Being a mom, Gardening, Identity, Learning, Pictures, Self

Remembering Me

A friend of mine recently asked me to be the photographer for her mom’s wedding. I was shocked and tried containing my excitement while driving home from a weekend family trip.

Side note: To be clear, I am not, by any means, a photographer. At best, I am an amateur.  I enjoy taking photos and consider it a hobby. While I pretty much grew up with a camera in my hand, I only have my phone these days.

Being asked to take on the responsibility of recording this special day was a little nerve wracking. But, I was so excited. I said yes. I didn’t even hesitate. I took this as an opportunity to do something I enjoy for people I care about and respect.

First  thing when we arrived home, I dug out the cameras – one film, a DSLR, and a hybrid, realized the lens of one might be scratched (Thanks to a certain little one who finds things) and that I don’t have film. Then, I ordered a new lens cap, battery charger, batteries, and film – black and while because it’s a wedding.

The next day, I started taking pictures. My son was the star as was the flower bed. I figured that my son would be a perfect “model” since he’s always on the go. It’d be a great way to test any skills I might have left.

Currently, I’m waiting for everything I ordered so I can practice with each camera, and I’m truly hoping I don’t mess anything up and ruin this woman’s wedding pictures. I’m watching YouTube tutorials and asking my dad, a former photographer, for advice. I’m remembering the exhilaration I felt when taking photos, the feeling that I’m preserving memories and emotions. I’m remembering how much I loved to take pictures… of EVERYTHING. I’d take a picture of carpet or a wall when I was growing up just to take a picture.

Re-learning how to look into a viewfinder and how to take a picture of what I feel looks good is amazing. If you haven’t noticed, I’m SOOOO excited to be doing this, to be learning something again, to be remembering things I haven’t thought about in years, to be dedicating hours of reading, watching, practicing…

Here’s to doing the best I can.

-T

P.S. Some of my favorite shots… (always open to constructive criticism)

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Being a mom, Family, Family friendly, Kids, Local Business, Mom blog, Saint Augustine, FL

St. Augustine Aquarium

The St. Augustine Aquarium was a great trip for my 2 year old. Currently, they have only opened phase 1, so there’s not too much to see. However, there are options for things to do of all age ranges. They offer snorkeling and zip-lining for adults/older kids, and there’s a shark tooth hunt (included in the entrance fee) and all the fish (including a touch tank) for the little ones. There are also different presentations throughout the day. If you just wanted to walk through, it’d probably take you about 20 minutes, give or take, depending on how much time you spend at each tank. We spent a total of about 1 hour at the aquarium because my son loved looking at each tank for an extended period of time.

The entrance fee is $8 for adults and $5 for kids. I didn’t have to pay for my son, which was a plus.

They offer options to feed the sharks/rays for $10 per/feeding, and snorkeling at $35 per/person. There are also two zip-lining options – general admission, adults at $59.95; and, mini castaway admission, children under 12 at $54.95.

All in all, would I go again? Yes, I would definitely go here again. We’re excited to finally have an aquarium within an hour away, and we look forward to the other phases to open.  However, I can’t imagine coming here very often until then.

https://www.saaquarium.com/

 

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Being a mom, Family friendly, Food, Jacksonville, FL, Local Business, Mom blog, Restaurants

Bold City Kabobs

Today, A and I checked out an Afghani restaurant called, Bold City Kabobs, and the food and was delicious! 

Bold City Kabobs offers a lunch buffet for $9.99 or you can order of the menu. I chose to do the buffet, so we could try a little bit of everything. The choices for the buffet were great. They had everything from Greek salad and stuffed grape leaves to various meat Kabobs and fried eggplant . For dessert, they offered baklava, scones, cinnamon buns, and more!

We tried their brown rice and white rice, meatballs, stuffed grape leaves, fried eggplant, chicken Kabobs, fried fish, hummus, pits bread, falafels, baklava, and scones. All the food was full of flavor and cooked well. The desserts were absolutely amazing. Granted, I’ve been craving baklava, but, really, it was great. I probably had half a tray with some tea. 

What about the service and atmosphere? 

Well, it was perfect. We arrived between 12:30 and 1:00pm, and there was only my son, me, and a man waiting for his takeout. For me, that worked out, especially since I had my rambunctious 2 year old with me. Around 15 minutes into our meal, more people (mostly employees from nearby businesses) filed in, but the restaurant was still quiet and distractions were minimal. Definitely, a great place for families. 

