There is a saying that “good girls keep diaries and bad girls don’t have time”. To me, blogging is just a notch above keeping an online diary. As a kid I used to wish for ESP (the ability to read minds – in case I have to dumb it down). Now all I have to do is read someone’s online blog or social media posts to see what they are thinking. You can certainly see what is on a person’s mind by their social media rants. That’s probably the downside of ESP that I never thought of.
I haven’t really had the time to blog lately. It’s not that I’m at a loss for words. Anyone who knows me personally knows I’m never at a loss for words. I’ve just been so busy. I haven’t been “bad”, I just haven’t had time to write it all down. The other day I was thinking about how many times I’m asked about the places I go to eat and shop and spend time. I have friends and acquaintances and clients that ask me where is the best place to go for certain things. They will call me, text me, and email me. I figured why not write this stuff down?
Here are some recommendations for the weekend if you are looking for things to keep you busy. Keep in mind that I live in Tampa Bay so many of my recommendations will be for this area, but you can customize to where you live.
1. See this: The Florida Orchestra presents “Broadway Now!” at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. The FO will be performing Broadway musical hits from some of the most beloved shows such as Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, and Jersey Boys. This is going to be great. For more information on upcoming shows and tickets visit http://www.strazcenter.org
2. Drink this: I only drink 3 things really. Water, coffee and red wine. Sometimes I have a nice cup of tea. My favorite tea this winter has been Egg Nog tea. Super yummy. I love to drink pink colored drinks because I love the color pink. It’s a happy color. So here is one of my favorite drinks at Starbucks…but it’s not on the menu. Try an iced chai latte with raspberry syrup. I drink mine with 2 pumps of raspberry (the normal amount is 4 pumps, but I don’t like it too sweet) and I use soy milk instead of cow’s milk. It’s super yummy and it’s a beautiful dark pink color. You can also try an iced chai with toffee syrup or cinnamon dolce. Wicked good. Cheers!
3. Eat this: My daughter is vegetarian so I am always looking for good meat alternatives. My two boys and I love meat so it’s usually pretty disappointing when we try “meat” alternatives. The food industry is really trying to come up with some great alternatives to meat and they usually involve soy. But if you’ve got a vegetarian who isn’t crazy about soy then it’s an issue. Recently at Whole Foods I found a pre-packaged “burger” mix that was made from oats and quinoa. It was BBQ flavor, but they come in 12 yummy flavors. Joe’s Oat Patties are delish! One package cost me about $7 but it was super easy to make (just add hot water to mix and make like regular burgers) and I got 6 patties out of one mix. Not bad! Want more information? Go to http://www.joesoatpatties.com or facebook.com/lovethoseoatpatties
4. Watch this: Soul Pancake is one of my favorite new obsessions. It was started by Rainn Wilson (AKA “Dwight” on “The Office”) and he asks soul-searching questions and makes you think about the deeper things – all while being wicked funny. Oprah Winfrey loves Soul Pancake too, and airs the show on her OWN cable network. Soul Pancake also has a You Tube channel. I highly recommend subscribing. Some of the videos will make you laugh and others will move you to tears. One of my favorite SP peeps is “Kid President” also known as KP. Kid President is trying to make the world a more awesome place. Funny – so am I. Make it a point to watch Soul Pancake on the OWN network, subscribe to SP on YouTube, and then enjoy all the thought-provoking questions and videos. Visit http://www.soulpancake.com . You’re welcome!
5. Listen to this: I love music. Absolutely LOVE music. The best gift someone could give me would be music in any form – A concert, an iTunes gift card, a new CD of an upcoming band…I just love music. Over the summer I bought the Gotye “Making Mirrors”, the Justin Bieber (don’t judge) “Believe”, the Maroon 5 “Over Exposed” and the Jimmy Fallon “Blow Your Pants Off” CD’s. I love them all! Recently Starbucks gave me a free single download of Bruno Mars song “If I Knew” for being a card holder/loyal customer. I love Bruno Mars. I love this new single. I went on iTunes and got to listen to clips of the rest of the songs on the “Unorthodox Jukebox” CD and I think I’m going to download the rest of the songs. It’s so good. You can listen to clips of all his songs on iTunes. Do it.
