Feb 182017

Last Sunday I went to the Straz Center to see the play Wicked with my daughter in law Susie and her mom Joan. It was so so so good, and very hilarious, which surprised me.

Before we went to see the play, we went to a new to me and Joan restaurant called Datz. For an appetizer Susie ordered the Berrychetta, which is toasted batard topped with goat cheese and Florida Strawberries, arugula and cherry balsamic drizzle. Oh my goodness. It was fantastic!

Everything on the menu sounded amazing, but I ended up ordering the Pepping Tom which is Oven roasted turkey, Swiss cheese, avocado spread, lettuce, tomato and mayo, served on a ciabatta roll. I asked for regular bread instead of the roll (don’t ask me why, it was just a spur of the moment thing)  and the sandwich was amazing. It was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Yum E!

All the sandwiches are served with house-made sweet-n-salty chips with creamy blue cheese drizzle and green onions. We all thought they were yummy!




Peeping Tom

Pepping Tom &  Sweet-n-Salty Chips

(you can click the photos to enlarge)

Joan ordered the Roger’s Rockin’ Reuben: Sy Ginsberg’s corned beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. Served on rye bread. She loved it.

Susie ordered the The Happy Cow: House-made black beans, fresh corn veggie burger. Topped with Sriracha aioli and shredded lettuce. Served on a sweet sourdough bun.  And yes, she loved it.

The restaurant had a great atmosphere and I would recommend it 100%. I hope to go back soon. Sadly, the only locations at this time are in Tampa.

We had some spare time between the restaurant and the play so we decided to walk around Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. I love the park and enjoy it every time I go. That day they were having Yoga In The Park and I was surprised at how many people were yoga-ing. I also love watching all the dogs that people bring to the park to walk. Someone even brought their pet pig.



Of course my favorite part is walking beside the water. I am a water lover. Pond, river, canal, ocean, puddle. I love em all.

Anyway, if you are ever in the downtown Tampa area and are hungry, I suggest you visit Datz. They have other items on the menu besides sandwiches. Everything we ate was really good.


Hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Feb 142017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I didn’t get as many steps as I wanted this week. I’ve been more tired than usual on some days, I guess it’s from not getting enough sleep. I’ll be working on that this week.

Goals For February:
Do every day
Pray/Meditate: ✓
Deep breathing: ✓
Stretching: ✓
80 oz. water: ✓

Strength train 20 times: 12
Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong 6 times: 0
Try something new: 0

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 1/07: 6,312 steps
Wednesday~ 2/08: didn’t track
Thursday ~ 2/09: 5,101 steps
Friday ~ 2/10: 7,043 steps
Saturday ~ 2/11: 11,456 steps
Sunday ~ 2/12: 10,636 steps
Monday ~ 2/13: didn’t track

On The Menu
Tuesday: subs from Publix
Wednesday: Roasted Garlic & Herb Pork Sirloin, mashed potatoes & corn
Thursday: BLT’s
Friday: ?
Saturday:  ?
Sunday: CiCi’s
Monday: Baked Pineapple Teriyaki Pork Chops w/ broccoli

Feb 092017


My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Written by: Elizabeth Strout
Narrated by: Kimberly Farr
Length: 4 hrs and 12 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:01-12-16
Publisher: Random House Audio

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

What I Thought:
Lucy hasn’t had the best life. Her childhood was spent being so poor that they barely had enough food, didn’t have indoor plumbing for a long while, and she was picked on at school, mostly because of the clothes she wore.

What she did have was gentle heart and a lot of love for her family, her two daughters, and for writing. She also said many times throughout the book about the people she had met, that she loved “her” “him”, “them”. She was very grateful for the people who showed her any kindness.

The book is about Lucy’s life, told in a random order, whatever she thinks of at the time. Still, there’s an even flow to the story.

I thought the conversations between Lucy and her mom were a bit strange at times. I can’t imagine having a relationship like that with my mom.

The narrator did a great job with each characters. I thought it was interesting tha there were characters with the last name Nicely. It’s a very unusual name, and is my mother’s maiden name.

This is the first time I’ve tried a Strout book, but I plan on reading/listening to more from her. I enjoyed learning about Lucy, she felt like a friend telling me her life’s story.

The ending came quite abruptly though, I would have liked more.

