Travel Diary: Independence Eve in Apalachicola

This year we started a new family tradition: celebrating 4th of July early during Apalachicola’s Independence Eve Celebration.

Over the last few years we have mostly missed all the spectacular fireworks displays on the 4th because we have a young child who is usually asleep by the time the fireworks begin.

We also haven’t had the holiday land during the weekend where you have the next day to recover. With that in mind, we spontaneously decided to head down to Florida’s Forgotten Coast to a quaint little Oyster Town that celebrates America’s Birthday a day early.

The Town

Apalachicola is an adorable small town about an hour and a half from our home town of Tallahassee. The drive is scenic and fast, which makes it ideal for our family. As you cross the bridge into the town, there’s usually oyster boats on either side. The area is known for its world class oysters.

It’s a small area, but it’s packed with historic buildings, a brewery, raw bars, great restaurants, old time fountain soda shop, galleries, coffee shops and adorable boutiques. There’s a lot to do even outside of the Independence Eve celebration.

The Accommodations

We decided to do this pretty last minute (the week of), so I wasn’t sure what options would be available. Luckily my hubby’s co-worker recommended The Coombs House — a historic Bed & Breakfast.

The B&B ended up being absolutely perfect. Quaint and comfortable with incredible bedding and a delicious homemade breakfast served in the Main House dining room.

After arriving I discovered (proudly displayed on a door plaque), it’s been named one of America’s 33 Luxury Inns by Travel + Leisure. It definitely delivered.

The Celebration

The Apalachicola Independence Eve Celebration is jam packed with family fun. After checking into our historic B&B, we walked a couple of blocks down to Water Street where the majority of the activities were taking place. We brought our lawn chairs and blanket and found a grassy spot near the dock with a perfect eye-line to the fireworks display that would take place over the water. Everyone is super respectful of your claimed spot and we left our chairs for hours with no one moving them. It was such a relief to know our viewing spot was secure and we could enjoy the festivities!

First up, we grabbed some Oyster City (local brewery) beers and headed to the Bounce House, so Westley could jump, while we enjoyed live music. The. It was time for the Parade, which includes locals who decorate golf carts with Americana decor and hand out everything from beads to juice and candy.

Post parade, it’s time for the free ice cream social where you can choose from vanilla or chocolate ice cream and toppings. So we definitely broke the rule and had dessert before dinner 🙂

While there was a food truck court with options from seafood and gourmet tacos to a British food truck serving up fish n chips, we opted to walk around and find a local restaurant to sit down, cool down and grab a bite. We ended up at The Seafood Grill and enjoyed the fried Captain’s Basket with huge Gulf shrimp, bay scallops, fish, crab cake and hush puppies served with an array of sauces. It did not disappoint.

After dinner, we walked back to our spot on the lawn and got ready for the main event!

Fireworks

I’ve seen a lot of fireworks in my life and this display definitely takes first place. Hands down the best fireworks show ever. The choreography, variety of fireworks and length made it a spectacular display! The fireworks over the water felt like a 3D display and we were all in awe!

Once the 30-minute show wrapped, we grabbed our chairs and walked back to our B&B – no traffic or hassles…just a nice walk, hot shower and a super comfy bed.

If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate 4th of July, Apalachicola is a great choice and will be our new go to for one of my favorite holidays! St. George Island is super close, so you can also extend the trip and spend some time at one of the area’s beautiful beaches!

Happy Independence,

Ivette

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My 8 for 18

This year is already flying by. I intended to get this post written the first week of the year, but it’s been fast and furious. Between Westley’s birthday party, work travel and life — I haven’t had a lot of time to sit down and write.

I’m not a fan of resolutions because it becomes a joke to see how fast they can go down the drain. Instead I see every new year as an opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and let go of what doesn’t work and continue doing what makes you happy.

So with 2018 moving at a frantic pace, here are my eight commitments to myself and my family for this year:

1.Choose Happy – you can always look at something from a positive or negative light, so this year I’m choosing to embrace the good in everything.

2. Be Present – it’s so easy to get distracted, wooed by your phone, social media, held hostage by your inbox. We have so many devices and distractions, but I’m making a concerted effort to push it all away when I’m with my family.

3. Be Kind – there is so much hate and negativity in the world, so my goal is to always be kind, even to those who don’t return it. You never know what someone is dealing with or why they choose to act the way they do. Regardless, always take the high road and kill them with kindness.

4. Stay Fit – last March, I began working with a personal trainer and it has been a game changer. Working out has become a passion and a key part of staying sane and happy. I love seeing how much stronger I am with each work out and pushing myself to do more reps, lift heavier weights or conquer new exercises.

5. Reward Myself – as a working mom I’m always on the go and doing things for others. That’s 100 percent fine by me, but I also want to continue making time for myself from workouts and manicures, to quiet mornings and bubble baths.

6. Nourish my Marriage – I am lucky to have a true partner in life who supports me and believes in 50/50. Having a child has made our marriage stronger and we have so much to be thankful for, but I always want to make time for us. From late night talks and date nights to belly laughs and weekend getaways, I never want to lose what makes us, us.

7. Support my Tribe – I have so many wonderful women in my tribe who I love and respect. Often times we don’t see each other as much as we’d like, but I’m committed to making time for lunches, manis, ladies nights and if not, at least phones calls, texts and lots of positive vibes sent your way.

8. Keep Creating – I was so excited when Word Press sent me an email alerting me that this domain is a year old and it’s time to renew! That means I’ve been blogging consistently for a year and I love it. Having a creative outlet to share my thoughts is rewarding. I love hearing from people I don’t know who find what I create valuable. I want to keep sharing, creating, photographing and looking off into the distance, while I dream BIG.

