Art

Tour me Trinidad!

Before arriving to Trinidad, I was informed that it’s mainly industrial with busy city streets.  For those who “warned me” of this, I fear that you haven’t seen the greener side of this beautiful country. Our friends (dubbed amazing tour guides) took us to 3 attractions that I’m sure are in every travel guidebook for this lovely island.

First stop was in the Tucker Valley in Chaguaramas to enjoy a walk through a popular trail. This peaceful hill is decorated with arches of green bush which is home to howler monkeys, spiders the size of silver dollars and the most vibrant of butterflies. Hopefully these photos speak in a simple language expressing the natural essence of the Bamboo Cathedral.      

        

       
    
 

Moving to another location, we found ourselves at one of the more famous religious sites in Trinidad. It’s an 85 ft high staue of Hanuman Murthi which has been claimed to be the largest outside of India. To the general public this hindu god looks like a peacful red monkey showing off vibant colors and detailed work within his garments.  

    

After reading the caution sign of Ashram rules, I questioned if a handstand would be acceptable here on the sacred grounds (especially after seeing a sign clearly stating no exercise). Would a handstand classify as some sort of fitness activity? My intentions were far from wanting to offend anyone or an entire culture for that matter so I chose to do an upside-down handstand.   

  A few confused yet entertained looks came from the ground keepers, so I asked if it would be honorable if I did a proper handstand. The response was not only positive, but encouraging!

 

   
 
A short distance from Hanuman is an eye catching site full of colors, two adorable elephants and another design on the ground that I’d love to have hanging on a piece of silk in my room.  Beautiful!

   
 

  Next up is called Temple in the sea. It was constructed (started) in 1947 by a determined laborer named Sewdass Sadhu. His story of success is unique and I highly suggest you research further if you have interest in learning of his drive led by faith and passion. For now, you’re getting a visual tour… walk with me!

When you first approach the seaside, you’ll notice the sets of worn but colorful flags that are half emerged underwater. At first, I thought the ceramic bowls and dolls were just a part of careless litter until I was informed that it was actually the reminisce of a traditional ceremony. What would yo think?  

   Then there was the little boat that captured my attention.

 

My favorite part of this site was the peaceful walkway that gave you plenty of thinking time as you neared the main temple. 

 Along the way, we ran into this man who was there to pray at the shrine of God Shiva. He gave us a quick lesson on the intricate manner in which he does this, down to the number of leaves from specific trees to the amount of time per placement. He practices this weekly. 

   

   
I made sure I was on the outer edge of the temple (just in case) before showing my feet to the sky. 
 
Sneak peek from what’s next to come…

 
 

 

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Last bundle of Barbados… for now.

Confession time. I’ve been so consumed with an abundance of events, exciting adventures and new friends that any spare time I’ve had, was taken by eating, pretending to sleep or getting ready for the next excursion. I’ve also learned that a blog can wait when the elderly man next to you on the plane decides to tell you a story or you get a spontanious invite during your prime writing time. With that said, here’s what I’m going to do for my own sanity and the benefit of future posts. Since so much has been happening, I’m simply going to compact the rest of Barbados into this one last post so I can catch you up to my current playground… country to be announced soon!

Here’s the rest from my island home away from home!

As you already know, my mom made a quick trip out to stay with me that allowed for us to share some of my favorite spots! A jaunt to Holders Market provided us with fruits, veggies, coconut chips and plenty of hugs from our earth loving friends!  

    
   
World, meet my dear Kenneth. His undeniable passion for this planet and the creations that abide here shouldn’t go unnoticed. His consistent smile and energy towards a healthy mind, body and spirit reaches beyond his wellness products. If you desire any of his goods or you’re on the island and what a one on one tour, please feel free to email him lutakenkwam60@gmail.com

Lovely Azizah fills our world using her creative new concepts for handbags and jewelry. I was actually sent on this day to pick up a purse for an international friend! If you’re interested in her designs please email her at aonifa@gmail.com or call (246) 267-1100.    

This happy fella created his product by hosting small dinner parties for friends and family, then expanded his ideas beyond the kitchen. He now serves up cocktails with local fruit, hand picked herbs and creativity. He’s still developing the business, so contact info is coming soon. 

On the way out of the market we stopped by for a familiar greeting from this Barbados born and raised author. Edison not only rememebred my name after our first meeting, but continued our conversations every week. Click here if you desire a deeper look into purchasing this entertaining book of short stories from the Caribbean!  

 Next up is a day at the pool where we first put our toes in the water during our first vacation here. If you can recall the post Not just a dolphin tour Barbados is the location I surprised her with for her 50th birthday in which we celebrated just months after her final chemotherapy treatment. The first collage is us at the same spot back in 2011.