Feb 072017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

Goals For February:
Do every day
Pray/Meditate: ✓
Deep breathing: ✓
Stretching: ✓
80 oz. water: ✓

Strength train 20 times: 6
Tai-Chi/Qi-Gong 6 times: 0
Try something new: 0

My steps from last week
Tuesday~ 1/31: didn’t track
Wednesday~ 2/01: 9,106 steps
Thursday ~ 2/02: 6,065 steps
Friday ~ 2/03: 7,503 steps
Saturday ~ 2/04: 6,549 steps
Sunday ~ 2/05: 5,789 steps
Monday ~ 2/06: 6,597 steps

On The Menu
Tuesday: Ham, okra & tomato mix
Wednesday: Kielbasa & cabbage
Thursday: Pork Roast with baby red potatoes & baby carrots
Friday:  Chicken Breast, squash & zucchini mix
Saturday:  ?
Sunday: ?
Monday: Lettuce wrapped hamburgers with pickles and tomato

Feb 072017


50 States 5000 Ideas by National Geographic

This richly illustrated book from the travel experts at National Geographic showcases the best travel experiences in every state, from the obvious to the unexpected. Sites include national parks, beaches, hotels, Civil War battlefields, dude ranches, out-of-the-way museums, and more. You’ll discover the world’s longest yard sale in Tennessee, swamp tours in Louisiana, dinosaur trails in Colorado, America’s oldest street in NYC, and the best spot to watch for sea otters on the central California coast. Each entry provides detailed travel information as well as fascinating facts about each state that will help fuel your wanderlust and ensure the best vacation possible. In addition to 50 states in the U.S., the book includes a section on the Canadian provinces and territories.

What I Thought
I love going on day trips, I love traveling, and I love this book! I learned a few new things about each state.

The book brought back a lot of memories from when I lived in California and Ohio.

Here are a few of them:
California: I’ve seen the lettuce fields in Salinas and even though the photo in the book is amazing, they are even more beautiful in person.

I lived in Monterey and 17 Mile Drive is a beautiful place to spend the day.

Ohio: Cedar Point. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been there. It was one of the world’s first theme parks, and I loved going there as a child.

I loved spending days swimming and boating at Lake Erie. Lots of childhood memories from there.

The book mentioned the Cincinnati Zoo, but not the Columbus Zoo, which I thought was strange. Not that the Cincinnati Zoo isn’t amazing, it is, but my favorite is the Columbus Zoo.

Florida: Disney World, Sea World, Legoland, not to mention all the amazing beaches. Everglades National Park. I haven’t been to the Keys, but have wanted to go for years.

Places I put on my Bucket List after reading this book:
(Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, and Arizona were already on it)
New England States, South Dakota, Idaho, Montana…to name a few.

There are beautiful photos scattered throughout the book, and each state has plenty of places to see and things to do. There are also  a few sections each for each state called Little Known Facts, State Of The Art, Local Flavor, Road Trips, Capitalism, Tourism Information, Festivals, Hidden Treasures.

I love this book and will keep it where I can pick it up and scan through it from time to time. It will come in handy whenever I travel, even while traveling in my own state. It would make a great gift for anyone who loves to travel, or wants to travel.

About The Author
During three decades as an editor, writer, and photographer, Joe Yogerst has lived and worked on four continents—Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America. His writing has appeared in National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Islands magazine, The New York Times (Paris), and numerous National Geographic books. During that time, he has won four Lowell Thomas Awards, including one for Long Road South, his National Geographic book about driving the Pan American Highway from Texas to Argentina.

Purchase Links

National Geographic Store | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


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Feb 062017


Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café  by Max Lucado

with Candace Lee , Eric Newman
Narrated by: Ben Holland
Length: 5 hrs and 39 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:02-03-15
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Chelsea Chambers is on her own. After a public split from her NFL superstar husband, Chelsea takes a bold step out of the limelight and behind the counter of the Higher Grounds Café, an old-fashioned coffee shop in dire need of reinvention. But when her courage, expert planning, and out-of-this-world cupcakes fail to pay the bills, this newly single mom finds herself desperate for help. Better yet, a miracle.

Then a curious stranger lands at Chelsea’s door, and with him, an even more curious string of events. Soon, customers are flocking to the Higher Grounds Café, and not just for the cupcakes and cappuccino. They’ve come for the internet connection to the divine. Now the café has become the go-to place for people in search of answers to life’s biggest questions.

When a catastrophe strikes and her ex comes calling, Chelsea begins to wonder if the whole universe is conspiring against her quest to make it on her own. After a shocking discovery opens her eyes to the unseen world around her, Chelsea finds the courage to ask God a question of her own. Heaven answers in a most unexpected way.

What I Thought
I was excited to listen to this book. I liked the blurb and thought it would be an uplifting story, and it was. I liked all the characters, especially Manny. He sure added a lot to the story, and I grew very fond of him and his quirkiness.

While I liked Chelsea, she jumped to conclusions a bit too quickly for me, especially about her husband. Everything is not what it seems, which she found out.

