Renaissance Tampa Hotel a jewel in the midst of the city

Today I had a meeting at the Renaissance Tampa International Plaza Hotel for a planning meeting of the upcoming Dress for Success Tampa Bay luncheon and fashion show. One of the committee members works there, so we decided to have lunch there as well.

Nestled to the side of International Plaza in Tampa, just on the cusp of Tampa International Airport, a newcomer to Tampa wouldn’t realize they are in for a treat. It’s a small Mediterranean jewel that’s delightful to visit.

I’ve been to the hotel twice for business reasons, but for some reason I did not have the opportunity to explore.

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Take a trip to The Bungaleaux on Central for hot decorating ideas

I always want to take the time to visit Central Avenue in St. Petersburg but it seems I never have the time to go. Recently, I was headed to a couple places (like China Finders and The Hawthorne Bottle Shoppe), and decided to drive around a bit and see what I could find on Central. And I stumbled upon The Bungaleaux on Central

I was intrigued by the elaborate and decorative cursive sign outside and figured I should venture in.

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Sarasota’s Cafe L’Europe an enlightening treat

Going to St. Armand’s Circle in Sarasota is always a treat. In December, the circle is lit up, the nights are cool and people are out in full force enjoying what the region has to offer.

I’ve been to Columbia, Shore and Venice restaurants, but had never been to Cafe L’Europe before .

What a treat! I had crusted mahi mahi and prosecco.

They also feature a gorgeous cocktail of the day, which they go to great lengths to make tasty, colorful and festive. They also post these on their Instagram account so you can follow along.

My favorite part was wandering through the different rooms (Um, maam? Your dinner is served) to see the gorgeous wrought iron and especially the very different chandeliers.

Old Northeast Neighborhood Association shows off festive candlelight home tour

I have wanted to go on the  annual historic Old Northeast Neighborhood Association candlelight tour of homes for years. Finally! I couldn’t find anyone who would go with me, so finally I just went by myself. And I’m so glad I did!

There were eight homes on the tour, from one that was remodeled and did not have furniture yet, to modern designs, to traditional.

My favorite was the first home I toured. The homeowners had created a very warm harbor in a traditional bungalow style home. Done in rich reds and traditional evergreen boughs, it was magnificent.

Moving into the traditional and separate dining room was a feast for the eyes! Tablecloth, runner, chargers, elaborate decorations on the plate, crystal tipped tree in the centerpiece, amongst swag garlands and a beautiful chandelier – all reflected in a large mirror — well it was all breathtaking.

More of her china collection, including Bordallo Pinheiro from Portugal, was neatly displayed in two smaller china cabinets that looked like built ins.

The whole room was charmingly welcoming and elegant at the same time. 


After going through the beautiful kitchen, there was the family room dining room, more casual but just as welcoming.

Down the hallway, i was delighted that she had her linen collection so that others could see. Usually people store them away in drawers – but a collection like this Should be on display! I thought I had a large collection!

It was awe-inspiring.

What’s more, the homeowners couldn’t have been nicer, and the lady of the house indulged me by talking about china, patterns, and tablecloths for quite some time.

What a wonderful day!!