First Watch - Restaurant Review

This week I was invited to check out a restaurant here in Jacksonville. First Watch opened up their doors and menu for me and other social media types to eat, talk, & blog. Breakfast for dinner? Free pancakes? Heck yeah! So I grabbed my friend Jessica and joined others for a first look at First Watch.

First Watch is a chain of breakfast & lunch only restaurants that started in Bradenton, FL and have opened 92 restaurants now, including two in Jacksonville. The one I went to for the dinner was over on San Jose, but *spoiler* it was so good that James and I went for brunch this morning.

We were welcomed with iced green tea (slightly sweetened, but not too sweet) and apps of Floridian French Toast and tiny Beefeaters.

Floridian French Toast: Sourdough French toast, with wheat germ and powdered cinnamon sugar, covered with fresh bananas, kiwi and berries

Beefeater: Roast beef, tomatoes, Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses on grilled Parmesan-crusted sourdough bread. Horseradish sauce on the side

I loved the Floridian French Toast and went back for more, but didn't try the Beefeater because I'm not a huge fan of roast beef.

At the table, we were able to order anything off the menu, but we all decided to go with breakfast.

I literally couldn't make up my mind, the menu made everything sound so good. Every time I made my decision and announced to the table, I quickly followed it by "Just kidding, I'm getting X instead."

The Food
I finally settled on blueberry pancakes with a side of eggs. 

I got three huge pancakes that were fluffy, light, and the blueberries were huge and ripe.

The eggs were good... tough to screw up eggs.

The Tri-Athlete Omelette

Tri-Athlete Omelette: Egg white omelette with sliced mushrooms, onions, tomato and green chilies. Served with salsa, a dry English muffin and fresh fruit

The Joaquin Yahoo

The Joaquin Yahoo: An open-faced Mexican-style frittata made with eggs, mushrooms, broccoli, celery, zucchini and onions. Topped with salsa, melted cheeses and sour cream. Served with an English muffin.

More pancakes! Carrot Cake. Very sweet, but tasted just like carrot cake.

And for dessert:
Fresh Fruit Crepes

Fresh Fruit Crepes: Thin, sweet crepes wrapped around fresh fruit, topped with low-fat organic strawberry yogurt, cinnamon and sugar. Served with a baked Muffin of the Day and granola

Every thing was delicious, hot and quickly prepared. The service was friendly and helpful. 

The Decor

The decor was clean, uncrowded, and modern. It was cozy enough to settle in for awhile and I loved that even with the restaurant filled, the noise was kept to a minimum so you could hear everyone clearly at your table without raising your voice.


While 99% of everything was delightful, I have two things that I would change to make everything perfect.

Fake maple syrup is provided at no cost. For real maple syrup, it was $1.29 extra. Most of the breakfasts were already in the $6.50-$8.00 range and for that price for basic breakfast items, I would expect real maple syrup. Even cutting portion size slightly to cover the cost of the syrup would have been fine.

The second item is that the wireless is very difficult to get on from a wireless phone. If the login screen were made more mobile friendly and required fewer steps, it would make a greater first impression.


I told James about how nice my dinner was earlier this week and left a menu on the counter. Today, James asked if I wanted to try the First Watch at the beach for brunch. I jumped at the chance to go again and see how the experience would stack up against a real world meal. 

The place was packed at 1 PM, but it only took 15 minutes to get a table. I even commented to James that they turn over tables quickly after a guest leaves and the tables are really cleaned, rather than just bused.

Our meals, Belgian waffles for me and turkey burger for James, came out quickly and tasted fantastic.

I also noticed that the open kitchen design was utilized again and that it still looked as clean and inviting as the Mandarin location.

On a funny note, a friend mentioned how nice the flatware was during or special look at the restaurant. Today James mentioned the same thing. I love it was the small things that matter and are noticed.

In summary, we both enjoyed our meals and we will both be returning.


Spray Paint Glitter?? My Two Craft Loves in One

I found this post on a blog and I took two things away from it.

1. How freaking cute are these?



Warning. My house might go up in flames from the amount of glittered items I will now have. That is all.


I'm going through a serious period of frustration. I know it will pass and that things are happening for the right reasons, but I'm stuck.

I went through a time similar to this when I was in Indianapolis. James and I were engaged already, I hated my boss (literally I still have nightmares about how horrible he was), and was just waiting for my 3 year mark at my company so I would be completely vested in my 401k. At that point I could move down to Jax to be with James, set a wedding date, start a new career, and just be with the man I loved rather than see him once or twice a month. I filled my days with work, searching for a new job, and just dealing with what I had been dealt at this moment in time.
I started wishing my life away. 

