Choose Your Lifestyle




Tropical storm Debbie rains on St Petersburg

Yesterday was a stay-in day for most of us in St Petersburg as tropical storm Debbie, stalled in the Gulf of Mexico a hundred or so miles away, caused torrential rains much of the day. 45 mph winds closed the Skyway Bridge and some roads in both Pinellas County and south Tampa were closed due to flooding. Canoes and kayaks became the preferred method of transportation down the streets in some neighborhoods. Pinellas Park had over 12 inches of rain yesterday. Flooded streets were in the usual locations: Shore Acres, Snell Isle and south Tampa but photos of Largo and Tarpon Springs showed even deeper water at some locations. The beach in Gulfport “disappeared” as the waters went into Gulfport some five blocks.

A tornado or water spout hit Pass-a-Grille damaging the marina and some homes. Downed trees caused damage in other neighborhoods.

Today the skies are lighter, though there are intermittent rains. News reports say the storm is still affecting us, but looking out the window it’s certainly clearer than yesterday.

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Tribute to Dan Wheldon

Half mast for Dan Wheldon

Half mast for Dan Wheldon

Flags are flying at half mast at the Renaissance Vinoy Hotel for Dan Wheldon. It’s a gray day, appropriate for the sadness we feel in St Petersburg. Dan’s death at the Indy500 race in Las Vegas on Sunday was shocking and brought tears to our eyes. Though originally from England, for the last few years Dan and his family have made St Pete their home, and he was truly one of us. He and Susie and Sebastian and Oliver ate beside us in downtown restaurants and often walked by our office on Beach Drive. He was open and caring and one of us. We’ll miss you, Dan Wheldon!  Susie – we hope you and the boys will continue to call St Pete home.

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Simms Team is Splattered for Chihuli

Simms Team splattered for Chihuly

Simms Team splattered for Chihuly

The Simms Team is now splattered for Chihuli!  Following the Morean Arts Center’s shoe painting event, ilovetheburg has been splattering photos. So – now The Simms Team is splattered in anticipation of the new Chihuly Collection opening in July just  a block and a half from us. We’re using this splattered photo on our ALVA International facebook page for the next month or so.

Welcome, Chihuly!

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It’s hurricane season in Florida – Ana is the first named storm for 2009

Hurricane season here is from June 1 to November 30 but we don’t really start thinking about it until there’s a named storm. Today we have the first named storm of the 2009 season, Ana. Rather than watch the hype on weather stations, I prefer to check the advisories on the web at the National Hurricane Center.

Not sure how to prepare for a hurricane? Check out the 2009 Hurricane Guide at the St Pete Times.  My husband, George, likes to track each named storm and hurricane on a tracking chart, with points from each advisory. You can download a tracking chart from this site if you want to do the same.

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Egmont Passage

Egmont Passage Tale of the Dreamcatcher

Egmont Passage Tale of the Dreamcatcher  is now out. Antonino Fabiano’s latest book is even better than his first, Egmont Passage, Tale of the Seventh Mystery. I like the combination of the local setting, which is Tierra Verde and the Bayway Islands, and the history intertwined with a current plot. Fabiano brings together elements of his interesting life as background, and has created a tale that is interesting to both youth and the no-longer-so-young. Zeke, JJ and Izzy are familiar from his first book, and though the second is a continuation, it stands on its own. From the first chapter on I couldn’t put the book down until I finished reading it. I might not have found this book if Nino wasn’t a friend and client, so I’m glad I had that introduction, and pass it on to you as well. Hopefully we’ll ve having a book signing here at the ALVA International office. Until then – follow your dreams, and read Egmont Passage.     Yo Creo!

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It’s the rainy season

When it rains it poursIt’s summer in Florida, and mid to late afternoon means rain, almost every day. Sometimes it’s a steady downpour, and sometimes it feels like the heavens have broken open and torrential windblown rain plummets us. I think we should rename the rainy season to The Green Season, which Costa Rica has done. It sounds so much better and reminds us to be grateful that the rain is keeping everything green and also replenishing our water supplies.

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Pinellas County has a coffee industry

Kahwa has a retail outlet

Pinellas County Florida seems an odd place to be affecting coffee around the country and the world. When you sip your morning coffee at a local coffee shop, you may not think about where the beans are roasted, and for that matter, where the roasting machines are made! Here in Pinellas County. What about the filters that affect the taste, or the flavorings Read the rest of this entry »

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Ikea gives new meaning to “Rooms To Go”

Moveable Room

I did a double-take when I passed this room parking near BayWalk. So I drove around the block,  parked and then took a few photos.  This certainly gives new meaning to “Rooms To Go”.

Ikea moveable showroom

Ikea recently opened a new store in Tampa. What a great way for Ikea to advertise with this mobile showroom.

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Lifestyle Liquidation

Lifestyle Liquidation is a term I first saw Robert Frank use this morning in his Wall St Journal article. He gives lots of specifics on the auctions and firesales of homes, vehicles, and collections. Yes, some of this is wealth related, or the loss of wealth related as half of all millionaires have lost 30% of more of their fortunes in this economy. It’s also becoming gauche to flaunt your wealth. Some just feel it’s time for a minimalist lifestyle rather than excessive buying and collecting. It takes time and money to care for everything that you buy! It’s time to simplify – whether it’s a cabin in the mountains or a condo in Costa Rica or taking off for a world cruise in your 40 ft sailboat. 

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New Scansnap S1500 scanner

Fujitsu Scansnap S1500

Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 scanner, closed

Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 open

Fujitsu Scansnap S1500 scanner, open

Fujitsu just came out with a new scanner, and techie that I am, I had to have one right away. Our team loves the Scansnap – they went from a “Why did you buy another scanner, and where are we going to put it?” when I bought the first one Read the rest of this entry »

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