Sarasota Music Festival Review – “Songs of Amour” left me feeling loved, musically nourished

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Susan Lorette Dunn . Image from

I recently got to experience some wonderful live music from the Sarasota Orchestras Music Festival. I went to the “Songs of Amour” artist showcase at Holley Hall.

Susan Lorette Dunn. Image from

This review will start off with a few of the negatives, but you should know that my overall experience was very positive.

For an hour before the start, there were complimentary hors’doueve. I was there only a half an hour early, and only got a few tiny sticks of fruit. I also believe they had cubes of cheesecake, but I did not get any. I also should have rushed more quickly to get good seats, since they weren’t assigned. There is no slope in the hall, so it’s hard to see if you are farther back. I was most dismayed to see how small the seats were, and how they were linked to others so you really couldn’t get much space to sit. As I was with older women, I tried to be nice and was leaning off my seat the entire hour. The hall and entire building here isn’t anything fancy, it’s very plain. But if you close your eyes, the musi ... Read More

The Mote Aquarium Boat Tours – Sarasota Bay Explorers Sea Life Encounter Cruise Review!

Friday, June 7th, 2013


The Sarasota Bay Explorers work in conjunction with The Mote Aquarium, to provide fantastic in-the-water action.

I don’t think your trip to the Mote is complete until you’ve taken part in one of these boat cruises, seriously!

This past weekend I got to experience The Sea Life Encounter Cruise. (They also offer a Nature Safari, Guided Kayak Tours, or the chance to have a private boat charter for the day to explore the area and its islands.)

The Sea Life Encounter was educational AND fun. It was really interactive, too. We went around the Sarasota Bay, with a boat captain who is U.S. Coast Guard certified, a Mote volunteer, and a marine biologist.

... Read More

The Mote Aquarium (Sarasota Attractions) Review with Pictures!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013


This is a fantastic, educational and fun place for animal-lovers of any age.

Note: All pictures in this post were taken by Jessica Rae, and cannot be used anywhere without permission. Thanks!

Those who follow my Twitter know that I’m down in Florida, near Sarasota and Tampa Bay. And you know what they have down here? An abundance of wildlife! And aquariums! And it’s just fantastic for an animal-lover like me. I had the chance to get over to Sarasota this weekend to visit The Mote Aquarium. It’s got two main buildings, offers some different boat tours, has an interactive cinema, a cafe, and tons of exhibits.

This place is great for adults that love animals, as well as children. I saw a mix of both during my trip. And yes, they do allow strollers in most areas as far as I could tell. (Just not flash photography!)

Mote Marine Laboratory has been a leader in marine research since it was founded in 1955. Today, we incorporate public outreach as a key part of our mission. Mote is an independent nonprofit organization and has seven centers for marine research, the public Mote Aquarium and an Education Division spe ... Read More

Strawberry Lemonade Cake (Very Vera Cake Reviews) – You deserve a cake THIS pretty

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013


For established fans of Very Vera (and there are many of you out there!), you already know how popular their strawberry cakes and lemon cakes are. When combined, this strawberry lemonade cake takes my favorite summer beverage (strawberry lemonade!) and puts it in a decadent, beautiful cake form!

I know, I know…you’re probably drooling. Isn’t it PRETTY? You deserve to eat/serve a cake this pretty! You do!

Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake Description: First comes love, then comes marriage . . . VeryVera’s Strawberry and Lemon Layer Cakes met in the summer of 2009. It was love at first sight. They married, and well, the Strawberry Lemonade Layer Cake was born. Perfect for Mother’s Day, gradu ... Read More

Mother’s Day Plant Gift Ideas – ‘Scent with Love’ (So cute!)

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

A great Mother's Day gift!

If your Mom loves plants and is far away from you for Mother’s Day, don’t be a doof… just send her one! The process is incredibly easy with Pro Plants. And I’ll tell you about my experience.

A great Mother’s Day gift!

I received the “Scent with Love” Gardenia plant from Pro Plants. It immediately was transferred to my Mom, who is a fan of plants in a big, big way. Seriously, there’s a sunroom in her house that’s full of so much greenery you’d think it was a greenhouse. (The cats love it back there.)

The plant itself arrived packaged very nicely, with extra moss for padding. The leaves of the gardenia plant are a deep, healthy green. The plant doesn’t bloom yet, but my Mom has already remarked that she’s looking forward to the sweet scent of the gardenia flowers. See, it gives you something to look forward to! If you have kids, it’d be a nice thing to have a weekly watch of the plant (and discussion about how plants grow) with them around this gift.

I like that the container here is something unique and sweet – a little baby blue mailbox. On the side it says, “scent with love.” (Cute, right?) ... Read More

Lisa Hoffman Beauty Reviews – What does French Clary Sage smell like?