If I could just blink my eyes and it would be fall, I would be happy.

I knew I shouldn't feel that way, but I felt stuck. Waiting for my real life to begin.

But I would have missed so many wonderful things if life had really jumped. 

I would have missed learning that my favorite thing in the world is a Friday night spent sitting on my couch alone, in a clean apartment with 30 million candles lit, drinking wine while watching truly terrible DVR'd shows.

I would have missed on my friendship with Carol who I only got to know through bonding over a shared bad work experience.

I would have missed out on learning who I am as an adult, managing my own money and living alone.

I would have missed out on learning a city and discovering my love of crafts and thrift stores.

Now I'm back in the place of wanting the next year to fly by. To a time when I won't have to work 11+ hr days because my sales business will be built. To when I will be out of this horrible, old, small apartment with not enough storage. To when James and I can actually go on a honeymoon. To when our money situation won't be as tight saving for a wedding AND a house.

But what will I miss if I could jump ahead?

My first year of married life.

Developing the friendships of people I've just met.

Helping grow a young professional group from scratch.

My first time on an exec board of an organization.

A time before my responsibilities include lawn maintenance and home repair.

And many things that I don't know about that are in store for me.

So I'm going to keep on going and trying to enjoy life as it happens and remember that I'll look back on this time as special.

But that doesn't always mean I won't sometimes dream of just being in my own house with time to craft and cook.



This is a confession: I'm not perfect.
Shocking, right?

But, I'm not. And in this case I'm referring to my blogging. My original goal was to slowly turn this into a craft blog full of beautifully done crafts that everyone would ooh and aah over. 

But I ran into a few hiccups.
  • Crafting is really laborious. You have the time it takes to think up the craft, shop for supplies, the hours it takes to do the craft, photograph it, edit the photos, and then blog about it. I'm tired just thinking about it.

  • I'm foremost a career oriented person. At this moment in my career, my job is really demanding on my time. It isn't unusual for me to stay in the office till 7 or 8 pm a few nights a week. Add to that my charity work and networking groups and I may be home one night a week. I love what I'm doing with my life, but it leaves no time for much of anything else.

  • My wedding is 44 days away. Queue panic. See above about time.

Even with all that, I know I could still find time if I wanted. But I wasn't enjoying it. I was trying too hard to make my blog fit what I thought a craft blog should be. But it wasn't me.

So I'm making a change. Instead of writing about what I thought would make a successful blog, I'm writing about what I want to write about.

I hope you'll stick with me as things change and feel free to tell me what you think.


Haunted House Craft

I'm not the only one who started thinking about Halloween early...

I love Cathy Holden's Haunted House luminaries. I haven't decided how I want to display them after I make them, but I'm excited to try different things!

So visit her page at Just Something I Made for directions and template.


Catch Up

One thing I've learned about myself in the last year is that crafting while working full time and planning a wedding is hard. I'll begin a project for a major holiday, get busy, and then finish (or almost finish) the project after the holiday is gone.

Then it seems pointless to post the project and I feel defeated. Feeling defeated is not good for starting another project.

My other problem is that even when I finish a project, like my canvas art project for my office, I don't want to spend another hour, staying till 8 PM in my office hanging everything. (The canvases have been sitting in my office for over TWO WEEKS!)

So what is a girl to do?

Glad you asked.

I'm going to start crafting for holidays MONTHS in advance. Crazy you say? How can you can start Halloween decorations before Labor Day? How can you start Christmas decorations when you haven't even begun decorating for Halloween?

Easy. I'm just going to do it. And then I'm going to put it up on here and you'll just have to deal with it. Hopefully it will inspire others to make my craft their own and still have time to do it before the holiday.

So that's the game plan.

Let's see if I can do this.

And James, please remember:


Patting Myself on the Back & Summer Printables

I'm really, really, really proud of myself right now.

Like, wanting to run up to random people on the street and say "Look! Look what I can do!"

Because I pulled off something I didn't think I would ever do really well. I made my first really good looking printables. I used Photoshop for the first time in 6 years. 6 years. Let's put that in perspective. The last time I used photoshop, I could have birth and sent my kid off to kindergarten. Crazy right?

But still... I'm really excited with the outcome.

So even if you aren't impressed... pretend.

