Everything Southern & So Cotton Pickin Cute

Saturday, May 31, 2014

5 Completely Free Things To Do In Jacksonville Florida - #freejax

When you visit Florida it's easy to drop a whole lotta moolah really quick.  I mean, we are the state of Disney World, along with a ton of other tourist attractions.  With that said, when I do find something fun and free I'm all over it.

I've come up with a list of 5 things to do for free right here in Jacksonville.  You say, "but I don't live in Jacksonville Tracy". Don't worry, I'm sure there are similar activities in your own neck of the words.  Just google events in  ____ (insert your city here).

San Marco's Affair in the Square. A fun night filled with live music, wine and beer tastings, happy hour specials, shopping and specialty drinks in the unique boutiques, shops and restaurants. There will even be guerilla yoga class taught by Melissa Hischman in Balis Park from 7-8pm (all level class, mats provided)

The Music by the Sea Concert series continues for the 12th year with more music and food than ever before!  Head out to the St. Augustine Beach Pier every Wednesday night at 6 p.m. for dinner from local eateries or food vendors and then enjoy a free concert starting at 7 p.m. I can't wait to go to the next 2 listed below:
  • Wed June 11th - BBQ & the blues with one of the south's best blues artists The David Gerald Blues Band with food from Tailgater Toby & Smoked & Stoked BBQ
  • Wed July 30th - Parrot Head Night with Jimmy Parrish & The Ocean Waves and great food from Mango Mango's! Celebrate the music of the Beach and musical influences like Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley.  Wear your Parrot Head gear and get ready for fun!

Did you know Jax Beach is the home of the world's largest beach run?  It is, and it's this weekend! This event includes a Health and Fitness Expo, live entertainment, speakers, parachute jumps, surf lessons and games.  Registration required for various contests, games and activities but plenty of free fun for all as well.

Bob Thompson's The Tempest

The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens.  Enjoy Cummer's free Tuesdays from 4-9 p.m.  You can also visit for free on Weaver First Saturday on the first Saturday of every month.  If you've never seen the Cummer Gardens you owe it to yourself to visit at least once.  The Cummer Gardens boast one of the most important and beautiful gardens in Northeast Florida.  The history of the gardens goes back over 100 years and bear the imprint of some of the foremost names in landscape design and horticulture, including the famed Olmsted firm.

A night at the MOCA -  Enjoy free admission to the Museum of Contemporary Art on Thursdays 6-9pm.  Also join the MOCA educators at 7pm for a 45 minute tour of the museum galleries. 

What the heck - let's throw another one in for an added bonus!

On June 7,2014 from 3-9:30 pm, take some time to enjoy the I Love Music Tour with a benefit concert at The Jacksonville Landing.  This event will focus on the importance of music education and will feature 10 national and local acts, and 5 area high school marching bands.

Do you look for free things happening in your area?  What sort of summer fun does your town promote to get you out and moving?  I think it's nice to be able to have places I can take family when they visit us and know I'm not having to ask then to spend a fortune.  Believe me by the time they get here they've spent enough.

I hope you'll leave me a comment because it's nice to know I'm talking to someone out there.  I read and appreciate every single one. OX's...

Remember, the fun is where you are,

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
~ Psalm 126:3

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Sand & Sun = Summer Fun

Sometimes living in Jacksonville just makes me happy.

Happy to have the mix of old Southern Oak trees lending me their shade, while having the ocean close enough to dip my toes into.

Memorial day brought the crowds out, more than I remember seeing in years.  This is the closest I've sat next to strangers on the beach since my 20 year old party days.

There were lots of kite surfers.  It's funny on the beach I just have to point and shoot with my camera, because I can't see a thing on those little digital screens in the sun.  I think I liked the things I found in the picture that I wasn't trying to take the best.  Like the new family above.

The winds were gusty and cool with storms rolling in. A perfect day with temps in the high 80's.  The storms had the sea churning too.  If it's a hot day, the beach is just minutes away.  Like I said - love Jax.

There were at least 5 kite surfers out there.  Looks like they were going to have some sore arms when they got home.  But I'm still enjoying the dad in the right hand corner riding his son like an airplane while mommy takes the picture.

Kids without a care in the world enjoying the never ending sea.

Dad taking the time to teach his son to surf.  A lifelong connection being made between father, son & sea.

Turquoise - be still my soul!

I could spend all day in the shops.

After a long stroll on the beach we came across this guy.

I've never seen a dog bury his head in the sand.  He was totally oblivious to us.

He cracked me up!  It's hard to leave the beach unhappy.

Livin' the salt life y'all...

Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depth.
~ Psalm 148:7

It's a Hereditary Thing

Some people would say being late is a terrible thing. I say not always.

