I Can’t Believe That I Have a 13 Year Old + Our Trip to Tampa

Please bear with me guys as I’m still in recovery mode from two back to back trips and trying to play catch up with my content. I have LOTS of stuff from the past few weeks to share with you guys, starting with my son’s 13th birthday with a ton of pics. Y’all know I get carried away with the pictures lol.


I can’t believe that I have a 13 year old. Yes a 13 year old. My does time fly. I remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday. His first birthday party. His first day of Kindergarten. Now my baby, wait let me rephrase that, my young man is 13 years old. It was a very sentimental day for me and I found myself really emotional, which I didn’t think would happen. I should’ve known better. To celebrate we had dinner at one of Esean’s favorite brick oven pizza restaurants, Barboncino in Brooklyn.

Barboncino Brooklyn Pizza

Barboncino Margherita Pizza

Fresh from the oven Margherita Pizza


After dinner we headed to his favorite doughnut spots, Dough (Brooklyn location.)


Dough Donuts Brooklyn

If you haven’t tried Dough you are truly missing out. Doughy puffs of goodness in decadent flavors that melt in your mouth. Featured here is Chocolate Salted Caramel, Chocolate with Cocoa Nibbs, Passion Fruit and Cafe au Lait. Yum.


Since 13 is a big birthday, Esean’s gift was a surprise trip to Tampa Florida. Well it was a surprise until my big mouth sister spilled the beans the week before lol. He was nervous to be on a plane since he hasn’t flown in years but he quickly got over it and enjoyed the flight. To make the best of our trip I purchased two Tampa Bay City PASSes so that we could enjoy five attractions for the price of one. First stop was the Museum of Science & Industry while we waited for our room to be ready. We had a good ol’ time for hours and it was so much to see.


By the time we got back to our hotel, the Hampton Inn & Suites Tampa North, it was time for the guest reception where on the house dinner and snacks were served, including fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. The hotel was one of the highlights of our stay. We really took advantage of the delicious huge continental breakfast served every morning, the complimentary shuttle to nearby attractions and the pretty pool in which we enjoyed that evening. We got up bright and early the next morning to enjoy breakfast and head to Busch Gardens.
Neither one of us are fans of roller coasters but Busch Gardens is so much more than just roller coasters, it’s like a giant zoo and amusement park in one. We were brave enough however to get on the Skyride (above) for an overhead view of the park, along with the Congo River Rapids, bumper cars and enjoyed a ride on the Serengeti Railway to tour the park and see the animals.


We also got in a few shows and games, and enjoyed watching others on the roller coasters which was quite amusing. We got rained on, I mean really RAINED on and had to run through the park to make it to our shuttle back to the hotel. We stopped on the way to get dinner from Chic-fil-A…

Chic-fil-A Tampa Bay

Every time I’m down south I have to hit Chic-fil-A as we don’t have this simple pleasure in NYC, except for a heat lamp location at NYU. However it’s currently in the works and coming soon. Since I’m now a Pescatarian I’ll have to enjoy just the fries and milkshakes *tears* 🙁

Sequin Bikini

After dinner we got in some more pool time.


The next day was a long but fun filled one. First stop, The Florida Aquarium. We did the trivia challenge and had to find sea creatures based on clues given in riddles. We quit half way through though because we were bored and just did our own thing.



Next stop, Channelside Bay Plaza for lunch at Thai Thani, which was quite the treat.

Thai Thani Tampa Channelside

Thai Thani Tampa Channelside

We then headed over to the Lowry Park Zoo where we enjoyed a bird show, the animal attractions and a African Safari ride tour with an up close view of safari animals.


Tampa Lowry Park Zoo Vacation

There was a special event going on at the zoo after dark, the Zoominations Chinese Light Festival. I had tickets but we had a 3 hour wait before it started so we met up with my friend Key and her cutie Seven to get some ice cream from Bo’s while we waited. Best soft serve I ever had!

Bo's Ice Cream Tampa


Bo's Ice Cream Tampa

Cookies ‘n Cream & Fudge Brownie

Tampa Lowry Park Zoo Zoominations

We really enjoyed Zoominations. The lanterns were a site to behold, so beautiful!

