Sarasota Florist Makes Beach Wedding Dreams Come True

Sarasota Beach Wedding
Sarasota Beach Wedding

When it comes to brides, dreams are very important. And the dreams they have for their wedding day are as diverse as the brides themselves. Some want a church wedding, others a museum, a gorgeous outdoor location like Selby Gardens, or perhaps a beach wedding.

Regardless of the venue, the dreams of the bride are central to the success of the big day. And one Sarasota florist specializes in making those dreams come true. Having recently refreshed my acquaintance with Becki Creighton, owner of Flowers By Fudgie, I’ve been thrilled to see recent examples of her work and that of her team. In the just over 10 years that I’ve known her and seen her business develop and grow, they have increasingly focused on making the dreams of brides come true.

And having seen their work, no one does a better job. Talking to Becki recently, I learned that not only does she have a degree in ornamental horticulture, she has also worked in a flower shop since she was 16 years old. Having decades of experience (I have no idea how many!), she has cultivated phenomenal taste and an excellent talent for extracting from her clientele exactly what their dreams look like.

Seeing her recently-launched online gallery of Sarasota weddings and talking with her about her brides, I was surprised to learn that Sarasota has become a destination for brides. They’re coming here (and bringing their bridal parties) from all over the country to get married here. Whether it’s on our gorgeous, pristine beaches or in our spectacular museums and other venues, for a wedding, we have what brides want.

Regardless of whether you’re planning an enormous event, the wedding of your dreams in paradise, or you just want want to send flowers to someone, give Flowers By Fudgie call at (800) 338-5983 or (941) 349-9212. Be sure and tell them I sent ya!

Affordable Office Space in Sarasota

Consultants, writers, sales professionals, field representatives and others face a dilemma in today’s world. On the one hand, it’s great to work from home. On the other hand, home can be a place of distractions or be fraught with other emotional and mental hurdles to productivity.

Executive Office in Sarasota
Executive Office in Sarasota

So… what do you do when you really only need an office for yourself and perhaps occasional use of a conference room? Executive suites have always been an option, but perhaps you don’t need a receptionist or you aren’t looking to have your phone answered. What you really need is a place to spread out and work. And if you’re like me, you can work from just about anywhere with an internet connection.

A new option for office space in Sarasota just came to my attention. If you’re looking for a furnished (or unfurnished) room that you can move into quickly and get productive, then this may just be the place for you. White Sands Realty in Sarasota is responsible for putting this together. Just pick a room, sign a no-frills agreement for your inexpensive office, and get working!

Conference Room Access Included
Conference Room Access Included

They’re offering great packages with your internet connection, a desk, a chair, and access to common areas like the conference room, restrooms, and a small break room at very affordable rates. There are a limited number of offices available, so you’ll want to make contact with Allen Jenkins at White Sands (941.228.6785) right away so you can have the best selection to choose from. The offices are conveniently located just minutes from downtown and minutes from I-75.

Get Motivated Seminar Sarasota – New Location

Just in case you haven’t heard about this yet, I wanted to make you aware that the venue for the Get Motivated Seminar in Sarasota on May 14th, 2009 has been changed. Our previous post mentioned the originally-scheduled location (which was Robarts Arena on Fruitville Road.)

The event is now officially taking place at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Convention Center at 8005 15th Street East, Sarasota.

That location is on the east side of the Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport on the road known as “Old 301.” Since it’s North of University Parkway, the site is technically in Manatee County.  And since I’m not connected in any official capacity with this event or with its promoters, I can tell you what they can’t: the building is the former location of Sam’s Club. For those of us who have been in the area for a little while, that can certainly help!

Here’s a map for you.

The official schedule says the event runs on Thursday, May 14th from 8:00am – 5:00pm. Doors open at 6:45am. I’m guessing that you’ll still be able to get in if you haven’t already purchased a ticket, but it may be worth a call to the Peter Lowe organization just to be certain: (800) 248-7640.

See you there!

Good Mental Food – Get Motivated Seminar Sarasota

**UPDATE** The Get Motivated Seminar in Sarasota on May 14th, 2009 has moved to a new location. The event will be held at the Sarasota-Bradenton International Convention Center. Details here.

