I Want to Write a Book // Do you have a “Life To-Do List”?

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As I sat and watched the Today’s Show this morning I wondered how cool it would be to be there, shouting, “Hi Mom!” or holding a sign that says, “Find Matt Lauer’s Tickle Spot” (see the Ellen Show, even though that was so last week). I then wondered how many of these people had being on the Today’s Show audience, on their bucket list. Then realized that I don’t have one. Well, I thought I didn’t. Then more thoughts of things that I wanted to do flushed in. I wanted to do that. Be at Rockefeller Plaza holding a hot cup of coffee in a great pair of boots and a pea coat smiling and holding a sign, “Today is my birthday!”, or something like that.

I always thought bucket lists were kind of cliche and the saying would drive me crazy (as most cliche sayings do). So, I’m calllig mine “Life To-Do List”.  I’m very  much a person who jumps at chances and I don’t wait. So, if you have a list like that, does anyone ever cross them off? Why not just do them all now?! However, the older I get the more I have things on my “Life To Do List” or how others call a “Bucket List”. I realize that with children and a marriage, you can’t just do them now.

I’ve recently had this urge to write a book. I know a couple of friends who have, self published them, and sold them on Amazon. Four friends to be exact. I don’t even know what I’d write about. Maybe how to be a SAHM with only one income and two kids or how to make your home sustainable (which is what I’m minoring in). I don’t know but that’s almost #1 on my “Life To-Do List”. I’ve already gotten write a blog down…and I’m really enjoying it.

Here are the rest of the items that are priority on my “Life To-Do List”:

  1. Write A Book.
  2. Open a business.
  3. Attend the Ellen Show.
  4. Attend the Today’s Show.
  5. Finish my degree.

There are only five right now. And I think these are pretty easy to cross off. When I cross one off, I’m going to replace it with something else. Maybe it’s travel more, or go on a Disney cruise. Whatever it is, it’s going to get crossed off.

ps: Finish my degree is #5 because I’ll be done in a year…already getting that pen ready to cross that off.

What’s on your list? Have you crossed any off?

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Top 10 Date Night & Mother’s Day Restaurants // Picked by You!

MOther's Day and Date Night

I had gotten so caught up in Earth Day yesterday that I almost forgot about the Date Night restaurants! Well, not only are these great date night restaurants, but guess what else is coming up? MOTHER’S DAY!

This is a compilation of your favorite spots in Tampa Bay!

Click on the name to be directed to their websites! Enjoy!

The Living Room – Dunedin

This is a quaint & adorable tappas restaurant right downtown Dunedin. It’s cozy inside to stay for hours to chat, eat, and of course drink. Gluten free? No problem! Let your waiter/waitress know and they will make sure that the chef prepares your meal without gluten. It may come without sauces, but you won’t regret it later. Reservations are being taken now for Mother’s Day!

Ozona Blue – Ozona

Right on the gulf, you can’t go wrong with Ozona Blue. It’s our great go-to with or without the kids. The views are fantastic, seating is perfect, and the staff are great! Food is amazing. Caters to all sorts of wants and needs. Menu is surf and turf or pretty much anything. They do not have a gluten free menu, but as always check with your wait staff and make sure they consult with the chef.

Casa Tina – Dunedin

If you love Mexican food and having some fun while you’re on a date, you’re going to fall in love with Casa Tina. Yet another #1 go-to for anytime. They pride themselves in their fresh dishes, everything is made from scratch! And don’t forget to order a Tina-Rita. A fresh margarita (no mix!) made with fresh lime juice and agave nectar. Gluten free? No problem! They’ll let you know what you can and can’t have, but it’s mostly everything. If you go on a Friday or Saturday be prepared for a fun show! They’ve also expanded their space, so the wait time should be a little less that before.

