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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Something's Cooking in Havana: Canopy Rose Culinary Arts Studio

When I took my parents to Havana last weekend, I noticed a storefront promoting cooking classes, food writing, food styling, catering, corporate team building cooking and all sorts of other good things. Turns out it's Canopy Rose Culinary Arts Studio and Catering Company and last weekend was its grand opening. The studio, founded by Kathi Dameron, plans on opening its doors to the public during the weekends so they can taste the delicious creations. Yum!

I'm excited because Canopy Rose plans to lead culinary tours. During a conference I attended earlier this month, I learned Florida ranks #2 in the nation as a culinary destination and culinary travel is fastest and largest growing niche in the tourism industry. And, I fit the demographics of the typical foodie to a tee.

So if you're in Havana, check out Canopy Rose located downtown. In the meantime, check out my article on some of my favorite Florida foods.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Showing My Parents Tallahassee

As I try to get my life back to normal, my parents are in town and I spent the weekend showing them some of the Tallahassee I know. They visited last year and I wanted to show them something different.

Friday night was Salman Rushdie. They dropped me off and picked me up at Ruby Diamond Auditorium. (I know, sounds as though I'm 12-years-old but there's a logical explanation - the office handed over budgets at 4:15 Friday afternoon, meaning I worked past 5, pushing back dinner, oh, never mind. I'm a geek!)

Saturday was a full day of sightseeing with a visit to the Knott House, the Tallahassee Visitors Center, lunch in Havana, shopping in Havana followed by a visit to Bradley's Country Store.

Lunch at Havana's Mockingbird Cafe (211 NW 1st Street, tel: 850.539.2212) was fabulous! I was hungry and opted for the Cuban-style black beans and rice. It was served in a rustic looking clay pot topped with fresh green scallions. The main course was even better, the house salad topped with tender lamb. The salad was yummy and pretty at the same time, hence the photo on the left. To the right is a photo of the back entrance to the cafe.

Ordering was a bit different, you order at the counter and the staff brings out the food. Don't forget to pick up your silverware, etc. Being a perfect chamber-of-commerce-day, we sat outside. Inside is an eclectic mix of local artwork like pottery, paintings and hand-knit purses and scarves.

We browsed the Havana shops like The Planter's Exchange, The Wanderings and Cindy's Chapeaux.

It was fun browsing the costume jewelry, antique trinkets and kitsch buttons and petting the little stuffed seal made from seal fur. I love the shop's presentation and snapped this photo of tiny ribbon flowers.

Bradley's Country Store (10655 Centerville Road, tel: 850.893.4742) is a nice slice of old Tallahassee. A wood-deck patio with wooden rocking chairs welcome visitors. In the back of the store is what we came for, the sausage. After browsing the collection of the store's essentials, we left with a pound of small sausage links, devoured this morning for breakfast.

Dinner at San Miguel (200 West Tharpe Street, tel: 850.385.3346) rounded out the day. I just love their $2 margaritas!

Sunday was a little mellow with running errands and showing them a bit of local color at the Tallahassee Flea Market on Capital Circle. I'm happy to say the American dream is alive and well, guys wearing mullets, plaid shirts and cut-off jeans while drinking Budweiser at 11 a.m. are still a plenty.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Do I Dare? America's Next Top Model Auditions in Tallahassee (2008)

Hey ladies! Do you have what it takes to be America's Next Top Model? Then here's your chance to audition for America's Next Top Model Cycle 11 on Saturday, March 1, 2008, at Chubbys Night Club, 5 - 7 p.m. Um, OK. Since auditions are being held at a place called, "Chubbys," does this mean I have a shot at becoming America's Next Top Model?

I mean, I have the sass, attitude and drama like all those skinny girls on previous cycles. Plus, I got curves to blow them outta the water, too. So, do I dare audition? Oh, the disappointment. I can't. I'm too old and too short to apply. And I thought I had a future in the modeling world.

If you're between the ages of 18 and 27 and at least 5'7", consider auditioning and let me experience the process vicariously through you. Check out this link over at Fox 49 WTLH for details.

Good luck! If anyone's auditioning, drop me a line.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

St. Patrick's in Tallahassee

Was going through a box of photos tonight and realized all the groovy places I've traveled to over the past decade. One of the coolest experiences I had was spending St. Patrick's Day in Dublin.

With St. Patrick's Day a month away, it's only appropriate I tell ya about the Tallahassee Irish Society's 9th Annual St. Patrick's Parade on Saturday, March 15, 2008 at Lake Ella, 2 - 3 p.m. Interested in marching? Contact the society for more info.

Other St. Patrick's festivities sponsored by the Tallahassee Irish Society include:

Irish Whiskey Tasting - Sunday, March 9 at Finnegan's Wake. $25 in advance and $30 at the door. (As you can see from this photo, I'm a fan of Irish Whiskey, this was taken in 2004 during my second trip to Dublin.)

Wearin' O' The Green Brunch & Roast of Sheriff Larry Campbell - Saturday, March 15, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post 13 at Lake Ella. Tickets are $13. (Mind you, Sheriff Campbell isn't issuing $13 tickets, it's 13 bucks to roast the man.)

St. Paddy's Day Eve Concert Featuring "enter the haggis" - Sunday, March 16, 7 p.m. at the American Legion Hall. Tickets are $13 in advance and $15 at the door. The boys are kinda cute and their music ain't too bad, either. Check out their MySpace page.

