Monday, April 4, 2011

KT's Refinishing School Spring Break: Aiukli-Because Life is Beautiful

Welcome back to another exciting week of guest bloggers as part of KT's Refinishing School Spring Break!  Mallori of Aiukli-Because Life is Beautiful is here to kick us off and will be sharing new details regarding the Spring Break trip she took a few weeks ago.  

I originally "met" Mallori thanks to her FLTOB feature and boy am I glad I did!  She is a fun and creative blogger and I love following her adventures as she wraps up her senior year of college.  I had the opportunity to participate in Mallori's Tell the World Tuesday a few weeks ago and am thrilled she agreed to be a part of this series!

Hello to all of KT's readers! My name is Mallori and I blog over at aiukli-because life is beautiful. (If you want to know more about my blog, you can find information just under my header in my pages list)

I am so very excited and honored to be guest posting here at KT's Refinishing School! This is my first-ever guest post, so I'm not exactly sure how well it will turn out.

Over at my blog, I shared the very basic of what my entire spring break entailed (spring break was the week of  March 14-18 for me). I kept it simple for many reasons: school immediately got crazy upon my return, I was exhausted, and I knew I needed some content for this guest post.

I would like to share with you my entire Thursday (St. Patrick's Day) in detail because honestly, it's the most exciting day (every other day we just layed around at the beach all day). A little background info: I'm a fifth year senior at The University of Oklahoma, and since I am graduating in May I wanted to treat myself to a fun spring break in a state I've never been to with friends only. We rented a beach house in Treasure Island, Florida.

I woke up from my somewhat coma groggy and with a headache around 9:30 a.m. The guys from our trip had gone out to a club and the four of us girls stayed at home and enjoyed playing drinking games to the movies The Hangover and Step Brothers. Needless to say the four of us really needed to sleep in. My roommate here at college was also up, as her body did not let her sleep in past 9:30 any day of the week. She and I went downstairs and realized that we were both terribly sunburned from the day before.

She and I had breakfast (bowls of cereal) and then talked about what we were going to do that day. Her mom had attended Eckerd College as an undergrad, and she wanted to go see the school. We had also talked about going to eat at Ted Peters' Famous Smoked Fish earlier in the week. After talking for less than five minutes, it was decided that she and I would go visit both the college, and then ask the rest of our spring break roommates if they wanted to join us for lunch at Ted Peters'. Once the other two girl roommates woke up, they told us they also wanted to join us at the college. Neither of the guys were too interested in the college, so the four of us set out to go look at Eckerd College.

Along the way, we saw a really cool resort that was pink, and then we also got stopped at a draw bridge (Treasure Island was completely surround by them):
Don Caesar's resort
one of the many drawbridges surrounding the island
Once we got to Eckerd College, I had the sudden urge to say "We're not in Kansas anymore." The college was SO SMALL in comparison to my large University of Oklahoma. Everyone around was in outfits that were beach ready, and people were walking by and seemed to know everyone. The only buildings that seemed to be more than one story were the library and the dormitories. HUGE difference than here. Also, maintenance men were driving around in their carts, and they got off the sidewalk to move around us! It was so weird to all of us because if you aren't careful on campus, you can get hit by golf carts and bikes.

We continued to explore to the back of the campus, and there was a beach behind it all.  A BEACH, PEOPLE! I would never be able to attend a college like this, because I would never go to class. I would just sit outside in the sun all day. There were lots of people out on a lawn in their bathing suits and tank tops laying out and getting some sun. There also were some hammocks on the beach, and of course me and the girls had to get in :)
my friends Colleen and Caroline

pretty flowers on campus
Once we had toured around the school (on our own) for about an hour, we started to head back home. On the way, we stopped by a souvenir shop to get some goodies to take back home. The one we stopped in happened to be in St. Pete Beach, so we had a difficult time finding anything that said Treasure Island. So I compromised and bought a shot glass that said "St. Pete Beach, Florida" but it had a skull and crossbones as the picture. I also bought a purple flip flop bottle opener key chain to replace the very heave one I currently had on my keys.

