The wedding countdown is in full force. Less than 4 weeks to go! So this past weekend was a busy one.

The “feyonce'” at Windwood Walls…Love is a risk. Do it anyway.

The bride and her bridesmaids enjoyed a SOBE weekend while the groom and his groomsmen spent the weekend in NOLA.

The bride-to-be with her bridesmaids. Bachelorette Weekend in Miami.
The bride-to-be with her bridesmaids. Bachelorette Weekend in Miami.

And we had a terrific weekend at HOME making wedding day preparations. We get a lot of satisfaction from checking another item off the list.

The checklist:

table set up
hang wire for lights
painting projects
trim trees and other yard work
pressure cleaning
build photo booth
Lowe’s shopping trip
Sam’s shopping trip
prepare escort cards

Guess who has big plans for the Spring?


Make a Good First Impression

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” Whether for a job interview, a meeting with a potential client or new colleague, or a networking opportunity, it’s important to put your best foot forward.

My pet peeve: tacky email addresses. It’s hard for me to take seriously any contact from someone who goes by sexylynn. Unfortunately, many people use childish, suggestive, or offensive email addresses. I guess this might be funny with friends and family, but when used in today’s world where email serves as a main mode of communication, this is definitely NOT a way to make a good first impression.

phonto-2So after you make sure you have an email address that others will take seriously, remember these tips as well:

  • Be on time.
  • Be prepared.
  • Be engaged.
  • Be confident.
  • Be focused on the interests of others instead of your own.

I know you’ve got that email address under control, but remember, you really do have only one chance to make a first impression.










Winnie’s Wisdom

What better way to celebrate the birthday of author, A.A. Milne, than by relishing in the words of wisdom of his most famous character Winnie the Pooh.

Words about kindness, friendship, love, and life. IMG_5887

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “What about lunch?””

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”

IMG_5885“If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you.”

“Some people care too much. I think it’s called love.”

IMG_5888“A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.”

“People who don’t think probably don’t have brains; rather, they have grey fluff that’s blown into their heads by mistake.”

IMG_5886“If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together keep me in your heart, I’ll stay there forever.”

“Promise me you’ll never forget me because if I thought you would I’d never leave.”

IMG_5889“You can’t stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.”



Oh no, it’s happened again!

Two years ago this month I wrote about getting a senior discount at a movie theater, but since the theater was in The Villages, I told myself that it was a Villages thing…they just assume anyone in The Villages must be a senior. However, this week when it happened again in Ocala, I lost that excuse. At least we have an extra $4.00!


On January 26th, my college roommate, Barbara, posted the following status update on her Facebook page:

 Friend my age and I were given senior citizen tickets at movie theater tonight without asking our ages. We were hoping the age for the discount was 55, but it wasn’t 🙁  Some savings aren’t worth it!

I chuckled when I read this and thought, who cares? You got a break on those overpriced movie tickets.

Well, I’ve changed my mind. John and I went to The Rialto Theater in The Villages on Wednesday to see Zero Dark Thirty and we were given the senior discount. I agree with Barbara. Some savings aren’t worth it!

One of Barbara’s friends commented on her status: Use the money you saved and buy some sexy underwear.

That may be good advice!

Gainesville = Chuy’s Time

A drive to Gainesville is much more palatable now that we’ve discovered Chuy’s. As lovers of Mexican food, this place hits the spot.

It’s hard to believe we discovered Chuy’s while over 1000 miles from home, but when the Mexican restaurant we’d carefully selected before a visit to Austin, TX was closed on Sunday, we started aimlessly driving around the city in search of lunch. When we passed Chuy’s, the brightly colored building and full parking lot looked like a fun place to eat.

Greeted with a bowl of chips and salsa we picked up the menu to order and were surprised and more than a little disappointed to find we weren’t in a local restaurant, but in a chain. However, since it was already 2:00, and we were hungry and without any other options, we decided to stay and make the best of it. Glad we did…good food and drinks and a cool, relaxing spot to regroup on a 106º summer afternoon…and as a bonus, we noticed that we could visit Chuy’s only 40 miles from home in Gainesville.

IMG_6228Gainesville for a Gator baseball game? Eat at Chuy’s

l-3Gainesville for a shopping trip? Eat at Chuy’s

l-4Gainesville for a bike ride? Eat at Chuy’s

l-2Gainesville for an event at the Phillips Center or Harn Museum? Eat at Chuy’s

Even a trip to White Springs resulted in a detour to Chuy’s.

l-5We should branch out and try some other eateries in Gainesville, but it’s hard to pass up on a chance to eat at Chuy’s on Archer Road. Where else can you find a “fully loaded nacho car”?

TBT Lesson #33

It’s that time of year again. Time for school pictures. As a teacher, I must admit picture day was one of my LEAST favorite days of the school year.

You’d think with all of the students dressed to impress, their behavior would be stellar on picture day…not so! Instead, the day brings out the worst in them. Girls spinning around so their dresses poof. Boys borrowing mirrors from the girls so they can check their hair. Everyone concerned about when the pictures will be taken.

