July Birthdays

I’m not a reader of horoscopes or an astrology junky, though I am a Sagittarius. And I do think that astronomy influences us, so I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that, with my very strong personality, four of my best friends are July babies.

I know this may be cheesy but,in lieu of cards, I made birthday videos for all of my friends this year using #Flipagram.

I actually re-watch them a lot. I used meaningful songs for each one and THE MEMORIES!! So many fantastic times I have had with these girls. Each photo reminds me of how amazingly blessed I am. I can never feel lonely, that is for sure.

Salty Pelican Bar and Grill

Originally posted on Sweet Tea & Bourbon:

The Salty Pelican Bar and Grill - Fernandina Beach, FL - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

One of the perils of a mid-June wedding is having your anniversary fall on the same day as Father’s Day.  After worshiping at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where we were married in 2004, we stopped in for lunch at the Salty Pelican Bar and Grill.  The restaurant is located at 12 N. Front Street in downtown Fernandina Beach.  The two story restaurant has a prime view of the waterfront and patrons packed the patio to celebrate their dads.

We walked into the side door and were greeted by a hostess.  A table had just finished on the patio, and we were able to grab a table with a view of the water.  Inside the restaurant has a laid back sports bar feel with multiple flat screen televisions lining the walls and a wide selection of craft beers available both on tap and in bottles.

The Salty Pelican Bar and Grill - Fernandina Beach, FL - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

Our server brought us menus and took…

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The Hilliard House

Originally posted on Sweet Tea & Bourbon:

The Hilliard House - Hilliard, FL - Photo by Mike Bonfanti

We spent the 4th of July in Hilliard, Florida.  Following a day of full of great people, good food, cold beverages, and fire works we crashed. The following morning none of us were in the mood to cook, and instead we made the short drive down US 1 to the Steamboat Lilly’s.  Like many other God fearing red-blooded American business the restaurant was closed for the holiday weekend.  Our only remaining option in town for breakfast was the Hilliard House.

The Hilliard House is located at 551876 U.S. Hwy 1 in a brick building that was previously home to a seafood restaurant.  We pulled into the parking lot and chose a space towards the end.  As we walked towards the restaurant Becky’s lovable Uncle Mike, aka Cadillac Man, cautioned that the reviews of this particular local eatery were less than glowing.  Undeterred we opened the glass doors and strolled into the foyer area…

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The Amazing Rescue of Cap and Cade

Mason has a heart as big as the ocean. His heart is tender, too. It was broken last year when his beautiful kitty, Apple Juicy, went to live in Heaven.

Mason and his Meme had raised Apple Juicy from the time he was a baby. He missed his sweet friend and his soft black fur with spots of white as fluffy as the clouds.

One day, Mason’s kind Aunt Charlotte came to visit. She gave him hugs and kisses and told him how she longed for a cat of her own.

Mason had an idea! He grabbed his Aunt Charlotte’s hand and rushed her out the door.

A short distance away, in the heart of Mason’s little town, was a pet rescue center. As Aunt Charlotte approached the glass window of the building, she began laughing with joy. Before her eyes was a small room full of the most wonderful kittens she had ever seen.

Aunt Charlotte quickly picked out a white kitten who ran cheerfully around chasing his tale. She named him Cap, then gathered him up to take him home.

As Aunt Charlotte, Mason and Cap were leaving the pet rescue, a little kitten jumped out playfully, as if to say, “SURPRISE!” Mason could not believe his eyes. There, purring softly, was a baby kitten, whose soft fur was black with white spots as fluffy as clouds. He looked just like Apple Juicy!

Mason fell instantly in love. He named his new friend Cade, and adopted him as his own.

When she left, Aunt Charlotte proudly took her sweet Cap to share with her own grandchildren.

Meanwhile, Cade stayed close to Mason.

It was Mason’s huge heart that led to the Amazing Rescue of Cap and Cade.

But it was sweet Cade Kitty who helped heal Mason’s broken heart.

~The End

A Visit from Aunt Charlotte {Summer Bucket List}

Aunt Charlotte came to visit week-before-last. Her grandson Walker was supposed to come, too, but he decided a road trip was not for him. We were glad to have her, though, and prepared an Italian feast for her. Mason was super excited to see her and came out of his bedroom dressed in the camouflage Mossy Oak shirt she gave him for Christmas.

Mike even created a signature cocktail for her to go with our meal of antipasti, bread, stuffed mushrooms and pasta with bolognese.



Run, Toto, Run! {Summer Bucket List}

While we were at the IMAX a few weeks ago, I noticed a sign for a charity showing of The Wizard of Oz. I thought it would be fun to take Miss Julia and arranged to meet friends there. A couple of days before the movie, I decided to surprise her with a new dress-up costume so that we could really make going to see one of my favorite movies a special treat. Thanks to Amazon Prime, we were all tickled to death when Miss Julia came out looking like a young Dorothy. Claire Timm Photography, this photo will be forever cherished!

{Photo Source: Facebook Events}
Before we left the house, I took a few pictures of her. It was amazing seeing her in pigtails and ruby slippers. We even snapped one of her and her own Toto, Jackson Dogg.


Miss Julia and I were thrilled when we got to the event and saw how many other people were in costume. I had no idea the event would be such a draw. I really appreciated that admission included a wonderfully stocked bar. While I sipped my Moscato, Miss Julia got to be a star, literally. The attendees treated her like she was Judy Garland at her movie premier. She even made the newspaper eight times!

{Photo: Tallahassee Democrat}

The best part was that there was a costume contest. Miss Julia and our friend Ashleigh went down front to compete, and she won!! I was so proud of her. She truly enjoyed being in character and stayed that way most of the night. The lady sitting next to her was dressed as Ms. Gulch, and their banter was hilarious. Miss Julia said she was being “sassy Dorothy” so that the mean lady did not get her dog or her slippers.

She and I stumbled upon this event, but man did we make some wonderful memories. As long as I live, I will never forget watching her shine.

Of course, she only made it through Intermission. The witch scared her so much she was ready to go home by the time Dorothy and friends made it to Oz.

Miss Julia Meets Her Match

Miss Julia and I recently enjoyed a ladies’ lunch with my former co-worker, Iris.

Iris is one of the most magnificent creatures ever made. Truly. Words cannot describe how vibrant and wonderful she is, and her personality is as huge as, well, Miss Julia’s.

Mind you, despite living in Florida for decades, Iris is still a native New Yorker in spirit. She is brash and sassy, and she is Jewish.

Miss Julia was unsure of her at first. However, after carefully observing her for a few minutes from across the table, she decided she was someone she needed to know better.

She also decided that Iris needed to know Jesus. I was stunned as Miss Julia calmly walked over to Iris, pointed at her chest, and told her that Jesus lives in our hearts. Iris, of course, thought this was hilarious and very Baptist, but Miss Julia did not back down from her Christian message. In the end, these two bonded, and I realized they really are two-of-a-kind.


Spending time with the two of them together was one of the best afternoons I have had in a long time, even if Iris did not convert.