Monday, January 30, 2012

FAT Village Art Walk & Tap 42...

Saturday night in downtown Fort Lauderdale.... So many things to do!

We started out our Saturday night at a funky new restaurant downtown called Tap 42Tap 42 is Ft. Lauderdale's newest craft beer bar and kitchen. They have 42 different beers on tap and over 100 bottled beers. AND... right up my alley, though it is new construction, they've used as much local, recycled and refurbished materials as possible... Awesome! Located off Andrews Ave and SE 14th Street it's easy to get to from whatever area you're coming from. This entire downtown area is going through a revitalization...  or as Keith said, "Gentrification" - We all learned a new word.

We had an awesome table outside (and impeccable timing as it poured rain like an hour or so after we left) Unfortunately I didn't take any pics of my own here, so I had to rip some off of their website (I was too consumed in our bottle of wine)

Outside of Tap 42...

Outside area where we sat and view indoors...

Inside Area of Tap 42...

We were there around 6:00pm and didn't have a problem getting a great table outside for a party of 6. It definitely got a lot busier the later it got. We dined happily on our bevy of appetizers which included an awesome meat and cheese platter...  Yum!

For the main course most of us had burgers, which were yum! The price was reasonable for the service and ambiance - Very cool in that you're at a restaurant surrounded by high rise buildings and the hospital. Just an overall fun experience - Great for date nights or a night out with friends. Very glad we tried it out!

You can see the entire Tap 42 menu here.

You can also check out the entire beer menu here.

After dinner we went to an art walk downtown that I have been wanting to check out for a while. Every month there is an event called FAT Village Art Walk... FAT (Flagler Arts and Technology) Village is located downtown just North of Broward Blvd on the intersection of 1st & 5th. The Art Walks are held on the last Saturday of every month from 7:00pm-11:00pm.... Oh and did I mention it's all FREE?

Fat Village Art Walk Map   

We had such a great time walking around here - Our favorite (and I really hope I'm getting it right from the map) was the Fort Lauderdale Scenic Studio in 523A. This studio holds all of the props, costumes and whatever other fun stuff you've seen from events around Ft. Lauderdale. Like parade floats, massive Hard Rock signs from the boat parade, mermaids... And all of it is there for you to play with. You can touch everything, climb on it, take pics with it, go inside...whatever you want. So much FUN! All of the people that work here are so nice too. We were talking to one woman who said they just open the warehouse up because they love to see peoples reactions to everything. She even helped us pull out the 7 foot Rio Jesus that you'll see in the pics... Yep!

Here's some silly pics from inside...

Me with a massive Hollywood sign...
Another massive boat parade sign...

Cari and a giant 7 foot plaster copy of the Rio Jesus...

Rachel and Cari in a mini gingerbread house....

As you can see, you can spend hours in this place playing! After this were a few more galleries with serious artwork. Serious expensive artwork! There was also a bar with a live band playing with a free open bar! Of course the line was crazy, so we spent our $3 on a glass of wine each (cheap, right?) Such a great time!!!

There were food vendors and a couple of art vendors in the street. Cari bought a pretty new turquoise necklace outside of the next gallery we went into which was the Rolling Stock Gallery and Rolling Stock Alley. They also had a live band playing and artists doing graffiti in the back alley. In the middle area there was a blank banner with spray paint and sharpies in all colors to play with.... So we did!

Green Cycle Designs....
Doopie Moos.....
Andy's contribution... Our initials and anniversary... What a cutie!
So..... that was our night out at Tap 42 and FAT Village Art Walk - We definitely recommend checking out both of these destinations. You can also check out my Yelp on Tap 42   - See you at the next Art Walk!

Peace 25 cents... At Rolling Stock Alley

Friday, January 27, 2012

Meeting Kyle Richards...

This past Wednesday Cari and I took a trip up to Boca Raton to meet Kyle Richards and have dinner.

Yes.... THE Kyle Richards of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fame.

Cari and I in line outside the store
A few years ago we were also able to meet Jill Zarin of Real Housewives of NYC - I'm going to share our secret with you...

Cari and Jill having a laugh... Awww she was preggo with Sam...

