Getting this post in with 13 minutes to spare. Long day at work then headed to Orlando to the TSA Leadership Conference with 28 teenagers. Within five minutes of getting their keys, one entire room of boys lost all four keys. I can’t make this up. The drive up was unusually long and we are all tired. We have a full day tomorrow but I think that I have more downtime than at other competitions and I will be able to write a proper post complete with photos. OH, my daughter has started a blog after years of me hounding her. Go see her at Peonies and Paperclips. It’s work in progress, but I’m so proud of her. Ok, really too short to count, but at least I got a little bit of writing in.
As it appears that I’m going months between posts, I’m am going to participate in National Blog Posting Month, otherwise known as NaBloPoMo. It’s a sister event to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrMo). As there is no way that I’m going to write an entire this month, I’m going to try and write a blog post everyday and see how far I get. First off, there are some challenges. I’m leaving tomorrow for three days to chaperone 26 teenagers at a conference. I’m sure those blogs might be boring, but I can least attempt it! Coming this month will finally be my posts and photos of my road trip to Louisiana and my trip to photograph a wedding in Texas, something I have never done. I might even try some food blogging! Oh! Knitting makes a return too!I am really hoping that this jump starts how I feel about blogging and reminds me how much I used to love it. If you have anything you’d like me to address, put it in the comments and I’ll see what I can do. Here’s to hoping for a productive blogging month.
Several months ago, my friend Chip at Oceans and Lands Custom Travel Planners let me know that he was headed to my neck of the woods to explore the Village of the Arts in the middle of Bradenton. Since it had been years since I’ve explored that area, my husband and I decided to join him and Chris for the afternoon. The VOTA website describes the area like this: “The Village is an eclectic mix of early 20th century residential bungalows, Florida Cracker homes, and later additions. The neighborhood features a legal commercial overlay, which enables a rare live/work/play mix. Village boundaries stretch from 9th Ave West to 17th Ave West between 9th St West and 14th St West. Over 275 individual properties are within the Village. McKechnie Field, voted Florida’s best minor league ballpark is a block away, and downtown Bradenton and the Riverwalk, are within easy walking distance?.”
As the VOTA covers a large area, take a tip from my husband and snap a photo on your phone for easier reference. Thank goodness we did, because you can get turned around if you are too busy chatting with your friend. (cough…me….cough).
First things first, we were there for lunch and Chip had done some research and wanted to eat at Ortygia, a Sicilian restaurant owned by Chef Gaetano.
We were a little on the late side for lunch, it was nearly two, so we were a little concerned when no one was inside. Chef Gaetano popped his head of of the kitchen and welcomed us with open arms. Everything looked so good that we had a hard time deciding, so the chef sat down at our table (he also personally took our order and served us) and suggested options to each of us. He was so fun to talk to and we all said that we would go back. From what I have heard, his tiny restaurant can be difficult to get into on the weekends, especially during snowbird season.
Don’t let the tiny yellow house deceive you. Chef Gaetano served up some of the best Sicilian food that I have ever had. He even managed to please my super picky husband, who lived in Sicily and is very particular about food that claims to be true Italian.
As we were leaving, we ‘lost’ Chip. We wandered on down the street before we realized that he wasn’t with it. Turns out, he snuck in the kitchen to talk to the chef who was prepping for dinner.
If I remember correctly, this was a lamb dish. It smelled heavenly. (We also had dessert, but we all forgot to take a photo.)
Afterwards, in an effort to walk off lunch, we took a stroll through the village to check out the sites. As you can see, there are lots of colorful galleries and yard art. Sadly, lots of the galleries had closed for the day, but we all agreed that we would like to come back when it was cooler and participate in one of the many Art Walks that they stage. I think we managed to wear Chris and Scout out. I would highly recommend having lunch or dinner at Ortygia, it is worth the drive. Check out the Village of the Arts website for a calendar of upcoming events.
Let’s get this out of the way. I am a MAJOR fan of Amy Tan of Amy Tangerine fame. I love her spirit, her quirkiness and her ability to make me want to get out of my rut and craft something. When I heard that she was going to be at Whim So Doodle in St. Pete, I jumped on the phone and made a reservation for her Scripting with Watercolor class. I had missed her last year when she was in town, and I wasn’t going to miss her this time. I have been watching Amy write with watercolors and a waterbrush for a while now and I was intrigued as to how she made it look so…not like a two year did it…which is how mine looked. So Wednesday, May 11, after work, I drove over the Sunshine Skyway to Nirvana…aka, Whim So Doodle for a class. I walk in the door and Amy is standing there at the cash wrap. For two seconds I was totally star stuck, something I’m not usually. After trying not to act like an idiot, I proceeded to shop a little since there was some time before class. I picked up a few things, my favorite being this Whim So Doodle Stamp Set that Amy designed. Isn’t it adorable? I can’t wait to break this out and use it. (Check out the flamingo.)
The coffee cups are adorable and one of them is going to my daughter. (She has a slight addiction to her local Starbucks)
Isn’t this chalk sign adorable? I don’t know how wrote this out, but that person has some serious skills.
Paint, a Tim Hotlz Detailer brush, two Amy Tangerine traveler’s notebooks, craft tags, a script booklet, plus (what you can’t see) a practice notebook and some watercolor paper.
Amy is an awesome teacher! The class was small so she got to spend some one on one time with each of us, encouraging us and showing us tip and tricks to make lettering not so stressful!
I had so much fun, and I have decided to try more classes and to get out of my box. Thank you Whim So Doodle and Amy! Come back soon!
In nearly two years of photographing Puppy Raiser Day, this is probably the one photo that truly defined for me why we raise puppies. I know we talk about the want a puppy/need a puppy, but today, this sweet lady was crying before she even got to Carol and Bob. Carol got up and hugged her and they stood that way for several moments with her just crying. All I could hear was ‘thank you’ or ‘thankful’, I couldn’t make it out, but the sheer emotion of what this sweet lady was feeling was something that can’t be described. Treehousepuppies.com have pet reviews to read so you are clued up about everything dog related. This is why we raise those puppies, and this is what I will remember when we turn in Aja next month. (meanwhile, Tiki has figured out that she knows these people and headed over to the bench…lol)