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Sunday, December 03, 2006

Holiday Season Begins in Tallahassee

Christmas ornaments crafted from empty shotgun shells to landscapes painted by artists of the highly acclaimed Florida Highwaymen ( and everything in between) are found during Tallahassee's Market Days. An annual event organized by the Tallahassee Museum features more than 300 artists over a two-day period at the North Florida Fairgrounds.

Thousands of my Tallahassee neighbors and I shopped at Market Days to find those perfect holiday gifts. I didn't do much Christmas shopping here, but did pick up a few items. The first hour I was there (arrived at noon) it was insanely packed. But as time passed, the crowd thinned and I could move freely down the aisles.

In addition to the incredible crafts, paintings and other treasures, all sorts of meat-on-a-stick and fried delectables were served up, in addition to kiosks from the area's top restaurants, like Lucy Ho's Oriental Bistro (yummy!).

Later that evening, I joined a friend at the 20th Annual Winter Festival (along with thousands of others). Tallahassee Mayor John Marks opened the event with the lighting of more than 500,000 lights, followed by Jingle Bell Runners donning lighted Santa hats sprinting, jogging and walking down Monroe Street for the 3K race. While the lighted area is a spectacular, the Winter Festival Parade is a site to enjoy and lasted at least 90-minutes with 130 entries.

Below is Florida Highwaymen artist RL Lewis working on another masterpiece. Pysanky artist Kelly Milko explains her craft (it takes her about two hours to decorate an egg with careful precision - no room for error) and a display of her intricate gems and a shot from Tallahassee's Winter Festival.

Hope I'm in town for next year's Market Days!




Monday, October 30, 2006

Cooking it Up in Tallahassee

A recent visit to Tallahassee's Keiser College Culinary Institute set a friend to search for cooking classes in Tallahassee.

Did you know the Tallahassee Wine & Food Festival is THIS weekend? Paula Deen's sons, Jamie and Bobby Deen, will give a presentation this Friday, November 3. Damn! I'm outta town - missing out on what looks like to be one of Tallahassee's coolest events.

I was in town for this weekend's Greek Food Festival at the Holy Mother of God Greek Orthodox Church (I didn't realize God has a mother???). The festival was full of my kind of people, folks who enjoy good food. Got my gyro fix.

But what my friend Carolyn found in the form of a culinary class in Tallahassee is offered by Brown's Home Kitchen Center & Restaurant Supply. I'll be sure to give a report when (and if) we take a class.

I do need share with you Tallahassee's Sauce Boss. I'm not sure if he's a gumbo cook who enjoys playing music or musician who happens to cook. Either way, I enjoy his newsletter and site. Visit him and register (www.sauceboss.com) or visit his MySpace page: http://myspace.com/billsaucebosswharton

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Yum-my! Top Lunch Spots in Tallahassee

Driving into Tallahassee is a bit deceiving. Upon first site, Florida's little capital looks like it's full of strip malls and chain restaurants, but take a closer look. There are tasty treats awaiting residents and visitors alike. For a sampling of my favorite lunch spots, read my complete story.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Night at the little Theatre: Weights, One Blind Man's Journey

We typically rely on site to lead us on our journeys. But what would happen if we lost our vision?

Later this September, the Tallahassee Little Theatre will be honored as playwrite, actor and award-winning athlete Lynn Manning performs "Weights, One Blind Man's Journey." Manning was 23 years-old and on top of the world when he was shot in the head in a Los Angeles bar and blinded for life. He's overcome many hurdles since then and you can visit his website here to learn more: www.lynnmanning.com.

Here are the specs on his one-man show:

Presented by Ability 1st and Tallahassee Little Theatre

Tallahassee Little Theatre
1861 Thomasville Road
Tallahassee, FL 32303

Friday, September 29, 2006
8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $15

Saturday, September 30, 2006
VIP Reception & Silent Auction 6:30 p.m.
Performance 8:00 p.m.
Tickets: $50

Tickets should be purchased in advance: (850) 575-9621

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Upcoming Exhibits: Photography, Currency & Disaster

I received notice of a few new exhibits opening in Tallahassee next month:

At the Thomas Eads Fine Art Gallery at 1122 Thomasville Road, Suite 8 (across from the historic Whataburger), the James Valentine "Wild and the Sacred" FL & GA Photographs opens with a reception on Sept. 1, 6 - 9 p.m. and runs through Oct. 11, 2006. Always on display at the gallery is original photography, paintings and sculptures. If you're heading out to the gallery, lunch or dinner at the nearby Kool Beanz Cafe (850-224-2466) at 921 Thomasville Rd. is the perfect complement. The unassuming building holds a cache of funky surprises with eclectic, modern folk art, wine list on bottles and edgey classic Southern dishes and continental cuisine with a tasty twist.

