Blue and yellow florals set the tone for joyful breakfast

Recently I had the opportunity to make the centerpieces for the Susie Steiner Community Impact Award event  with Hillsborough Community College  which was held at the George Steinbrenner Field in Tampa  on a beautiful September morning.

HCC’s colors are blue and gold so these hydrangeas and sunflowers fit the bill, especially against the backdrop of the blue tablecloths at the Events pavilion for the NY Yankees.

Guest speaker Richard Gonzmart is owner of Columbia Restaurant Group, a local landmark in seven Florida cities from St. Augustine to Sarasota, and Ulele, a newer restaurant which is a stellar favorite of all who visit.

As an added bonus, the Yankees were practicing on the field just outside during the luncheon. It was a great morning and I was honored to be a part of it.

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Showing my Miami colors on National College Colors Day

It’s National College Colors day!

As a native Floridian, I grew up in Miami and went to the University of Miami, as did my father, mother and sister.

So during football season, I sometimes like to show my Hurricane spirit. It’s usually once a season that I get out the orange and green — I live with a University of Florida graduate, and you know those Gators are relentless with their orange and blue!

White everyday Johnson Brothers “Athena” china my mom had more than 45 years, accented with Fiesta chargers and Bordalla Pinheiro green cabbage chargers.

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China Finders in St. Pete a great find for china addicts and searchers

If you’re a china-holic like me, you know Replacements, the warehouse in North Carolina known for its 425,000 china patterns.

In Tampa Bay, we’re lucky to have China Finders. It’s not as big as Replacements, but for the china afficianado, or just someone looking to restock a retired china pattern, China Finders is a great find.

Located in Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, it’s just across the bridge from Tampa. If you’re a dish fanatic, it’s a must see.

I love the new mural painted on the side of the building, a tribute to Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter tea party.

Inside, aisles and aisles are chock filled with china, separated by company and pattern.

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Drinking local at Florida Cane Distillery in Ybor City

There are some really cool places in Tampa Bay and it’s virtually an endless adventure here.

A friend and I visited the The Florida Cane Distillery in Ybor City Historic District recently and tasted some of their spirits, where they make Florida Cane vodka, Tamiami Gin, Sunshine Moonshine and Red Drum Whiskey. (Which at first I thought was “Red Rum” from The Shining.  It’s not.)

(See more about the distillery, its owners and history  here. )

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Fruit trees and forts mark the passing of another summer

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It’s almost the end of mango season here in Central Florida. I’ve been carefully watching the blooms on my tree for several months, waiting for when the fruit is large enough to pick. The mangoes haven’t reached their yellow or orange stage yet, so I want them to stay on my tree for a few more weeks. It’s hurricane season here, and even if there are no hurricanes, there are tropical storms or at least very windy storms that knock the fruit off the tree.

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Safety Harbor’s Parts of Paris Bistro always a great dining experience

It was a very special night for us tonight.

We were almost giddy as we headed off to Safety Harbor to our favorite local restaurant – Parts of Paris Bistro. We first found “PoP” in December 2015 when a local friend and Safety Harbor resident told us she had had one of the best steaks ever.

A very unstuffy and quaint entrance on fourth avenue in Safety Harbor, with French and Floridian flags to greet visitors.

We fell in love with it the first time we visited. We’ve been for a Sunday brunch, or to pop in for a couple extra large hand-crafted martinis, and often for an amazing meal of steak, boullebaise, grouper or mussels.

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A fresh take on white linen dining at Armani’s in Tampa Bay

Due to my relationship with Tampa Bay Bloggers, I was invited to Armani’s to try their new Happy Hour, where they shared several menu and cocktail options with us. All opinions are my own.

In Tampa Bay we are blessed with a never-ending roster of restaurants from the beaches to Ybor City to South Tampa. When most people think of a restaurant in Tampa, they think of Bern’s, but most people who live here know that one of the best special occasion restaurants is Armani’s, located atop the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.

It is perhaps one of the top three restaurants one thinks of when they think of anniversaries or other special events. The restaurant, known for its Northern Italian cuisine and floor to ceiling windows with amazing views, has been awarded 4 Diamonds award for many years.

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Purple vintage glass plates pair perfectly with antique glass collection

Most collectors can remember their first collection. Perhaps it was stamps from your grandfather, paperweights, trains, or even something more quirky like rocks or bugs.

I’ve found it’s a distinct personality type – those that like to collect and those who don’t.

Sometimes the same circumstance that makes a collector, makes another person a non-collector. Both my parents and my husband’s parents lived through The Great Depression….

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