My Funny Valentine



Did you make homemade valentines growing up? There's not much I loved more than my mom pulling out those craft boxes and getting to work making them for my entire class from scratch. From writing new "roses are red..." poems every year to painstakingly cutting out victorian characters and gluing them onto doilies, then onto folded red cardstock, making these unique creations were SO FUN. Basically every one had to be embellished with little pearls, glitter, little foam hearts or flowers.


That's kind of the approach I took with this outfit I put together: ruffles, sparkles, and lots of embellishments! Layer it on like you're a third grader doing crafts! I picked up a vintage metallic pleated maxi skirt and drop heart earrings on our recent trip to Tampa, and I knew immediately they'd be perfect styled for the holiday of love! 


I also love, love, love this frilly pink top, which is now too short for me to wear over my ever-growing bump with pants, but it works tucked into this super high-waisted skirt. Obviously, I needed a red beret, because berets are my life right now, and they add a fun trendy retro flair to anything. That's like the puffy heart embellishment atop the valentine that is my outfit.

nice red lip and pink-tinted sunglasses are just a nice added layer, like doilies and glitter. More is more here, people!

Oh, and white booties are my go-to for everything and I think are just so perfect and lovely for winter. 










Do you dress up for Valentine's Day? I definitely commit a whole week to decking myself out. If nothing else, it infuses a little fun into an otherwise dreary and cold month! 💕

And now, I leave you with this year's poem: 

Roses are red
My bump is growing
I love taking photos
When it is snowing

(I think I'm a little rusty, ha!)

XOXO,
Molly



Outfit Details: 
Top (similar)
Skirt (similar)
Red Beret (similar)
Earrings (similar)
Pink Sunglasses (similar)
White Booties (similar)
Red Lipstick

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A Guide to 48 Hours in Tampa/St. Pete




If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen that I've been posting about our little babymoon to Tampa/St. Pete for the last couple of weeks, and I'm SO excited to finally share a guide of what to do there with only 48 hours!

I will have to say, Tampa was never on our list of places to visit, but when my husband had a work conference there and we had enough Southwest points to cover my flight and credit card points to cover the Air Bnb? Well, we jumped at the chance for this little babymoon, because, come May, who knows when we'll be traveling again. The more research I did into the area, the more excited I got planning our trip. Now, having been there, I can now enthusiastically say I would love to go back!

If you're like us, and only have a couple of days, I've narrowed down the must-dos. We were there for 3 1/2 days, but I'll say in all honesty, not everything we did was a winner, so this won't just be a list of everything we did, just the places we really loved and would recommend. It should fit perfectly in a 48-Hour window.

I feel like I should also preface this post with saying my husband and I aren't really beach people. Number one: we're just super pale (our poor child may come out transparent). Number two: a vacation to us is not sitting and relaxing. We can do that at home on our couch. (Yes, I know this sounds insane to some people.) But, we want to be out eating good local food, seeing art, culture, eating good food, learning about history, and eating good food (see a pattern there?). You could easily spend two days in Tampa doing beach-centered relaxing stuff, but that's not really our jam. I've included a couple of great beach walks though, because you should definitely at least walk on a beach when you're in the area.

As cool as Tampa is, we realllly loved the nearby St. Pete, which is less than a 30 minute drive, so I would recommend doing one day in each! We did rent a car, and highly recommend that, but everything is fairly close together, so you could visit without one.

ST. PETE

Intermezzo/Baum Ave Market

This is a great place to kick off your trip! Intermezzo is a very cool little coffee/cocktail place with really well done drinks and classic pastries. It's connected with Baum Ave Market, so you can walk freely between the two. Baum Ave Market, an airy, plant filled food hall currently houses Valhalla Bakery, an all-vegan bakery with a killer strawberries and cream tart (I 100% would have taken the s'mores bars to go if they wouldn't have melted in the car), Serene Smoothie Bar, and Avocado Valley Mediterranean Eatery. 

Saturday Morning Market

If you're in St. Pete on a Saturday, don't miss the Saturday morning market! This local market is a like a farmer's market on steroids. From fresh produce to tamales, to fresh juices, crafts, and everything in between, it's as much fun to wander and people-watch as it is to check out the wares. There's also live music and an area by the beach to walk along as you sip your fresh juice and mingle with the locals. 