Downtown, Tallahassee's the Mary Brogan Museum of Art and Science will kick-off two exhibits this September with: "The Florida League of Cities' City of Wonders: When Disaster Strikes" and "Currency: Art as Money, Money as Art."

"Disaster" opens Sept. 8 and runs through Jan. 1, 2007. For those who are lucky to evade hurricanes this season, this exhibit will have a "Hurricane Simulation experience" on hand, along with live connections with NASA and NOAA data.

"Currency" opens Sept. 9 through and Nov. 26. I wonder if this exhibit will contain origami birds folded from dollar bills.

If you weren't invited to the Sept. 8 Member's Opening Reception, the museum is open Monday - Saturday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. The first Friday of each month, the museum is FREE between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. How much currency is needed? $6 for adults and $3.50 for everyone else.

My favorite lunch spot around the Brogan is a yellow food cart serving vegan, Southern dishes. Yes, sounds like a contradiction, but the meals are flavorful and satisfying, albeit a bit pricey.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

They're Back! It's August, and You Know What That Means...

Tallahassee's young, part-time residents have returned to the campuses of Florida State University and FAMU. How can I tell? Traffic is bit heavier. The McDonald's sign reads, "Welcome Students. Open 24-Hours." And WalMart has Ramen noodles on sale for 13 cents. Welcome back, kids.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Seeing Double Vision in Tallahassee

Tomorrow, Double Vision Pictures will begin filming the feature film called, "Finding a Good Man." The production company is co-owned and co-operated by the multi-talented Cassandra Henderson and will be filmed in and around Tallahassee and Atlanta.

Cassie's "day job" is with the same organization I work. I'm not sure if others in the office are aware of her accomplishments outside the workplace. She also owns Po Folk Productions, another film production company. She's young, driven and following her dream. You go girl!

One of my office buddies has a key role in the film, too. Playing mother of the lead character. Brenda, this may be your big break. Remember me on the red carpet.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Don't Touch the Booty! July 15 at Kleman Plaza

Pirates invade Kleman Plaza on July 15 as the Mary Brogan Museum hosts "Pirates on the Plaza." An afternoon of fun (11 a.m. - 3 p.m.) for the entire family includes interactive activities and music.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Starplex Cinema 8 - Gotta Love It

I truly love the "dollar movie theater" here in Tally. Today I went over to the Starplex Cinema 8 to see the movie version of Carl Hiaasen's "Hoot." Cute movie, a little slow. But filmed in Charlotte County so I was really entertained by seeing local Florida in the film. Jimmy Buffett was co-producer, contributed many songs and played a teacher in the film. Hiaasen had a cameo as a secretary.

I enjoy Hiaasen's writing (novels and editorials), but all his stories seem the same. Which is a good thing - consistently reinforcing the fact that Florida is being destroyed.

The movie cost a buck, popcorn, soda and gummi bears cost $3.75. Can't beat that!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Hiking in the Big Bend Area

Enjoy this story (and support my writing) about five great hikes in Florida's Big Bend region. Click here.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Ambling Through Tallahassee



Over the past couple of days, I walked around Lake Ella and wandered through McClay Gardens State Park.

Ducklings are scattered EVERYWHERE around Lake Ella. Little kids grasp them close to their chests. I wonder if they are going to squeeze those little, fluffy critters to death. I kept thinking how can these cute little ducks grow up to be an ugly, Moscovy ducks. Growing up, my parents frequently took me and my siblings to the Clarence Town Park in Upstate New York where we would feed the ducks and chase them in hopes of capturing them. I always remember the Moscovy ducks as being "mean," they always hissed. Florida ducks are the same - these ducks at Lake Ella hiss, too. But, I'm sure they're harmless, right?