Besa Grill – Clearwater

Just off of McMullen Boot Road you’ll find this gem. What I love about this restaurant is that they buy local produce daily. If they can help it, they do not have it shipped in from other places. Menu is eclectic and they put fun spins and flavors on some original dishes. Also, they have a special Gluten Free menu.

Casa Ludovico – Palm Harbor

Tucked away off of Alt 19 in Palm Harbor is this nice Italian restaurant. It’s intimate and quiet. Definitely a date night restaurant. It’s a family atmosphere with timeless Italian classics. They want you to come, stay, and make new friends over a bottle of wine.

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Parts of Paris French Casual Bistro – Safety Harbor

Winner of Diners’ Choice 2015 and one of the top 50 restaurants in Tampa Bay 2015, you’ll find this beautiful restaurant in Safety Harbor. It’s a casual setting, but inspired by Parisian bistros. I would say this would top the list for date night!

Pensare Italian Bistro and Wine Bar – Dunedin

What’s a date night list without some fantastic Italian restaurants? This next one made our list, again in beautiful Dunedin. Their atmosphere is friendly and cozy. Reservations available online (if you’re anything like me I like to do things online for convenience).

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Clearwater Beach // Pelican Walk Plaza (in general) – Clearwater Beach

I thought this was a great suggestion. I personally haven’t been to Clearwater Beach in years (only because we go further south to Longboat Key). However, with this fun date night, it will keep you there day and into the night! People watch on Pelican Walk Plaza, walk along the beach, and stop in at any of the great restaurants the beach as to offer. You have the option to be casual and stop in at places like Frenchy’s Rockaway, or dress up a little bit and eat at Jackson’s Bistro. Clearwater Beach has something for everyone!

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Ciro’s Speakeasy and Restaurant – Tampa

I’ve never heard of this restaurant, but wanted to add an option in Tampa. Their website is definitely intriguing. “Inspired cocktails, Speakeasy Attitude, Sexy and Discreet”, makes for an interesting date night for sure! Their menu is different with Dueted Popcorn, Duck Fries from Paris, and of course some cheese fondue. If anyone has gone here, please share!

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Date night in – your house!

I know it doesn’t sound like fun, to you, but sometimes you’re in need of a date night in. Once the kids are in bed, grab a bottle of wine and sit outside on a nice balmy summer night. Get your iPad and plug in some music. Hungry? Get some cheese and crackers. Who needs to spend money at a restaurant?! It’s like you’re at your very own private hotel. Make it a rule not to talk about the kids (unless of course they get up) and also don’t talk about what needs to be done to the back yard. If the back yard bothers you …keep the lights off and get some citronella candles! Date night – DONE! What I do in this situation is I ask my hubby if he’ll get up with the kids in the morning, so mommy can have two or more glasses of wine. It’s typically never an issue.

Did we miss anything? Please add your favorite date night or add any special details to the restaurants that I gave! I’ve only been to a handful of these places. Personal experience is always welcomed!

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Earth Day 2015 // Earth Day Across America

Earth Day Across America

This land is your land, this land is my land: In honor of Earth Day this Wednesday, check out 50 cool eco-friendly things Americans are doing, from the redwood forests to the Gulf Stream waters.

Alison Gwinn April 17, 2015

Alabama
At Munford Elementary School (a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School), it’s easy being green: Kids enter the school through a “cave,” complete with stalactites, trees “grow” from the walls and one wing is dubbed “Where the Wild Things Are” while another is “The Main Stream.” The cafeteria walls are painted with murals of the surrounding Talladega National Forest, and students can look at local fish inside a 250-gallon aquarium.

Alaska
Art students at Kodiak High School have created a massive octopus sculpture, dubbed “Ophelia,” out of marine debris (from plastic bottles and grocery bags to fishing nets and cigarette lighters). The goal: to generate public awareness of the hazardous debris, which collects on beaches and in huge floating whirlpools in the middle of oceans.

