Grass-bottom dance floor

Have you ever been in a yard and thought, “I could throw some epic parties back here” or “We should put a stage over there… and a bar on that side. Shoots, let’s bring in some portable bathrooms and a sink for the guests!” Well this family thought of it, did it and have been sharing their space for years now.  

If you recall, last time I was at this venue, I had come to surprise my mom for her birthday and the universe placed the band Heritage right in my lap. See that episode by clicking here.

What a wonderful return to the Williams Backyard Boogie!

  
   

  

  

 
    

 

Within moments of arriving, you begin to hear the unfolding of lawn chairs and the bottles of wine opening. By the time sound-check is over, there’s the smell of home cooked bbq and the energy of playful kids taking advantage of the wide open spaces.

This time, joining the grass bottom dance floor is some of the families and companions of the band, local artist that we’ve grown to know personally and a few new buddies (future travel partners). What a spectacular bunch!

    

 
   

  Let the tunes begin!
 

  
  
  
  

The smiling eyes next to me in the collage below has got to be one of their biggest fans.  With a heart of gold and a contagious laugh, I always enjoy sharing the dance floor with Miss Jodi. Here we are at a few shows from Tallahassee to Panama City… and now tonight!

  
Hey ladies, you know when you’ve been dancing all night in those uncomfortable shoes on the hard floors of a club? You should try barefoot, front stage on fresh grass and soft dirt. Glorious!

 

There’s really no need to set up the following picture… It’s just one fantastic photo bomb.

 Well done Lane… well done.

 
Say what?! It’s Dannica! This wonderful vocalist is the leading woman in Schatzi and The String Boffin that I introduced to you last year. Remember this post?

Tonight she joins me in a duo handstand photo. It makes me giggle that although we were several feet away from each other, she still managed to appear with her foot on my head. Figures since she’s a yogi.

   

“Got to visualize a better day… to materialize a better way”. The band Heritage

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White sand in the Gulf of Mexico

Scenes from a postcard. Clear water next to white powdery sand, complimenting a blue sky and perky palm trees. I began to wonder if you could do one too many posts of this ambiance before they all start looking the same. I think not.  In my book, there’s never too much of the good stuff!

Lucky enough to live walking distance to the beach, I often found myself with sandy toes (amongst other areas) and salty wind in my hair. These are a random photos I took throughout the days either while on a run or just meditating my way through the afternoon in Panama City Beach, Florida.

  

  
  

Like most things in life, the more the merrier! We’re all getting to know Shanda (from previous posts) and on this day, we snagged a few chairs and headed for the water. Girl talk, wet feet and sunshine kissed shoulders. Yes please!

  
 
  

  
 ..and my favorite time spent with my sun loving mum.  

  

  
  
  

If you care to see more of this specific area, feel free to check out Beaches, boats and balladsHappy and healthy with sandy toes or Panama City Beach

See the tall buidings waaaayy down there? The second photo following was taken near there, the East end of PCB. (Plus I needed to squeeze in this handstand pic!)

  

  
Good night from Panama City Beach!

  

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First Live Album! Absorb some authentic Heritage

There are only two (acceptable) reasons you don’t jam out to the band Heritage.  You’re either new to herhappytrails.com (welcome and enjoy!) or you don’t have the ability to listen to quality music (sorry for you loss). 

The Swamp Club, despite its name, is a clean venue with an elevated stage, unique decor and plenty of cold beverages being served.  

  
On this evening, the local fans were invited for the recording of Heritage’s first live album and I am ever so grateful that I was in town to be a part of it!

 
   

  

Three main ways to get to know these fine gentlemen:

1. Check out their SHOW link here, pick a date… and show up!

2. Continue to follow my blog (although I don’t do them the ultimate justice they deserve).

2. Read their BIO here (aweome, but not as cool).   

  

 Did I mention is was Cinco de Mayo?  

You know when you’re at a concert and they play that “one song”?  Here are a few pics snapped within moments of each other. Judging from the blurred dreadlocks and the hats in the air, not a smile was holding still!

