Friday, January 3, 2014

We drove, we saw, we won! - FIVE on FRIDAY

As I mentioned earlier this week, we took the long drive to Glendale, AZ to see UCF win the Fietsa Bowl against Baylor University, so with 6ish hours left of the drive, I figured I'd work on my Five on Friday post and our trip recap (sorry in advance, it'll probably be long)

The drive there wasn't that bad, I kind of recapped it during my earlier post but here is a little FlipaGram (btw this app is awesome!) documenting it! (PS. Hubby made it and  is a huge Eagles fan and they clinched their division as we were driving through Tx, while playing the Cowboys, so that is why that is in there). Took us 32 hours and ~ 2,200 miles to get there and 30 hours, 51 minutes; 2,165 Miles  to get home (that includes stopping, it's much faster when you don't get lost lol) The drive home was uneventful and we didn't many pictures - believe me, no one needs to see what I look like lol, but the few that were taken are in the video below.

During the drive, I've been able to finish 4 (well 5 if you count a short story prequel) books. I haven't had this much time to read in so long and I loved it!!  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight were both really good! I also read Diane Chamberlain's Necessary Lies which was amazing (although I'm a little biased since she's one of my favorite authors). - I also read the short story prequel called The First Lie. I threw in a kindle freebie called A Family Affair by Mary Campisi which was good (although predictable). 

We stayed in Downtown Phoenix, which by the way is the lamest city ever. I get that it was a holiday, but seriously it was incredibly dead. Even Starbucks! The most action in the 3 days we were there, was when we went to breakfast at Matt's Big Breakfast. (Was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drives, and Dives). We had to wait 45 mins, food was really good although I wouldn't wait 45 mins again, but being 10am on New Years Day, I guess it should have been expected. I saw more people there than I saw the entire rest of the time while walking around Downtown Pheonix (including going to 3 other restaurants and Starbucks). I did get a chance to meet up with my 2 cousins and Aunt and new baby cousin (does that make her like a cousin once removed or a 2nd cousin? I never know). It was nice to see them, it had been 8 years. I had been nervous it would be awkward since we hadn't spoken much on those 8 yrs besides FB comments and such but it wasn't awkward at all and I'm glad we got to get together! Our hotel was nice and we got an excellent deal on it since we got the employee discount from our friend so that was a plus but if we ever come here again we're totally staying in Glendale by the stadium, the nightlife seemed to be much more exciting there! 

We drove out to where the team was staying in Scottsdale (our big man-ly UCF Football players were staying at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, couldn't help but laugh at that) on the morning of NYE. We picked up some UCF Fiesta bowl gear and our commemorative tickets (our reason for going there) which showed all of the scores for the games this season. We explored the gorgeous resort, complete with a winter wonderland and $25 ice skating (which I wasn't paying to do but still cool they had it). We then went down to downtown Scottsdale since we heard there was another store with UCF gear, and the store was actually the Liberty Bowl Museum which turned out to not really be as cool as we thought it was and had the same stuff they had at the team hotel headquarters. (Plus ugly Baylor stuff too).  For NYE we went to a sports bar by the stadium called McFaddens. We knew the "place to be" was at the Mills Ave Block Party in Tempe but none of us felt like being super crowded and not able to get drinks so we chose what we hoped would be more low key (the UCF Alumni association was also supposed to be there but for some reason they weren't). It was definitely more low-key but we didn't make a decision on what we were doing early enough to get reserved seating so the only table we were able to find was outside and it was really cold. Good thing we were dressed casual and in sweatshirts plus they had heaters so it wasn't too bad and we made nice with the bar tender so drinks were served very quickly to us! We did get a chance to move inside towards the end of the night though. I was expecting the night to be more like the night before the Penn State game, and it wasn't, so I was slightly disappointed but I got to ring in the new year with my love and some great friends while making an awesome memory!

We couldn't decide what we were doing in advance so we picked up two 12pks, parked the car, and walked to the organized Fiesta Bowl tailgate. Well obviously we couldn't bring our beer into it and there was no re-entry so we decided to stay out and drink our beer first and hen decide if we wanted to go in. G wasn't feeling well so he wasn't drinking and went in to the tailgate to meet up with some friends that were already inside and I called some of my friends who were doing a normal tailgate in the parking lot and they invited us over there so we went over there to hang for awhile. Turns out they randomly parked next to a large group of people who went all out for the tailgate (they were locals who apparently come every year regardless of the teams playing). I mean they were grilling prime rib, ribs, burgers, dogs, etc. the spread was incredible and they had a full liquor bar, margarita machine, tons of beer and music playing. Best of all, they were the most friendly and generous people ever. Invited us right over to drink and eat and have a good time. We ended up staying there until the start of the game, it was a ton of fun and I got to hang out with my friends who drove in from Santa Barbara plus some other Florida friends. I think I speak for the group of us when I said it was an awesome time! 

The game was awesome! We had great seats on the 20 yard line, back row (which is our preference so we can stand and not bother anyone) the row in front of us was empty and so ewe had a lot of space to spread out and be comfortable. We were surrounded by (mostly) UCF fans and the atmosphere was so much fun. We played great, always ahead of Baylor (well they tied us once) and came out with an amazing victory of 52 to 42. (I was annoyed that it was impossible to get a picture of the scoreboard that was clear though!) UCF, the team who wasn't supposed to win (unless you ask the Phoenix Zoo Tiger who has now predicted the correct team 4 years in a row), the underdog, the team from the school that people don't hear about often enough, yea WE WON A BCS BOWL! We went in ranked 15 and beat the #6 ranked school. Just another milestone for UCF's incredible football season! We have come a long way from my first year at UCF where we were on a 17 game losing streak in a crappy conference. I couldn't be more proud to be a UCF Alumn! I'm very anxious to see where we end up in the rankings on Tuesday. We stayed after the end of the game to watch our team receive the Fiesta Bowl Trophy and continue to cheer them on. This was such an incredible experience and totally made the long drive worth it. (And the ride home not feel quite as long as it would if we would have lost). I won't lie, I didn't go into this thinking we'd win, I mean I was hoping we would but if we hadn't I wouldn't have been too shocked only because just getting to this bowl was a big deal and we were playing a "better" team.  Boy, am I glad I was wrong and the tiger was right! 

receiving the trophy

And just because I miss my baby girl so much (she stayed with my parents for the week) I figured I'd throw I'm a couple pics of her that my parents sent while we were gone. Can't wait to see her in a few hours, I swear she looks like she grew!!  (my parents really do need to learn to take better quality pictures *hint hint*)


  1. Good find on the tailgate! -Chris

  2. I have nominated you for the Liebster award, here is the link for you to find out the questions etc!


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