Alaska

Arizona
Talk about taking one for the team: The National League’s Arizona Diamondbacks have a 17,000-square-foot solar canopy at Phoenix’s Chase Field that generates enough electricity to power the lights for 11 games. The team also has a “Break a Bat, Plant a Tree” initiative providing desert-adapted shade trees in area parks, uses recyclable and compostable cutlery and plates and team members and concessions staff wear shirts made from recycled plastic bottles. The team also closes its retractable roof during the day to keep its electric costs down and distributes its media guides on digital thumb drives.  

Chase Field Baseball Park, Phoenix, Arizona, United States of America, North America

Arkansas
In response to the devastating April 2013 tornadoes, the towns of Vilonia and Mayflower each distributed 5,000 new trees—redbud, white oak, pecan, hickory, white oak, crabapple, red mulberry, pin oak, cherry-bark oak and willow oak— under a multi-year campaign sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation and the Arkansas Forestry Commission.

California
Bea Johnson of Mill Valley, Calif, and her family live a no-waste life. Follow how they only produce a quart of waste a year at zerowastehome.blogspot.com. And read more here.

California

Colorado
Fort Collins has ratified the most ambitious eco-plan of any city in the country. Under the city’s Climate Action Plan, approved in March, this Front Range city, home to Colorado State University, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent in 15 years and would be totally carbon neutral by 2050.

Connecticut
The USDA estimates that 70 percent of food products sold in supermarkets contain genetically modified (GMO) ingredients. Connecticut’s legislature made food history when it signed the nation’s first GMO labeling bill in 2013; the only catch: It won’t take effect until a combination of Northeastern states adding up to 20 million residents pass similar legislation.

Delaware
When Washington’s troops crossed the Delaware, little could they have imagined that 240 years later, 94 percent of Delaware’s waterways would be too polluted to support fish and wildlife, and 86 percent of the state’s rivers would be unswimmable. But now, through the Delaware Nature Society’s Stream Watch program, everyday citizens of the First State are fighting back by helping test water samples throughout the state.

Florida
This puts a whole new spin on NASCAR: Not only does the Daytona Beach-based sport work out of two LEED-certified office buildings, its cars also use a renewable fuel (blended with 15 percent ethanol made from American-grown corn) that emits 20 percent less greenhouse gases than unleaded gas, plants 10 trees for each green flag that drops during races and recycles about 121,000 tires each year.

Georgia
As a farmer, Eric Wagoner questioned how to get locally grown food to customers. His solution: because he was also a web developer, in 2002 he whipped up a website for Atlanta-area customers. Called Locally Grown (locallygrown.net), it became the world’s first online farmers’ market, and has since spread to more than 100 communities throughout the country

Hawaii
Bird call: The Audubon Society has declared the islands’ birds to be among the most endangered in the world. In fact, of the 10 most endangered birds in the U.S., seven were from Hawaii. That’s where the Hawaii Wildlife Center comes in: It cares for all injured native seabirds, shorebirds, waterbirds, forest birds and birds of prey. Last fall, for example, it helped relocate 28 critically endangered Laysan Ducks (the rarest duck in the Northern Hemisphere) to a rehabilitated habitat.

Hawaii

Idaho
Amazingly, every species of animal that existed in Idaho when Lewis and Clark arrived in 1805—including Chinook salmon, elk, and giant salamanders—is still there. But because of global warming, researchers forecast that by the year 2100, 20 to 30 percent of the species will change in abundance or distribution. So a team of Nature Conservancy scientists is working to pinpoint the most climate-resilient areas of the state to help protect lands, waters and, ultimately, species.

Illinois
Already get a charge out of Route 66? Well, now the state of Illinois has spent $1 million to install electric vehicle recharging stations along the iconic highway from Chicago to St. Louis by this summer.

Indiana
Indianapolis’s new Eskenazi Hospital is the first hospital in the U.S. to be LEED Silver certified. Local and recycled material was used in construction, rainwater is collected from the roof and used in toilets and the roof coating reflects up to 90 percent of sunlight, saving energy in hot months. Eskenazi also has a sky farm on its roof, where it grows organic, healthy food for its patients.

