Michele with Just Marry!

Weddings and everything surrounding them!

Mini Vaca with the Family to Anna Maria Island

Ah! You know how much I love to travel. I really do live for it and am always looking forward to my next vacation.

Jeff, Griffon and I returned late last week from our quick jaunt over to the beach. We went to Anna Maria Island. Our good friend Stephanie from nu visions loaned us her parents condo and it was just perfect for us. It is so beautiful over there and relaxing and laid back. I love that. We even ventured to the beach once in awhile. Definitely every evening for the sunset. I’m afraid it just wasn’t enough beach time for Griffon. But, Jeff and I tend to be a bit sun shy. So, we did the best that we could. We did lots of fun family things and really, really relaxed. We napped, did some reading and even played some games as a family. It would seem that I’m really good at Scattegories. Love that game! I even beat Jeff, which I consider quite the accomplishment because I really do think he’s brilliant.

A few of my favorites from the vacation:

A trip to the Alpine Steakhouse in Sarasota. The Food Network show, “Diners, Drive In’s and Dive’s” filmed there last year. Jeff and I love that show because we love diners! So, I had to go to the Alpine Steakhouse. They have the Turducken. Very weird, but you might be able to tell that it has turkey, duck and chicken in it. Still can’t believe I didn’t try it. I was a bit scared. Shame on me! The food was very good and the place is certainly unique. I definitely recommend checking it out, but for goodness sake, have the Turducken!

Another trip up Sarasota way to St. Armand’s Circle. It’s located on Lido Key. My parents used to have a condo over on Lido Key, until I insisted they move closer to me. Now, I really miss being over there. Jeff, Griffon and I walked the circle like old times. Had lunch at the Crab & Fin where I had a few of my favorite foods, the Martha’s Vineyard Salad, Fresh oysters and Gazpacho. And of course a Bloody Mary! Yum! After that lunch, we were pretty full, but walked along the circle and went into one of our favorite stores, Garden Argosy. We love this place! It has so many neat things. Jewelry, wall plates, bath items, towels, dishes, just anything cool that you possibly imagine. Before we could leave the area, I had to drive the way that I used to drive when I came into Lido Key. I would always call my Dad as we crossed the bridge. It really does feel as though you check your stress on the other side of the bridge. No stress allowed once you cross over. My parents lived in St. Armand’s Towers and my Dad would always be on the balcony waving at me as I drove into the parking lot. We would hurry upstairs and he would have wine, snacks and plenty of humor waiting for us when we arrived. Being over there, really made me miss my Dad. He was one of my favorite people and we had so much fun while they lived over in Sarasota.

Here’s a picture of the condo,

Here are a few pictures of me and my Dad from the last few years. I must say, for as close as I was to my Dad, we sure didn’t have many pictures. Makes me so sad!

Here we are at the Melting Pot a few years ago. From the left, Jeff, my Dad, Me & Griffon. My mom is in the wheelchair.

Here we are at the Walt Disney World Dolphin, just after an amazing meal at Shula’s. One of the best steakhouses in Orlando.

Sorry, I spun off on a remembering the good ole days and my awesome Daddy.  Back to the trip details.

Loved spending quality time with the family. Really such a rarity in the fast pace of life these days. I loved hanging out with Griffon and watching Forrest Gump and eating freshly made ice cream from this wonderful ice cream place on the island.

Finally, what would a blog entry be without me telling you a few of my favorite places for a wedding over in the Sarasota area.

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota. Just beautiful, with a location just by Sarasota Bay and a beach side location as well.

Lido Beach Resort. This was formerly a lovely little Radisson and now it’s an impressive beach side resort. Wow!

Longboat Key Club. A gorgeous club located in one of the prettiest areas on the west coast of Florida.

The Beach House. This is located right on Anna Maria Island and they have the best food and love weddings as well. One of my recent visits to the restaurant yielded a wedding in progress. It was fun to see one happening that we weren’t responsible for. For once!

I hope you enjoyed my trip to Anna Maria Island and Sarasota as much as I did. You must, must go and visit very soon. So relaxing!

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August 4, 2008 Posted by | Alpine Steakhouse, Anna Maria Island, beach, beach wedding, blog, condo, condos, country clubs, Crab & Fin, Dad, Diners, Drive in's and Dives, event venue, FL, Food and Beverage, Food Network, Garden Argosy, Griffon, Jeffrey Stoner, Jeffrey Stoner Video, Just Marry!, kids, Lido Beach Resort, Lido Key, Long Boat Key Club, lunchtime reception venue, Melting Pot, Michele Butler, Mom, nu visions in photography, professional planners, rehearsal dinner location, Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, Sarasota, Shula's Steakhouse, St. Armand's Towers, St. Armands Circle, Stephanie Rounds, The Beach House Restaurant, Turducken, vacation, Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort, wedding, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding day, wedding location, wedding planner, wedding planning | Leave a comment