World-famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is coming to Sarasota on May 14th
World-famous motivational speaker Zig Ziglar is coming to Sarasota on May 14th

No matter what your business or occupation, getting ahead and being successful requires a steady diet of good mental and emotional fuel. Having a great attitude — something so critical, especially in a tough economic environment — isn’t something most of us are going to be consistently good at without some outside input.

So… I’m looking forward to next week’s “Get Motivated” seminar. Formerly known as the Peter Lowe Success Seminar, this event has begun making the rounds to smaller venues in the last several years. And it’s great to see the whole crew coming to Robarts Arena the Sarasota-Bradenton International Convention Center in Sarasota on May 14th.

In particular, I’m excited to see one of our clients, Zig Ziglar. Zig will be focusing on “How To Stay Motivated,” which is one of his all-time most impactful messages. Since his head injury a couple of years ago, Zig’s short-term memory has been affected. So, expect him to be onstage with his daughter, Julie, for an interview-style presentation. This configuration has been extremely well-received by audiences all over the nation since they started doing it, and it should be the highlight of the day.

Also in the lineup:

  • Sarasota’s own Dick Vitale
  • Dr. Robert Schuller
  • Governor Rudy Giuliani
  • Dr. Earl Mindell,
  • and, Tamara Lowe (wife of Peter Lowe), who is speaking in support of her new book, Get Motivated, which she co-authored with Giuliani

Should be a great day. According to the literature that came in the mail, admission can be had for only $4.95 for an individual, or you can bring “the whole office” for $19. The registration number is (800) 248-7640. Tell ’em we sent you!

See you on Thursday, May 14th!

Photos: Sarasota Tea Party April 15 2009

Arriving at the “Unconditional Surrender” statue today at 12:45pm, I was surprised to find that already people were leaving. Apparently, the first wave of lunch-breakers had done their protesting for today.

Of the hundreds that remained (no official word yet on numbers), many held signs, sported creative apparel, and generally demonstrated a remarkable level of passion about the spending habits of their elected officials. Protesters lined the roadway from One Sarasota Tower to Main Street, and a significant crowd gathered closely around the statue to hear various people sound off through a weak tailgate P.A. system.

It was an historic day, and it was a privilege to have participated. Here are some of the sights as seen through my camera’s lens

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Unfortunately, my schedule didn’t permit me to make it to the Lakewood Ranch Tea Party gathering. I welcome to the opportunity to hear from some of you who were there!

Sarasota Tea Party – Tax Day 2009

Update: Photos and a report from the downtown tea party are posted here.

I have a question for you:

Is it “Taxation Without Representation” if your elected “representatives” vote on a $500 Billion tax bill without even reading it?

Some of the thousands of protestors gathered for the March 21st Tea Party in Orlando, FL. Photo credit: Peter Anderson/BigStockPhoto. Used with permission.
Some of the thousands of protestors gathered for the March 21st Tea Party in Orlando, FL

If you think so, then the time has come to throw another tea party. When in colonial America, the British “representative” government (Parliament did, after all, claim to represent all British citizens… including the colonists) tried to ramrod the monopolistic East India Company’s tea down the throats of the colonies against their wishes, without consulting them, and while outlawing “free market tea,” the colonists famously dumped the tea in Boston harbor.

There’s no practical way to dump what’s being shoved down our throats anywhere — it’s too freaking much!

So… in a symbolic act, you are invited to join us for the Sarasota Tea Party (or the Lakewood Ranch Tea Party, if you prefer) on a fabulously symbolic day: April 15th.

What better way to spend tax day?

Here’s the skinny:

Sarasota Tea Party

  • Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 at Noon
  • Marina Jack on Sarasota Bay near Downtown. (In fact, the group will gather at the Unconditional Surrender statue, which is either more symbolic or more ironic… I’m not sure which.)
  • You are encouraged to dress creatively (i.e. to appropriately attract attention).
  • Bring signs.
  • Bring tea bags. Lots of tea bags.
  • Prepare to be photographed and be interviewed. Do us a favor… read up on the current events, the history of the tea party, or anything else you may talk about on camera.
  • Do us another favor: spell-check your sign(s). We really don’t need to look stupid on TV or in the media.