Iowa
In a state where 85 percent of the land is farmed, mostly in corn and soybeans, a few farmers are trying out a new, more environmentally friendly method of planting called STRIPS, in which 10 percent of their farmland is replanted with indigenous prairie plants. Researchers have found that the technique reduces soil loss by 90 percent, nutrient loss by 85 percent and water runoff by 44 percent.

Kansas
Pull up a hay bale and take a seat: The Prairie Festival, held every fall in Salina, is sponsored by the Land Institute, a 30-year-old nonprofit whose mission is no less lofty than to develop an ecologically stable agricultural system that doesn’t erode or degrade the soil or contribute to climate changes. Everyone’s welcome at this “intellectual hootenanny,” which draws speakers from across the country.  

Kansas

Kentucky
Something to whinny about: Claiborne Farm, the Paris-based horse farm once home to Secretariat (it’s so famous in thoroughbred circles that Queen Elizabeth has visited it—twice), has donated 3,000 acres to the Bluegrass Conservancy, guaranteeing that the farm will remain undeveloped and upping the conservancy’s protected land to 17,000 acres.

Louisiana
The Big Easy can become the Big Dirty after Mardi Gras revelers depart—and one of the biggest problems is discarded cigarette butts. So last summer New Orleans launched a pilot program to install 50 permanent cigarette butt-recycling receptacles, each labeled: “Recycle Your Butts Here,” where they will be collected and shipped off to be recycled, including ridding the filters of biotoxins and melting them down to make plastic pellets.

Maine
Lobstermen, unite! Through the Gear Grab program of the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation, lobstermen become voluntary stewards of the environment, retrieving abandoned “ghost gear”—traps, ropes, nets and buoys, so it’s disposed of properly.

Maryland
Honey, they shrunk the house: In 2012, husband-and-wife building team Bill and Sue Thomas launched a tiny-house business called Hobbitat that builds energy-efficient houses out of reclaimed materials. Want to see for yourself? The Blue Moon Rising Center for Sustainable Education, an eco-tourism retreat, is a Hobbitat model community, with 13 custom-built Hobbitat houses.

Maryland

Massachusetts
Whether it’s good old Yankee ingenuity or not, the Bay State comes in No. 1 as the most energy-efficient state in the union. Why? Primarily because of the 2008 Green Communities Act, which requires electric utilities in the state to save a larger percentage of energy every year through efficiency measures.

Michigan
Moving experience: When the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor decided to expand its business school building, there was a little problem standing in its way. Actually, a big one: A gorgeous 250-year-old Bur oak, with a 44-foot-diameter root ball. It would have been easier (and cheaper) just to chop the tree down, but the school just couldn’t do that. So the big fellow was moved 500 feet — at a cost of $400,000.

Michigan


Minnesota
Minnesota’s Blue Earth County Justice Center (jail, plus office and courts) is kept warm by a geothermal heating system that consists of 48 miles of tubes under the facility. In the middle of the Minnesota winter, water in the tubes absorbs ground heat, which can be converted to air that heats the prison.

Mississippi
State native Charlie Munford learned to farm from his grandfather, went off to get a master’s at Yale, then returned to run a farm on his home turf. Two Run Farm in Vaughn, Miss., now provides artisanal, pasture-raised, organic beef and lamb for restaurants from Jackson to New Orleans, but Munford raises his meats the same way it’s been done for generations: no antibiotics, no hormones, just as his grandfather did.

Missouri
Powell Gardens in Kingsville, about 30 miles east of Kansas City, is home to the 12-acre Heartland Harvest Garden, the nation’s largest edible garden. The garden, which features edible varieties from heirloom to futuristic, offers cooking demonstrations (with just-picked ingredients!), as well as a Barn Dinner Series with star chefs.