Jill Z and I - BFF

The secret is a little shop called Alene Too... The ladies that own this shop have a connection (somehow!) with the ladies of Real Housewives fame. The Real Housewives ladies like to write books... Alene Too likes to have them in to sign them... Bonus for you! Actually, I shouldn't even say Real Housewives because they had Nikki Hilton in a few months ago too. Go on their website, sign up for the mailing list, like them on facebook, follow them on twitter - DO IT! They will send you emails as to when the celebs will be in town for your schmoozing pleasure. Just a little FYI... You have to buy the book there for them to sign it... I was reading on Twitter about a girl that was turned away because she didn't buy it there. Play it safe.. Buy it there!

If I had to compare the two events I would have to say that we were a little spoiled with Jill Zarin. The store was in a different location at the time and I think there wasn't as much publicity, not to mention it was on a weekday at like 10:00am. We were able to chat with Jill, take as many pics as we liked and it was just more relaxed. Notice also my nice professional photo with Jill - not so much with Kyle... The new location was a mad house!!!

It was definitely a very cool thing to be a part of. They made all of the mannequins in the store look like Kyle and had tons of corporate sponsors... IE free Smartwater.... free coconut water... free champagne... free candy... free chips.... free cookies... I'm probably leaving a lot out here....Very cool branding and SMART! We waited in line for probably about an hour, which wasn't terrible - part of it was in the store so you could shop.

We finally made it to the front of the line and were able to meet her....

Cari and Kyle...  

Me and Kyle...

She was so gracious and thanked us each twice for being so patient and waiting in the line. There really wasn't a lot of time that you could spend with her. You were only allowed one picture each... Cari and I wanted one together with her and it wasn't allowed. While you were next to her there were like 10 other people taking her picture, reaching over her refilling water, cleaning the table... LOL such a time crunch and such a difference from out previous encounter with Jill, but still great! Yes... She's just as beautiful in person as she is on TV. Yes... She was very nice.

You can check out my Yelp! on Alene Too here.

So get on that mailing list and maybe we'll see you at the next signing!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday, but last Wednesday...

A week late, but hey it's Wednesday again! Last Wednesday Cari and I ventured over to Pembroke Gardens for some drinks, shopping and candle sniffing... yep...

Behold Village Tavern.... Home of Wine and Dine Wednesday - Half-Price Wine and Dine Wednesday mind you... Score!

This place can get a little crazy with winos as you can see:

Village Tavern Bar Area

We had a great time in our own little world enjoying our half price bottle of wine and flat breads. We've both been here before (together and separate) and have to say that the food here is ok... O.K. It's definitely the wine that drew us in. Village Tavern has a pretty extensive menu covering all bases, there is sure so be something for everyone.

After dinner we proceeded to shop around the center (which is beautiful, despite it's location in the middle of nowhere) Perusing Banana Republic, Z Gallerie and the Yankee Candle store, we each picked up a few purchases.

Of course after shopping we headed right back to Village Tavern for another glass of wine. There is a wine store in the plaza that we considered... but then remembered Half Price Wine! I will definitely say it's great in that at least there's no catch with this deal, it's just that - half price everything on the wine menu.

It can easily turn two business talking chicks into this by the end of the night....

Doopie Moo's and GCD out on the town...
Cari is modeling the newest rope bracelets in her line. She was generous enough to give me a sneak preview and samples...Woohoo! All of her creations can be purchased here.

For more info on Wine Wednesdays you can click here.

For my Yelp's on the locations featured - see here - Village Tavern, Pembroke Gardens.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Sushi Night at the Ackerman's....

Saturday night in the Ackerman household - It's make your own sushi night!

We had the Kaufman's over because we haven't seen them in a while (not to mention that Ryan won fantasy football this year and needed to collect his winnings!) and went at it like master sushi chefs. Master sushi chefs whose rolls explode or are too big to be sealed, but still master sushi chefs...

Andy and Ryan taking to it....
Though it may seem hard to do, the basics are pretty easy. All that's needed is a one time investment in the bamboo mats and soy containers, the rest needs to be purchased on the day of so it's fresh fresh fresh! Bamboo rolling mats can be picked up at any supermarket - I think we bought ours at Publix. Actually, most of the supplies we purchased were from Publix.

Here is our shopping list:

Publix -                                                                      Whole Foods/Doris' Italian Market:

Seaweed Sheets ( for outside of sushi)                         Salmon
Sesame Seeds                                                            Yellow-fin Tuna
Cucumber                                                                   Sriracha (spicy sauce)
Cream Cheese
Sushi Rice
Soy Sauce

We only go to a specialty store for the fish - you can get the other supplies there too, but you'll pay a lot more than at Publix. This time we tried Whole Foods for the fish and there wasn't a good selection so ended up at Doris' Italian Market - so fresh!