We went and picked up the boys from the house, and then made the trip to Ted Peters. By this time it was around 1 or so, so all of us were STARVING. Now, I'm not a big fish person, and I blame that on living in Oklahoma all my life where all of the good fish is never fresh because it has to be shipped from a coast. Because of this, I called my grandma to ask her which fish I was to try. I also wanted to try their German potato salad because my mom has a really good recipe and I wanted to compare. AND on top of that I wanted to try their Manhattan clam chowder because I heart soup, and I knew that I needed to try as much stuff as possible because I have no idea when I'll return.

Mimi (my grandma) convinced me that I needed to get the smoked mahi mahi because it would probably be one of the less fish-y tasting fish. Here is what the food looked like:
cup of Manhattan clam chowder

smoked mahi mahi, German potato salad, and two dipping sauces--horseradish and horseradish with Caribbean Jerk seasoning
It tastes even better than it looks. I'm not a fish eater, but that day I was. I don't know how, but I finished that entire 1-lb piece of fish, and wouldn't have minded going back again to eat it all over again. SO DELICIOUS. The clam chowder wasn't quite what I expected, and the broth was a little sweeter than I had imagined. The German potato salad was good, but my mom's is definitely better. And I've watched her make it enough to know exactly what theirs was missing to make it taste like mom's.
(but I still would recommend everyone trying it if they're ever down in Florida)

Once we all had eaten entirely too much, we headed back to the island to catch what little bit of sun was left before heading out for St. Patrick's Day. Since I was too burned for my taste, I decided to stay in and work on some school stuff that I had been putting off. Once everyone came back, we decided that we needed to find somewhere as soon as possible because one of us was not 21 just yet (I'm 23 so it's not me).

After doing a lot of googling, we decided on a restaurant called Gator's Cafe & Saloon because it advertised a Ladies' Night special and the kitchen was open until 10. Me being the good celebrator that I am got the reuben sandwich with fries. This was one of the top 3 reubens I've ever had, and trust me I've had my fair share. I seriously gobbled it up in probably 7 minutes and was licking my fingers for every last morsel. The kitchen closed at 10 and the bar opened up to replace it. The ladies' night special was phenomenal, free domestic drafts, well drinks, and house wine from 9-midnight. And there was a live cover band called Sunburn that had a good sound.
Gator's Cafe & Saloon

Live band called "Sunburn"

me enjoying the ladies' night special ;-)
Sunburn would play for a little bit, then they would have the DJ play for a little. We danced the night away. We were some of the youngest people there, but we didn't care because we were having a great time. For a minute there, we were afraid we were going to get kicked out because of the under-ager. But somehow  we managed to be able to stay until 1 a.m. when we called the guy who had stayed home to come pick us up. It was kind of scary at times, but we all had agreed that if they asked us to leave we would just leave.
Caroline and my roommate

me, Colleen, Caroline, Max

me, Colleen, my roommate, Max

this is my "I'm so happy that I'm in Florida for St. Patrick's Day" face
Cole came and picked us up, and we all got home and went to bed. As I lay in bed that night just before falling asleep, I had many thoughts. First, I missed my family and I wish they could see the beautiful beach. Second, I'm so blessed to be able to treat myself to the trip of a lifetime. Third, the friends I chose to surround myself with were truly a blessing. Fourth, I was so extremely happy at that point in time that I could have almost cried tears of joy (that might have been alcohol induced).

And that was the most interesting day of the most fantastic spring break trip I have been on to date.

So how did I do? Too wordy? Too many pictures? I hope you enjoyed my first guest post, and I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU to KT for letting me share a day in my spring break!

That looks like a great Spring Break trip!  When I was in college, I mostly traveled home for Spring Break since my family was in Southern California and I was going to school in the Midwest.  I wish I would have gone on a girls' trip like Mallori though!

A big thank you to Mallori for sharing all of her fun photos and memories from her trip.  Up next, a yummy recipe from Courtney at The Granola Chronicles you won't want to miss!


  1. Hey that is my beach area here in Tampa ;-) Everything looks familiar Gators is awesome!!! Looks like a great spring break!

  2. THANK YOU AGAIN FOR LETTING ME DO THIS!! I have been enjoying all of the spring break posts throughout the week and am excited to see what people think of mine today!

  3. Looks like a fun trip.


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