Montana
Where the buffalo roam: By purchasing private lands from willing sellers in northeastern Montana, the Bozeman-based American Prairie Reserve is working to assemble a 3.5-million-acre park of species-rich grasslands so wildlife like the pronghorn sheep can range unimpeded; it is also working to reintroduce genetically pure bison (those not crossbred with cattle) to the Upper Plains.

Nebraska
The “Greenest Restaurant in America” is the Grey Plume—whose chef and co-owner is Omaha native Clayton Chapman—has received that honor from the Green Restaurant Association. Not only does it source its ingredients locally from sustainable growers, but the restaurant itself is built of recycled drywall, flooring and steel framing, uses low-flow water aerators—and even bread plates and breadboards are made of recycled materials.

Nevada
All that sunshine helps: Nevada leads the nation in solar energy jobs per capita.

New Hampshire
If you loved On Golden Pond, then you know that the loon’s haunting wail is one of the most beautiful birdcalls around. That’s why New Hampshire’s Loon Preservation Committee is working to make sure that sound never dies out, monitoring loons’ numbers and breeding, rescuing and rehabilitating sick loons and building nesting rafts.

New Jersey
New Jersey-based TerraCycle, one of the world’s fastest-growing green companies, works with more than 100 big brands around the world to collect used packaging and upcycle the waste into new products: messenger bags made from Colgate toothpaste tubes, totes made from used Target shopping bags or iPod cases made from repurposed mail bags.  

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New Mexico
The Greater World Earthship Community, a 633-acre development in Cerros de Taos, is filled with what it calls “radically sustainable buildings”: passive solar houses made of natural materials like adobe and recycled tires, cans, and other discarded materials. The community grows much of its own food, harvests its own water, treats its own sewage and makes its own bio-diesel fuel. Want to rent one of these funky houses? Go to earthship.com.

NewMexico

New York
Wall Street banker George Pakenham, aka “the Verdant Vigilante,” is no idle threat when it comes to idling cars. His role as an activist started when he saw a stretch limo idling on the street while the passengers were dining at a restaurant. Pakenham got the driver to turn off his engine—and that’s when he found his cause: After researching the laws, he has continued to approach thousands of idlers. His script: “Excuse me for bothering you… but are you aware that it’s against the law to idle your car engine in NYC for more then 3 minutes?” As he asks them to shut off the engine, he reminds them that the move is not only good for the environment, it’s also good for the pocketbook.


North Carolina
Are you a short-distance commuter? Then check out Organic Transit, a Durham-based company that has created a cross between a bicycle and a car called the ELF. A bug-like contraption with an enclosed cab, it has three wheels, pedals, a solar panel and a rechargeable battery (the ELF does not use gasoline). A standard ELF seats one (like a bike) and can go 14 miles without pedaling. 

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North Dakota
Potholes on the Prairie? Yessiree. And they’re a goodthing, too. When the glaciers melted 10,000 years ago, they left behind millions of shallow depressions; those “Prairie Potholes” are now wetlands that make up one of the world’s best waterfowl nesting habitats, supporting millions of birds each year. But they are being drained and degraded—and that’s where Ducks Unlimited comes in. Through its Preserve Our Prairies program, it is working with landowners and farmers to voluntarily restore ant protect 1 million acres of the wetlands.

NorthDakota


Ohio
Last year, the huge Russells Point, Ohio, Honda plant became the first major automotive facility in the U.S. to receive a substantial amount of its power from on-site wind turbines. The two turbines are part of Honda’s voluntary goals of reducing the environmental impact of its manufacturing by the year 2020.

Oklahoma
Under a program from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, state residents can buy ECOpasses (for $5 to $200), with the money going  to farmers and ranchers in the state who adopt no-till crop systems to stem erosion (remember, this is Dust Bowl country), fence off streams and rivers and convert some cropland back to grass.