  

We returned to Accra beach for a walk down memory lane and a day of relaxing. I blogged away while mom took a swim with my new friend from afar Fanie (you’ll meet him later). Happy thoughts and sunny smiles!

I’m sure you were wondering “will she get to see Cafe Moya?” Of course! Making her third appearance is the kind spirited Marguerite and her creations at one of my favorite eateries.  

An evening out started with a surprise reunion with the group that first invited us to return to this magnificent place! Back in 2011, the segway polo team traveled to my hometown of Folsom for the Woz Cup of Segway polo (a team sport similar to horse polo, except instead of playing on horseback, each player rides a Segway on the field). See Just the beginning of Barbados for more details.

Here’s a collage of our first meeting back in California.  

On this night we got the privilege of attending their gathering as they celebrated the trophy of this years Woz Cup. They are the 2015 World Champions!    
After a round of hugs and a few speeches, mom and I headed out with a few of the boys for an entertaining evening on a popular strip known as 2nd st. Thank you Ryan for bringing the sombrero… a brilliant accessory to a night out on the town!      

I’d like to close this post by showing a few random shots that were taken during the past weeks. No rhyme or reason, just more to admire from my favorite island.  
  

          

   
    

To my incredible friend that I get to call Mom. With full gratitude, I thank you for sharing your time, laughter and love with me. You are my biggest fan and I want you to know that I still feel your unconditional support even when we’re thousands of miles apart. I love you!
  
 
  

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Bridgetown Vs Bridgetown Market

Located on the southwest coast, Bridgetown is the capital city (and only city) in Barbados.  Like most cities in the world, you’ll find an array of contrasts within the busy streets. New cars and old bikes, historical sights next to booming businesses. There are street vendors selling colorful fruit, fresh veggies, snacks and random trinkets right outside of clothing shops, hair boutiques and popular mall stores. Casual cafes to nice restaurants sit along the dock offering local plates and if you’re looking for fast food (served with a side of greasy guilt) you can opt for one of the not so fast food joints on the island… Chefette, Burger King or KFC. 

FUN FACT: Barbados is the only country in the world in which McDonalds opened and closed due to lack of customers. The popular chain barely survived 6 months!

    

    
Have a sweet tooth? You can always find a bakery or local sugar shack but in this heat, the popular choice is anything cold, preferably frozen!   

If walking doesn’t suit your day, there’s never a lack of taxi’s eager to give you a lift. This cheerful cab driver was fine with us declining a ride, however was very dissatisfied that my head wrap didn’t have a bow in the back. He took it upon himself to make sure “dis angel sista gah-de-bow she deserve”. Thank you for brightening my day kind sir! 

 
We had two random priorities that consumed some of our time during our stroll through the city. First, my dear friend Shanda wasn’t going to put her poor feet through another step of blisters. Lucky for her, there’s several shoe stores conveniently located within the city. Success! 

 
Secondly, a handstand. In the years I’ve been enjoying this wonderful country, I have yet to snag an upside down smile in the Capital. Completed!

    

  
Thank you Shanda for sharing your creative photo abilities. Check out this cool shot! 

 

Moving on to the Bridgetown Market. Not to be confused with the capital city, this annual event happens in the final weekend of Cropover. With 3 days of jam packed entertainment, local cuisine and a variety of shopping, it’s known as one of the largest street fairs in the Caribbean. 

 Along the famous Spring Garden highway you’ll find a wide range of authentic Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken, macaroni pie, fish and chips, fried plantain as well as smaller vendors with local fruit drinks and baked goods.  

 This was our view in either direction where we sat to eat. You can imagine the contrast between this angle and the vibrant street behind us.  I suppose that’s just one more thing I love about this place. 

Once you’ve had your fill of edibles, there are plenty of items to wander through as you get lost in the colorful stalls lining the highway. If shopping is your intention, just look for the brightly colored stalls inviting you in for a stroll through unique products. Jewelry, bags, clothes and like items to plants, herbs, fruit and veggies.
   
   
 

If you walk down the paved road, you’ll be tempted to chip away to the soca music or at least stop and watch the ones dancing in front of the speakers. No joke, this fella was gettin’ down for the entire time we were there! 

 If you’re keen for more traditional tunes, just follow your ears to the small stage located behind the rainbow stalls.
 

So when you’re on the island during the entertaining week of Cropover, I’d suggest making time for a walk thorugh both the capital city as well as the annual Bridgetown Market.  I’ll leave you with a shot from our walk home. Hard not to smile, right?

 

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Vans Warped Tour and the “Outrageous Noise”

Vans Warped Tour is the largest traveling music festival in the United States. The skateboard shoe brand Vans, has sponsored the event every year since 1995 and now it’s the longest running touring music festival in North America.

For all of you long-time followers, you may recall two years ago in which I was on a different side of this event. Touring with my favorite band Heritage brought a completely different angle. Check it out by clicking this fancy link! 