Master Sushi Chefs R, J & T with closed eyes
We all played around with different combinations of the ingredients above - making what we chose for our dinner. Spicy tuna rolls, JB rolls, inside out explosion rolls, you name it - It was a sushi making frenzy! Luckily, all of the instructions on how to roll up the sushi, how to make the rice, etc. is all on the containers they come in so no cookbook or even Google has to be utilized.

No breaks... Not even to get soy containers...
In my opinion, the sushi even tastes better when you make it yourself - it definitely gives you a deeper appreciation of the man behind the counter when your JB roll explodes and there's cream cheese everywhere. 

I should also mention that one of the benefits to making your own is all of the leftovers. Though the sushi doesn't last more than 24 hours it's still good for lunch and possibly dinner the next day. We had a lot of extra salmon which we froze and will use for a meal again too. It's a win win! 

Insane leftovers... Hello, Sashimi!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Stuck... And Pinterest as a means of getting unstuck...

I don't know what it is, but since the turn of the new year I've been completely stuck creatively....

Just stuck... I don't feel like making anything. I've got the same vases on my work table that are already painted and ready to go for a while. The same flowers already cut into squares that just need to be folded, done up and listed, new contacts to promote GCD with - I just don't feel like it.... Should I even be admitting this? I'm hoping that in outing myself it will lead to the creative juices flowing again.

2011 was the most hectic, crazy, fun year for me with GCD - From October and the Heartsy feature onward it was just pandemonium... Order after order, show after show... I don't want to complain because it was amazing, but I think it's what attributed to my burn out. Maybe I'm just being too hard on myself?

I know sometimes in life you just go back and forth between your creative and intellectual side (hmph hmph!) - But it's hard when you make art for a living - you're supposed to be ON all the time right? Right now I'm only in the mood to read, and go and see and do. With all the amazing artwork I've been surrounding myself with it's still not kicking in. I'm reading 4 books at the same time... (like, what?! really?!) Dining out, going out and overall just working on me and the loving relationships I have with my friends and family... Everyone needs that too in life, so it's got to be normal right?

Through this rut some positive things have come of it... I've cleaned up my work space, thrown out any extra crapola that was laying around, organized myself AND I'm finally keeping my social media outlets up to date (this blog included, yay!). I'm now also addicted to Pinterest - Pinning away on my boards in hopes that inspiration will come.

If you haven't already heard of or requested in invite to Pinterest, prepare for the obsession. Think virtual bulletin board... You can create a board with any topic and collect images, products or whatever else floats your little boat. You can follow your friends or just awesome pinners, re-pin cool pins, like pins... All very addicting!

My Pinterest Boards

Right now my obsession is with the Home Stuff and Vintage Photos... Who wouldn't get inspired by old pics of Twiggy and houses with massive book collections? ;)

You can see or follow my Pinterest boards by clicking here.

So hopefully this will pass... Some picture will come along and bring me back into the flow. It's crazy... I get like this and then usually snap out of it and put out like 10 pieces in one day... Cheers to hoping it will happen soon!

I'll leave you with my favorite creativity quote EVER -

"People might think you can turn creativity on and off, but it's not like that. It just kind of comes out. A mash up of all these things you collect in your mind. You never know when it's gonna happen, but when it does ... it's like magic. It's just that simple and it's just that hard." - Gwen Stefani

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Saturday Night in Wynwood...

I seriously CAN NOT get enough of this place... I know to those that have been coming down here for years, the newbies can be a little frustrating. You have all that pomp because you've known about it for years and us freshies are just learning and learning and it's turning your cool underground world into something to be desired. Well I say, poo poo on you - Let this up and coming area shine!

Andy and I ventured down to Wynwood Saturday night for one of it's famous Art Walks. Art Walks are on the second Saturday of every month and include (but are not limited to) some of the freakiest shit you've ever seen. LOL good and bad! All of the galleries open their doors, serve drinks and food.

The food trucks also make their way down to Wynwood during Artwalk. There's an empty field that just gets PACKED with them... I'm talking there had to be 30 of them, and when that ran out of room, there was at least 15 more parked in the streets where ever they could. The food trucks... that will be next time!

