Texas Bluebonnets

Texas is known for our beautiful state flower, the Texas Bluebonnet! They’re in full bloom across the state of Texas this spring and I wanted to take a minute a give a little history about this vibrant and beautiful flower!

April 11-13  is the Burnet Bluebonnet Festival in Burnet, Texas! Burnet is considered one of the best places in Texas for viewing wildflowers. The town officially gained recognition to the well-known fact in 1981, when the Texas State Legislature officially designated Burnet the “Bluebonnet Capital of Texas.”


Courtesy of keeparlingtonbeautiful.com

Courtesy of keeparlingtonbeautiful.com

History of the Texas Bluebonnet – It’s complicated!

Just like anything in the state of  Texas, we take a lot of pride in choosing our beautiful state flower! In 1901, a group of ladies from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Texas went to the Texas Legislature with a painting of bluebonnets. On March 7, 1901, the 27th Texas Legislature adopted the Lupinus subcarnosus as the official state flower of Texas.

The only problem was the species of flower that was selected. The 27th Texas Legislature had chosen Lupinus subcarnosus. Most people in Texas don’t even realize that Central Texas is blessed with two native species of bluebonnets — Lupinus subcarnosus and Lupinus texensis.

Lupinus subcarnosus is more delicate and less showy than the Lupinus texensis. Anyone who knows a Texan, being associated with something that can be described as dainty and less showy just isnt going to sit well with us. There was 70 year debate over the state flower but thankfully on March 8, 1971, the whole debate was settled when the 62nd Texas Legislature considered Lupinus texensis “… the most beautiful species of bluebonnet …” and resolved that it “… and any other variety of bluebonnet not heretofore recorded be recognized along with the Lupinus subcarnosus as the official state flower of the State of Texas.”


Courtesy of freshamerican.com.

Courtesy of freshamerican.com.

Courtesy of robgreebon.photoshelter.com

Courtesy of robgreebon.photoshelter.com

Information about the history of Texas Bluebonnets is from: http://www.bluebonnetlove.com/blog/texas-bluebonnets/history-of-texas-state-flower/

My husband, Mr. Perfect is a retired Captain with the Tampa Fire Rescue. Over the years, he has also been an unofficial Camden employee of sorts. He is forever supporting me in some way; most of my coworkers know him as a pretty good guy. Mr. Perfect understands our culture and gets to live it, right by my side. So during the holidays when our Tampa team was planning our holiday celebration and thinking about where we could donate the money we raise this year – my husband shared a story with me.
Let me start by saying that firefighters are really special people and differently than you might automatically think. They are a family, in a very real way. When Mr. Perfect and I got married, I gained hundreds of friends/family from Tampa Fire Rescue. These men and women are there for each other. If someone in their family became ill or injured, they go cut their grass; babysit for them; do repairs on their home; raise money to help pay bills; work for them or donate their own sick time if a brother or sister ran out of sick time.
Nick Battles in UniformSo in 2009 when the son of Paramedic Justin Battles, Marine Corps Pfc. Nick Battles, was paralyzed from the neck down in a training exercise during his last day of boot camp in South Carolina, they rushed to support him.
Drill instructors asked Nicholas Battles why he wanted to be a Marine, he said he wanted to be more like his dad – honorable, courageous and committed to people he loves. Nick awoke in his South Carolina hospital room to find the dad he emulated at his bedside.
Paramedic Justin Battles’ brothers and sisters at Tampa Fire Rescue did whatever they could do to support him so he would be able to be there for his son. Firefighters from stations throughout the city worked to cover Justin Battles’ shifts as a firefighter and paramedic. They did this work without pay, so Paramedic Battles could continue to receive his. One of these firefighters was Capt. Karl Wolf. Along with Lt. John Dougherty, they organized the work force.
When Nick Battles was transferred to Tampa, firefighters gathered at the airport to show support. Over a hundred City workers lined Florida Avenue to welcome him home and then the fund raising continued. Not fancy fund raising, it has been grass roots style. Nick Battles
One fundraiser was Capt. Wolfs’ retirement party. Capt. Karl Wolf retired after 32 years with Tampa Fire Rescue; he had a magnificent retirement party at the Tampa Firefighters Museum, surrounded by friends and family. There was also a video documenting his career. Yet even then, he was thinking of the Battles family. Capt. Wolf organized a raffle for 50” TV –which was donated by Hillsborough Firefighters Benevolent Relief Fund. The drawing would be held at his retirement party. Proceeds would be going to purchase an enclosed trailer for transporting Nick Battles very cool all terrain wheelchair. This trailer will give him the ability to go many more places.
This is the story, my husband shared with me. I quickly told our Regional Vice President who agreed it would be an honor to contribute the $2,500 Camden Tampa employees raised to Nick Battles trailer fund. We are so proud to support the family at Tampa Fire Rescue and to do something to show Nick Battles our gratitude for his service and sacrifice for our country.
The trailer has now been delivered. Capt. Wolf says it’s a beauty! The additional money raised was used to purchase a “Smith Machine” – a piece of exercise equipment that will greatly benefit Nick’s at home rehab workouts. He is also able to pick up some additional equipment for the trailer and gym equipment.Nick & Trailer
You know, I always talk about how good my life is. Like many of you I have a wonderful family, great friends, and a job I love for a company I am so proud of. Add to that being able to know people like the firefighters and paramedics at Tampa Fire Rescue and Hillsborough County Fire Department. And last to have an opportunity to give back to a man who has given so much for our great country. How could my life be anything but awesome?
Peace, Cindy
My resources were Capt. Karl Wolf, my husband, Tampa Bay Times (writer Sarah Whitman) and Hillsborough Firefighters Benevolent Relief Fund. If you wish to make donations to any of the organizations mentioned in the story, just click on their name. Tampa Firefighters Charities for Nick Battles at tampafirefighters.com; Hillsborough Firefighters Benevolent Relief Fund; Tampa Firefighters Museum.