Lakewood Ranch Tea Party

  • Wednesday, April 15th, 2009 from 3pm – 7pm. (Nice if you want to come hang out after work.)
  • Ed’s Tavern on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.
  • You are encouraged to dress creatively (i.e. to appropriately attract attention).
  • Bring signs.
  • Bring tea bags. Lots of tea bags.
  • Prepare to be photographed and be interviewed. Do us a favor… read up on the current events, the history of the tea party, or anything else you may talk about on camera.
  • Do us another favor: spell-check your sign(s). We really don’t need to look stupid on TV or in the media.

Not from around here? Here’s one good place to check for a location near you.

This information is subject to change. And, since I like a good discussion, do me a favor:

Leave a comment below with your biggest current hot-button that motivates you to join us for the Tea Party. Be sure to check the box that says “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail.” That way, you’ll hear from some of the other folks who might be joining us… and, I’ll be able to leave a comment if anything changes… which of course means that you’ll be notified.

Incidentally, I have no affiliation with this company (for the record), but here’s some great Tax Day Tea Party Apparel (think “Don’t Tread on Me”).

See you there!

Fondue in Sarasota: The Melting Pot vs. Dylan’s Fondue Fusion

*Update* It looks like Dylan’s has closed. They were a great addition to the Sarasota restaurant scene. We’re sorry to see them go… (Thank you to Sharon, one of our readers, for tipping us off.)

The Melting Pot’s reservation line is (941) 365-2628. Always a great experience!

My gorgeous wife, Jill, and I really enjoy going out for fondue. For whatever reason, it really rings our bell. I think perhaps the slower-paced, more intimate dinner experience is a big part of it. But of course the chocolate finish is guaranteed to be a big part of it.

But for us a long evening out isn’t very commonly an option, so we were quite delighted when the opportunity came up to celebrate Valentine’s together without being concerned about time constraints and babysitters (thank God for grandparents who live nearby!). And, of course, fondue was at the top of the list.

We’d heard about Dylan’s Fondue Fusion — the upstart contender here in Sarasota — from some friends who said they had a good experience. And, when a coupon arrived in the mail on the front of one of those “clipper” magazines, that iced it for us… we decided to give it a try.

Now we’re not really gamblers where food and restaurants are concerned. Me? I’ll try anything… but you know keeping “Momma” happy is more important than anything else on evenings like this… and she likes what she knows. So, I was thrilled she wanted to try it, given that we are both huge fans of The Melting Pot in Sarasota.

The Melting Pot has been a regular haunt of ours on special occasions for years. In fact, just a few months ago we ate there on our 10th Anniversary.  We love the food — the beer-based cheese fondue with cheddar and Emmenthaler,  the Coq Au Vin cooking style, and most definitely the chocolate at the end (we haven’t tried one we weren’t absolutely thrilled with) — and the atmosphere. When they moved to their new home downtown a few years ago, we made the move with them — the new place has great ambience and is even reasonably easy to get in and out of with parking in the building.

The New Kid on the Block: Dylan’s Fondue Fusion

What about Dylan’s Fondue Fusion? Well… we didn’t know much other than the report from friends, and since the budget is important this year, the coupon helped. It’s located in a storefront on US 41 just a little stretch south of Bee Ridge Road. Not the most elegant location — at least on the exterior. So… all things considered, it was a gamble.

We made our reservation almost a week in advance — a good move, given that we wanted to go on Friday night before Valentine’s Day (which was, of course, on Saturday).  We opted for an early time slot to give us plenty of time to enjoy the entire evening. So… we pulled up at 5:30, almost on the nose.  We were greeted by someone who was clearly a hardworking young man. Later we learned his name is Dylan, but he didn’t let on that he was the owner when he greeted us.  His was somewhat casual attire, with a black t-shirt and apron… I took him for a staff member.

We were seated right away in the already busy restaurant, and learned from our conversation that they were completely booked with reservations and would be turning people away until very late in the evening.  The ambience and decor turned out to be quite nice — low lighting and darkish colors on the walls gave it a fairly elegant feel. The reservation was clearly a good idea, since waiting wouldn’t have been overly welcome to us.