At McClay, I missed the peak bloom of the azalea's but did get to meet a British couple celebrating their fortieth wedding anniversary. Very sweet. I met them because they were taking photos of each other and I asked if they wanted a shot of them together. They asked if I was going to the wedding in the garden. "No, I'm not properly dressed," I told them as I modeled my denim shorts.



Heading back to the car, I spotted this large lizard/salamander thing sitting in a tree. Looks like a snake with legs. I'll have to research and find out what exactly it is.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Leila Nejad LaCrosse: Dialogue in Color

With chaotic structure, Iran-born artist Leila Nejad LaCrosse's paintings evoke enlightening emotion. Her exhibit, titled "Dialogue in Color" is on display at Thomas Eads Fine Art now through Wednesday, April 12, 2006. Check it out.

Thomas Eads Fine Art
1122 Thomasville Road, Suite 8
(across from historic Whataburger)
Tallahassee, FL 32303
Tel: (850) 224-1435

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Mercury Fluctuation

What's the deal with the weather in Tallahassee? Is this year an anomaly? A couple weeks back, the temperature had fluctuated at least 50 degrees in less than a week. It's chilly in the morning and warms up in the afternoon. When I moved here, I was excited to taste the cooler temperatures, get use out of my sweaters and MAYBE shave my legs once a week. Not so with these warmer temps - the lighter cloths are out along with exposed legs.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

This Time, Persistence Pays

Each day for the past week, I have called the FSU ticket office, checking availability for the Feb. 25 Stephen King event. And every time I called, I was given a different story as to whether the event is sold out or not. I even checked the online box office for tickets, checking a minimum of six times daily.

This morning, my persistence paid off and I've scored a ticket for the event! Now, what to wear, what to wear. I wonder what he'll be wearing; when I saw him last time in NYC, he wore a t-shirt stating, "I make stuff up."

Thursday, February 16, 2006

King of Horror Scheduled in Tallahassee

I attended the New Yorker Festival in Sept. 2005 with hopes of having a book signed by Stephen King. What the Festival organizers didn't tell me was that only 100 tickets were issued for the book signing.

And then, NPR gave me a second chance this morning. I learned that Stephen King was just added to the line up of incredible performers for the Seven Days of Opening Nights. Unfortunately, what I read online was that the tickets went on sale Feb. 14 and a friend who is connected to the event told me the tickets sold out in 15 minutes.

The disappointment flushed me. Again.

Not accepting "NO," I called the FSU ticket center and was told something different - that tickets have not been released yet because Mr. King is replacing another author, and the show organizers are unsure how many people will return their tickets. I was told they don't know when tickets will go on sale and instructed me to check back daily.

If anyone comes across two tickets for the Stephen King reading on Feb. 26, I know a Quirky Girl who could use 'em...

Eat for Kid's Sake: Feb. 26, 2006

Children's Home Society ("CHS") is hosting its 21st Chefs Sampler on Sunday, February 26th at 7:30 PM at the Tallahassee Mall. For almost 20 years, CHS has partnered with Tree House Children's Shelter to provide care for abused and neglected children in our community. Call 850-921-0772 for tickets and information.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Celebrate the Little Man with a Big Ego

Tallahassee welcomes Napoleon: An Intimate Portrait to the Museum of Florida History, Feb. 6 - April 30, 2006. The exhibition features more than 250 personal personal possessions from his famous cocked military hat to a lock of Empress Josephine's hair (Ew! Gross!). In addition to the exhibit at the Museum of Florida History, different venues throughout town are celebrating the Emperor's arrival, too. From romantic readings of Napoleon's love letters to Josephine at the Knott House to hearth cooking classes at the Tallahassee Museum.

What's even cooler is that the Museum of Florida History will be open until 8:00 PM on Thursdays throughout the exhibition. Various entertainment is scheduled for each evening and food will be provided by area Tallahassee restaurants. Visit the exhibition site for the schedule of events.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

To Summon a Worm, Just Grunt

I was excited to learn today that Sopchoppy in Wakulla County holds an annual Worm Gruntin' Festival! No, seriously, I'm really interested in seeing what this is all about. Although I could not find the 2006 dates, I'm thinking this year's festival will be held over the same weekend as in 2005, in which I will be in Miami. Hmmm, Miami or Sopchoppy? I'd pick Sopchoppy!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Shake, Shake, Shake...

