Books Upon Books: Chamblin’s Bookmine

Kindles, iPads and tablets oh my! It seems like these devices have taken over the task of reading physical books. It is almost rare to find good bookstores besides the typical chains like Barnes & Noble until I discovered Chamblins’ Bookmine. Located in Downtown Jacksonville, FL Chamblin’s is filled to the roof with books-literally! You can spend hours browsing through titles. You can even sell your old books to them-many of the books they sell are used.  Chamblin’s Uptown has a cafe attached so you can pick out a book and read all while indulging in one of their croissant sandwiches. (My favorite is the Turkey, Spinach and Brie croissant.)

I’ve recently spent a lot of time there lately grazing through their poetry section. I tend to favor the old hardback covered books, ones where the pages hold memories of time past. We even decided to incorporate these books into our centerpieces for the wedding. Reading has always been near and dear to me. Ever since I was a kid, I was a reader. My grandmother would take us on trips to the bookstore to pick out a book each. I would stay up way past my bedtime in order to read through each book I picked out. One of the many books she bought for me still sits on my bookshelf  today-“When We Were Very Young” by A.A. Milne.

Chamblin’s has an array of titles and unique selection of rarities. As seen below, their shelves are packed full of titles. It’s a truly unique bookstore!

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Our Whole Hearts

Every day I wake up with a heart that still beats. As much as I hate getting up in the morning I feel thankful to be alive every day.  For some, a beating heart is something tucked away in our bodies that we don’t ever think of.  But for others, a beating heart is a miracle.

A few weeks ago, Judd’s director Bob Reynolds suffered a heart attack behind the wheel of his car leaving work. He was tragically killed in the accident. One incident can change your whole perspective on life. It reminds you to never take your life and breathing moments for granted.

Judd works at The Mayo Clinic here in Jacksonville, FL. As a part of their ongoing involvement with the community and giving back for greater good, Mayo takes place in the American Heart Association’s First Coast Heart Walk annually. This year meant so much more than a simple charity event to the employees. This walk meant honoring a fallen employee, father, husband and a son. Bob was a true inspiration to Judd. He looked up to his director as a mentor and as his goal to one day be in his position. We both decided that it would best to give our hearts for the day and walk for Bob in this year’s First Coast Heart Walk.

We woke up bright and early on Saturday and headed to Met park in downtown Jacksonville. The sun was rising up over the city and the air had a slight chill to it.  It was a beautiful day to walk and mingle with residents of our loving city. Here are a few snap shots below of our morning.

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We gave our whole hearts at the Heart Walk. You can too. Visit the American Heart Association’s website for more information a local walks in your area.

Welcome Home, Atlanis

I ventured down to Brevard County, FLA a few weekends ago to visit a legend. It’s not a person but rather a man-made masterpiece. Housed in a 90,000 square foot building, Space Shuttle Atlantis found its forever home at the Kennedy Space Center in June of 2013.

On July 8th, 2011, Atlantis lifted off one final time bringing 30 years of the shuttle program to a close. I was lucky enough to be on site that day with space guru’s from all over the world. It was a pivotal moment in my life, it was the day I realized what I was most passionate for…space and photography.

Going to the exhibit was a big deal to me. I felt like a kid on Christmas! My family came with me and we were ready to see the legend up close and personal. We entered the exhibit by walking under a full-scale mock-up of the external tank and solid rocket boosters. I stood small under them gazing up at the forces that powered Atlantis to the stars. The sight will put you in awe but the best is yet to be experienced! The Atlantis exhibit is dedicated to the many men and women who were involved in the shuttle program. My family and friend’s family members contributed to the program and were a part of its 30 year journey. An incredible feature as you walk through the exhibit halls is seeing the quotes from these men and women. My heart rate increases as I walk through, knowing that the quotes on the wall lead to up to the orbiter. It was  so incredible walking through the exhibit that I won’t give any of the details away-you have to go see it for yourself to get the full effect! The moment the orbiter appears in my sight, I throw my hand over my mouth and start to tear up. She’s brilliant. Magnificent. She is grand. I walk in facing Atlantis’ nose and I am completely speechless.  Atlantis is tilted at an angle as if to be flying in space. Her payload doors are open, Canada arm extended. She is exactly how she should be, on display in her element. The lighting in the room changes and creates a mood so powerful that I couldn’t help but just stare at her. You could spend an entire day there. The exhibit has so much to see and do. After almost an hour on the top floor, I had to force myself down to the bottom floor where Atlantis’ underbelly is completely exposed.  The tiles that cover the bottom of the orbiter are in the same condition they were in when she returned home from her final journey.

Another note-worthy part of the exhibit is a touching tribute to the men and women whose lives were taken in the Challenger and Columbia accidents. A dimly lit memorial gives you a chance to remember that these men and women risked their lives for exploration. I took a few moments of silence with the memorial.

The exhibit is overall an incredible sight to see. Now I may be biased but even my not-so-space loving brother was in awe. I highly recommend all of my followers check it out! It’s a great way to honor an incredible space program! For more information on Atlantis and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex visit http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/ .

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Nose to Nose.

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Up close to Atlantis

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My father saw man land on the moon. This picture really shows his love of space exploration.

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Atlantis.

The Joys of Living in Florida

I have been a Florida native for a little over 23 years. I was born here and learned early on what to expect weather wise which includes hurricanes. I was about 6 years old when I experience my first hurricane, Hurricane Erin. We lost one of our orange trees during that storm but other than that we managed. I stayed up most of the evening with my father watching the weather channel as it tracked the hurricane’s path through our area. I was fascinated.

In 2004, my family was faced with evacuation from our home on the barrier island on more than one occasion during hurricane season. The storms: Charley, Frances & Jeanne. Frances was a category 4 and was expected to stall over our state. I remember it like it was yesterday…we spent almost a week at my grandparents house in Port Saint John huddled over the t.v. and weather radio. The wind and rain were constant. I barely slept at all that week in fear that we wouldn’t have a home to come back to. Sure enough when we arrived back to our neighborhood, houses were still standing and the only damage we could see was our back fence was blown down.

This weekend marked our first storm of the year. I had made the trip back home to visit my family and go to Disney. Tropical Storm Beryl made that visit a short one! I was forced to pack up my car early Sunday morning and drive back up to Jacksonville, racing the storms outer bands as I drove. I bought a weather radio and numerous supplies once I arrived in Duval. This would be my first storm experience on my own and I was ready for it.

As it got later in the evening Sunday, the winds picked up and the rain began to pour. Judd, Ryan and I huddled around the weather radio listening to our local news/weather station describe how areas around Jacksonville were managing the storm. Trees were reported down and  power outages occurred around the city. We managed to keep our power on even though it was flickering most of the evening. By morning, the rain died down and the winds decreased. We walked around the apartment for about 10 minutes surveying the minor flooding. The rain caught us outside and we were forced back inside.

I would say I did very well during my first storm experience on my own. I called my parents a few times to check in and update them on how we were doing. We managed the storm well and I even was able to catch up on some sleep last night. Needless to say, I think I am a storm pro now. Hurricane season is one of the many joys of living in Florida!