Sunken Gardens

The Sunken Gardens in St. Pete is a really cool stop! It's kind of just right in the middle of the city, but features a 100-year old park with over 50,000 tropical plants and flowers. It also houses flamingoes, turtles, birds, and other small critters. For going on a beautiful Saturday morning, we were surprised at how not busy it was. Yes, there were lots of other people there, but there was no standing and fighting for a spot to see birds, or elbowing people out of the way. It's set up as a network of paths that you kind of follow in your own order, so it was nice to leisurely stroll as we marveled at the beautiful trees and learned about the species and history of the plants and animals we were surrounded by. And, ok, can we just take a moment to appreciate their amazing retro road sign?










The Library

The Library, until recently known as The Peabody, is housed in a hospital, but is neither a library nor a hospital. It's a fun and unique restaurant that's just perfect for a late lunch stop! From hundreds upon hundreds of blue books lining the shelf, to lush navy details everywhere, you may feel like you've walked straight into a movie set. I wanted something light and fresh and the avocado toast and fruit were perfect. (Yes, they serve brunch late on Saturdays!). My husband got the burger and it was great, too. Go for the ambiance, stay for the great food and service!





Gizella Kopsick Palm Arboretum

So, there's no actual arboretum building, which really confused us at first, but it's instead just a little pathway right near the beach with about 500 palms and little descriptions of each of them. It's a quick walk, but a lovely one, and the whole area next to it, Vinoy Park Beach, is great. It was filled with people rollerblading, playing volleyball, and hanging in hammocks. That top photo of me with the palm trees? Taken right on that beach. A quick stop, but a really lovely one.



Murals

As you're making your way around St. Pete, one thing will really stand out: an abundance of murals! Driving around, I said you could probably make one full day of photographing the murals of St. Pete, which vary from more classic, to street art, to retro, and everything in between. Clicking the link above gives you a map of some of the best street art to check out, but every neighborhood is covered with gorgeous painted brick, so be sure to hop out and snap pics as you go throughout your day!






The Don CeSar

This retro classic hotel looks like it's out of an old-timey movie set, but this is real life and you can run around snapping photos in front of it! They also have a bar and restaurant, so you can walk into and out of the hotel, and then along the beach there as well. It started getting cool and windy as we were walking, but it was a gorgeous way to watch the sun set by this gorgeous building!









Hyppo Gourmet Ice Pops

Where do I begin on my love for these ice pops? From blackberry lime, to cilantro jalapeno, to mango chia seed, and dark chocolate avocado, they have something for every palate. And yes, we visited three different locations three times while we were there. I'm pregnant, so please withhold your judgement. And get yourself to one of the Hyppo locations. 





TAMPA

Grain and Berry

I will say, we had every intention of going to Datz for breakfast, which we'd heard great things about, but this preggo gal wanted something light with cold fruit and lots of it! This smoothie bowl stop was delicious! I got the dragonfruit bowl and my husband got the spirulina bowl, and we were able to learn all about the health benefits in each of those while we sat an munched away. Highly recommend!




Oxford Exchange

This was basically everyone's recommendation of what to do in Tampa, and with good reason! It's a hybrid restaurant/coffee shop/tea shop/retail space/bookstore/Warby Parker. We ate at the restaurant and I had the best French toast of my life! Not even kidding. It has a fun old world cosmopolitan feel and the retail area has some really unique, well curated items that are fun to peruse. Even if you just stop by for a coffee, be sure to stop by!







Wat Temple Sunday Market

If you happen to be in Tampa on a Sunday, and you're up for some good Thai food, you should probably go out to the Thai Sunday market. All sorts of Thai vendors are selling food in a short window from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm, with everything from jerky to fruit desserts to pho. The line for pho was incredibly long, so we knew we had to get some! You can eat your food in a large sparse food hall, but it was quite tasty, and there's plenty of outdoor seating if the weather is a little nicer. 



