life: May – month in review


Finished the draft! “Red Dragon” will rest while I review Project 2 and revisit Project 1.

Went to Orlando for a conference, made sure to stop by Harry Potter land.

Went off the [budget] rails (see Orlando, Harry Potter adventure).

Read some very good books, and some ok audiobooks *video review coming in June*

Visited a local animal sanctuary and saw all the creatures I love.

diagon alley universal orlando dragon

peacock and peahen

No video this week because LIFE.

vlog: the Orlando adventure

My first proper vlog! A little shaky and blurry, but my efforts continue! I tried to film a little of everything, but was so excited and distracted by the magic of Harry Potter, I completely forgot to film during our visit to Universal… there is a wee snippet involving a Pygmypuff adoption ceremony that the boy filmed :). I hope you enjoy the madness of library con and Pottery goodness. And don’t forget to subscribe to my channel if you enjoy my rambly videos.

Also, today marks the second round of my Whole30 “journey,” so I’m back on an exploration of food and flavor. I really need it after my trip (let’s just say there was a lot of sugar and dairy).

after the shenanigans – ALA 2016 and a wizardy adventure

There were books. There was food. There was hot, hot heat. And there was butterbeer! I recorded a very silly vlog during my adventures (to be edited and posted), but here is a glimpse.

Friday night dinner at D-Luxe in Disney Springs…

Saturday morning. Working it.

Waiting for my crew to show up for our poster session. Trying to look proper.

After business, the pleasure begins.

I waited a long time to visit this park; it was so worth it. The experience totally blew my mind. Just perfect.

A Royal Affair

My b-chan found out that a special exhibit was going to be held this weekend at Aventura Mall in North Miami, so we made a date of it and went off to see the “Royal Crowns of the World” display. It was mostly a marketing ploy for Lakeview Home Accessories, purveyors of fine silverware and porcelain so far as I could tell. Most of the crowns were obvious reproductions, with a few exceptions. Lovely to look at, nevertheless.

These are a few of the ones I liked the most:

And because we were in the area, we took a quick trip to the Krispy Kreme factory to have some piping hot doughnuts. I haven’t been to this place since high school; it never changes. The doughnuts are still sinfully delicious.

Grand ol’ Opera

I went to my very first opera on Friday night 🙂 . I’ve been to musicals, plays, ballets, concerts, even magic shows, but never an opera. My b-chan surprised me with a pair of tickets on Valentine’s day and I was very excited to get a chance to finally see one live (thank you PBS for my introduction to opera). We went to see The Barber of Seville, which I have been wanting to see for years, ever since they built the opera house in Downtown Miami. It was a wonderfully whimsical production. The cast was incredible and the costumes made me want to dress-up in 18th century finery. The set was minimalistic, but featured an animated background that served as a comic backdrop for the story. A great first opera experience. Next year, it will be my goal to snag tickets to Carmen.

St. Sophia Greek Festival

I love festivals! I love Greek pastries! The St. Sophia Greek Festival (Miami) was made for indulging in all things rich and delicious. Lots of great food and a great atmosphere 🙂 .

I had to work and forgot to pack my camera, but my b-chan had his on hand and snapped some pictures of the food and festivities.

Greek pastries

Even more Greek pastries

Dancing at the Greek Festival

Happenstance does happen

My b-chan and I have been meaning to go to the Ft. Lauderdale Museum of Art to view the Norman Rockwell exhibit for months now, but in typical leave-it-to-the-last-minute fashion, we didn’t get around to going until the last day. As it coincided with the Suntrust Sunday Jazz Brunch on Riverfront, we decided to make a day of it and have lunch/brunch before heading to the museum. The Jazz Brunch was lovely, but we didn’t know what to expect and were unprepared to take advantage of the picnic setting. Next time we can make it, I will definitely plan a picnic. We ended up making our way to the Indigo Restaurant at the Riverside Hotel instead. This is the second time we’ve eaten here and the food has always been great. I think it’s quite possibly one of my favorite places to eat on Las Olas. Plus, they bring you a swizzle stick with your latte… how charming is that?