We opened our mailbox last week to this flood of cards.  It made us smile and made our week!!  Oh' and aren't my hydrangeas beautiful.  Fluffy cotton candy balls of nature.

What was it all about?  It was like a party in our mailbox.  We had birthday cards for me, birthday cards for Neil and even a Mother's Day card for me!!  Wow - it was like a wave of love pouring out of our box and into our hearts.  All thanks to the best sister ever and my wonderful nieces & nephews. Ahhh....the love.  Nothing, I mean nothing, means more than family.

Yes, our birthdays were in April and Mother's Day had passed, but that's okay because my family rarely gets their cards from me on time either.  I always tell them when the party's over, mine arrives just to make it last longer.

My mom used to get so aggravated with my daddy for running late.  I've been that same way ever since I can remember. Joni's better than me, but these cards are proof that it's hereditary.

Oh' and don't give me that old adage, that it's disrespectful to others.  It's not intentional, and if you think I'm slighting you then you're just being a little too self-centered, because it has nothing to do with you at all - it's hereditary. :)

Love and hugs y'all...

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
~ John 13:34

Monday, May 26, 2014

The Bouqs Flower Delivery - Easy - Beautiful - Affordable

Disclosure:  I received my beautiful Bouqs flowers to facilitate my review.  As always all opinions are 100% my own.

I first shared The Bouqs Company with you during our Mother's Day gift guide a couple of weeks ago.  The Bouqs were kind enough to sponsor a giveaway to one of our lucky winners.  Now I want to share my gorgeous Bouq with you and tell you how great I think their service is.

The Bouqs Company is unlike any other floral delivery service out there. This awesome company does something no other florist does.  Keep reading and I'll tell you more.

Only 7 days after ordering my flowers, they arrived in this attractive box.  Presentation is everything.

I'll share a little secret with you.  I've always loved the old movies like The Philadelphia Story with Katharine Hepburn and I always dreamed of receiving a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a box at my door.  This goes back to my preteens, yes I'm that much of a romantic.  So I really enjoyed getting these.  A simple dream come true.
When I first saw the little crushed area on the box I was a bit concerned, okay - scared.  Scared that my precious delicate flowers were going to be tattered.  
Well there was no need to worry.  The Bouqs knows that shipping is a risky business.  That's why they've put the forethought into designing a sturdy box, and securely strapping them in so they don't shift during shipping.
The Bouqs came up with the unique concept of shipping the fresh cut flowers directly from the farm.  Take mine for instance, they're from the Volcano Collection, meaning they are shipped to me directly from the side of a mountain in South America! Crazy, right?

So how do they arrive so fresh?  The Bouqs Co. ships via cold storage, which means they are kept at 4 degrees.  In other words your flowers are in a sleep state until the last leg of their journey to you.  If you order from the California Collection, those flowers will be overnighted to your destination in less than 24 hours.  Now that's what I call FRESH!  And that's what makes The Bouqs so unique.
I decided that I'd like my flowers to have a cottage feel.  I gathered my supplies consisting of an old galvanized watering pail, a vase, and scissors.  The company also provided a package of flower food to keep them looking good.  It sure worked.
You can see how each of the showpiece stems were protected with a straw like piece of plastic and nylon netting.

I followed the simple instructions on the side of the box and cut my stems under running water. Next I sat the vase inside the watering pail and added the flowers.
This was no little bouquet.  There was no skimping on flowers.  They sent plenty and my arrangement turned out beautiful!  The colors are deep and bright.  And I smiled every time I looked at it.  Fresh flowers make you feel special.  We all deserve to feel special even if we send them to ourselves.  Like I say....Happiness comes in blooms.
After day 4 my flowers showed no sign of slowing down, so I decided to change them up a bit.
By just taking them out of the bucket and enjoying them in my crystal vase, I felt like I had a whole new Boug.  And the colors were just as brilliant as the day they arrived.
I enjoyed my amazing Bouq for a full 9 days!!  I've never had a local floral delivery last that long!  I was beyond impressed and so was Neil.  I can't image ordering flowers any other way from now own.

The Bouqs concept is a simple fresh new approach to flowers:

  • Arrives a few days after cut vs 14+ elsewhere
  • From eco-friendly, sustainable & responsible farms
  • Cut only when you order, so no wasted stems
The Volcano Collection starts at $40 and it's alway FREE delivery.  Affordable and beautiful.  It's a win-win!!

Warm hugs y'all...
Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
~ 1 Peter 3:4

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Quick & Easy Patriotic Projects & Recipes

I've gathered 10 diy projects from Pinterest to add a little red, white & blue to your Memorial Day celebration.
I made sure to look for quick and easy projects and recipes, so lets get to it.
This idea came from 1-800-Flowers.com

Love this super easy table runner from Domestically Speaking.

