First and foremost, I’d like to wish all of my readers a happy and healthy new year. 2014 sounds so Artificial Intelligence, but I welcome the change with open arms.
In the coming year, here are a few things I wish to tackle:
1. Sign up for a media and communications school program so I can learn more and gain additional experience. Ace all the classes!
2. Work on publishing my own zines, perhaps with a partner?
3. Do more editorial work and less event shoots.
4. Write every day.
5. Read every day.
6. Spend less time on social media, and make an effort to participate in more phone calls and Skype sessions!
7. Get myself into a stabilized and comfortable independent financial situation.
8. Take care of myself overall, and squash the bad voices like a bug. Believe in myself.
9. Draw more.
10. Start up singing lessons and dance classes again.
During the first week of the new year, I visited my uncle in New Port Richey, FL (which is on the west coast near Tampa). We hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years and that was far too long in my book. I was excited to see his new house on the water and of course TAKE THE BOAT OUT!
There were plenty of dolphins swimming all around us. Such beautiful creatures.
Drifting in the middle of The Gulf was so peaceful. I’m pretty okay with no people surrounding me.
We drove out to Crystal River with a few of my uncle’s friends for a private boat tour of Crystal Springs. But that’s not all! We had the blissful opportunity to SWIM WITH MANATEES for two hours. Not just a couple of manatees, either- there were a couple hundred bobbing through the shallow green waters. At first I was a bit nervous because manatees are… gigantic in size and in weight. I didn’t want to stir them or make them uncomfortable in their habitat. Luckily we had a great instructor who taught us everything we needed to know (including the fact that they are vegetarian- phew), and from there on out it was smooth sailing. Or, swimming.
The baby manatees were the friendliest. They’d graze against my feet and one of them even wrapped its fin around my waist, pulling me close and held onto me. Their skin felt like a combination of sand paper and slimy algae. When they’d get excited, they’d roll over on their back and let you stroke their bellies. It was one of the best experiences I’ve partook in.
After warming up with hot cocoa, we went for a Bailey’s coffee at The Monkey Bar in Homosassa, FL. The double-decker tiki bar overlooks their very own Monkey Island, full of primates which swing and play and huddle with their families.
We had dinner at Neon Leon’s: The cajun restaurant is owned by Leon Wilkeson- the Bass Guitarist for Lynyrd Skynard. I dined on grouper and fried green tomatoes. The entertainment was probably my favorite part- a multi-talented musician jammed and was quite the comedian as well. The restaurant had a super laid-back atmosphere with some dirty south vibes… and lots of laughs.
The following day we went to Tarpon Springs (home to the Sponge Docks + world’s finest sponges) for a farewell lunch with our friends. We ate authentic Greek cuisine at Hella’s- and it was HELLA GOOD (sorry had to). I had a gyro platter and we shared Saganaki + Taramosalata. There was no shortage of sangria, either!
In one of the little souvenir shops, I found a preserved seahorse and knew I had to bring it home with me. Ever since I was a little girl I have wanted a seahorse, but they’re hard to take care of and don’t live very long. I’m find with a dead one- I’m going to display it in a shadow box and make a little assemblage with it.
Have you heard? Baby, it’s cold outside. I happen to be in South Florida so I’m lucky to be out of the chilling temperatures, but today was actually the coldest it’s been all winter and I for one was majorly excited. This is because I got to wear my Meadham Kirchhoff for Topshop sweater for the first time: It’s a dream!
Hot chocolate recommendations: Jaques Torres Wicked Hot Chocolate, or if you’re near any of the locations, Max Brenner Italian milk hot chocolate- extra thick!
Stay warm out there!