Star Tower Event

What a fun venue and what a view! Beautiful views of the downtown skyline. It was great to be included and get to see this wonderful venue. My friend, Tracy Marini of Eventfully Yours put this great event together. It was held on the rooftop of the new Star Tower. The food was catered by Graze, The Beacon and Fifi’s. And was quite delicious. There was a fun group of people there and some of my good friends. J. Michael with A Spectacular Event, Susie Weiss with Wonderful Weddings, Lee Forrest, Tommy Murphy with Greenery Productions, Janine Boylan with the Grand Bohemian Orlando, Jessica Lodispoto with the Winter Park Racquet Club, Bonnie Garfield with the Portofino Bay Hotel, Stephanie Rounds with nu visions in photography and of course Lisa Konecny with E Events. Never without my posse it would seem. We enjoyed the event and even took the time to tour one of the corner condos. It had floor to ceiling windows. That was quite something. Brian Adams took the photographs for the evening.

Arrival at Star Tower Event

Tommy showing Tracy some love

What a view!

Good fun

After the event ended, we just weren’t finished. We rarely are. So a few of us went to The Beacon to have some more food and drinks.

Fun at the Beacon

Fun group of girls at the Beacon

March 6, 2008 Posted by | Brian Adams, condos, Decor, E Events, event venue, Eventfully Yours, FiFi's, Food and Beverage, Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, Graze, Greenery Productions, Just Marry!, Lee Forrest Design, Michele Butler, networking function, nu visions in photography, Off premise catering location, Portofino Bay Hotel, Rooftop venue, Star Tower, The Beacon, wedding consultant, wedding coordinator, wedding planner | 1 Comment

Mountains here we come!

Now, this would be a great place for a wedding or a honeymoon.  Really, anytime of year.

Brrrr. Sure was cold. Just returned from ski trip for the year. I love everything about the idea of skiing. Wish I were a bit more adventurous on the slopes. Greens all the way for me and I’m afraid that I just slow everybody down because I’m so cautious. Even my good friends Scott and Kristy, who moved out to Denver to work at the Ritz-Carlton there, were skiing down blues and blacks. What’s wrong with me? Well, last year was my first year skiing and I fell and fractured my rib. I think that may have slowed me down a bit. Darn! Anybody who knows me, knows that I love a good adventure and really aren’t scared of anything. Except for bridezillas of course. My ski trip this year consisted of two of my best friends, Stephanie Rounds with nu visions in photography and Kristen Wilkins with Isleworth Country Club. Kristen also took her nephew, Isaiah and I took my son Griffon. Who, by the way learned to snowboard on the trip and can already do blues. Arrgghh!! Nothing makes me angrier than seeing the little people without poles mind you, flying by me down the mountain. We had a wonderful time and one really great meal while we were there. We took a snowcat up the mountain to Beano’s Cabin. What an experience. It is a prix fix menu, so certainly not inexpensive, but with the ride up and down on the snowcat and the ambience, quite possibly worth the money. Check it out if ever you are out that way. We stayed at the Charter at Beaver Creek which was very nice, if not a bit of a trek from the slopes. Both Kristen and Kristy stayed right at a ski in/ski out resort. Kristen was at The Inn at Beaver Creek which definitely needs a bit of spiffing up, which it appears to be slated for. But it was right at the bottom of Strawberry Lift and you really can’t beat that. And our friend Kristy who works for the Ritz-Carlton stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, also very convenient to a lift. We really did have a wonderful time skiing and spending some time together. And we got to see our dear friend, Kevin who lives out in Denver as well and is also a part time ski instructor. He kept trying to instruct me and I’m afraid I wasn’t in the mood to be instructed. Sorry Kevin! Beaver Creek is a beautiful ski resort. I’ve heard it said that it may be one of the best in the world. It has a great little village with shops and restaurants and an ice skating rink right in the middle. They have activities every night in the village. Everything from disco ice skating to tubing for the kids. And around 4pm every day, they hand out fresh, warm, yummy chocolate chip cookies. For free. Btw, it’s one of the few things that is for free, but I say it’s certainly worth it. I love it and can’t wait to go back.

PorcupineBoys in the snow catUs girls in the Beaver CreekGriffon, Steph and I in Beaver CreekOur favorite after skiing bar

February 26, 2008 Posted by | Beanos Cabin, Beaver Creek Resort, bridezillas, Charter at Beavercreek, condos, Denver, event venue, Food and Beverage, Hotel Property, Isleworth Country Club, Just Marry!, kids, Michele Butler, nu visions in photography, porcupine, Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Ritz-Carlton Denver, Skiing, The Inn at Beavercreek, vacation, wedding location | Leave a comment