Five to Try for April Begins

Hello, folks… are you embarking on your own mission to try or learn five new things this month? As you know, I’ve been doing this little creative experiment since the beginning of the year to satisfy my one big New Year’s resolution for 2011 – and that is: to be smarter and more informed on December 31 than I was on January 1.

Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

So how am I doing it? By forcing myself out of my tiny little place of safety from where I typically go to the same places, do the same things, eat at the same restaurants, take part in the same events, read about the things I already know of, day in and day out. Instead, I’ve committed myself to try something different — at least five times every month! It really does sound easier than it is because as humans, we truly are creatures of habit, and it’s so much easier to go to that restaurant we always enjoy to ensure a good meal or attend that event we did last year because we know what to expect and who will be there. And for someone who loves routine like me, it’s far more difficult to force myself out to experience new scenery, new people, new places and new cuisine. But we can’t grow unless we learn and we can’t learn unless we try… the result: the Five to Try concept.

Oh, and where did I get five? No particular reason. Good things just come in five. Fingers, toes, workdays, Jacksons. Oh, and Spice Girls, too.

So let’s get this April show on the road with numero uno…

April Five to Try – #1 Annual Hyde Park Art Festival

I do enjoy browsing through art — of various media — and I will say that I have newfound appreciation for watercolor, oil painting and acrylics more than ever after my little artistic exploration earlier this year in a mixed media class at Carrollwood Cultural Center. But I must tell you: I’m not really much of a shopper at these art events, and I think the artists in the booths surely must pick up on it. Aside from the fact that the other shoppers, all spray-tanned and decked out in sparkling gold jewelry and expensive designer label casual wear (never understood that!) are dressed up much more than me in my capris and New Balance sneakers, they look like they can afford the triple-digit priced items much more than I can, and they probably can! Plus when I go to these kinds of events, my biggest weakness as a shopper creeps out to make a guest appearance, and that my friends is indecisiveness. I might see something I really like and even have in mind a place in my home to hang it, but I second-guess myself. Am I going to like it later? Is it just a whim now? What if I get it home and it turns out to be a hot mess that I’ve purchased? The moment I see a piece of art I like, I’m struck with inspiration then a major bout of self-doubt. “Well, sure, I like it today, but tomorrow?”

Big plus of the Hyde Park Art Festival for anyone else who’s never attended – free. Free parking, free entrance and on top of that, there are plenty of participants, so lots to check out. It’s also laid out in a very easy to browse manner that invites you to do a little window-shopping in the village’s shops, too. One thing I would definitely do differently if I chose to go back next year is head over there in the morning. We waited until after lunch and didn’t arrive until 3pm with just two hours of the show to go, and we were roasting in the mid-day sun! Ugh…

I enjoyed seeing all of the little poochies and their parents, too, though they too seemed to be doing more panting than tail-wagging, at least at that time of day. If you do bring kids or dogs when you go (today or a future year), get there early enough in the day because I also saw quite a few toddlers and babies sweating up a storm with their little pink feet dangling out of the strollers getting sunburnt. Not exactly a fun event for kids and dogs but when the weather’s nice, the perfect little opportunity for a relaxing family stroll.

Okay, I didn’t buy anything, although I will say that I fell in love with some very creative, whimsical clocks as well as some practical and attractive handblown glass swirly candles and coasters. But I went home empty-handed (boo) yet with all of my cash still comfortably nestled in my wallet (yea).

I’m glad I got to see it firsthand and recommend it to the art lovers among you – still time to head out there today in fact – runs until 5pm Sunday 4/10. You’ll definitely find just about every kind of painting style, some fiber, some metal, some photography, a few digital art booths, plenty of glass and jewelry. Not  much pottery or sculpture unfortunately… but an interesting array. Enjoy yourself, art aficionados! We did…and best of all, one new thing – a brand new event for me – checked off the list for this month…yahoo!

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