Tampa Lowry Park Zoo Zoominations

Tampa Lowry Park Zoo Zoominations


We got back to the hotel really late and just relaxed for the night and the next morning before we headed back to the airport. As a huge fan of Uber it was my best friend during this trip and I used it to go to and from all of the places that my hotel shuttle didn’t cover including the airport, aquarium and zoo. It was pretty inexpensive, made it easy for me to get around and I didn’t have to worry about carrying extra money for cabs. If you’ve never used Uber, you can get your first ride free (up to $20) if you sign up through my link here or use my code ericam127. Disclosure: I’ll get a free ride as well up to $20, but it’s a win win situation so give it a try. Anyway, as if I haven’t posted enough pictures you can see more pics from our vacation in the slideshow below.


When I’m not hunting down the latest and greatest beauty products, beating a face or lacing a do, you can find me roaming the streets of NYC in my stilettos looking for the next best restaurant. Or in the kitchen trying to outdo myself from the last time.

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  1. Kay
    07.23.2015 / 11:46 pm

    Now that is your twin face!!! Happy Bday to that wonderful young man. I have a little fellow of my own and it’s great sharing moments like that! Many blessings, more to come and so glad you enjoyed the trip.

    • Erica
      07.24.2015 / 1:53 am

      Everyone says he’s my twin lol. Thank you so much and many blessings to you and your little guy!

  2. Helen
    07.24.2015 / 3:38 pm

    This whole post was such a treat. My little man is 2. Can’t wait to share moments like this with him. Your son is such a handsome young man and you seem like a great mom. Enjoy and keep living it up! xo

    • Erica
      07.24.2015 / 3:44 pm

      Thank you so much Helen, I really appreciate that… and I fixed the typo. No worries! 🙂

  3. 07.25.2015 / 8:42 am

    Looks like y’all had a blast! I went to college in Tampa and so I didn’t really ever experience the tourist life but considering I’m an hour away from now, I’m thinking the family and I should do a road trip. Happy birthday to your handsome young man! Can’t wait to do these things with my son.

    • Erica
      07.25.2015 / 9:49 am

      Thank you so much. You should definitely do it. We had sooooo much fun and my little man couldn’t stop thanking me! 🙂

  4. 07.25.2015 / 11:26 am

    Awwww you both look like you had a blast! What a handsome young man! He will always be your baby…I’m a mother of an only child & my son turned 17 last month and sometimes I’ll hear him call me Mommy…children are such a gift and time just flies by….

    • Erica
      07.26.2015 / 1:39 am

      Awww that’s beautiful and you are so right. My little guy still calls me Mommy and I love it 🙂

  5. 07.27.2015 / 11:08 am

    Erica, I just read your article and I’m pleased to see you enjoyed Tampa and took advantage of the CityPASS! As you found out, we have a LOT to offer here in terms of attractions and there’s much more to see. Maybe you can check out Ybor City, the downtown museum district and the Tampa Riverwalk on your next trip! Sincerely,

    Dave Reynolds
    National/International Media Relations Manager
    Visit Tampa Bay

    • Erica
      07.28.2015 / 10:35 am

      Thank you so much. I definitely plan to return to Tampa to visit some more attractions. We had such an amazing time!

  6. 07.31.2015 / 9:29 pm

    If you ever come back to Tampa. Make sure to let me know. I live here. Would love to kick it with you. xx

    • Erica
      07.31.2015 / 10:35 pm

      Definitely! 🙂

  7. 08.15.2015 / 8:13 am

    Awwwww, you both looked like you had so much fun! Happy belated birthday to the young man!

    • Erica
      08.15.2015 / 8:33 am

      Thank you! xo

  8. Gail Briscoe-Beasley
    01.08.2016 / 9:50 pm

    Just found your blog, I think you are such a beautiful black woman and I enjoyed your tutorials on natural hairstyles. Thank you so much. I want my daughter to leave the weave alone and go natural as she has such beautiful hair of her own. I have transformed and love my hair really short like yours. Again Thank you so much and keep up the awesome work.

    • Erica
      01.09.2016 / 12:36 am

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m so glad that you found me. Your daughter will come around in her own time 🙂

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