Ybor City Museum State Park

I'd heard we'd needed to check out Ybor City, a historic part of Tampa with a rich history in cigar-making. Chickens run around on the streets and it feels like something out of a movie. There were a couple of really neat vintage stores that had loads to look at. But, I'll be honest, walking through on a Sunday afternoon, we were just bombarded with drunk people. From like every direction. It was gritty and not really what we'd expected. However, the highlight was the most quaint historical tour at the State Park building. The museum tour likely hasn't been updated since the mid-80s and it included a VHS video in it, but it was so informative and really added a lot of historical context to Tampa and immigration into the area. It was really cheap, and if you're curious about Ybor or history, I would highly recommend it!





Hyde Park Village

This outdoor shopping center has a lot of classics you can find in most cities, from Pottery Barn to Anthropologie, to West Elm. However, there are lots of local shops mixed in as well, and there are fun murals everywhere. There's definitely lots of construction popping up, so it's still up-and-coming. A nice place for a stroll and a peruse around the lovely residential Hyde Park. Also, another Hyppo location. So, that's a no-brainer.

Buddy Brew

This coffee shop has a few locations in Tampa, including inside the Oxford Exchange! However, the tiles an ambiance at this one in Hyde Park really beat out the others in my opinion. Maybe I did it for the 'gram, but how can you not stop to take a pic of this floor?

Hall on Franklin

This would be a great stop for lunch! This food hall makes it easy on you, because there's just on waiter or waitress for all the different restaurants, and you can order things from all different places at one time. We were in Tampa the week before Gasparilla, a historic pirate festival, and I was surprised with an amazing Pirate latte!

Mandarin Hide

This cool bar and cocktail place would have been even cooler if it wasn't so cool outside the day we were there. Their outdoor area is decked out with faux greenery, flamingoes, and gorgeous tilework. The inside was comfy-cozy and well-decorated with leather, fun light fixtures and a gold garage door for the bar to open up to outdoors. They make their own bitters and other cocktail components and the mocktail they whipped up was also spectacular. Great drinks, great photo ops, all we needed was a nice, sunny day!



Tampa Museum of Art

This art museum is actually fairly small, as far as art museums go. We were easily able to get in and out in an hour. I was bummed that we arrived too late to get into the Yayoi Kusama Love is Calling Exhibit I'd seen advertised. So, if you want to get any special exhibit tickets, be sure you don't wait until afternoon to go, or get them online ahead of time. There was a great Robert Indiana exhibit as well, but that was the bulk of what was at the museum. For a busy day, about an hour there was just the perfect amount of time!






We stopped here for cocktails, and it looks like an amazing spot for dinner as well. Everything, from the decor, to the food, to the service, was just well done. And, they made an amazing strawberry shrub mocktail too! It's easy to make dumbed-down overly sweet mocktails, so I knew they were the real deal when they treated this preggo chick to something tart, complex, and delicious.

Taco Dirty

This taco place served some seriously good tacos. I could have eaten 234 more at least, but I had to draw the line somewhere. On top of stellar food, they have a couple of really stellar murals and an overall fun vibe. I also wanted to visit their sister restaurants, Sweet Soul Soho and Fresh Kitchen, but we only had so much time. If they're anywhere as good as Taco Dirty, I can recommend those with gusto without even having been there. You an also just stop by here for an afternoon snack and grab a single taco!





Shop my Black Dress/Pink Jacket look HERE
Shop my Overalls Outfit HERE
Shop my Colorful Striped Sweater HERE
Shop my Sheer Pink Ruffle Top HERE

We had so many things on our list to do, we weren't able to make it to all of them (when you have 45 restaurants you want to try in 3 days, that's just not possible), but here's a list of other stops we've heard good things about as well:

The Dali Museum, St. Pete: I've heard great things about this. However, my husband has already been and I've been to the Dali Museum in Barcelona, (I know, I know, it's not exactly the same thing), and I've heard how crazy crowded it can get. Honestly we just didn't want to brave it on a Saturday, but probably would have on a weekday. 

The Chihuly Collection, St. Pete: I've heard this is great too! We spent a long time going through a Chihuly museum in Seattle a couple of years ago, so we didn't feel the need to go, but if you haven't seen Chihuly's amazing glasswork, it would be worth a visit!

Have you been to Tampa/St. Pete? Let me know what your favorites were that I have to hit up next time!

Check out my other 48 Hours in city guides here:

Barcelona

Provence

Paris


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