Today, it is my workplace.

        
My position is to simply intrigue attendees to register to win a new Ford F150. By filling out a form, they get a free t-shirt or sunglasses (and a few spare moments in the shade, which I think was the main reason people walked over to us).

   
My partners in crime for the day included these fine gentlemen, Sean and Derick.    

 
This new friend and fellow gypsy made my day even better than it already was. Meet Kary Parks, a kind hearted musician with a passion for helping others. If you’d love to check out her new tunes (I highly suggest it) please enjoy her website at www.karajack.com

 

Handstand shot?  But of course! This time it’s with Kary (who happens to be an ex-gymnast!)

 The genre of the music ranges slightly between punk, heavy metal, rock and hip-hop. A few of the more popular bands were listed as Wonder Years, Pierce the Veil, Family Force Five, Autumn burns Red and Black Veil Brides.

      

  

  

Lets turn the focus now and soak up the platform for a people watching event. This type of music draws in all types of styles. Instead of describing it, I’ll just let you take a look. 

      

 

I should of sent out a memo for hair color specials. I would of been in business! 

 Along with a variety of appearances, it clearly attracts all ages as well!  


They called it the “Reverse Daycare”.  An air-conditioned tent for all of the chaperons to relax, cool down and wait for their children to finish enjoying the outrageous noise (as one parent described it). 

  

I feel like this neon paint will provide some pretty unique tan lines come morning. 
Tan lines? Yeh, to say at the least. It was a scorching afternoon and many were walking around like burnt zombies. Dangerously hot, if you want to take it that far. Medics were constantly wheeling people to the first aid tent. Then there was our little nurse (Kary) concerning for anyone that walked by who appeared to be in need of a cool down.  
 I thought this was a brilliant idea.  A small water slide with a man on hand to control of the water hose. Ahhh… 

 
 
Lunch time brought options for everyone. Corn dogs, fried potatoes and snow cones were just a few of what I saw people walking with.
    

   Our breaks were conveniently located in the air conditioned truck for a foot resting and cool down.

 My lunch? You’re probably not shocked to find me huddled in the truck-o-air with my tasty sack-lunch!   

 

Here are just a few more random shots taken throughout the day. The first line up is a series of photos I took after watching a mob of fans anxiously wait for for their favorite band to sign posters and “acually shake hands”!

       

Thank you Kary, Sean and Derick for making it a smile filled day on the job! Cheers till next time! 

 

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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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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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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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“Wait, that’s real water!”

I try to make it back to Oklahoma at least twice a year to visit my precious family. Although this trip was short, I was able to squeak out a general post for fun. Here’s a photo from the last visit. I love these kids!

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Time with the siblings…

This day consisted of the 3 oldest and a trip to the city. First up, our excursion to the Devon Tower. This sky scraper is the tallest building in Oklahoma (39th in the United States) reaching 850 ft high with 50 floors.

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Check out this interior center divide. I was trying to figure out my camera so at first glance I was going to take a seat in order to focus on what I was doing. Thankfully, Joseph exclaimed “hey, that’s real water!”. This piece of work was so level that it looked like a stone setting covered in thick glass. I had to touch the liquid myself to confirm… Yup, that’s water flowing over the edges! Makes me wonder how many people have taken an accidental splash or watched their kids jump up to surprising drench!

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In the elevator I got to watch three giddy teenagers with “butterflies” as the doors closed. My brother timed it, 45 seconds later we were at the entrance of our lunch destination.

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Peaking over 49 floors is the Vast. A classy dining restaurant that provides window seats with a skyline view. This was thrilling for more reasons than one. First off, we’ve been talking about this for months and now it was finally happening. Secondly, these kids rarely explore a city, let alone go inside a modern building at a height like this.

They seated us next to a corner window which a perfect view for everyone. Honestly, I was so excited watching them, that I forgot to take photos of our seats. Here’s a couple shots that I found online to give you an idea.
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I got a sampler so we could all share the variety of flavors and the kids split a “fancy” hamburger and fries. Here’s the buffet plate followed by what was left of their hamburger and dessert plate.

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After lunch, we dropped back down to floor level and made our way to the street. Let me pause here and explain my excitement in getting to watch these guys go through a revolving door for the first time. Adorable! They also got a kick (or just really embarrassed) out of me pretending to be stuck when it was my turn.

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Here are some of the sites you may see when strolling through Oklahoma City. The top photo is of the memorial and museum from the famous Oklahoma City bombing.

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Handstand? Totally.

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Who’s this? Our cousins are superintendents for several jobs in the area so we swung in for a hug and hello!