While I'm speakin' Irish, I'm going to encourage you to head to the Tallahassee Comedy Zone either March 11 or 12 to laugh along with (or laugh at) the Irish Comedy Tour. My buddy Stu is the MC at Dr. Grins Comedy Club in Grand Rapids, MI where the Irish Comedy Tour performed earlier this month. He told me to check them out and I just may have to do that. Check out their MySpace page.

Remember, everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Getting Caught Up with Life

My ex-husband died last week. I'm trying to get over the shock of a 43-year-old man not waking up. While I try to deal with my feelings about the whole relationship, I know I need to move forward with my life. I still have loose ends to tie and don't have the energy to do so right now. But here I am...

Following the plane crash in Tallahassee on Friday, Feb. 8, I headed to the scene the next day to get some snapshots.

What else is happening in my life?

I'm going back to Green Guide Class in Wakulla next week. I had to miss this week's field trip.

This Friday is Salman Rushdie as part of Seven Days of Opening Nights then my parents arrive for a weekend visit. Think we'll be visiting the Knott House on Saturday. After that, not sure what we'll be doing.

One thing's for sure, I need to get going on cleaning up my apartment.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This Is What I'm Going Through Today

I had planned on posting something witty today, but the mood changed early on. This is what's happening with me right now. As a lesson, live life without regrets and guilt.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

How do You Show Your Friends Tallahassee in Four Hours?

I had visitors on Friday. I love having visitors and wish more people would visit me. It gives me a chance to do things I normally wouldn't do by myself.

So on Friday afternoon my college pal Val (who lives in Buffalo, NY) and her new boyfriend, Rob (who lives in Seminole, FL), stopped in Tallahassee on their way from Panama City to Gainesville. (I'd tell you more but I don't want to complicate things.) Their pit stop was four hours and I had to figure out the best way to maximize our time.

We met at Lake Ella and it was a fabulous day (sorry to those of you who had to work Friday). We grabbed a quick beverage at the Black Dog Cafe. It's been a long time since I've visited the Black Dog and realized how much I love that place. Then it was off for lunch. I originally wanted to have lunch at the train caboose restaurant at Railroad Square but it was about 3 p.m. now and figured it'd be closed. So, parked downtown in an hour parking spot and headed into Jasmine.

"We don't like sushi."

*GASP!* I actually have friends who don't like sushi. OK, change in the spontaneous plans. We walked up to Monroe and I'd hoped something would slap me in the face and say, "eat here."

I spotted the Po' Boys sign and figured that'd be a safe bet. Turned out to be a good call and we were outta there just barely under an hour. It's just after 4 p.m. and headed to the Old Capitol. I missed the turn for the easy parking area (I'm not an aggressive driver) so by the time we go into the Old Capitol, it was 4:20 and we had 10 minutes to see it all. We ran from one end to the other, upstairs, then down and out. (BTW - the American flag was at half staff, anyone know why?)

Drove through some of the FSU campus, Railroad Square and back to Lake Ella along Meridian so they could see some of Tallahassee's famous canopy roads. Arrived at Lake Ella at 5:30, in time for ice cream from Barb's Brittles. I love her brittle and purchased a couple of bags for Val and Rob (original and chocolate pecan - can't get anymore southern than that!). It was the first time I had her homemade ice cream - a scoop of "Whatever" and another of "Sunflower" something. I loved the Sunflower.

We sat at Lake Ella enjoying the beautiful day and watching the ducks begging for a taste of our creamy treat. And then, it was time for them to hit the road for Gainesville. I think I did pretty good in giving them a taste of Tally. My parents are visiting at the end of this month, hope I get to do at least twice as much!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

I Knew I Was Special

I really should be cleaning and organizing my apartment (although my spirit wants to be outside enjoying the beautiful day). I was checking out some blogs (particularly The Random Account of Quasimodo) as part of the Frugal Hacks blog network and found this personality test. My personality is "very rare." I always knew there was something special about me. How about you?

Your Personality is Very Rare (INTP)

Your personality type is goofy, imaginative, relaxed, and brilliant.

Only about 4% of all people have your personality, including 2% of all women and 6% of all men
You are Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, and Perceiving.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Valentine’s Day Gift: Stimulate Her Mind & Soul with Relaxations Health & Wellness Spa

Looking for something special this Valentine’s Day to really “Wow” her? How about a Romantic Couple’s Massage from Relaxations Health & Wellness Spa. (Chocolate is included!) A couples massage looks romantic when ABC’s the Bachelor has one of his romantic dates this way. (And yes, that’s a confession. I live my romantic life vicariously through reality TV). For the month of Feb., a 60-minute session is $140 per person.

If neither of you are the touchy-feely type, try a Couple’s Private Yoga Class. Guys seem to get a weird twinkle in their eye when they hear a woman practices yoga. Why not share the experience together? During Feb., a 60-minute class is $40 per couple.

Relaxations Health & Wellness Spa offers other treats good for the body soul, drop by or give them a call to learn more. Gift cards are available, too. Guys, you'll be scoring points with a gift like this.

Relaxations Health & Wellness Spa
2790 W Tennessee Street, Suite 2
Tel: (850) 222-WELL