Wrapping Up June 2011 Five to Try

Holy cow, it’s July already!  Once again, I’m updating my Five to Try about a week into the new month but that doesn’t take away from the celebration. June finished off with some tantalizing Thai, a “touching” experience and a new way to pay it forward.

Five to Try for June – #3 Thai Sweet Basil

I love Thai. If someone wants to introduce me to a Thai restaurant that’s new to me, you won’t have to twist my arm. Just say when. So when my friend Michele Northrup, aka Ms. Saucy Queen herself of Intensity Academy, suggested that I meet up with her to give it a go, it was a no-brainer. I was there. The place? Thai Sweet Basil, 3875 Northdale Blvd. in Carrollwood.

Of course any new Thai restaurant visit requires checking out THE signature Thai dish…pad Thai or for me specifically, pad Thai tofu.  And theirs?

Delicious. I had to ask Ms. Saucy Queen to take this pic to truly capture how GENEROUS the portions are and yummy! I enjoyed a plentiful second lunch from the dish, too. I was so excited to add yet another delicious Thai option to my map – so far, I’ve got S. Tampa, Carrollwood, Tampa Palms, Port Richey and New Tampa covered. Now if only I could find a good Thai restaurant in the Wesley Chapel area…hmmm… suggestions? 

And I will also say that I liked the atmosphere at Thai Sweet Basil, too… comfortable, relaxing, pretty decor.

This picture from their website gives you a little idea of that nice vibe. And let’s just say my digestion appreciates a nice, friendly vibe.

I wanted to pass along some info, too, about a great fundraiser that Thai Sweet Basil is hosting today (Sunday, July 10) from 5-8 p.m. If you love delicious Thai cuisine and in particular, CURRIES, you’re not going to want to miss this — it’s a fundraiser benefiting a neighborhood family whose young son is battling leukemia. Fifty percent of the proceeds from today’s special Sunday event will benefit the family directly and another 25% benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Check out the details here in this calendar listing from skirt!

Five to Try for June – #4 Rays Touch Tank

I’m embarassed to say that after all of these years of going to Tampa Bay Rays games – even when they were still Devil-inflicted – I’ve never taken the time or initiative to stand in the long lines and wait for a chance to touch a ray in the popular Rays Touch Tank. I thought I’d never get around to it. Enter the 2011 Five to Try experiment. As Romeo Void would have you know, never say never.

Late last month, I attended a networking event with the University Community Hospital Foundation’s networking group  HEAL (Health  Education & Leadership) which involved a tour of Tropicana Field, an informative presentation about being safe while staying active this summer from the USF Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, and of course, my favorite part of all – a Rays game (yea!) The Cincinatti Reds were visiting. It was quite the game, and we even pulled out a victory!

But during the tour, we had an opportunity to visit the Rays Touch Tank, something I had never done in the many years of going to Rays games.

 I saw this as a perfect opportunity to TRY something new!  So I decided to take off the watch and prepare for a different kind of Rays action.

Meet my friends, Longo…

And Zorilla!

Okay, no, they didn’t actually call them this. Those are my names. If I’m going to stick my hand into a tank with stingrays, even if the tour guide does tell me that their stingers are removed and that they can’t hurt me, I’m still going to have to name you to feel comfortable with this endeavor.

And I can honestly say, it was rather cool. The guide mentioned that they might actually seek out our dipped-in hands and come to greet us, and sure enough, that’s exactly what Zorilla here did… I lowered my hand deep into the water and it aimed right for my hand (freaked me slightly, yes) and rose up to the surface to meet me, as if to say, ‘hey, pick me up a soft pretzel and some Dippin’ Dots, will ya?’ The touch was smooth, silky, surprisingly soft – not slimy or coarse, as I had imagined.

I can now officially say I’ve touched a ray. And lived to tell about it.

Now I’m working on its counterpart – touching a Ray. Johnny Damon, here I come…

Five to Try for June – #5 Mentoring

I didn’t expect that when I was having a conversation about writing with a new friend Carol that it would lead me to my fifth Five to Try for June but sometimes the unexpected can be quite rewarding.

I’ve never formally been a mentor. I’ve always contemplated doing something like this but was never really sure for what age groups or in what capacity. In the same week, two mentoring opportunities presented themselves where I unexpectedly found myself in a role encouraging others to pursue their writing, offering tips for how to explore their creative ideas and serving as more of a cheerleader and soundboard than anything else. And here’s the most fascinating part… I really liked it.

I felt so tremendous afterward – no, it didn’t lead to a revenue opportunity – no, it didn’t allow me to check anything off of my existing project list. But it warmed my heart to hear a person say afterward that I helped them find clarity, that it helped them understand why they were doing this project.

I know that indirectly I’ve tried to be a helpful friend/consultant to plenty of friends I’ve met along the way through the media and networking, and I suppose in its own way, I’ve been dabbling with the barebones of mentoring but in one week’s time with two very different people in two unique situations but both aiming to do the same thing – tell their tale through words – I felt like I got to play a part in helping them out of the gate for their important personal journeys. I don’t actually know if either of these people will formally publish their works or if the final “products” will simply be recordings of their self-discovery along the way that they will keep solely for themselves. But for me, the unexpected opportunity to help someone connect with their story was all the rewards this lowly copywriter needed.

And that wraps another month of new experiences…July is already here with plenty of great adventures to come, which you’ll be reading about very soon. 

How is your summer shaping up? Are you making the time to visit new places, try new hobbies, meet new people and who knows maybe even stretch some different creative muscles? Don’t lose sight of an opportunity to step outside this Sunday and see it for all of its possibilities. They really do deserve your presence.

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