After taking about two months off from belly dance class, I returned. I ran out of excuses for NOT going. Once there, I realized two things.

1. I really missed the class.
2. I'm really annoyed with one of the participants. She's just too "showy" - always wiggling around and distracting the class. But, she had a big strike against her when we met. Her mannerisms and her face remind me of a girl from my past who annoyed me.

Anyway, for any one (woman) wanting to try it, just do it! I enjoy the discipline it teaches my body, the control of the muscles. And if you have a bit to jiggle, that's a good thing!

On-going beginners classes are offered on Monday nights at the N. Monroe YMCA. The 90-minute class begins at 7:30 PM. The cost is $8 per person but YMCA members are free.

Classes are taught by instructors from In Step Studio. Visit the site to find about their other class offerings.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Whole Lotta Bull in Jackson County, Fla


It was a bit like watching a beauty pageant or fashion show. The contestants nervously paced back and forth in the waiting area which was hidden behind the staging area. I could see a head poke out behind the wall, eyes wandering and trying to figure out what was going on.

One by one they were brought out and comments were made about their shiny black coats and "fine thighs." My favorite line of the afternoon was, "Number 16 is an example of up and coming Angus." Yes, it was a true meat market. The University of Florida's Bull Test Auction, to be exact.

Yesterday's news clips caught my eye, the "Jackson County Floridian" headline read, "Bull test sale expected to draw hundreds." Normally, I would not give up a Saturday of apartment cleaning, laundry and writing to attend a cattle auction. I was intrigued with the article stating that the Jackson County Tourist Development Council (TDC) funded a grant application for the sale! $4,500 - to be used to drive tourists to fill motel rooms and restaurants during this weekend.

Having heard many organizations' pleas for TDC grant funds from my previous job, I was curious how much of a tourism event this was. So, I hopped into my Saturn Ion and headed to Greenwood, Fla, about an hour northwest of Tallahassee. After crossing into the Central Time Zone, the banjos of "Deliverance" began to play.

The Florida back roads remind me of Idaho and Utah. Slightly rolling hills, lots of open space and agriculture - cotton, peanuts and sugar cane. An unseasonably warm day, folks were sitting on their couches enjoying the afternoon - on their porches - with rifles propped at their sides. A mud-covered family shared laughs at gas station, refueling their ATVs. God bless America!

I pulled into the University of Florida's bull testing facility and realized I would stick out like a sore thumb. First, mine was about the only non-pick-up truck. Second, I was not wearing a hat but was wearing pink sandals. But, they were friendly folks when I arrived. After all, I was a tourist.

I'd never been to a livestock auction before. The callers were entertaining, although I really had no idea what they were saying. The spotters on the floor were in charge of finding the bidders and giving a screech when another bid was placed. I swatted a fly (true, these type of events attract a lot of flies) which meant I submitted a bid of $1,000 for beef. Luckily, I was out bid and stood still as possible for the rest of my time there.

I'm not sure how many people in the audience were "tourists." Granted, the stands were full and it was standing room only. While I walked back to my car, which was surrounded by pick-up trucks, I noticed a handful of out-of-state plates. Wonder if these were families on their way to Disney and decided to take a detour to the real Florida?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Gallery Opening: Thomas Eads Fine Art

This Friday, January 20, 2006, join artists Stewart Nelson, Jim Miller, Rob Cunningham and Thomas Eads for the grand opening of the Thomas Eads Fine Art Gallery (1122 Thomasville Road Unit 8). Location: right across from Historic Whataburger #72. (ok, it's Tallahassee, hamburger joints are important), Park in Mt. Vernon Square, just south of 5th Ave on Thomasville Rd. The reception is 6:00 - 9:00 PM and gallery goers will enjoy live jazz, Italian food, smart architecture and good company.

Outside of my coworkers, Tom is one of the first people I met when I moved to Tallahassee. It's nice to see the progress he's made in a short period of time. Read the story about my adventure with Tom.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006