And with out further ado:

If I didn't have a juvenile cottonmouth trying to kill me outside my door my prints would be picked up from Walmart, in frames, and on my wall.

Feel free to shower me in praise.


Tease of Upcoming Post

I hope everyone had a great holiday. I have been very MIA with wedding planning, work, and friends but hoping to get back to posting more often again soon.

So until I can get to a full post this weekend, here is a tease of what I have been working on for my office.

Sorry the picture quality is so terrible, it was a quick camera phone pic. I figured this was better than nothing.


Infinite Possibilties

One of the perks of my job is that I get to play with really nice paper. Like... really nice paper. Very expensive paper. The type that only gets used for special occasions like weddings or annual reports when you want people to ignore that your company is losing money.

See, paper companies want printers to upsell projects by pushing better paper. They do this by giving us "swatch books".

Each book contains a line of paper. For example, Neenah Classic Linen (green book) as shown above. In the book you will find samples of all the Classic Linen colors and what paper weights you can buy each color in. Each brand has many lines and each line has many colors. This means lots of swatch books with lots of paper. These swatch books are updated frequently to reflect changes to the lines and paper salesmen pop into the different printer offices and replace the books.

So why did I just bore you with this information? Well I do have a point. My very awesome paper salesman, Bob Cain of Mac Paper, has been saving me old swatch books. I now have two big boxes of old swatch books to craft with.

So what am I going to do with these small pieces of paper? I'm thinking paper flower bouquets to start.

I mean how cute are these flowers?

So now with infinite possibilities of projects to start, I'm enjoying the brain storming before actually starting. We'll see what I eventually settle on and if I actually finish... but at the very least, I have the nicest scrap paper on the planet.


Wedding Competition

Something you don't realize until you are engaged is that the majority of fellow soon-to-be brides want to make everything a competition.

Oh, you are making your own wedding decorations? My wedding decorations are made from a secret Peruvian handcraft that I learned from an 84 year old man while I volunteered in the Peace Corp. But I'm sure your Dollar Tree crafts will be pretty.

Oh, you are having your cake made at Publix? My cake is being made by a blind, mute genius who only makes one cake a year and my cake will be the last cake he ever makes. But I'm sure your grocery store cake will be nice too.

Oh, you got your dress at a sample sale? My dress is being made by magical mice and birds that appear when I sing. But I'm sure your dress that other people have tried will clean up well too.

Yes, I am exaggerating a bit, but still... it happens.

But last weekend, I had the bitchiest, competitive comment I have ever heard. I didn't even have a reply.

At a friend's wedding, James and I were sitting at a table with fellow Miami grads. We were seated next to a guy I knew and his fiancee that I had just met that day. She and I were discussing the difference between shopping for a wedding dress and shopping for bridesmaid dresses. Long story short, I mentioned that I brought two bridesmaids shopping because all my bridesmaids have very different coloring and builds.

And her reply:

"Oh, I only took my maid of honor because all my bridesmaids are thin and hot. Aren't all my bridesmaids hot, Baby?"

She literally told me that dresses weren't a problem, because her bridesmaids were all hot.

Subtext for those of you who haven't watched Mean Girls in awhile:
1. Your friends are ugly.
2. Your friends are all fat.
3. I'm superior.
4. I also just made a friend of yours agree my friends are hotter.

And I stopped talking to her for the night.

Because how stupid is she?

Christina Hendricks is hot. She is 5'7" ish.

Olivia Wilde is hot. She is 5'7" ish.

Kristen Bell is hot. She is 5'1".

All three women are conventionally beautiful, hollywood women. But all three women have different coloring and body shapes (even though they are all thin).

Unless you are Hugh Hefner, the women around you will look different.

So stop putting other women down to make yourself feel better and get some self confidence.



When Crafts Go Wrong (An Office Dry Erase Board Tutorial)

Even though I have been terrible about posting, some crafting has been occurring. You would think that with the longer day light and not as many weekends traveling that I would be a crafting fiend. But sadly I have been neglecting crafting instead pouring my energy into my work life. Even my crafting has revolved around my work life, which nicely segue ways into today's craft.

My office is a noisy place with lots of voices and constant phone calls. I am an extremely lucky lady who has an office door, but I usually feel extremely rude shutting my door. I also needed a way to let project managers know whether or not it was okay to disturb me. So it started with me taping ugly paper signs on my door.

And then the crafting light went off in my head.

"Ah ha! I will make a pretty dry erase board for my office!"

And it was a brilliant plan.