Oregon
Almost a quarter of the garbage that Americans throw away is food and yard waste. But under the four-year-old Portland Composts! program, residents of Oregon’s largest city can put yard debris and food scraps—eggs and eggshells, bread, pasta, beans, coffee grounds, table scraps, spoiled food—out on the curb for weekly pickup, vastly cutting down on landfill waste.

Pennsylvania
At tiny (but very green!) Dickinson College in Carlisle, students grow organic vegetables and raise free-range livestock on the 50-acre, USDA-certified organic farm. The food they raise is then served in the dining hall, sold at a local farmers’ market and donated to a community food bank. And each day, 800 pounds of food waste is sent back to the farm to be compost, cutting in half the volume of waste sent from the dining hall to landfills.


Rhode Island
Pedal power: Sol Chariots Pedicab Cooperative in Providence, the brainchild of twin sisters (and avid bicyclists) Ashley and Ally Trull, was launched in 2012, giving carbon-free, pedal-powered taxi rides, making deliveries (UPS has even hired them), and offering tours of Rhode Island’s capital city.

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South Carolina
Working to buck the trend of aging American farmers (whose average age is 57), the Dirt Works Incubator Farm near Charleston offers a three-year training program for aspiring farmers. The apprentices get help developing a business plan, and all the produce they grow goes to local food banks.

South Dakota
At the Pine Ridge Reservation, home to about 40,000 members of the Oglala Sioux tribe, students from Oglala Lakota College and others are building sustainable prototype housing as part of the Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative. The buildings will help solve a consistent problem on tribal lands: the lack of well-designed, affordable housing.

Tennessee
Starting in 2014, the annual four-day Bonnaroo Music Festival launched Refill Revolution, installing water-refill stations where “sustainable Bonnaroovians” could refill their bottles for free from clean, on-site wells, saving 400,000 plastic water bottles from the landfill. They also offer $5 stainless-steel reusable water bottles and cups at concession stands—including discounted beer refills.

Texas
The year of living sustainably: Professor Dumpster (aka Jeff Wilson of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin) made his home in a dumpster for a year, moving out in February. The goal: to shed light on how much Americans use (and waste) every day. To wit: The average American home is 2,480 square feet; the dumpster is 33 square feet; the average American uses 4.5 pounds of trash a day; Professor Dumpster, zero; the average American home uses 400 gallons of water a day; the dumpster, 4 gallons; the average American home burns 11,000 kilowatt hours of electricity; the dumpster: zero.

TexasProfDumpster


Utah
The Utah-based startup Saffron has invented an LED light bulb that is not only energy saving but, at the flick of a switch, mimics the setting sun. Put the Drift bulb into Midnight Mode, and an auto-dimming function will gradually dim the bulb over the next 37 minutes, the average amount of time it takes the sun to set.

Vermont
The 2014 Locavore Index ranks the Green Mountain State first, based on the number of farmers’ markets, consumer-supported agriculture operations (CSAs) and food hubs per-capita, plus percentage of each state’s school districts with active Farm-to-School programs.


Virginia
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s newly opened Brock Environmental Center is one of the greenest buildings in the world. Its location is significant, as the region where it sits has the third highest percentage of land below sea level, so it is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes. It’s the only building in the continental U.S. certified to treat and drink the rainwater collected on the roof, and its energy use will be totally offset by rooftop solar panels and two on-site wind turbines.

Washington
Aptly nicknamed the Evergreen State, it ranked No. 1 in 2014 (and 2013) as the most bicycle-friendly state in the country by the League of American Bicyclists.

West Virginia
In 2009, the small Appalachian coal-mining community of Williamson was plagued with a 9.7 percent unemployment rate, a high poverty level, and a life expectancy of only 67.7 years. So local residents banded together to create Sustainable Williamson. It includes a free primary-care clinic and, because the closest grocery store was a half-hour’s drive away and 12 percent of residents lack cars, the Williamson Farmers Market and community garden, which grows produce year-round and includes a mobile market. Also, local workers are being hired to build affordable housing with a focus on reclaimed materials and energy-efficient construction, including solar panels.