 

…and clearly nobody was having fun.

  
 
Recognize the sweet smile next to me?  That’s Shanda from the previous post! This lady-o-fun brings all the right vibes, especially to a show like Heritage.  Wouldn’t have it any other way! 

For your convenience and my selfish desire for you to see more of these guys, please click on any link below:

 A man becomes what he thinks about

4th of July, Santa Rosa Beach style
Schatziti and the String Boffin
Beaches, boats and ballads
Surprise attack!

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The Grayton Beer Company

Back in 2011 Jamey Price began his journey of creating a beer that could be enjoyed by all. With a dream, (like so many beer lovers out the there) he started in his garage and low and behold years later, I get to introduce to you The Grayton beer company. After selling their delicious creations throughout the local community, they’ve recently opened up a taproom providing a comfortable and social environment to consume these delightfully flavored beverages.

  
Their website explains, “In addition to our year-round styles, our 25-tap draft wall also features small-batch brews as well as four guest taps from other Florida breweries”. 
 

Are you a beer connoisseur (or atleast claim to be)? Click here to check out their selection to see which you think would be your favorite!

 
I love playing games. Billiards, cards, sports, you name it!  Mix a playful atmosphere with a tasty beer, add a friendly vibe and hang up some local art and here’s what you get!

  
   

   
 
The two lovely smiles below are my new go-to partners in crime. I met Shanda only a few weeks ago and feel as if it’s been years.  Don’t be surprised to see her sweet face with me abroad some day soon! Lane can be described as extremely kind, hilarious (my cheeks often hurt after a game night) and genuine.

I’ll leave this post with a quality quote form the legend, Ray Charles. Read it, think about it… Good stuff.  
 
 For more about the local scene, please check out the Seaside post from last year!

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Seabreeze Jazz Festival

The Seabreeze Jazz Festival is an annual event that draws a crowd of distinct energy.  I’m confident that the magnetic pull is from a line up of upcoming artist like Ryan Montano to the smooth jazz heroes of Brian Culbertson and Al Jarreau. Since my mom is an extremely diligent worker and fabulous at making connections, this marks her third year behind the scenes. Now, I’m lucky enough to work along side her! 

We arrived early each morning in order to set up and prepare for the eager attendees.  Here’s a shot of the venue before the controlled chaos began.
 

I didn’t get the memo that there would be a race for a good seat, so you can imagine my concern when I saw several people sprinting.  Should I run too, what are they running from!?

  
Here’s a few photos I took during the weekend to give you an idea of the crowd. Packed solid and happy as can be!

  

  
  
  
I found Waldo.
  
 

I took a stroll to show you some of the vendors serving up authentic bites from Puerto Rican dishes to good ol’ soul food, crepes to taco’s, pizza, fried chicken and what’s a festival without funnel cake!
  
  

If you would of followed the sound of my moms voice (that she ended up losing by the end of the event) you would of found her behind the shiny glass where they stored and sold the Cd’s from the artist.

Check out the unintentional photo bomb from captain red hat. Well done sir… Well done.
  
My job during this heavenly weekend? I’m none other than the girl in the drink tent.  Who wouldn’t be happy to be behind a stand with wine, sangría and beer!
 
 
Take a good look and the gentlemen next to me.  Words that come to mind when I think of Rex: genuine, compassionate, honest and funny.  Wonderful news to the community, his day job is in the medical field working directly with the patients. It was such a joy to work (if you call it that) along side this positive bundle of energy!
 
Handstand shot!
  
15 hour days require a few necessary breaks and when would be a better time, than to get up close and personal with the powerful sounds of my moms friend Everette Harp.  She’s known this incredible artist since her days back in Sacramento working at 94.7 KSSJ Smooth Jazz!
  
  

 

  
A new addition to my playlist is the stunning, talented and ever so entertaining Mindi Abair. How can you turn away from a tall blonde in high heels wailing on a saxaphone?!

   

You’ve seen our view, now check out theirs!
   