But then the project started, it sucked, and then I salvaged it.


So learn from my mistakes and follow along of you would like.

Please Knock: An Office Dry Erase Board Tutorial

Begin with ugly frame from Dollar Tree. This one is 8x10. Remove glass and backing.

Spray paint awesome Ocean Blue color. Ignore fact that craft was done in February and therefore photos are once again taken in dark apartment late at night.

Ignore fact that bugs kept landing in spray painted areas and leave marks after you dig out bug bodies.

Decide frame looks boring. Decide that trendy craft blog idea of modpodging glitter to frame will be awesome. Use German Glass Glitter instead of tiny glitter.

Panic as you realize how cruddy frame looks.

Panic more. Then realize that majority of glitter can be scraped off if you rub really hard with paper towels. (See right side of frame versus left)

Insert left over scrapbook paper behind glass. Put back on frame backing. Hate project a little less than you did an hour ago.

"Decide" glitter gives depth and say screw it.

Hang on office door with Command brand hook.

Write Please Knock or Do Not Disturb as needed in awesome purple dry erase marker.

Wait while office mates wonder why you put so much effort into project and instead bring "Do Not Disturb" door hanger from hotel.

Beat head on desk.



A Fun, Tropical Summer Wreath

I love wreaths. I think they are fun and I love the creativity in creating new wreaths. There are some really amazing creations out in the blog world.

But I live in an apartment complex with people I don't trust very much. Some neighbors really go far to dress up their entrance, but I'm scared I'll put effort into it and someone will steal my creations. Which will really p*ss me off.

But I saw this wreath and realized that even if it gets stolen, it was only $4! How amazing is that? Plan this weekend is a trip to the Dollar Tree now.

Make sure you head over to Madiganmade for directions on how to make this.


Better Than the Original

Sometimes out in the craft universe, you see a knock off and wonder why anyone would spend the time, money, and effort to recreate the original. The knock off looks tacky and you'd rather spend $20 more for the original.

But then sometimes a knock off turns out even better than the original. That is what happened at my favorite necklace knock off queen blog Flamingo Toes.



The only thing I would change from her directions is making the bead strands/ metal part longer like the original. But obviously simple change.

I just need to have the time to go the store for supplies. But that will definitely not be happening for the next week as I will be working my behind off volunteering at TPC this week. 

Anyone want to go shopping for me?

Get Ready for Summer - Silverware Tutorial

When James and I moved in together, we had a lot of decisions to make about whose stuff would be used daily and whose stuff would go to the garage for storage. Basically the decision was James's stuff would be in the garage because he had eclectic hand me down items and mine was nice sets.

But I love the idea of this post. If we had a house with a patio, I would be all about this for summer silverware. How awesome would this be, especially with serving utensils, in orange and lime?


So until we have a house, I will just start collecting mismatched sets. Because everyone knows my love of crafts that use spray paint.

Craft and photo via Creatively Christy


I Wish I Had Two Houses- Made it on Monday PB Gate Knock Off

Besides the fact I would love even one house, I sometimes wish I had two places to decorate. This is because I have such widely different taste pending on the day. Usually my taste runs Crate and Barrel, modern simple... but then I just walk into Anthropologie and just die.

My friend Sarah's apartment in Chicago is amazing. She basically has slowly grown her apartment into the perfect feminine vintage place ever. All I ever want to do in her apartment is curl up, drink tea, and read.... which is what I normally do when I'm there.

Anyways I sometimes come across crafts that I adore, but don't fit my decorating style. So from now on I'll just link and hope one of my friends makes it so I can oooooh and awwwww over it.

Pottery Barn Blue Gate Knock Off

Original by Pottery Barn

Visit her site for the tutorial and let me know if you make it!


April's Goal

Also I have realized my suckitude at posting lately. Because a public goal is harder to ignore, I am putting out there that I will post at least 10 entries this month.

Will they be good? I hope so... but not promising anything.

Only 8 more to go!

And a super big congrats to Andy and Melinda this weekend for tying the knot!

How freaking hot does James look in a tux?

Airspace- A New Rule

Everyone knows space on a plane or any form of public transportation is limited. This is not a new concept.

And usually the unspoken rule on a plane is that the middle seat gets the arm rests.

But apparently I missed the memo that women were exempt from that rule.


Dudes, I get it. You think your "package" is just soooooooooooooooooo big that you think you need to spread your legs apart as far as possible in order to not smoosh the crown jewels.