Misty at The Creative Itch Boutique brilliantly came up with spray painting white doilies for this cute garland.

Nothing says U.S.A. more than watermelon stars! You'll find a plethora of ideas over at Kara's Party Ideas.

More from Kara's Party Ideas - candy filled gumball tubes.

These chalk firecracker party favors from Dollar Store Crafts will dress up the table and put a smile on the kids faces.

What's more summery than strawberries & blueberries?  The Wannabe Chef has the recipe for these yummy little gems.

It wouldn't be much of a summer celebration without some red, white & blue ice pops.  See how to make them at My Recipes.

Greet your guest with this easy to make patriotic rag wreath from Lucy's Lamp Shade.

You can never have too many Garlands, like this one from Jessica Wilson over at Makezine.

I spent Saturday working outside on the house. Since chores are done it's time for us to head to the beach and catch some rays.  I hope y'all are doing something fun today too.

Catch y'all later...
My eyes will be on the faithful in the land, that they may dwell with me; the one whose walk is blameless will minister to me.
~Psalm 101:6

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Save on Gas with Harveys FuelPerks - #WDblogger

Disclosure:  This post was created in partnership with Winn Dixie.  As always all opinions are 100% my own.  

Last week I told you about Harveys new FuelPerks program. Well, since then I've had the chance to check it out myself. Keep reading to learn just how simple it is for you to save money too.

Do you remember hearing about the good old days when your mom & grandmother would get perks, little gifts so to speak, when shopping for groceries?  I remember them.  My grandma would buy products that might include a free piece of dinnerware right in the package.  Or they would get them from the store once they'd spent a certain amount of money.  My mom and grandma both would save Green Stamps and I loved posting them in the books.  Those were like gold to housewives everywhere.  Save enough and you could go the the Green Stamp store and get anything!! We'd look through the catalog and dream. Well, now there's a new kind a perk in town.
Well now there's a new kind of perk in town. It's FuelPerks and those are like gold. I'll take free money for gas over a bowl anytime. 

Everyone loves paying for gas, right? NOT
That's what's so great about Harveys FuelPerks. It takes a little pain out of the experience when you know you're saving money by just doing what you always do. I mean you know you have to buy groceries. There's just no way around that. So gaining FuelPerks is an extra added benefit for shopping with Harveys.

The employees at Harveys were so friendly and helpful. I like the feeling of shopping in a small town store, everyone working there greeted me with a smile and ask if they could help me. Try getting this kind of help in a big box store.
With the Harveys Reward Key you not only save money on gas but you can scan your card at the front of the store and it prints you money saving coupons right then and there.

*In addition to earning 5¢ per gallon for every $50 spent on groceries, customers can earn gas *savings of 5¢ to 25¢ (per item up to 20 gallons of gas) with Bonus fuelPerks.

Look for the blue Bonus fuelperks tags throughout the store to find Bonus fuelperks items and accumulate even more points for greater savings!

Stacking you saving is best way to really stretch your budget. What do I mean by stacking? Simple, you combine all the money saving opportunities you can. When I go grocery shopping at Harveys or Winn-Dixie I follow these simple steps:

  • Check the weekly flyer for the lowest prices
  • Shop with coupons
  • Harveys doubles coupons for double the savings *excluding the machine printed Hometown Rewards coupons
  • Look for BOGO's (buy one get one free)
  • Use your Harveys Key Card or Winn-Dixie card for special discounts and FuelPerks
I love the BOGO sales. Cha-ching!!
I left Harveys feeling good about the extra money I saved during my shopping visit. And I knew I was going to feel even better seeing my discount at the pump.

We headed straight over to the Shell station to fill up.
Now we've got a full pantry and a full tank with some extra money in our wallet too.

What are the benfits?

Not only will you get great offers while you're shopping, you'll also have the opportunity to save even more. Here are a few of the ways having a Rewards key helps:

    • KeyMail - You'll get a copy of our weekly KeyMail newsletter each week. It has information on current promotions, sweepstakes, printable coupons, recipes and more!
    • Key-Osk - Scan your key and get customized coupons inside the store.
    • Mobile Club - Get great offers texted to your mobile phone.
    • Hometown Educational Rewards - This program provides free educational equipment and supplies to local non-profit public and private schools, kindergarten through high school when you sign up using your Rewards key number.
    • Recall Information - Rewards key members receive certain recall information through our KeyMail program that helps keep you and your family safe.
    Learn how to never pay full price for gas again!

    This post was created in partnership with Winn Dixie. All opinions are my own.

    Later Gators...
    It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and sing praises unto Thy name, O most high
    ~ Psalm 92:1