6. Make this: Immunity Smoothie! Flu season is in full swing and here in Florida so is allergy season. I have been pretty darn healthy (knock on wood) for the whole season and I don’t get vaccinations. (Don’t judge or send hate mail or leave snarky comments please). What I do just about every day is make an immunity smoothie for me and my kids. It’s wicked yummy and so good for you. Take about 8 oz. of juice – up to your personal preference as to the kind. I use V8 V-Fusion blends like Acai mixed berry. You could also use any kind of milk or water if you don’t want the sugar from juice. So 8 0z. of liquid 🙂 blend with frozen berries or fruit of your choice. I use frozen blueberries or mixed berry blend. I use about 1/2 cup of frozen berries (if you use fresh berries then add more ice). Berries are high in antioxidants and are super foods. Blueberries are alkaline foods so they are cancer fighting. Sometimes I add a 1/2 of a fresh banana if I have one. Add about 1/2 cup of yogurt of your choice. If you’re on the Greek yogurt bandwagon then add that. For my vegan friends I love to use almond or coconut or soy yogurt in place of regular yogurt. Then add your greens. I use a scoop of powdered greens when I have it. Otherwise I use frozen spinach. Fresh baby kale is good too. Kale is an anti inflammatory food so it’s great if you’re retaining water. Just pop in a handful. Add a few ice cubes and 1 TBSP of flax seeds (high in omega 3). Puree in a blender and enjoy. This makes a great breakfast replacement or an afternoon snack.
7. Do this: Take a walk outside! Get off the treadmill (weather permitting) and take in the sunshine and fresh air. We are lucky enough to live in the sunshine state so go get some natural Vitamin D. We have Bayshore Blvd. here in Tampa bay with 4.5 miles of uninterrupted sidewalk along the water. It’s breathtaking! Many people take advantage of it. There are runners and roller bladers, bikers, walkers and people out for a leisurely stroll with their pets or their kids. We also have great parks here in Tampa bay. Two of my absolute favorites are Cypress Point Park and Curtis Hixon Park. Cypress Point is a hidden gem that not many people know about. It has covered pavilions, a small beach, a beautiful walking trail with wild flowers and tall grasses, BBQ grills, a pretty clean public restroom, and lots of open grass and space with picnic tables all through the park. Ample FREE parking too! My neighbor and I walk there all the time. Curtis Hixon Park is downtown and is wide open with a river walk, a playground, large open spaces and an amphitheater. There are concerts that take place here too. It’s family and pet friendly and it’s next door to two great museums. The Tampa Museum of Art and the Glazer Children’s Museum. The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is within walking distance too. Awesome cultural experiences and a view of UT. Not too shabby. For more information on the parks go to http://www.tampagov.net/parks
8. Read this: I love reading. I used to volunteer at a library. I love books. I still have actual books (not an e-reader) and bookshelves full of books. I also love magazines and online blogs. One of my favorite new blogs is “Hello Giggles” http://www.hellogiggles.com. It’s funny, witty, entertaining and there are great how-to videos. I also LOVE “The Daily Love” by Mastin Kipp. http://www.thedailylove.com. He is not just about motivation. He is candid and honest and asks the deeper questions. He has cool guest bloggers too. I read it everyday and I post the “visual inspiration” to FB. I’m spreading the love. Better than spreading the cold virus. If you read lots of blogs (like I do) then you can get them all categorized and sent to your inbox through Bloglovin.com. If you’re a magazine fan like I am then some of my favorite mags are fashion focused. (Big surprise!) I get Marie Claire and InStyle delivered to my door. I also pick up Lucky Mag and Vanity Fair on the regular. For local magazines I love Panache Vue and Tampa Bay Metro. Panache Vue will mail you a copy for free. You can also view online. If you like hard cover books like I do, you should read anything by Malcolm Gladwell. I don’t read much fiction, so you won’t find me with a “Fifty Shades of Gray” in my hand anytime soon. I love “The Tipping Point” by Gladwell but I also recently read “The Outliers” and “Blink”. All good. While you’re lounging in the park (see suggestions above) you can read a good book.