The narrator was good, but it seemed that he took a big deep breath at the beginning of most sentence, and listening to that over and over kind of got on my nerves. He did, however, do a terrific job with all the different voices.

This was a quick listen, just a bit over 5 1/2 hours. I liked that it was a good clean book with a positive message. I really enjoyed this book.

Feb 062017


Yes, I’m late to the party. I’ve been trying to decide on my “One Word” since I saw Sheila @ Book Journey, post about it. I’ve finally decided that my one word will be:

the state of being calm, peaceful, and untroubled.

I also wish this for all my family members and friends.
Feb 052017

Sunday Reflections


I would like to have a Monday off soon so I can go to the farmers/flea market

My dog Kaiyo, cat Boots, and kitten Jaspurr because they keep me  company when I’m home alone

Murder at Jade Cove (Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery #2) by Dianne Harman

Listening To…
A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley

Today I plan on watching Lord Of The Flies, a co-worker recommended it

To get the house in Zephyrhills finished soon so we can move
Please Please Please Pretty Please

Some people aren’t happy unless they’re unhappy

I’ve decided to eat healthier so I’ll be working on a menu

In The Kitchen…
I’m not sure

Today’s To-Do List…
Watch a movie and do some laundry

One of my favorite things:
Taco Bell Taco Salad

Pin It & Do It…
Button Bookmarks

Looking forward to…
Going with my dil Susie and her mom to see Wicked next Sunday

A Favorite Bible Verse…
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.
Proverbs 15:3

A favorite quote…
“Life will bring you pain all by itself. Your responsibility is to create joy.”
Milton Erickson

From the camera….

Friendly Fill-Ins

Feb 032017

Hosted @ McGuffy’s Reader & 15andmeowing

1. My middle name is Lou. My dad’s mom called my mom “Leelou”, so when my twin brother and I were born she named him Ricky Lee and me Vicki Lou.

2. I never liked surprises until the last few years, now I love them.

3. The Super Bowl is something I’ve never been interested in.

4. My favourite sport is bowling.

Wednesday Hodgepodge

Feb 012017
Hosted @ From This Side Of The Pond


1. Can you believe it’s the end of January? What was the best day of January 2017 for you, and why?
January 13th, because that’s the birthday of my oldest son, Jeremy. And also, it’s the day that I rescued my doggy Kaiyo.

2. What sounds make up the background noise in your life?
A fan and the tv or audio book. At work it’s music, mostly Christian music.

3. I read on the Power of Positivity website a list of ten things to drop from your life right now. They are-

anger outbursts, people who put you down, regret, negative self talk, being a people pleaser, the notion you need to be perfect, the past (but keep the lessons learned!), gossip and judgment, comparing yourself to others, and the word hate (focus on what you love instead)

Which thing on the list do you most need to drop? Are you trying or will you try?
I’m a people pleaser, it’s hard for me to say no to anyone who needs/wants my help. And yes, I’m trying not to be.

4. What is sacred to you?
Anything relating to my religion. If I had to name a few things not relating to religion, I’d say my family and pets, the beach, nature.

5. January is National Oatmeal month. Are you a fan, and if so how do you like it?
I like steel cut oats with cinnamon, wheat germ, flax seed, nuts, sunflower seeds and fruit.

6. What feelings does twilight stir up in you?7

7. Something you’re looking forward to next month?
Going to see Wicked on February 11th with my daughter in law Susie.

8. Insert your own random thought here.
Have you ever been so tired that something just didn’t click in your head? I can’t remember ever doing that before, but it sure did yesterday. It took 5 emails about something before my brain finally said “oh my goodness, really? Duh!”

Jan 312017


The Red Bandanna: A Life. A Choice. A Legacy. by Tom Rinaldi


Hosted @ Bibliophile by the Sea


Seven stories below the ground, seventy feed deep in the earth, they sat. On a bright spring morning, while flags flew at half-staff in the memorial plaza far above, some seven hundred had made the long descent to gather in this chamber. Together they met: strong and weak, mournful and hopeful, persistent and diminished. Families and firefighters, city officials and rescue workers, orphans and political leaders, they waited for the solemn ceremony to begin.

Jan 312017


Hosted by Joy @ Joy’s Book Blog

I met all my goals for January except for Tai-Chi.  I’ll be working this week on new goals for February. Any ideas for me?