If you’re concerned about a Florida storm brewing (we were), not to worry as the accomplished musicians will play rain or shine… and the fans? Well, they won’t go anywhere except back in line for more wine and a poncho! My favorite fella during the rain was the happy goer that simply placed a plastic grocery bag over his “fancy hat” to protect it from the moisture. Brilliant!

   

  
Creative shot of the day was the use of a small camera effect while watching the storm roll in.
  

Fun facts I learned about myself: I feel exceptionally important with a staff radio (they made fun of me for calling it a walky-talky) and I rarely pass up the opportunity to take a ride in a golf cart.
 
A special thanks to Renee, Mark and their family and friends for putting on the 17th annual smooth jazz experience. This ultimate weekend was clearly enjoyed by all! 
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The little boy in blue

erikamae82:

This was a fun post to compose since I wrote everything as it was happening right in front of me. Wonderful memories… Enjoy!

Originally posted on Her Happy Trails:

I sit on a bench for a brief moment to look around to take it all in. My heart is racing, most likely due to the fact that I ran here, but I’d like to give a little credit to the idea that maybe at this point in time… I’m connected. I’m in Japan at a park in total peace. I am in the present.

I look to my right and just across the way is a group of 7 elderly Japanese people. 5 are looking directly at me with no expression and the other 2 seem concentrated in what appears to be a deep conversation. Next to them is a young boy in a bright blue helmet, that matches his royal blue bike. Attached are training wheels proudly boasting blue shiny wheels. Where are his parents? Probably watching him do the same tiny circular loop that Ive been observing.

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9 Rounds of glorious sweaty smiles

I’d like to start this post out by acknowledging that although my opinion on nutrition and fitness changes as life presents new chapters, I still try to maintain a well rounded lifestyle.  If it be a new workout, a fresh cooking idea or some crazy cleanse, I generally tend to try anything just for the adventure of it.

For those of you that haven’t seen me through my stages of exploring health, here’s an extreme difference (and never shared before) variations in my fitness.
  

Putting the equally important side of “diet” aside, I’m going to focus on an energetic workout that has added a new element to my routine.

9Round is a specialized program dedicated to providing a unique, fun and challenging workout that guarantees results. It combines “old school boxing” and traditional kickboxing with interval cardiovascular and strength training. You’d think with only 9 rounds that you would get bored of the cylce, but day to day, I rarely did the same thing twice. New, fresh and heart pumping! 
  

Things I love about it:
1. It’s 30 minutes! You arrive, wrap your hands and start your workout. Since they have a bell controlling your rotation, you’re guaranteed 9 rounds of incredible challenges with 30 seconds between each set. Side note, the 30 seconds is not a resting period… Oh no… They call out a fun (ha, ha, ha) element of activity for you to sweat through. Examples: squat jumps, push ups, plank hold, sprints or my personal favorite plank jacks. What’s that? Hold a plank and jump your feet apart and together.
  
2. Class time? Nonsense. During opening hours, you show up when you want and start as soon as the next 3 min bell rings. 30 minutes later, you’re out the door! 
3. You have the option to go around as many times as your little body can endure. 9 rounds and you’re still a champ? Go again!
  
  
4. The beats! We all know music can enhance the mood and increase the vibe, so they let it rock… or hip hop, or old school R&B, funk or classic jams!

5.The coaches are what I consider to be motivational. They set the bar higher than you desire, then applaud you when you exceed it. Fierce, gentle and supportive are the words that come to mind when I think of my 9rounds family.

The top before/after shot is the owner of the 9 Rounds in Folsom, California. Victoria continuously encourages all of her members with an enthusiastic energy that is undeniable… and who wouldn’t want to workout harder for a coach with arms like that!?
  

Don’t live near Folsom? No need to fear, they’re everywhere! Check out the main website at www.9round.com   for other locations and more detail about this superstar program.
Dear Victoria and friends that I call my coaches, you’re unforgettable smiles and welcoming support has made an impression on my daily routine.  Although I’ll be away for some time, I will definitely incorporate your workouts within my fitness from abroad. Cheers to you and your life changing attitude!

