Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gulfport clothing swap pictures!

You might have read about it on our Web site -- -- our clothing swap was a huge success. The response was overwhelming. Close to 100 people must have shown up, some to trade clothes, some to give clothes, some to share their stories. We met a couple from Tampa, one from Tierra Verde, several women from St. Pete Beach, and tons of our neighbors here in Gulfport.

The event raised almost $60 -- and enough clothes to pack three cars -- for CASA, shelter and advocacy group for victims of domestic violence. We heard from CASA volunteers, past and present; as well as women who say CASA saved them. We heard from teenagers who were bored of their clothes, but too broke to buy new stuff; we heard from moms who wanted to surprise their kids with new outfits. Friends were picking out clothes for each other, and strangers were becoming friends. It truly was a wonderful day, and we are grateful to live in a place with so many generous people.

Many asked if we would do this again. We hadn't been planning to, but after seeing how happy people were, we decided that yes, of course! Next one probably will be in early February -- time to start clearing out winter clothes and getting outfits for the spring. Of course, we'll keep you posted on

A huge, huge thanks to Bianca Cypser, owner of Complexions skin care, for co-hosting this event. And thanks to the other shops in the courtyard -- Sunny Bay Trading, Yummy's hot dogs, Java Nirvana coffee shop and the Industrial Arts Center -- for letting us share the space, use their tables, and turn the courtyard into a clothing shop for the afternoon. You are all absolutely the best.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Grab your free taco, but finish meal elsewhere.

A stolen base in the Rays World Series game the other day is paying off for us: Taco Bell is giving away one free free taco to anyone who drops by one of their restaurants 2-6 p.m. Tuesday (Oct. 28)

So who are we, to pass up free stuff?

Our suggestion: grab your free taco, then head to one of the cool independent Mexican places around for the rest of your meal ... and for some margaritas!

For details on the Taco Bell promotion, you can go here.

For info on the coolest indie restaurants (and shops), come visit us at, of course!

You know it by now: It's always free to browse, free to register, free to get listed.

Stanley is hitting the town!

All this talk about Halloween and pets has goaded me into making a confession:

I’m dressing up the dog for trick or treating.

Yes, I’m one of those people. I have no kids, only a Shih Tzu that acts like a small child. Stanley, or ‘Sir Stan Bumley’ as his AKC papers read, is the king of the house. He has no manners, he has no discipline, he has no social skills.

So I figured, hey! Why not take that out on the road? Last year I dressed him as Dogzilla and we answered the door and handed out candy to people that belly laughed over the angry look on his face. This year, I got him a big, purple monkey costume and we are taking to the streets.

When I tried the costume on him the other day, he got stiff like he was having a seizure, then lay down on his side and refused to move. My husband told me that Stan has enough emotional problems and does not need the added stress of looking ridiculous.

I don’t care. We’re going! After all, who’s in charge here, me or the dog? (O.K., it’s the dog, but we’re still trick or treating!)

When I capture this monumental event on film, I’ll post it here so that the world can laugh… at me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Want to open your own bookstore?

We spoke with Mojo Books & Music in Tampa.

"First, know what you’re getting into. No matter how much research you do ahead of time, when you open your shop, you’ll find out there’s a lot you don’t know and have to catch up on fast. But you don’t want there to be really big surprises. If you have a unique type of shop in mind, but a lack of experience in that business, you might consider ‘interning’ or just taking a short-term job at a similar existing business. Find out if that’s really what you want to do, because opening up a store is a big commitment, of both time and money."

For more advice from this awesome store, please go to Featured Businesses on (yes, it's free)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Awesome wings at a British pub? God Save the Queen!!

My quest for Tampa Bay's Best Hotwings has taken me to quite a few interesting spots. Some good, some not so good. Hey, I'm picky about my wings, what can I say? I'm hard to please, but at least I admit it...

So I was blown away by the unbelievably huge, saucy, yummy wings at Mike & Lisa's Cricketers pub in Dunedin. Great wings at an authentic British pub! Who knew! Shame on you Dunedin people for keeping this place a secret.

This little neighborhood pub and eatery on the Dunedin Causeway is known for their fish & chips, and for their loooong selection of beers. My sister's smiling face is among the locals that flood in for a great bite to eat, and a place to kickback and relax. They also have some cool events there, she tells me.

But the biggest event for me was these wings! When I can smell them before they're even at the table, you know that means the wings are spectacular. These beauties are more than a mouthful, and are saucy but not breaded. (The drumsticks and wings are separated at the joint, thank you very much.)

You need lots of napkins for these. And the price was just right, too: 10 wings for $7.50. You can get them mild, medium, and hold-on-to-your-hat hot. They also make them jerk, teriyaki and BBQ if this is your taste. My taste runs hot, baby, and Cricketer's did not disappoint!

So Mike & Lisa's Cricketers pub and eatery earns a spot on my Tampa Bay's Best Hotwings list. But of course, please go judge for yourself! You can find them at 2634 Bayshore Blvd. in Dunedin, open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Their website is

I have no idea where this tour takes me next ... stay tuned!

Halloween Tips for Pets

I have a fondness for black cats, so I have pretty much had one all of my life. So when Halloween and even Friday the 13th roll around I am extra cautious. I have heard horror stories about what some horrible people can do to animals just for fun. So I thought it would be good to spread the word. Looking around on the Internet I found a site that has some pretty useful is the link that I found. Here are some quick tips...

#1 First and foremost, try to keep your pet inside the night before Halloween, sometimes called "Hell Night" and on Halloween itself. If you cant bring them inside your home maybe put them in your garage or patio?

#2 Do not feed your pet any candy! It is lethal to most animals.

#3 Be careful where you put a lit pumpkin, or any candle for that matter. An animal can rub up against it and it would be a mess and possibly cause a fire. That one I learned the hard way a long time ago. :)

There are a bunch more tips if you want to check them out. But mostly just use common sense and keep the happiness and wellness of your pet in mind. I hope everyone had a wonderful and safe Halloween!

Your Local Shopper



Hey all!

For those of you who love Halloween like me, check out my forum at and let me know what you're going as, where you found your costume and what you're doing for Halloween!

Click here to go to my forum!

And if you have a shop or restaurant that is doing something special for Halloween, post it in the forum as well! I have three threads going about Halloween and I want to hear back from all of you! :)

Lauren the Intern

Monday, October 20, 2008

Frou-frou girly, flouncy, Tu-tu heaven!

Calling all Little Divas!

Great find, from a local Dunedin girl who turned a hobby-gone-haywire into a local business.

Fru Fru Tu Tus, created by Meghan Cox, specializes in princess-wear straight out of a child's dreams. She offers hand-made tulle tu tus trimmed in satin satin ribbon, in any color combo you can think of.

They have specials going on for Halloween and the upcoming holiday season. And, no additional charge for any special orders! The tu tus can be sized from infant to toddler and up. (Ahhhhh, to be small again!!! The diva in me wants one of my very own!!!)

Flouncy, glitzy, glam tulle heaven!!!! And since she only charges $15 to $17 each, this is a great local find in these lean times. She even takes Paypal.

Since Meghan works out of her house, tu tus are offered through her website, Meghan says though she may start selling her tu tus in local boutiques that do consignment. You can also call her at (727) 768-2721.