“I don’t want to go to PE before pictures.”

“What if I spill something on my shirt during lunch?”

“If they don’t take my picture soon, my hair’s going to be a mess.” (This from both girls and boys in recent years!)

Then of course the picture line is the worst part of the day. Students are so excited they’re jumping around trying to watch their classmates as they pose for the photographer with combs in hand to do all the last minute preening.

I think this explains why most teachers pictured in the yearbook or in class pictures look like they’ve just gotten over a bout with the flu. They’re suffering from school picture syndrome.

Same hair style, just a different color.

Even with all the pictures taken today, school pictures are still needed. We all need some actual physical, printed pictures instead of just images on our cameras. And children still enjoy sharing and trading pictures with classmates. I guess the teacher stress caused on picture day is worth it.

TBT Lesson #33: Buy school pictures.

Not Another Trophy!

Does this picture leave any doubt that too many awards are given: trophies, plaques, medals, ribbons, and framed certificates?

This represents only a fraction of the awards stored in closets or boxes in the garage or scattered on various shelves throughout the house.

IMG_5841.JPGSome of the awards are cute, like this one from the Tortoise and the Hare, a children’s triathlon.

IMG_5850.JPGA few are practical, like this mug from the Brick City 5K.

IMG_5860.JPGAnd some are more interesting than others.

IMG_5878.JPGBut do we really need all of these awards? Those that truly recognized an achievement were meaningful at the time of receipt, but some were received for merely being a member of a team or completing a task. And even most of those that recognized an accomplishment years ago no longer hold the same meaning.

The most ridiculous awards? Those for adults. Do coaches really need trophies and plaques? Is the best way to recognize leadership in an organization with an award to be displayed somewhere?

IMG_5879Wouldn’t it be great if we could express our appreciation without giving dust collectors?



Toss It!

One of the best things about having a wedding at your house is that you absolutely must get rid of clutter. John’s been a man on a mission, filling bags with things to donate or take to the dump.

When he asks what I want to do with clothes or extra sheets or rarely used appliances, my answer is always the same, “Toss it!” Those two words are becoming my motto this year.

A Suburban full of bags was tossed in the dump. Suits, dress clothes, sheets, and towels were tossed in the collection box at the First United Methodist Church in Ocklawaha to be sold in their Thrift Store and another bag of jeans and t-shirts were tossed in the back of the car to be donated to the homeless outreach program at the First United Methodist Church in Ocala.


Of course John’s favorite giveaways are the ones we drag to the street since we make predictions as to how long items will remain street side before being picked up and adopted by a new owner. Last week, the desk went in about 20 minutes…not bad.

Our plan for this weekend includes tackling some more closets and other hiding places for those infrequently used items. Toss it, toss it, toss it.


Treat Yourself Like Your BFF!

Many New Year’s Resolutions have been made and probably already broken in the past week. Resolutions to change money, dieting, and exercising habits. Promises relating to work, school, and personal changes. It seems every newspaper and magazine in December and January are filled with tips on becoming a better you.

In an article in one of those magazines, I read a simple sentence written by a contributor in which she said her resolution for 2015 was to treat herself like she treats her friends.


That one caught my attention. Not the usual learn to manage the clutter or run a marathon or pay off my credit cards. Treat ourselves like our friends, sounds simple, but what a good idea.

So how do you go about treating yourself like your friend?

Quickly forgive and make up.

A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked. ~Bernard Meltzer

Love you, no matter what. 

Accept you as you are. A friend is someone who understand your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are. Do this for yourself. ~Unknown

Remind you of your greatness.

My best friend is the one who brings out the best in me.
Henry Ford

And finally:

  • Make time for you. Make yourself a priority.

  • Believe in having fun.

  • See your positive side.

Treat yourself like your BFF.







Bike Trail Land Bridge

IMG_5705.JPGIt’s hard to believe I’d never been to the Land Bridge Trail Head on the Marjorie Harris Carr Cross Florida Greenway until last week. Especially since when driving south on I-75, I’ve been saying I want to go out to the Land Bridge since the day it opened. I know that’s been more than 10 years!

IMG_5714.JPGWhile the trail wasn’t paved, a usual requirement, it was hard packed, wide, and shady, with few roots or other obstacles. The round trip ride was relatively short, only about six miles, but it was enjoyable and gave us a preview of what to expect on the other trails in this network.

I even surprised John when I told him I wanted to try the Blue Loop back to the trail head. The Blue Loop’s a single track trail, and that’s not the type of riding I usually like. This turned out to be a good decision. We rode along the narrow trail without a hitch. It had few roots, stumps, rocks, or other obstructions, and I only missed a couple of turns. Now I know that I can ride other moderate difficulty, “blue” trails on the Cross Florida Greenway.

IMG_5821.JPGHaving successfully ridden the single track trail back to the Land Bridge Trail Head, next time we’ll ride the 49th Avenue Trail.