Given that the restaurant has been open for only about 6 months, everything was new — the seating and the in-table burner and so forth.  We were treated excellently by our server, a highly professional yet warm and friendly young lady named Ashley.  She anticipated our every need, was proactive with the drink refills (something I tend to notice), and neither rushed us nor left us waiting between courses.

The food?  Excellent. Not only was it on par with The Melting Pot, but Dylan’s Fondue Fusion may have even come out on top in this category.  The cheese course was tasty — we went for a beer-based cheddar & Emmenthaler combo, which we were delighted to spot on the menu.  The veggies and breads that were served with it were fresh, tasty, and well-prepared.  The salad course gave us plenty of choices, and though both of our salads were a little heavy on the dressing, it was nothing to complain about.The options for the entree were plentiful and diverse, including a “we can’t decide” option they call “Everything But the Kitchen Sink.”  That was the one we chose, because we were able to select from a list of favorites rather than choosing one of the main sets of entrees.

Being experienced fonduers (is that a word?), we appreciated the presentation of the foods and the clear instructions. You always need a bit of a reminder on things, it seems, no matter how many times you’ve done fondue. And, of course, in a new restaurant, you want to make sure that even what is familiar will still apply. Ashley took great care of us in this department and presented us with a stunning array of sauces.  Again, very much on par with our expectations.

The chocolate course was fabulous, with cheesecake, lots of gorgeous fruits like strawberries and pineapple, and some brownies and other tasty morsels.

All in all, with pricing that is strategically less than that of The Melting Pot, Dylan’s Fondue Fusion has won us over. We’ll definitely go back.  I highly recommend the entire experience, and since you can have an experience that is just as good (if not better) than its cross-town established competition for a little less money, why wouldn’t you?

As we were on our way out, I heard someone refer to Dylan by name. Of course, being lightning-fast in my brain I put 2 and 2 together. I had to shake his hand and let him know how much we enjoyed it and how much we’d been fans of The Melting Pot.  He was glad to know he’d won us over.

Definitely give Dylan’s a shot if you’re looking for a nice, slow-paced, intimate evening out with some great food and great service.  And let him know I sent ya.

Here are the important details in case you need ’em:

Dylan’s Fondue Fusion
4141 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL, 34231
Take my advice, make a reservation: (941) 926-1289

They’re on the east side of 41 in the brick plaza behind Chili’s.  There’s a Sprint store closest to the road… and plenty of well-lit parking close by. Enjoy your fondue!

Baby Talk – Infant and Toddler Speech Development

I’m admittedly a little biased on this one.  OK… I’m very biased…

My gorgeous and amazing wife, who is a speech and language development expert, has just unveiled a shiny new downloadable audio program intended for parents of infants and toddlers.

Now… I’ve actually lived through the development of this material. Our beautiful 3-year-old daughter is one of the most articulate and verbal children I’ve ever seen in my life. So, not only do I know it works, but I’ve been encouraging Jill for nearly 10 years now to help other people understand this material.

Who Would Benefit From This?

If you’re an expectant parent or if there’s an infant, toddler, or preschooler in your life, you don’t want to miss out on this information. Until I married Jill, I was unaware of how significant the speech and language development of a baby was to their intellectual and — get this — even their physiological brain development.  That’s right, what you do in your interactions with your little one can actually affect the way their brain gets wired as it forms and develops.

Complex Made Simple

Jill is one of the few people that I know who has that rare ability to take volumes of information and distill it down to something simple and actionable. So, while there’s a healthy amount of research and high level info for those that want to sink their teeth into it, anyone will find this useful. She provides very simple tips and techniques you can use to help your child develop.

The bottom line? If you want to set your child up for the greatest possible success, wire their brain from birth! Check out Baby Talk and Beyond: The Power & Promise of First Words.

Oh… and be sure to tell her I sent ya.  Points like that are invaluable!

The Motorcycle Jones

It doesn’t have much to do with business (or does it? hmmmm…), but my good friend Bill Sanders is on a meandering motorcycle trip and is reporting about it on his blog. He left from his home in Northern California on Monday and is making some scheduled stops before starting to wander aimlessly.

Every motorcyclist’s dream trip.

Reading about it is both joy and torture. Makes me wish I had a bike.