Wisconsin
The college town of Madison has been dubbed “the Greenest City in America”: Its 12.7 parks per 10,000 residents make for the highest ratio in the U.S. It also has more than 15,000 acres of lakes, more than 200 miles of biking and hiking trails (in fact, Madison has more bikes than cars) and 38 percent of its residents work from home, or walk, bike, carpool or take public transportation to work.

Wyoming
If a robotic vacuum mated with an old-fashioned bird decoy, you might get something like this: A remote-controlled robotic female sage grouse that has been deployed to try to monitor how members of her species, well, “hook up.” And in this state, that is important: 40 percent of all sage grouse live in Wyoming, and a consortium of scientists and oil and gas businesses are working together to make sure the bird keeps multiplying so it stays off the Endangered Species List.

Wyoming

Source: Parade Magazine

.What else does your area do for Earth Day? What do you do EVERYDAY?

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Dress Code // Does What You Wear, Affect How You Work?

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I came across this article and thought it was interesting. I am a little more concervative when it comes to office attire. I worked at an office that had a very strict dress code. We’re in Florida and although we could wear jeans on Fridays, we still couldn’t wear flip flops. I also worked at an office that was casual by nature and jeans were acceptable every day. Both offices were about the same. Everything was done online and very few times we had client visits. When we did have client visits, we would all need to dress professional (not biz cas) in both places.

I like looking professional and put together when I’m working in an office. It’s just who I am. In my casual office, I enjoyed wearing jeans but dressed them up with heels and a nice shirt. Don’t get me wrong, I had days (Fridays) when I didn’t want to dress up and it was nice that I didn’t have to. So, those days I could wear jeans and a pair of dressier sandals.

I also noticed that I do work how I dress. If I’m dressed professionally, I act more professional and work more efficiently. When I’m dressed down, ie: Casual Fridays, I work casually – maybe do the bare minimum and I’ll get to the rest on Monday. Are you with me or not? Be honest!

Check this chart out. Do you agree or disagree with it? I could go on about this topic forever. What are your thoughts? How does your office dress? When you’re working from home, do you dress up or down? Does what you wear affect the way you work?

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Source: Real Simple

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Parent Picked // 10 Kid Friendly Restaurants

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I talked to moms in my area and some from out of state. I asked them what their favorite Kid Friendly restaurant was. Some of these restaurants are here in Pinellas County and some are nationwide. This is a great goto guide when you’re undecided where to take the family!

Did your restaurant not make our list? Please share what your favorite kid friendly restaurant is!

Sweet Pea CafeDunedin

This restaurant is beyond adorable. Sweet Peas serves organic family and kid friendly foods and beverages. They also serve fresh baby food!! They also keep the entertainment going! Check out their website for more info!

  • Onsite Yoga with Om Sweet Om of Palm Harbor
  • Shop and Storytime
  • Tower Garden Demos and much  more!
  • Kids area to play outside
  • Free Wifi

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Kelly’s for Just About Anything/Blur – Dunedin

I’ve been to Kelly’s a hundred times and Blur a hundred times more. I really love this restaurant. It’s a great go to for a local fun night out or a cute lunch during the day. The great thing about Kelly’s and your children, are kids from 0-6 eat their weight! So, my 4 year old who weighs 40 pounds will only cost $0.40! Kids 7-12 are $2.99. ps, I love that they search PB&J :)

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Ozona Pig – Ozona: This was voted twice by parents. They have a kid play area so parents can eat and talk! Their BBQ Menu is great too!