My steps from the last week
Tuesday~ 1/24: 8,501 steps
Wednesday~ 1/25: 6,164 steps
Thursday ~ 1/26: 7,365 steps
Friday ~ 1/27: 9,431 steps
Saturday ~ 1/28: 10,083 steps
Sunday ~ 1/29: didn’t track
Monday ~ 1/30: 12,383 steps

On The Menu
Tuesday: Garlic Herb Grilled Pork Tenderloin, stuffing & pea salad
Wednesday: Baby Lima Beans & Cornbread Muffins
Thursday: Slow Cooker Beef Stew
Friday: Chicken Cabbage Stir Fry
Saturday: Not sure. Either pizza, Mexican, or Chinese
Sunday: Ruby Tuesday
Monday: Austin Burgers & Sweet Potato Fries

Jan 292017

Sunday Reflections

50°. Ridiculous!

I wish it would warm up 🙂

That my friend Donna’s back surgery went good and she’s back home

The Red Bandanna by Tom Rinaldi

So so so excited that Switched At Birth is coming back on Tuesday! Fans have been waiting since October 26, 2015 for the next season, wondering when it would come back on. Sadly, this will be the last season

Not a thing

Our kitten Jaspurr calms down soon, she’s a tornado!

I am wearing
“All I Need Is More Coffee And Donuts” jammies

I worked 10 days straight, two of them doubles, so I got a lot of steps last week

In The Kitchen…
Taco Salad for lunch, pizza for supper

Today’s To-Do List…
Blogging, finishing my current read, some tv

One of my favorite things:
My son bought me a NES Classic Edition and I LOVE it! I loved playing these games when the kids were growing up

Pin It & Do It…
I want to make this Storage Crate Headboard as soon as we get moved

Looking forward to…
Warmer weather so I can go to the beach

A Favorite Bible Verse…
The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.
Nahum 1:7

A favorite quote…
“The two enemies of human happiness are pain and boredom.”
Arthur Schopenhauer

From the camera….


Jaspurr finally wound down

Jan 282017

My daughter and I go on day trips once in a while. Two weeks ago we went to Lady Lake and stopped at Sweet Tomatoes, one of my top 3  favorite restaurants. For soup and salad, it’s #1. If you’re not familiar with Sweet Tomatoes, they’re a salad, soup, and baked goods restaurant. And their food is oh so yummy. I didn’t get a photo of the salad bar because we got there just as they were opening the door and there were a bunch of people waiting to get in. By the time I tried to take a photo, there were people on both side of the bar and I couldn’t get a good shot.  Next time. There are more soups and bakery items than in the photo, it was just hard to get a clear shot with the people standing in front of them. I know the restaurant isn’t in all states, but if you haven’t been to this restaurant, check to see if there’s one near you. Their food is so good!


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Sign Outside

ST soup bar

Soup Bar

ST bakery bar

Bakery Bar



Weekend Cooking is hosted @ Beth Fish Reads

Souper Sundays2
Hosted @ Kahakai Kitchen
Jan 262017


A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Narrated by: George Newbern
Length: 9 hrs and 9 mins
Unabridged Audiobook
Release Date:08-05-14
Publisher: Dreamscape Media, LLC

Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon – the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him ‘the bitter neighbor from hell.’ But behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.

What I Thought
I started this audio book a few months ago but didn’t finish it. Then I started it again, and again I didn’t finish it. To be honest, Ove got on my nerves. I thought he was a grumbling grouch. I decided to give it one more try since I kept seeing so many 5 star reviews for it. This time, finally, Ove’s gruff personality didn’t seem so annoying. I actually started liking him. I laughed more than a few times at some of the things he said and thought. I especially thought the names he gave everyone were funny…the lanky one, the pregnant one, white shirt etc.

Poor Ove can’t stand things that are not what he thinks they should be. It truly angers him. He says “right is right and wrong is wrong” quite often throughout the book. And he can’t trust anyone who doesn’t drive a Saub, among other things.

I loved learning about Sonia, I liked her a lot. I felt bad for Ove because I know what it feels like to lose your spouse.

There a quite a few characters in the book, all personable except for two (not counting Ove), and I enjoyed each one of them. I loved all the different stories from Ove & Sonia’s past, and how Ove’s relationships with the other characters grew into something that surprised everyone who lived in his neighborhood. I was surprised too. I  learned that there was a kind soul behind all that gruffness. I loved how Ove fought so hard for the right thing concerning the people he cared about, just because “it’s the right thing to do”.

I’m so glad I gave this audio book another chance. It made me laugh a lot, and even made my eyes leak a few times.

This was the first book I’ve listened to that is narrated by George Newbern. I’m very picky about narrator’s, but I thought he did an amazing job with all the voices. He made the book very easy to listen to.

Although it took me a few times to start enjoying the book, (I don’t think I gave it enough time the first two times I started it), I ended up loving it, and I even ended up loving Ove.

I highly recommend this, both print and audio.