Can’t wait to read this post next January and see how I did. I’m excited for this year and what lies ahead.

XO,

Ivette

It Pays To Network

For many people attending an event with the expectation of talking to strangers and making new contacts is not their idea of a good time. I’m one of those people who actually likes networking and have first hand experience enjoying the success that can come from it.

Like it or not, many of us are involved in networking in one way or another. If you are a business owner or in a position to bring new business to the company you work for, then networking is part of your job description. If you’re a young professional looking to break into an industry, networking should be your part-time job. If you serve on a board or are involved in a charitable organization or cause, networking is your middle name.  Either way, knowing how to take advantage of the contacts you make and growing your personal and professional brand in the community is essential and networking plays a huge role in your success.

When I left news reporting and began working in public relations, I wanted to learn more about the industry and meet other professionals in Tallahassee. I decided to join the Florida Public Relations Association Capital Chapter…five years later I’m serving as president of the organization, have attained my accreditation in public relations (APR) and have grown as a professional. This happened because I was able to step out of my comfort zone and into a room of strangers who I now call my colleagues and friends.

I’m also a proud member of the Junior League of Tallahassee. Through my involvement with this wonderful organization, I have received invaluable training, helped make a real, measurable difference in the community and made life-long friends.  When I joined the League I hardly knew anyone. Today I am happy to say that some of my closest friends are fellow Leaguers and I’ve even made business contacts through the JLT.

In Tallahassee, we are very lucky to have a close-knit community and a host of professional groups and associations with which to get involved. From the Chamber to the Network of Young Professionals to the Tallahassee Film Festival and the Business and Professional Women of Tallahassee, there is a group out there for you. So figure out what you’re interested in, find a group of people or an organization that fits the bill and get involved. Who knows, in a few years you may be running the organization! Cheers.

Work Family: Building Relationships That Last

In honor of October being National Work and Family month, I thought it would be appropriate to address the idea of a work family. Most of us spend more time at work every week than we do with our loved ones. For better or worse your co-workers are your work family and like every relationship, you have to work at it.

When I joined Kidd Group five months ago, I was hopeful I would have a warm and welcoming work family and that I would one day consider them friends. I must say they did not disappoint. I received flowers from Trish on my first day and was invited to countless lunches by different co-workers my first few weeks on the job. I never felt like the newbie or like I didn’t fit in. It was such a relief.

I’m happy to say my co-workers and I continue to spend quality time every week, from exploring the newest eateries in town to having ice cream sundaes on Friday – there’s never a dull moment. I also love being able to introduce some of them to new events – just this Friday we attended the Greek Food Festival as our lunch adventure of the week! We also make a point to celebrate each person’s birthday with something sweet, whatever their vice, whether cake, cupcakes or ice cream – or a combo.

Part of the company culture is to celebrate each other’s accomplishments. When the 3W studios web team received a Silver W3 award, we celebrated with ice cream floats. When I participated in the 2010 American Lung Association Oxygen Ball earlier this month, I received votes from my co-workers and kudos when I brought home the Judge’s Award.

As if spending time in the office weren’t enough, we’ve been known to spend a few weeknights and weekends together. This is especially fun because we get to bond outside of the workplace and get to know each other’s families, loved ones and pets. We’re working on “bring your dog to work day”…we’ll see if that happens!

Taking the time to get to know each other and spending quality time building our relationships makes us a better, stronger team and it shows in our work product. From spa parties to spending the day on the range, shooting guns and eating BBQ – we make the best of our time together on and off the clock!

What do you think about a work family? What is your experience like?

 

 

Giving Back AND Dancing Like A Fool!

So it’s been a few weeks since I blogged. I feel terrible because my goal is to blog once a week. Needless to say, my schedule has been a bit nutso – work, Junior League, my first FPRA board meeting and membership meeting as president and training for the American Lung Associations, “Dancing with the Local Stars” Oxygen Ball.

I will start by saying that professional dance training is NOT easy, but it’s SO much fun! I have equal number of bruises and laughs to prove it. 🙂 I’m a big believer in giving back and being a part of this fundraiser has been an amazing experience so far. It’s close to my heart because I have asthma and it’s amazing that I’m able to have fun, learn real choreography and help raise money for a good cause.

I’ve always wanted to secretly be a part of something like “So You Think You Can Dance” or “Dancing With The Stars.” (Not a secret any longer.) But alas, I’m neither a professional dancer nor a star. BUT, lucky for me, the American Lung Association puts on an annual event modeled after “Dancing with the Stars.” (Score!)

I’m dancing a Mambo and there are turns, tricks and lots of hip shaking. My professional dance partner, Darian Chancellor,  is amazing and super patient with me. Let’s just say some of the tricks do not come naturally. Every practice is fun – complete with jokes, crazy moves, falls and sometimes it all comes together beautifully. Hopefully by October 9th it will be seamless!

I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to give back to the community, while pursuing a bit of a passion. The journey has also taught me a lot about the wonderful people in my community. A local couture designer, Hayley Mann, of Hayley Lauren Couture, is sponsoring my costume – creating a unique look for my performance. And so many friends, family and colleagues have donated to the cause by voting for me as “Fan Favorite.”

It never seizes to amaze me what can be accomplished when a community comes together, and Tallahassee is such a great example. I’m so lucky to have a chance to give back and make a difference in my community, and I’m doing it in 8 counts and with a big smile!

How do you give back to the community?

PS – If you’re so inclined to donate to the cause. Please vote for me as Fan Favorite here: https://www.mrsnv.com/evt/e03/reg/preform.jsp?id=3013 Much appreciated!