Sincerely,
(Appropriately nicknamed)
Free Spirit 



 

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Do you stuff your bra?

erikamae82:

This was a quick post that was recently brought back to my attention. Flashback time! Enjoy

Originally posted on Her Happy Trails:

Do you stuff your bra? Of course! Even if I’m not wearing one and especially if I’m without my backpack, I’ll always have tissue stuffed somewhere on me.

If you score big and don’t need the tissue for your public bathroom use, there’s always the eyes and nose with an occasional need.

Let’s not forget the spilt wine, a dripping peach or handful of salty nuts the elderly man from the local market gives (forces) you as a sample gift. That after you politely decline, he places in your hand anyway as if you said “Oh yes please, that would be amazing!”.

I’ve torn off a square and rubber banded it to my finger until I could find a bandaid or tape.

Stuck some in the heel of my boot after hours of dancing in the wrong shoes.

Wiped off fruit, absorbed sweat and cleaned the mouth piece of a…

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Janae González… A Rising star.

Just one of the many reasons I value my years of teaching gymnastics is to have had the opportunity to watch the students develop into fantastic young adults and superb athletes. I’ve gotten to witness these talented girls arrive at full ride scholarships, nursing, paid modeling, fashion design, photography, coaching, to even world traveling.  

My girls (as I selfishly like to claim) have grown into positive contributing members of this huge planet and I couldn’t be more proud!  If I made the time to write about each one of the hundreds (no exaggeration) I’d have to change my blog to “Their happy trails“.

Today I want to highlight a young woman that I connected with when she was still learning long-division and cursive writing. A few cartwheels and a bright smile gave me no doubt that this little stud would grow beyond the small gym we met in.  Janae González is the fourth smile from the left.



Following a succeful gymnastics stretch, a different sport captured her heart and behold… Another natural ability was exposed! What’s in the future moment for this vibrant super star? Soccer!



Having already particiapted in the U17 Women’s World Cup for Mexico, she’s been eagerly invited to represent and play for a U.S. College.  Since I’m not the first admirer to write about this spectacular girl, you can easily search her name to find out the list of incredible steps she’s had in her blossoming career. Check out her already buzzing energy with Santa Clara Broncos!

Here are a few shots from the World Cup.



Now to a point that is equally impressive, in which I’m most proud to introduce to you.  When this driven little lady isn’t studying, practicing or playing, she’s working in the world of donations. A few years back Janae and her older brother started JC4K. The goal is to collect new and/or gently used soccer gear and toys to give to those that are less fortunate. Through the years, they  have sent gear to Mexico, Ethiopia  and throughout the U.S. 

Here’s a video of the kids receiving just a portion of their collections: JC4K donation video!



Janae, you are a prime example of the bright light that our world needs to be surrounded with. Your heart seems to shine in the right place, and your smile confirms it all. Happy birthday sweetness… Keep spreading the love!

A special thanks to her mom and family. You’ve encouraged this spirited girl not only as a daughter and a sister, but as a productive individual. Looks like she has the right balance of deep roots and wide-spread wings… I’m so thankful to have been a small part of her beautiful path and now I’m looking forward to seeing where it leads. Cheers to you all!

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51 Hours of travel to get 1/2 way around the world

erikamae82:

This lovely adventure was exactly 3 years ago. What a fun recap!

Originally posted on Her Happy Trails:

Since I was traveling through a variety of major time zones, I’ll simply put which hours of my journey I’m describing rather than what time it actually was (don’t know if I could be accurate with that anyway).

HOURS 1-3
Departed his place, checked in and flew to Aukland.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

HOURS 3-6
The start of a wicked layover!

I landed by noon, but wasn’t able to check in for Dubai until 2:30. Snapped a couple of pics before getting rid of my bag.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

I love how this says “Relax”.
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Finally checked in, boarding pass in hand and 4 more hours to burn until I get on the flight.

HOUR 6-8
In New Zealand you’re aloud to bring liquid on the flight and I had a left over bottle of Mount Gay Rum (That I purposing picked in  name of all my friends in Barbados, miss you boys!) There was no way…

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