You think that is fine because women are taught to take up as little space as possible.


I'm a 5'10" woman. I also need room for my knees and if you are going to spread your legs to the point that your leg touches mine the WHOLE 3 HR FLIGHT... you best give me the arm rests.

The "gentleman" next to me this weekend decided I didn't deserve the whole armrest (he gave me half). And by gave, I mean I elbowed his arm out of the way until I could take at least half. And at that point, I stopped pushing because my entire right side of my body was touching his.


So new rule.

 If your package is "too big" to confine your legs to your seat area, my boobs (which take up more sq in than your crotch) demand my arms and elbows take over the entire upper seated area.

It is only fair.

Non compliance will result in me explaining (in length) any relationship issues, frenemy stories, or knitting patterns that I so choose. Further non compliance will result in graphic detail of any womanly issue I feel like discussing (e.g. periods, UTIs, birth, etc) until you are the appropriate distance away from me.

Just try me.

Oh, and have a nice flight.


Things I Could Be Doing Right Now

I'm tired, but I can't fall asleep. I was being all super productive working on a piece of art for the house/office (not sure where yet) and James walks out of the bedroom. Now first of all, James is that guy who literally puts his head on the pillow and is fast asleep. Pisses. me. off. But for whatever reason, James couldn't sleep so he asks me to come to bed. This was 9:30 so I figured, sure why not try to go to bed?

Only I can't fall asleep.

Three episodes of Arrested Development later and I realize "I've made a huge mistake" or really I'm just not tired enough to fall asleep. So I get up and head to the living room to wait until I'm tired like all the books say. But now I'm tired enough to do nothing productive, but not tired enough to go to sleep.

So I decided to torture myself with what I COULD be doing instead of updating my blog.

1. Finishing my wall art.
2. Vacuum the living room.
3. Go grocery shopping at the 24 hr Walmart.
4. Painting my toe nails.
5. Laundry.
6. Pricing quotes for work.
7. Updating my resume, writing the essay, and finishing the paper work for ImpactJax mentor program (resume is for the program.)
8. Reading literary classics
9. Reading a crappy chick lit book
10. Reading a magazine.
11. Organizing my computer bookmarks.
12. Uploading photos from my camera to write a craft post.
13. Writing a craft post and saving it until I have the photos ready.
14. Writing my family.
15. Writing letters to Congress telling them to stop trying to take women's rights away.
16. Writing Congress telling them to stop writing stupid bills that won't pass just to appease their base and start instead get stuff done that is needed but doesn't make a good commercial/ news piece.

And now I have tired myself out and hopefully can get some sleep.

Also in general James and I have made some amazing progress in wedding planning. Just need a DJ and we can take a break from planning for about a month. YAY!!!

And because posts are boring without photos...

I took that five years ago (March 27, 2006) while in Antibes, France (South of France next to Cannes).

Eze Village, France same weekend

World Famous rocky beach in Nice, France

I seriously have the travel bug again.


Progression of My Work Attire

First Real Internship Interview


"Please hire me. I am energetic, own the same black suit from Express every other Junior owns, and wear my hair up so you'll take me seriously."

First Few Weeks at Internship

"I'm still dress blandly enough that my clothes and hair won't make a statement, but my accessories show I take pride in what I wear."

After I Realized I Did Nothing But Drive Really Long Distances to Take Photos of Gas Stations

"Basketball shorts, t-shirts, and flip flops rule. My boss won't see this because Facebook is not yet popular enough that adults actually have accounts."

First Real Job (same company)

"If I just buy lots of button down shirts and neutral pants, I can always get dressed based on what is actually clean and not worry if it matches."

After I Realize My Customers Wear Carhartts and Jeans


"Polo shirts don't need ironed. Also doing my hair is overrated."

After I Realize I Work From Home

"I woke up at 6 am to start answering emails from my psycho boss and since it is now 6 pm, why bother changing now?"
First Two Months in New Sales Job (Current Company)


"You should take me seriously because my shoes, awesome suit dress, and kick ass jewelry mean business."

After I Realize I Can Wear Jeans to the Office on Days Other Than Friday

"Maybe if I wear a bracelet and necklace you won't notice I haven't worn anything other than jeans and ballet flats for two months now."


"Try taking away my rotation of three draped sweaters, t-shirts, and jeans away from me and I will cut you. I am not kidding. Just try. Also doing your hair is for losers."

Once It Hits 95 Degrees Every Day

 I have no idea how I am going to cope.