After brunch, we made our way back to the museum, only to find that the line to purchase tickets was circling the block. One of the guys in line compared it to the lines to go on the rides at Disney. As we’re standing in line, this older man approaches us out of nowhere and asks us where we’re from; this is highly suspicious behavior in South Florida where we are all used to rudeness and the like. He’s waving two tickets and tells us that today is our lucky day. We, of course, think scalpers, though he looked too decent for the usual shifty scalper. My b-chan was waiting for the guy to tell us that he would give us his tickets for $XX, but he just tells us that he received the tickets from his wife’s company for free because they are museum sponsors and that we can have them. Skeptical Miamians that we are, we thought he was joking, but he gave us the tickets and walked away laughing, telling his wife that we wouldn’t believe him. The lady behind us was curious to know if they were real too, but we refused to give up our places in line on the chance that they were authentic.

To our utter astonishment, they were.

When we reached the counter, the lady at the ticket booth told us that we could’ve skipped the line and walked right in. She was just as amazed when we told her our story.

So, to the stranger who gave us these tickets… Thank you and sorry we didn’t believe you. 🙂

a lovely day for a garden party

IMG_8341 I finally visited the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens today. I’ve been meaning to visit for years and was sorely disappointed when I didn’t get to go during the Chihuly exhibit a couple of years ago. It was definitely worth the wait. The August heat was dreadful, but the bright day was wonderful for a picnic and photographic excursion. My b-chan learned that the steep entry fee was being waived during Sundays in August, so today was our last chance to visit for free. I hate to admit it, but the $20 entry fee per person has deterred me in the past.

IMG_8322We were able to have a lovely picnic under the shade of a banana tree on the edge of a bubbling rock fall. I prepared all sorts of little finger sandwiches (cucumber cream cheese, avocado and chicken with swiss, and savory meatball with mozarrella) with a side of Sun Chips, fuji apple slices, and strawberry tea with a splash of ginger ale. It was a surprise for the b-chan who expected plain old ham sandwiches and water 🙂 . There was a threat of rain for a few moments, but other than a bit of distant thunder we were able to stay dry… and hot. Oh, was it ever so hot. And steamy.

Some of the plants were not in bloom because of the late season, but we still managed to see some gorgeous flowers and I got a chance to snap some shots. I even chased some butterflies, though I still think they are creepy little bugs that lure you in with their colors.



And I finally got to see some of the Chihuly sculptures! I love colored glass and Chihuly’s has such a wonderfully organic feel to it.




It’s been a lovely weekend, back to the old drudgery tomorrow… or at least back to studying.

old-fashioned charm

Yesterday, my adventurous b-chan took me to the Cauley Square Historic Village in the Redlands for a lovely afternoon tea 🙂 . I heard about the tea room at Cauley Sq. a few years ago but had never had the opportunity to visit, and the Redlands always seem so far away, though it’s only about a half hour drive. I think I have this impression because this area is mostly farmland, so it seems very isolated and distant.

Cauley Square was charming. It’s really an old railroad village that has been preserved and most of the shops are curious little antique stores. There are a couple of little restaurants, including the tea room, which looks like a fussy little old lady’s parlor full of doilies and old lace. The day was dark and rainy, but it made it seem as if we were visiting a little town up north, not in the middle of South Florida.

The Tea Room

Fussy charm

High Tea

We had finger sandwiches and a savory clam chowder for lunch, and I had their very tasty blend of spiced tea. It would have been nice to order a pot of tea, but I don’t think the b-chan would have had much tea, so I enjoyed my cup of iced spice tea.


Rose teapot

The antique shops were very neat and had a lot of unexpected surprises. I’ve always wanted to go antiquing, and I finally had my chance! One of the shops had a bunch of transistor covers – these heavy glass domes were part of old power lines – and I got a green one for myself (I saw them on Antiques Roadshow one time and thought they were interesting. Plus, I love colored glass and these have such a unique shape).


The village also has a very nice aquarium shop that sells tropical fish and they have a large koi pond near the entrance.

The golden fish


And if you notice that I used the word “little” over a dozen times when describing this place… well, there really is no other word for it. It is little.