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Just outside of the city, the kids wanted to stop in one of their favorite stores. I say “store” lightly as this massive company is nationwide and has buildings ranging from 20,000 to almost 500,000 square feet! Inside you’ll find anything and everything you could possibly want for camping, hiking, biking, hunting, fishing and any other outdoor sport. Welcome to the Bass Pro Shop.

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I lost the boys to the fishing section and Hannah found the ladies clothing. I spotted the backpacks (shocking, right?) and spent most of time taking pictures on the decor. Look around!

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When they’re not out and about, you can find these guys and our two younger siblings using energy around the property. If it be exploring the creeks, making paths through the tall grass or playing with the pups.

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When it’s too cold to brave the weather, you’d find them inside doing schoolwork or practicing their music. I’d absolutely love to post a video of them playing and singing, but I will keep my “big sister” promise and not expose their talent… yet.

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It’s so refreshing to spend quality time with such well mannered, joyful children. Especially because I grew up as an only child, I’m so grateful to have Joseph, Hannah, Benjamin, Sarah, (with memory of her twin Elizabeth) and Rachel.

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3 challenges for 365 days

Starting off the new year always seems to be an appropriate time to set goals. Large, short term, serious or funny…. Why not? I chose 3 different resolutions to suggest to you. Take ’em or leave ’em, but check it out!

#1- FITNESS
We all know working out can be a struggle. If it be making time for it, finding the drive for it or simply getting it done. The reason I’m sharing this next idea is because it’s easy (woohoo!) and it involves music which generally stimulates the body anyway.

The challenge: do a non-stop workout for an entire song. There’s several different ways you can approach this. Maybe choose just one movement and do it until the song is over, for example push ups. Move your hands close then far, elbows in then out… Just keep pushing until the song ends. Another option would be a variety of movements in sequence. Example 20 push ups, 30 squats, 50 crunches, etc.

Care not to create your own routine? You can always search my fitness page for ideas, a great example would be the workout in El Salvador. Need more? Allow Google to help out. Simply search “3 minute workouts” and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of creative burners!

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#2- FINANCES
This is a popular program that has been pinned all over the place and there’s a good reason why! What will you do with $1,378.00?
A. Find a jar, bucket, box, can, bag, bottle… Pretty much anything that can hold your currency.
B. Decorate it! Or not…. But if you have the time, I say grab a friend, a beverage of choice and get lost in glitter glue and markers.
C. Drop the funds! Instead of putting a random amount of your change in, make a purposeful donation to yourself and watch the balance grow! It’s suggested to start with $1 and add to the amount weekly.

Did you get a chunk of funds from the holiday season? Reverse it then! Do you often get caught with your hand in the cookie jar? Skip the jar and go to the bank instead! Check out this site for the pro’s and con’s of both options.

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#3 FUN
Take a picture a day, that’s it! No, not a selfie with your bestie every morning. Find animals, traffic, strangers, buildings, landscape, signs… Then at the end of the year, recap 365 days of random photos. Here are a few of my favorites from the years!

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Happy: feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.
New: not existing before; made, introduced, or now for the first time.
Year: the time taken by a planet to make one revolution around the sun – 365 days.

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Schatzti + The String Boffin

I’m thankful to say that my schedule has been so packed with glorious events, that I’m a bit behind in the blog routine. To catch up, I’m going to wrap up my return to Florida with an entry based on the live music I enjoy so much.

First up, the gorgeous Dannica Lowlerly and her talented brother Ben Parsons. Together they perform as Schatzti + The String Boffin.

Translation:
Schatzi [shaht-see] German slang – darling; sweetheart.
Boffin [bof-in] British slang – scientist; technical expert.

Mom and I were pleased to catch them at this small venue especially considering that they just opened for the Rascal Flats!

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You know when you’re watching a band and you think, “I bet those guys are fun to hang out with” or “I wonder if they’re always that happy”? Well, those are not only thoughts but a reality with this duo. Genuine smiles and relaxed energy flow as they share their magnetic sound.

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My dark photos and lack of audio certainly doesn’t do them justice. For quality pics and samples of their unique sound, please check out www.dannicalowery.com

More music? Who could it be but none other than some of my favorite guys doing what they do best. I know I’ve included them in several posts, but for good reason. Not only do they produce entertaining music, but their message vibrates a positive feel-good time. Each personality in this group balances out the band we all know and love… Heritage!

It was our first time to this venue called Club La Vela, a popular night club that promotes a daytime pool party on the weekends. I suppose it’s an easy way to chill with friends while listening to good music and cool off in the hot Florida sun.

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Remember sweet Jodi from the tour last year seen in “A man becomes what he thinks about”? The first picture is from that journey followed by one on this day. Love her!

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Mom, I feel like I don’t tell you enough how much I appreciate you not only as a mother, but a friend (and dance partner!). All of these shows just wouldn’t be the same without your company. Thanks for be the perfect date. Love you!

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