This time, we went to Joey's

Teeny Tiny, but oh so yummy.....

I was SO excited to eat here having read all of the amazing reviews online. I made a reservation via opentable and we were set. I definitely recommend making a reservation here, we had one for 6:00pm and it was fairly busy. As we were done with dinner it definitely started to get crowded. Our waiter told us the later it gets you can't even move in there. With the bar so close to the door, I believe it... The place is so tiny! There is a small dining room, terrace and small tables in the front. Another perk of Joey's is the $5 valet. It can be kind of hard to find parking in Wynwood at night, so this is a major +!

The decor is very modern and cool. The back wall is amazing... There are pics of it on the website and you can kind of see it in the pic above, but I had no idea it was all mosaic. So cool!

Our food was excellent! Most of what we had were specials, so they aren't on the menu. We had an appetizer of scallops, shimp and sausage over polenta. So yummy... it had a sweet sauce over it. For dinner we ordered the Parma e Funghi Pizza (They are known for their pizzas, so had to try) and another special - the Funghi and Beef Lasagna. Our waiter told us it was the first time they served the lasagna and it didn't disappoint! All of this and a bottle of Bordeaux came to a total of about $80.00 - not terribly priced considering. We ate it all and even had some pizza to bring home.

Enough eating... Bring on the art!

The Space Invader Wall
Right next to Joey's are the Wynwood Walls... Right outside the walls and next to Joey's is the Space Invader wall. You can read more about the artist Invader here... Basically, he's a super cool guy that started out by traveling the world and placing his mosaic "Space Invaders" on public buildings and the like where ever he went. In Wynwood... He did an entire wall. Super cool - black palm trees (Miami inspiration) and the traditional red Space Invader.

Within the walls is the Wynwood Kitchen and Bar - Another stop to eat in the future, already bookmarked in Yelp! For now we just stopped in for drinks.

Bar back designed by Shepard Fairey

Also behind the bar... My favorite of his images
 Drinks here were also reasonably priced.... surprising for the proximity to South Beach where $20 a drink is usually the standard. We managed to escape with 2 drinks for $17 - again, not terrible! I was more anxious to go in to see all of the Shepard Fairey artwork. It's everywhere in this restaurant - to read more on Shepard see here. He also does my favorite wall in the Wynwood Walls....

Shepard's Wall - Tried to get the people in the shot for size proportion
 After lounging around for a little while we walked around the galleries... running into the art robot and such.

Unfortunately I didn't take many photos in the galleries in respect to the artists. I often feel a little queasy when people walk up and start taking pics of my stuff too. Like what are you going to do with that picture dude?

Most of the galleries have the artist on site so you can ask questions. Some of the galleries offer space for rent (for those of you aspiring artists at a reasonable $99) I should have looked into it further, maybe it was just $99 for the night. I did manage to snap a pic of a crystal on suede Beatles piece (Of course!)

The Beatles by Milani at Myra Galleries
 Sooooo as I said, I just can't get enough of this place. I definitely recommend the drive down be it for an Artwalk or just to check it out. You can get more info on the locations and artists by clicking the links within this post or check out my Yelp's on Second Saturday, Joey's and the Wynwood Walls - Enjoy!

Definitely feels that way sometimes.....

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A Birthday and a Rok:Brgr Detour...

This past Friday night we went downtown to celebrate our friend Jarred's birthday. The location was set, the standard... Tarpon Bend. We arrived to find Tarpon SO packed that there was no way in bloody hell we would get in there. So we took the Rok: Brgr detour...

Lovers Ackerman

Lovers Goodstein - Happy Birthday Jarred!

Jennifer, Lenny and Rachel

This was our second time at Rok:Brgr and I must say that our experience was much better this second time around. This prohibition 1920's style restaurant is so fun in style and decor. With an extensive food and drink menu including over 65 different beers from around the country, our waitress was great in keeping the drinks, apps and food flowing. We were crammed in at our table tight tight tight, but the weather was so beautiful out that there was no way we were sitting inside! 

The food here is good, though I feel a little pricey. You're paying for the ambiance and those gourmet burgers get you! As winner of the 2011 New Times Best Restaurant in Broward County & The Channel 10 Best Burger Contest it's definitely worth checking out. The D Wade, Las Olas and Prime Burger all sound so yummy. Andy likes ordering the salad that comes with a burger on the side... Yum! The fries are also great (Truffle or not).