9. Wear this: A dress! One of my favorite wardrobe staples is the DRESS. You know what’s good about a dress? You put it on, you’re dressed. No worries about does this skirt match this shirt, etc. All the work is done for you. Top and bottom all in one. There are dresses for every occasion (you can read some of my other blogs about this topic). Sundresses, day dresses, cocktail dress, Little Black Dress (LBD), gowns and formal dresses, wedding/bridesmaid dresses, convertible multi-way dresses, maxi dresses, mini dresses…so many options! If I’m shopping at the farmer’s market I might slip on a sundress. Lunch with the girls? Day dress. Dinner date? Cocktail dress. After work cocktails? Little Black Dress. You get the point. You get a lot of mileage out of a dress. A good fashion/wardrobe stylist like me can tell you which dress is the best for your body type.
10. Look at this: Cute pictures of animals and babies are proven to enhance our moods. So when you see your friends posting a picture of puppies, kitties, and babies doing adorable stuff – stop and take a minute to look at it and enjoy it. If you don’t smile immediately and feel better, even for a second, something is definitely wrong with you.
11. Try this: Go to a new place you’ve never been before. Each week or each month try something new. A new restaurant or a new museum or catch a new show at your local theater company. Try a new night club or a new bar and ask if they have any new or specialty drinks. Try out a new local boutique. Shop small business and support local biz owners. Make a new friend or rekindle and old friendship and make it new again. Take a class at a local home improvement, craft or fabric store. Many places offer Saturday classes that teach a new skill such as planting a flower box, kids crafts and sewing or quilting. I love learning about new places and foods and drinks and clothes. I love learning new skills and over the years have taken pottery classes, sewing classes, jewelry making classes, rubber stamping classes, scrap booking classes, gardening classes, re-upholstering classes, and more. My friend Karyn and I are going to take some cooking classes soon. I won a certificate to a cooking school called “The Rolling Pin”. Can’t wait to see what lies ahead. Some things I have stuck with (like sewing) and other things I have left behind (like furniture re-upholstering) – but I always enjoyed the process.
12. Enjoy this: Free and nearly stuff is all around us and with a little digging we can find it and reap the rewards. Aveda retail shops and salons will usually give you a free aromatherapy treatment or hand massage. Mary Kay ladies will treat you to free facial products to try and will instruct you on how to use them. The Fresh Market, Publix, Whole Foods and many other stores that sell prepared or deli food will let you sample their foods so you know you like it before you buy a pound of it. Speaking of Publix – the Greenwise Publix on Azeele/Armenia has free wine tastings every Saturday from 4-7pm. Taste wines from all over the world. They have great BOGO specials on wines that other Publix stores don’t have. Total Wines on N. Dale Mabry Hwy. usually does a wine tasting on Saturdays as well. Bottoms up! Love Chocolate? Many chocolatiers will give samples to try. My fave places in Tampa are Schakolad on S. Howard Ave, Toffee to Go on Bay to Bay Blvd., and Godiva Chocolates in the International Plaza Mall. Is there a new gym opening in your area? There are here in Tampa! Orange Theory Fitness and LA Fitness just opened up nearby. That’s in addition to the 20+ other gyms within a 5 mile radius of my house. These gyms have sent me coupon mailers for a free week at their gyms just to try it out. I also have a coupon for a free personal training session. Many personal trainers will offer you a free session if you ask nicely and show a sincere interest in purchasing a training package down the road. Birthday freebies abound! Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Sephora, Moe’s Mexican, and many more will give you a free item, meal or drink on your birthday. All you have to do is join their email list or loyalty card club. AllYou.com has free samples on their website all the time. You can try out everything from eye cream to laundry detergent. There are other coupon and freebie sites out there too. Do a little online research and you too can enjoy new things for FREE!
Well there you have it. I will try to do more lists for you. If you are a friend of mine on FB, foursquare or follow me on Twitter you’ll see many of the places I go and things that I do. This weekend I’m going to try something new, go places I’ve not been in a while, and enjoy the sunshine. I hope you all have a great weekend too!