Wednesday, February 29, 2012

a little fun in the sun

While in Sarasota I'm usually on the beach at sunrise, and on this particular morning there was quite a bird show.....
.....with the usual precocious gulls.....and lots of these orange beaked birds (below) that I had never noticed before - but have probably always been around (usually I'm scouring the water for dolphin sightings).
None of them were budging from their spots for passers-by, so it was easy to get close pics of them.
Also while in FL this trip, my son and family were doing the Orlando scene before embarking on the Disney Cruise, so we all went to Discovery Cove.
This is another one of those places I had never been to, despite living in FL so many years, and it was a pleasant surprise.
It's a bit pricey, but if hassle-free, water-themed relaxation is your goal (and you can't get to the Bahamas) this is the place to be. Classy and accommodating from beginning to end!
All the (pretty decent) food you can eat, wetsuits, snorkel gear, towels and lockers are included in the price, and they limit the number of guests, so no standing in lines or fighting for beach chairs.
You can do the optional dolphin encounter, or just hang out with the fish and rays in the reef pools. There is an interesting walk-through aviary, long winding river float, and shark encounter (behind glass) in the reef pools.
All in all, a fun time for kids and adults alike.
But was inevitably back to the gray, drizzly skies of the ATL. (I'm just glad it's a warm winter, anyway!)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Small business salute....Happy Birthday Mom....and a life lesson

Since I am finally done with the big 'Spring Clean Out' (from hell)......I was able to squeak in another trip to sunny Sarasota for Mom's Birthday, and wanted to surprise her with this post on her book store!

This month Mom turned 85 and I couldn't be prouder of her--she still works full time and is doing what she loves at her paperback book exchange: Bee Ridge Books.

Books are my Mom's passion, and about 30 years ago she decided to jump in the deep end and open a little store of her own. She found a spot just down the road from where my Dad had built his auto repair shop, located some inventory from a book store closing on Anna Maria Island, and was on her way!
My Dad built the book shelves and helped get everything rolling......
....and it has been a joy to Mom ever since.

This little shop has seen her through the loss of my Dad, her battle with cancer, and these brutal years of recession (plus the added challenge of the coming of Kindle and Nook--and the explosion of on-line book selling).

She has hung tough through it all!!

I hate to think of the small booksellers becoming extinct....these shops are a treasure trove for true book lovers and avid readers!! She has so many fabulous hard to find, and out of print books, and can provide invaluable help with comparative authors, or recommendations from her vast knowledge gathered over the years.
This trip she put me to work re-stocking the shelves....deja vu! I used to work here regularly when my boys were attending Sarasota Christian School and remember all the incredibly nice customers we had--it truly was a fun job!

Also on this trip we were delighted to have a visit from my cousin Jan and her husband Dale from the Quad City area--whom we hadn't seen in roughly 20(?) years! It was so great to see them again!!

Happy Birthday Ma!!

And the life lesson part? If what you love!!
Blessed are those who are able to pursue what they love as their work!!!
I'm so glad my Mom is able to enjoy this gift!!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Exciting announcement!

Mark your calendars for Sept 28.29.30!!

You don't want to miss this!!
BELLA RUSTICA URBAN BARN MARKETPLACE has a new venue!! AND is expanding to 3 days!!
The fabulous new site is Milky Way Farm in Lynnville, TN.

Check out this amazingly historic estate, complete with stunning manor house, massive barns and scenic grounds!

Stay tuned for all show details and updates on Linda's blog: Bella Rustica Nashville!