Monday, April 1st, 2013


Okay lovelies. It’s time for another review of Lisa Hoffman Beauty! And this time, it’s all about being happy. (Or, isn’t that what life is always supposed to be about?)

To refresh your memory, I’ve previously reviewed the amazing fragrance necklace with the fresh Japanese Agarwood scent, and delightfully mellow Tuscan Fig perfume.

The fragrance: French Clary Sage (The tagline? You’re gonna love this. “Optimism in Bloom.”)

What does French Clary Sage smell like? “The clean and refreshing notes of French Clary Sage evoke bright summer days in the Provençal countryside. Sparkling watery notes harmonize with French Clary Sage, Yellow Freesia, and Cotton Accords to create a crisp, modern green fragrance.”

Cool trivia: “For centuries, the French have used Clary Sage oil to help balance energy and combat feelings of discord. King Louis XIV used clary sage as part of his daily ritual for its euphoric and renewing benefits. Today, French Cla ... Read More

School of Wash Reviews: Natural Bath Products with a List of Scents of 100+!

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

SOW™ Handmade Shampoo & Conditioner

Pick your desired scent and pick your product type. It’s as easy as that. Of course, the hardest part is trying to limit your fragrance choices, when the brand School of Wash has over a hundred of them. In fact, they’ll even let you create a custom scent if you so choose. I was sent a variety of bath and beauty product types in a variety of scents, and I’m going to let you know my thoughts.

“Handmade, all natural bath products delivered fresh to your door for a creative bath experience. Over 175 scents to choose from to create unique bath products.”

Overall, I completely recommend this brand of natural bath products. The amount of scents you can pick from is unbelievable and truly mind-boggling. It’s like I’m a kid in a candy store, but there’s no calories! What’s more, this is natural stuff…you aren’t going to find nasty parabens or sulfates her ... Read More

Lisa Hoffman Japanese Agarwood Reviews – Fragrance Necklace

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013


Can’t wait for the fresh, calming scent of Spring mornings? This Japanese Agarwood scent by Lisa Hoffman Beauty will take you right there. It’s serenity!  Or Zen! Or whatever your word for “blissful calming amazingness” is, really…

The fragrance: Japanese Agarwood

What does it smell like? “The rare, woody scent of Japanese Agarwood is accented with the refreshing zest of Bergamot, the zen-like ambiance of Spiced Ginger, and the comfort of Warm Amber to inspire feelings of clarity and warmth as your journey of Japanese Agarwood unfolds.”

The format: I am specifically reviewing the  Japanese Agarwood Necklace. ($65.00) This scent, as with all Lisa Hoffman scents, is available in many other formats – from lotions to perfume oils.)

Above: Lisa Hoffman Beauty Fragrance Necklace in Japanese Agarwood.

My thoughts: This ingenious filigree dome holds scent beads that last and last. The necklace i ... Read More

Lisa Hoffman Tuscan Fig Review – Warm, Sweet and Mellow

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Tuscan Fig Necklace

You don’t have to fly to Italy to get this divinely floral and woodsy smell. This scent by Lisa Hoffman Beauty is sweet and mellow.

The fragrance: Tuscan Fig

What does it smell like? “Surrounded by vanilla bean, honeysuckle, coconut wood, and gardenia, Tuscan Fig entices you with its warm essence. Like your own secret treasure, this fragrance transports you to the most enchanting valleys, vineyards, and fruit groves of Tuscany.”

The format: I am specifically reviewing the Eau de Parfum spray bottle. $65.00. (Available in many other formats, including the ingenious jewelry styles.)

My thoughts: It is both sweet and sexy, which is a difficult scent to achieve. It’s also a very dark and warm scent at the base which must be the fig, amber, vanilla, wood and musks. These are the notes that linger. But at first, what you get are the hits of sweet french jasmine, honeysuckle, vanilla bean and gardenia. I like that there’s an ongoing scent of floral, but the woodsy scent neve ... Read More

Plus Size Dresses for Wedding Guests and Mother of the Bride or Groom (Beach Wedding Guests)

Friday, March 8th, 2013

plus size dresses for beach wedding guests

You might not want to look better than the bride, but that’s no reason not to shine brightly!

I came across a bunch of beautiful plus sized dresses, and thought these would be perfect for mother of the bride or wedding guests for beach themed weddings. The beach-specific ones are the first blue dress and the second and third options. The final two are more the type of dress I’d expect to see on a guest (or MOTB) for a indoor wedding.

Don’t forget to note how important accessories are with these dresses! You can always hop over to RINGOBLOG.COM to look at what rings I’m recommending these days.

... Read More


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