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Lucky Dill Deli - Palm Harbor

Great centralized location and an New York feel, the Lucky Dill is great for the kids with their laid back atmosphere and kid friendly options:

  • Kids Eat Free Tuesdays from 3-10pm!
  • Special Kid Friendly Menu

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Johnny’s Italian Restaurant – Clearwater

This restaurant is one that my husband has gone to for years before I have been there. Johnny’s is great because they’ve been there forever, they have great food, have a kids menu, and even more fun, they give you some pizza dough to play with! Just don’t eat it :)

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New England Ale House – Palm Harbor

New England Ale House is pretty new in our area! I have been there and it’s a great addition to our thriving community. They have a great menu and kids menu! Their entertainment wiill keep your little ones occupied with some trivia and a ton of flat screens for watching sports!

Ozona Blue - Ozona

Ozone Blue is both a date night alone and also a restaurant that is great for kids! The #1 reason – they have a pool! Feel free to swim if you’re a customer! They do have a kids menu 12 and under as well. ** Ozona Blue is going to be on our list of date night restaurants – coming soon **

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Cody’s Original Roadhouse - Clearwater/Nationwide

Cody’s is a fun restaurant for kids because you’re able to color on the paper table cloth and they allow you to throw your food on the floor, well peanut shells that is!

  • Color on the paper table cloth
  • Throw peanut shells on the floor
  • Kid’s Menu
  • Kid’s Eat Free Monday and Tuesday (10 and under)

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Red RobinClearwater/Nationwide

Red Robin is one of our favorite restaurants for the kids!

  • Balloons when they visit
  • Laid back atmosphere
  • Kids Menu with Crayons
  • Loyalty Program with Discounts (not just for kids for the whole family!)
  • Play Red Robin games online at RedRobin.com.

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Dunedin SmokehouseDunedin

Fun and laid back atmosphere is what you need when you’re going out to eat with the kiddos! This restaurant was chosen by a couple of our parents as their go to for a fun kid friendly meal! Check out their little piggies menu!

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Some others that were mentioned were:

  • Perkins
  • Joe’s Crab Shack
  • Mellow Mushroom

I’m sure there are a ton more where this came from. Share your favorite!

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Backpacks for Kids 2015 // Nationwide Appraisal Network

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Backpacks for Kids 2015

Our close friends at Nationwide Appraisal Network is back with their 3rd annual Backpacks for Kids Campaign!

Help them exceed their goal of 500 backpacks! And if they do, they will donate $1,000 to each of the following local schools:

  1. Eisenhower Elementary
  2. Belcher Elementary
  3. Skycrest Elementary

They are currently looking for corporate sponsors and individual donations!

Click their logo below for more information!

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Skinny & Simple Margarita // No Mix Needed!

margarita2This yummy drink goes with my Tex-Mex Pasta Salad from yesterday!

This is so easy, it’s difficult…

Ingredients:

  • One Shot (or two) of your favorite Tequila
  • 1T Lime Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Lime (for garnish)

Pour ice into your fun margarita glass. Add the tequila and lime juice, then, depending on how your week or day was, fill up the rest with the orange juice!

Looking for something more to this recipe? Well, that’s it!

Cheers!

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Tex-Mex Pasta Salad // Easy & Healthy // Gluten Free Version

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I recently had a family BBQ and made a really great pasta salad. It was so easy, it took maybe 20 minutes (or however long it takes for your pasta to boil and mix ingredients together). It is healthy too (and budget friendly! This version is gluten free, but you make it and modify it how you like! And use diff ingredients, this is your recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Mueller’s GF Penne Pasta (8oz)
  • One can of Corn
  • One can of Black Beans
  • One Roma Tomato
  • A good bunch of fresh Cilantro
  • A bottle of Wish Bone Italian Dressing (it is GF, but make sure the one you’re getting is).

Cook the pasta according to the directions. Put under cool water when straining. Put pasta in a bowl. Empty the beans and corn into the pasta (drain both), add the cilantro. Pour in the dressing to taste (I used a good half of the bottle). Voila! You have pasta salad for your next get together.

I usually make a pasta salad with two kinds of cheese and sausage, but I was wanting something different. Or something to go with my healthy margaritas (recipe coming later).

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