Every year, it seems like we jump from heavy humidity to cool, dry breezes overnight. In the space of 24 hours, an entire city of urbanites, hipsters, & yuppies is activated.
In a snap, sweaters, leggings, and scarves were snatched from the backs of closets, and donned proudly, if only for the AM half of the day.
The recreational public spaces n Tampa have multiplied, and a number of new eat/drink venues with mixed indoor-outdoor seating have opened in the past six months. Ulele for one has big plans to blend fresh air with A/C this fall, via soaring glass doors on its Western face, which lines the Hillsborough River and Waterworks Park.
On Saturday evening, I could feel a change as I walked home from a wedding at the Columbia — just four blocks from my house.
Sunday morning, I woke up to what can only be termed crisp. In the thinner air, sounds seem to carry, so I can hear the howling tires of Interstate 4 like they’re in my backyard. Same goes for the train whistle at midnight.
With a novel lightness one only experiences in the fall, I scooped up my mom for a day of shopping and lunch. We were pleasantly surprised when Sunday was also the Hyde Park Fresh Market. The village was swamped with people, strollers. Parking was a nightmare, though we found a space within a brief 10 minute search.
And yet, no one was pushy. Everyone was in a good mood. It put me in a good mood, and for a moment everything was peaceful. I wasn’t trying to live in the moment, I just was. No scars of the past, no expectations of the future.
Naturally, I caught the eye of several people I knew, so traversing the crowd was a lesson in Tampa’s small town network. I introduced friends to my mom. We browsed, shopped. Sampled the newest offering in the village — J.McLaughlin.
I spotted about fifty attractive 30-something men that I’d have loved to make my hubs. Accompanied by women, I can only assume the obvious. Alas, vestiges of Tampa as an exclusively hetero community remain, especially at family-friendly events. Where are the gay dads and lesbian moms?
Throughout the expedition for lunch, I kept thinking to myself “wow it feels like a real place!” Knowing people, people-watching, legit vendors (like TeBella and a guy selling Kombucha), and all the while, the unconfirmed promise of an overdue facelift for the shopping center. Word on the street is it’ll be the same architect who worked on the Oxford Exchange…
Our ladies lunch of salads and tea at Piquant was fitting too. It’s another element of the village that is booming, both for its bakery offerings and slick lunch menu, with things like the Power Salad and various Tartines.
Of course, no story from me is complete without an element of fashion.
I received my second RalphLauren.com sale purchase in the mail on Friday. This included a second pair of Paxhill sandals, and a steeply reduced pair of fatigue / moss green suede venetian* loafers, the “Von.” Made in Italy, natch.
Sounds strange to say it, but they’re pretty perfect. Fit well, look good. Different enough from driving shoes, which have become a little stale. Suede has become one of my favorite textures, and the green color is unique but inoffensive.
*Venetian loafers differ from Penny loafers in that they do not include a slot on the vamp for a penny — the origin of the name of that type of shoe.
Rounded out with a trip to the gym, and a dinner of chili at home with the family, it was a great start to the season. Fall is looking to be busy, but yesterday was different. Slower, as if filtered through Instagram. Still life in real life.
Looking forward to more crisp days and meals en plein air around town.