In condo and apartment living, there are a host of written rules and regulations and many address the balconies. There are well-written policies as well as neighborly expectations. How often are people inconsiderate of their neighbors? Plenty. Some people seem to be oblivious.

Balcony Etiquette is pretty simple, but often overlooked

Balcony Etiquette is pretty simple, but often overlooked. Photo by Robert Register

Many apartments and condos have balconies. The most common breach of etiquette is when occupants: Continue Reading »

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

It’s spring time which means you can put away your winter clothes and get ready for the flowers to bloom. One of my favorite things to do when spring comes is to go exercising outdoors. Now I know how great the fitness centers are in Camden but every now and again it is great to get outside and enjoy the fresh air. Exercising outside during the spring time is a great way to change up your normal routine and who knows maybe you will like it. I am going to give you a list of great exercise ideas that you can do outside in the spring time and still get that same great workout you would get indoors!

The first exercise outside I would suggest is the one thing everyone seems to forget about…..stretching! Stretching before and after you exercise is so important, this helps prevent any injuries from occurring.

When it comes to exercising outdoors I like to think outside the box. The first exercise I would suggest is Hiking. Find some hiking trails near you, or look for some great trails in the woods. On average you can burn around 400 calories an hour by hiking!

Image courtesy of Google

Image courtesy of Google

The next outdoors exercise I would suggest is Biking. Enjoy some beautiful scenery while peddling off the pounds! On an average you can burn around Continue Reading »

Spring time is among us and the weather is beautiful!  It’s time to clean up the house and organize, plant some flowers and make everything look wonderful again.  However the most important thing about spring for people like me is all the outdoor activities that we can do.  A lot of people are planning their spring break vacations to California, Florida, Hawaii or even here in Las Vegas to let loose and drink and do who knows what.  There is more to spring however than simply going out and drinking to cut loose.  Most people wouldn’t think that here in Las Vegas we have tons of parks and trails and amazing outdoor activities available to us every day. Continue Reading »

Farmers Markets are such a fun way of spending the day outside with friends and family.  There is so much to see even if you don’t plan on buying anything.  Most people will visit a farmer’s market to buy fresh organic produce from local farm, local farm fresh eggs, and even fresh seafood and other meats.  Beyond farm fresh foods there are also many booths that will serve up made-to-order foods such as BBQ, crepes, and sandwiches.  Because farmers markets are such a great way to support local farms and business I encourage everyone to visit one.  Because of this I would like to share my top three picks for San Diego farmers markets.


Photo courtesy of sandiegorealestatecafe.com

Little Italy Farmers Market:  I think the Little Italy Farmers Market is definitely one of San Diego’s best liked farmers markets.  Every Saturday from 8am to 2pm, the Little Italy “Mercato”, as they call it, spans over five city block on Date St. from Kettner to Front.  There are over 150 different booths to visit with some beautiful bay views.  The great thing about the Little Italy Farmer’s Market is that when you are done there is so much within walking distance to see and do so you can make a full day of your visit!


Photo courtesy of 92101DowntownSanDiegoRentals

Poway Farmers Market:  Technically Poway is not San Diego, but I am partial to it as a Poway resident so am going to include it!  Every Saturday from 8am to 1pm the Poway Farmers Market  takes places on Midland Rd.  My favorite is the Creperia that makes made to order sweet (think Banana and Nutella!) or savory crepes.  They have over 65 vendors and growing.  Another great thing to do is to visit the Old Poway Park and Train Museum with is right next to the Poway Farmer’s Market, definitely a free fun day for the family!

Hillcrest Farmers Market:  As if there isn’t enough to do in Hillcrest they also have a great farmers market every Sunday from 9am to 2pm.  It is located at Lincoln Street and Normal Avenue right at the Hillcrest DMV.  The Hillcrest Farmer’s Market has about 140 different vendors and has been running since April 1997 and has been growing ever since.  On select days the Hillcrest Farmers Market hosts a Chef Series that features chefs from local restaurants to do live cooking demonstrations.

Farmers markets have some much to offer beyond fresh organice produce and local farm fresh foods, they also offer up a great sense of community.  Make sure to take the time to at lease check out a farmers market local to you!



I was watching TV last week and saw an anchor explaining a smartphone app called Houzz. The app is free and can be extremely helpful if you’re looking to decorate or redecorate your apartment. Continue Reading »


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