a set of coasters that have very nasty language, which I needed in my life. This was a great way to get the holiday mode started. I'd never played this game before and it was a fun way to get the night going.
Before we got moving, we put in some music requests. After that it was smooth cruising! They have a 52 quart cooler full of ice for whatever drinks you bring and the first mate even retrieved them when needed. She really is organized and helped us to keep track of the stuff storing it and pulling it out as we needed.
Barbara and BJ docked where ever we wanted to we could get out and sight see, use the bathroom or take photos. They are professional and fun. They had some great recommendations and even drove us to see some of the “famous” houses and locations. There was some hooting and hollering along the way lol.
This is the part I love.... The dancing, the good times, making memories, on the water...
On one such stop we got out by the Glazer's Children's Museum where they also had a huge ice skating rink set up and a winter wonderland. While we were there to use the bathroom and keep boating, we did get a good idea for our next family adventure. We do plan to go back. Tampa river walk is a local walk way that is scenic, and while we rode by in the boat we passed many walkers and joggers. There are parks, art, and tree lined walk ways along the water that create a great trail. We were all feeling the appreciation of a place we know, seen as a beautiful place to live and play.
Once we got out into the Bay it got a little chilly. Not a problem. They happened to have cozy blankets for us to use! The music played, and we just wanted to keep the moment alive...
Girls night 2020 was a success! It did not end as usual in a hotel room, we all went back to our local homes, (except for me I stayed with some of my girls for the night). I wasn’t driving 2 and a half hours that late…. We went back to Laurie’s, ordered a pizza and kept talking, laughing and eventually went to sleep earlier than usual. Something very relaxing about being out on the water!
If you are local to the area, or would like to plan something in the Tampa area – Coming in Hot is a year-round business that we will use again and I’d suggest to anyone in need of an adventure, or new perspective. Now that we’ve been out with the girls, we are all planning to come back with our families.
One of our themes for the evening started as "you only live once". - YOLO
Our First mate however pointed out mid ride that you actually only die once, you live every day!
We all adopted this new realization and adjusted - YODO!
Now I love my kids, but I have learned if I don't take the time for myself I can't give them a fully functioning mom who can keep up. The power of friends can not be underestimated. Find your tribe, and make memories :-)
But most of all, if I can encourage you to get out and enjoy the people you love most I have done my job!!
Savvy Single Mama