Rachel ordered the build your own burger with Kobe beef and a monstrous amount of toppings.... 

Rachel's Monstrous Meal

We ended up having a great night!. All of us were filled to our maximum beef, salad and ultimate brownie overload capacity. Since we were celebrating Jarred's birthday they were great about bringing desserts (with a candle) for us to have our fiesta too. I should also mention that the manager was super cool about bringing out our special request (that ultimate brownie is no longer on the menu) -  You can check out the menu for yourself here.

You can also check out my Yelp! on Rok:Brgr here

I'm sure we'll be back many many more times... Such a great spot downtown!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Anthropologie Lunch Run Fun....

I love doing this... It can be a little hectic and I don't do it too often, but I had a couple gift cards to splurge with from the holidays... So here we go!

Ahhhhhh behold the Anthropologie lunch run...

Anthropologie Aventura

Trying to make it from work to Aventura Mall, park, find clothes, try them on, check out and drive back to work all within an hour. Yes, it can be done! I've even managed to bring along my friend Sara before and we both made it out alive AND with purchases!

This time I had a mission. I knew exactly what I needed so I made a bee line for it!

My Selections....

I always do so much better at Anthropologie when I see what's online first and then go in... The clothes are always so smushed together - beautiful but smushed. Hey, when you only have an hour browsing is not really an option!

After trying on my online finds I committed to two pieces... Basics for Spring! A long white tee with fun pockets in the front and a tangerine fun top with a collar. Tangerine is THE color for Spring don't ya know. Refinery29 and Little Pink Book as well as numerous other sources are all screaming for tangerine!  I love both of my purchases so much I reviewed them on Anthropologie's website and they actually posted them.

You can find the reviews here: White Shirt & Tangerine Shirt - Woohoo! I'm famous :)

On the way out I had to drool over this bed.... Ahhhhhh Someday.....

Amazing Bed Display... Droooooooool

You can also find my Yelp! on this Anthro location here. - Hope you enjoyed coming with me to the mall ;)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Completely New in 2012....

Happy New Year!!! In an effort to become a complete and total social media nerd, I bring you tons and tons of changes for the year....

The first of which.... It looks a little different around here huh? Little cleaner, little different... Nice! Also with the changes comes a new name for my blog because let's face it... the last name of this blog was a little hard to figure out. I'm loving the new name.... Do you know what a Green Tara is?

Well, you know I love to read all that New Age stuff.... The Secret, Spirit Junkie, Chakras, etc.... Go ahead, call me a Hippie :) LOL Anyway, in my readings I came across the Green Tara...which hello, that's me! A Greenie and a Tara, but theres a deeper meaning. Rather than try to explain it all to you let me consult a little thing called the internet for some help:

Tara (Sanskrit, "star") is a Buddhist savior-goddess especially popular in Tibet, Nepal and Mongolia.The goddess of universal compassion, Tara represents virtuous and enlightened action. It is said that her compassion for living beings is stronger than a mother's love for her children. She also brings about longevity, protects earthly travel, and guards her followers on their spiritual journey to enlightenment. In Buddhist religious practice, Green Tara's primary role is as a savior. She is believed to help her followers overcome dangers, fears and anxieties, and she is especially worshiped for her ability to overcome the most difficult of situations. Green Tara is intensely compassionate and acts quickly to help those who call upon her.

Green Tara

There ya go... it had me at hello :) Of course the love part of the blog name is just that... Love!

So back to the changes.... I kicked around the idea of doing another blog about the places and faces I love here in South Florida and then realized I can't even maintain one blog let alone two... So here now we have the merging of the two. GCD and fun, all wrapped up into one cute little package.

You'll notice on the side a new Yelp! app... FUN!!! I created a yelp account oh about 2 years ago and never used it again until recently... I'm in love again. It's a great way to get and give reviews of your fave restaurants, shops, events and more. Since Andy and I like to eat, shop and play all around South Florida, I thought it would be fun to share the events and adventures we go on. Both of us love our city so much - art shows, concerts, restaurants... AND some reviews here and there. If there's an upcoming event you think we should know about or if you attended the same one we did - OR if you want to just scream "I like Potatoes!" feel free to post post post!

So that's all for today, I hope you had an amazing 2011 - here's to 2012! Cheers!