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Taps in International Plaza serves variety of delicious meals, cocktails

Tonight they spoiled us like crazy at Taps Restaurant Bar & Lounge International Plaza & Baystreet  🐙🐓🐠

Normally I might not visit a restaurant like Taps, thinking it might be more of a beer bar than a restaurant. But when we were treated to several items from the menu thanks to Tampa Bay Bloggers relationship with the restaurant PR person, I was very pleasantly surprised.

One after another, they served  roasted pomegranate salmon, brick chicken, filet mignon brochette, tuna crudo, Irish short rib potato nachos and char-grilled octopus! That was when I realized they were not messing around!

What a menu! 🐙🐓🐠

 Irish short rib potato nachos

And to my delight, they also served a variety of amazing and refreshing cocktails, taking away my fear that it was “just a beer bar.”

As many entrees as we were served, there were so many more that that sounded tempting. I will definitely be back to try more!


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DIY projects add sparkle to Thanksgiving tablescape

I love using my mother’s Villeroy and Boch Summer Day china for Thanksgiving. I was happy to find a new tablecloth this year to create the basis of my tablescape as well as some mis-matched wine and champagne glasses.

Still, my table needed a bit more sparkle. So when I found two large brass deer candleholders at a thrift shop, I was pretty happy. I felt like the needed a bit more sparkle so I slathered them with Elmer’s glue and dusted them with silver sparkles. Lots of silver sparkles.

I also found some large and stately candle holders. Again, I wanted a bit more sparkle so I spray painted them with gold, to match the goldware and wine glass rims.

I used flowers from the grocery store and added them to a basket I alreayd had to make a floral arrangement from mums and carnations and  vines from my yard. I like the way it turned out.


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Basket packed with vintage china for girls’ weekend

An annoying thing about someone who loves china? We hate using paper plates.

So when I was invited to go on a girls weekend with eight other women, I thought it would be fun to bring the nice china. Although we did eat at local restaurants, it was nice to have china for breakfast and dinner.

And I washed them, so I don’t think they minded!

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My mom’s Buyer’s Choice grace the Christmas table

This year, I used a vibrant red holly damask tablecloth from Lenox to pair with the Lenox Holiday china. I made a somewhat elaborate floral arrangement from Publix florals, based in a Lenox Holiday bowl, and added Buyer’s Choice Santa and Mrs. Santa figurines from my mother’s collection. I also used my Waterford Ashling crystal for this tablescape.

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How to set a sweet Christmas table

During the holidays, it’s all about entertaining, and eating. So I love to have tables set everywhere, wherever there might be a chance to sit and eat together.

Setting a small, sweet table, like a kitchen table, patio table, or a small table in the formal dining room, is a nice way to add to your decor, and makes for a cozy setting for quiet breakfast, lunch or dinner.

This year I had a smaller round table in my living room. I always put my best china here. Here is my Lenox Holiday pattern, which I’ve had almost 30 years. A Lenox tablecloth with matching holly makes an easy pairing. Using my Lenox cachepot and adding a quick poinsettia makes an easy centerpiece. 

The patio can also be set. I love this untraditional tablecloth, which I found at HomeGoods for a great price. The plates I’ve used here are ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas from Dillard’s, the napkins are Spode, and the centerpiece is a Spode cookie jar.

You might also have a small table in your living room or family room which you can set for more festivities. As you can see here, this table is only large enough for a sweet setting for two.

Use a  vintage Christmas tablecloth, along with red Fiestaware and a Grinchy-green charger.  Here, I used part of my Santa collection for the centerpiece. No flowers needed — just use part of your existing Christmas decorations, and enjoy.

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Stumbling on to the “plate room” at a most famous library

During my trip to Boston and exploring the Back Bay, I visited the Boston Public Library. This building is exquisite, with amazing marble stairways, a library setting out of Harry Potter, marble statues, tapestries, a gorgeous garden and more statues.

It’s so incredibly beautiful, it is a prized location for weddings. Most people marvel at the architecture and art. And of course, I did,too. But I was also thrilled to stumble onto an open door that I’m not sure I was supposed to enter. There’s a room at Boston Public Library that holds the china place settings that brides can choose when getting married at the Library.

There were at least 25 place settings and table cloth possibilities. 🙂 Oh what choices! Any wedding here is one of beauty.