The service was simple but friendly. Our waitress was sweet, and took care of us through the meal. The chef/owner was out and about every so often asking how the food was and checked up on the customers. He was kind and very appreciative for our business. 

All in all, we had a great experience and plan to come back. 

Thank you!!!

-T
Bold City Kabobs 

https://www.boldcitykabobs.com/

11380 Beach Blvd Suite #2

Jacksonville, FL 32246

Being a mom, Family, Identity, Mom blog

Baby News

After a long hiatus, I’m so happy to announce that our family is expecting another little one in November! I’m so excited!

This pregnancy so far has been kicking my butt. There have been many nights… mornings… afternoons spent praying to the porcelain gods, and many days wondering where my energy has gone. 

I’m finally in my second trimester and feeling almost like I’m back to my old energizer bunny-like self. That being said…

I’m baaaaaack. 😊

-T

Being a mom, Local Business, Mom blog, Saint Augustine, FL

A little candy shop

I used to think Florida was all beaches, alligators, and Disney. But, when I moved to North Florida in 2013, I learned there was so much more. My boyfriend (now husband) took me to this amazing, little historic area with cobblestone roads lined with boutiques, B&Bs, and restaurants. This impressionable area was St. Augustine, Florida.

One birthday, he decided to surprise me with a trip down, and we spent the night in an amazing inn that was in the heart of all the shops and restaurants. While we were there, we went to this awesome little candy shop. We bought things from our childhood to share with each other, like candy cigarettes, Turkish Taffy, Swedish fish, and (most importantly) salt water taffy. That was the first time I went to The Black Parrot.

That little candy shop was so memorable that, when I was looking for salt water taffies for wedding favors 2 years later, I knew I had to get it from there. I wanted to share the experience I had of walking down memory lane through sweets I had as a child.

When I insisted on finding this candy shop again, I remember my mom asking why we couldn’t go to the multitude of other souvenir/ candy shops that had salt water taffy. I know I told her that it was a unique place, and I just HAD to get them from there. She probably humored me because I was both pregnant and a borderline bride-zilla, but when we arrived, she understood.

We were assisted by one of the sweetest people I know, Ms. Sue, who I later found out was the owner of The Black Parrot. She recommended I get salt water taffy boxes to fill my favor bags, and, when those boxes weren’t enough and my mom had to pick up more, Ms. Sue even included a small bag of taffies for me. (I decided I had to “taste” the taffies as my little cousin, sister, and I were putting together the favors. To be honest, I probably had a good part of a box of taffies, if not the whole box. I have no regrets.)

Since then, I try to visit Ms. Sue and The Black Parrot whenever we go down to St. Augustine. I feel like Ms. Sue has become a great friend to our family and The Black Parrot is better than Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory could ever be. She’s watched our now 2 year old son grow up and watched him play with the different candies. She even let him “help” sort the salt water taffy barrel the last time we visited.

As special as we feel whenever we get to visit, I can guarantee each customer feels the same the minute they walk in, too (as if the nostalgia wasn’t enough). If they have any questions, Ms. Sue is there to answer them. She’ll even talk to you about the industry or make recommendations based on what you like.

All this being said, I’d like to say thank you to Ms. Sue and her husband for The Black Parrot, and for making St. Augustine even more sweet and magical than it already is.

— The Taffy Lady 🙂

P.S. My son *almost* likes salt water taffy as much as I do… almost…

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Being a mom, Gardening, Mom blog, Pictures

Outside with a Little One

He learns as I learn. 

Because the weather has been amazing lately, I’ve been teaching my son how to grow, take care of, and be gentle to plants. We’ve had a couple missteps – he decided to pick a pair of peppers that were not yet ready and pull petals off flowers when trying to smell them, but it’s been a great experience for both of us. 

My first time growing vincas from their cuttings. Please wish us both good luck!
My son’s Violet sprouts doing wonderfully.
Tomato seeds are all thanks to a local plant swap. (Thank you for encouraging my love for tomatoes!)
3 Matt’s wild cherry tomato sprouts doing well. Am also waiting for purple basil and Cherokee purple tomatoes.