Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Pumpernaks- Your Vintage Destination

Follow the red brick road
Down an alley, in downtown Lakeland you will find a hidden treasure- Pumpernacks. Follow the red brick road to discover a store full of incredible new and vintage items. 

Ann Rubin opened her store only two years ago.  Is was always her dream to have her own store of fun vintage items.  

Ann's husband is an architect who happened to be remodeling the building a few years back.  He noticed this terrific little spot on the back of the building that could be an ideal location for Ann's store.  

Ann Rubin, a true joy to meet
Without hesitation, she was excited at the opportunity to make her dream a reality.  She grew up learning how to collect and find extraordinary items from her grandmother and mother.  

Pumpernacks is only open on Saturdays from 11-5.  Ann is a full time mother. She devotes Monday to Friday to family.  Saturdays are her days to have "me" time.  

A variety of items available at Pumpernaks
The store provides customers with a wide array of collectibles from jewelry, to globes, to winter wear, to porcelain geese.  

Ann enjoys making a difference in society by selling items to help others.  

Jewelry by Amy
You will find jewelry made by a woman, Amy, with a handicapped son, Connor (pictured on the left*). She uses the proceeds from selling jewelry to help her son. 

Amy says, "I am inspired by him every day. He is truly a blessing!" 

Amy was able to purchase a handicapped-equipped van with her jewelry sales.  I suggest you stop by Pumpernaks to purchase this special jewelry.  For more information on Amy and Connor click here

Framed insects financially assist native people
Other inspirational items sold are framed insects. At first glance, I was unsure what was so interesting about this pinned-up bugs.  Then I read the back of the frame. 

They are raised in cruelty-free tropical farms.  These butterflies, beetles, dragonflies and other insects create a source of income for native people.  These pinned-up bugs prevent the natives from selling trees off of their land or raising cattle.  Both of which are ecologically disastrous for the environment. Additionally, all of the items are made in the USA! 

One of Ann's favorite items to sell, hand-sewn owl hats
  Without a doubt, Pumpernaks is a fabulous place to stop by on a Saturday afternoon.  I left with a snakeskin handbag.  The kind my grandmother probably had herself in the 1940's.  

Following the red brick road will put a smile on your face with the wonderful items you will find at Pumpernaks. Make sure you like Pumpernaks on Facebook.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Old Man Franks, Winter Haven, FL

Ice cold beers at Old Man Frank's
 It was that dreadful day...the day that you have to haul away all the debris after remodeling your home.  Imagine a six foot high pile of old linoleum, moldy wallpaper, rusty nails, etc.  Not to mention, the pile went through about six rainstorms.  

Three of Brian's friends offered (they weren't asked) to help reduce the pile.  Our day of debris could have taken two days; but because of the generosity of Mitch, Ryan and Hans it was over in only a few hours.

Which way will you go?
Now it was time for the boys and me to relax with oysters and ice cold draft beers.  We headed to a Floridian's favorite local spot-Old Man Frank's.  

As we walked in, we had a perfect view of boats cruising on the lake and heard a local artist singing an Eagles song in the background. Within two minutes we had our first round of Bud Lite drafts. It was the "sure sign of a good time. Here we go." 

There is much to do at Old Man Franks.  You can play a round of pool or darts.  Or even a game of volleyball in Lake Howard.
I prefer doing what I did that day...some major people watching.  You never know who will walk in and sit at the table next to you.
Volleyball court in Lake Howard

To the right of us appeared to be a group of twenty-somethings.  The guys sipped on beers while their cute blonde and brunette girlfriends laughed at their jokes.  

To the left of us was a group of bikers, who stopped in for a quick drink and a view.  Behind us were the retirees that moved down from the north to literally experience a "winter haven." 

Ceiling lined with vintage water skis while Ryan and Brian relax
The ceiling is lined with vintage water skis and wakeboards. If you want to see wakeboarding action, visit Old Man Frank's on Sundays during the summer.  

The legendary Bonifay brothers are known to make regular appearances.  Parks Bonifay holds the Guinness Book of World Records for the youngest water skier at just six months old. View the video to see for yourself!

He didn't stop there. Parks has traveled all around the world wakeboarding with endorsements from companies such as Red Bull.  He is considered to be the world's best wakeboarding freerider. 

Mitch sucking down craw fish
You can't go wrong with their food: raw oysters, clams, crawfish, burgers, wings, and even salad.  If you want to experience a true Florida delicacy, BBQ gator, visit Old Man Frank's on March 9, for their annual "Gator Crawl." 

At this third annual event you will get a taste of gator ribs, gator gumbo and swamp cabbage.  It is all for a good cause: Keep Winter Haven Clean and Beautiful.  Last year this event raised $3,106. 

Whether you come on a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Friday; by car, by boat or by wake board; just make sure you stay for the sunset.  

After your long day at the office or cleaning up debris, the best way to end it is with cold brewskies and good friends at Old Man Frank's.  

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Hattie's Branches Boutique, Lakeland, FL

It was Friday afternoon.  I had plans to attend the VISTE Ball on Saturday evening with my boyfriend and friends with nothing to wear.  

Not living in Lakeland, I was not sure where to go shopping for this fun golfing extravaganza that would benefit Volunteers of Service for the Elderly (VISTE).  Without hesitation, local girls recommended I visit Hattie's Branches Boutique

On busy Florida Avenue, in Lakeland, Florida lies a booming boutique making women in the Polk County area ecstatic.  Hattie's Branches Boutique is filled with dresses, jewelry, purses and other accessories that will help you complete your look for a Saturday night or a Sunday brunch.  

Located at 1224 South Florida Avenue, Hattie's Branches Boutique is owned by two Lakeland fashionistas- Mandy Middleton and Amanda Hermann. 

Both girls grew up in Lakeland and pursued their dream of majoring in fashion merchandising.  Amanda traveled all the way to New York City to study fashion at LIM College, also known as the Laboratory Institute of Merchandising.  Mandy received her bachelor's degree from Florida State University in retail merchandising.  

In 2009 their dream became a reality. Mandy and Amanda joined together to open Hattie's Branches Boutique.  The name "Hattie" was the perfect name for the store since Hattie is a family name for both fashionistas.  Amanda's grandmother's name was Hattie and Mandy's great, great grandmother was named Hattie.

The girls travel to NYC and Atlanta to provide Polk County with voguish clothing and accessories that are not available in other Polk County stores.  Mandy and Amanda are constantly researching new styles so that they are as chic as a NYC boutique. 

They wanted the store to be energetic and full of color.  An article from Domino Magazine gave them the color scheme they desired. You will find pink, lime and blue walls decorated with trees and birds.

Some exciting news for us that do not live in Lakeland: Hattie's will be opening an online store within the next few months! Make sure you stay updated with them through their Facebook page. 

It was time for me to decide what I would wear.  I went with the fun, modish green dress.  Without a doubt, the dress was a hit! I will definitely be visiting Hattie's Branches Boutique every time I am in Lakeland, Florida.