Friday, June 11, 2021

A Speakeasy Tiki Bar, Our First Reader Meetup In Ages, & Becoming THAT Couple

The other week we did SO MANY things - like, out of the house! - and I'm back with a full report.
By which I mean random cellphone pics and rambling commentary. ;)

First we had our first reader meetup in nearly 2 years(!), and it went... something like this:

Ahhh, it's good to see things getting back to normal. ;)

Yep, 'twas a night of laughter and hugs and comfortable, meandering conversations.

In fact, remember my tribute post last year for Torii? Well this is Gina, Valinda, and Cissie from that post! It was my first time meeting Valinda and Cissie in real life, but we immediately hit it off like old friends. I couldn't have picked a better group to start meetups again.

We met for a meal at one of our favorite restaurants:

Gimmie all that chocolate almond bread. NOMZ.

Although the star of our meal was this avocado bruschetta:

Crispy creamy goodness, HIGHLY recommend.

We ate on the patio at Toothsome's for the first time, and there was a cool breeze and the sound of happy people all around. Food for my soul AND my belly.

Next we all wandered the CityWalk shops together, and I think it's important you know that these double-sided monster bags exist:


I was especially delighted because I was wearing my Lisa Frankenstein t-shirt at the time, ha.

(It's from Threadless and goes GREAT with rainbow shoes, just so you know.)

In other New Merch News, THESE:

Absolutely love these new House mascot designs, they have an old illustrated manuscript feel, right? I want a set to hang in the Harry Potter kitchen we did for our friend Dana.

Then there's a whole dishware set of them in gold:

The finish is a dreamy pearlescent gilding, suuuuper shiny and hard to photograph. Also I can assure you it would bankrupt any of us to set an entire table with these things, yowza.

A few days after that, John and I did something unusual for us: we went to a bar!

A kinda sketchy looking bar, if I'm honest:

It was HUGE (this is only about a third of it) and sporting a "graffiti'd warehouse" aesthetic.

Ahhh, but for those in the know - and happily we had friends with us who did - there's something special behind this unmarked wooden door by the back fire extinguisher:


It's a tiny tiki tiki tiki tiki tiki room!

Well, more specifically a tiki bar:

The pendant lights are all skulls:

There's only space for the bar and 4 or 5 booths alongside it, but it is PACKED with incredible details:

You can follow them on Instagram, btw, for much better photos.

I love their use of light; every lamp is a different color. This one is my favorite:

The last booth is in its own tiki hut:

Then there's this little seating area at the end of the bar by the door to the kitchen:

Our friend Tim (artist Tim, not lawyer Tim) loooooves all things tiki, so really the best part about this visit was getting dressed up for it. John was just going to wear a t-shirt, but Tim was all, "No way, bro. I GOT YOU," and whipped out the most glorious lime green skull-covered tiki shirt, haha.

I wish you could see our whole outfits here: Bianca is in a retro mod dress and Tim is wearing neon yellow Chucks with lime Darth Vader tiki knee socks.

Have I mentioned how much I love my friends, and how much I've missed these two? ::happy sob::

As for me, I think I fit right in with all the tiki colors:

I got to wear my new stripey dress (IT HAS POCKETSES), plus a vintage metal flower pin and an octopus-in-a-bottle necklace:

I even put on lip gloss for the first time in forever. 

Obligatory pretty drinks shot:

So it turns out almost all booze is Low Fodmap EXCEPT rum, which is in 90% of tiki drinks. So I got a gin drink (Saturn something?) with grapefruit juice that was surprisingly tasty. John got a honey bourbon something that tasted like straight tequila and neither of us could stand, blech. Both were VERY strong, though I say that as someone with the tolerance of a dizzy ferret.

I found this on my phone later when I got home - no edits, just like this! - and it made me laugh. I promise I didn't drink THAT much.

Oh hey, and did you spot the biggest draw of this particular tiki bar, at least for me? Go back to the bar closeup and look closely, I'll wait.

Did you see it?

Or are you waiting for me to tell you so you don't have to scroll up again?


It's THIS:

It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man... TIKI MUG.

They only sell these at Halloween, sadly, so this one was just there to taunt me.

Anyhoo if you're ever in the Orlando area and love Tiki bars, definitely check this place out!

[Update: HOLD THE PHONE, JANINE, I've just been informed we can get the Stay Puft mug online through Mondo! It's possible this one's a color variant, but it's definitely the same sculpt. Woohoo!]

Now one last giggle from our week of Activities:

I originally said in my Story that this officially makes us THAT COUPLE, but plenty of you were quick to point out John & I've been that couple for years. Touché.

That's another Threadless shirt, btw, but I don't remember the name. And it ALSO goes great with rainbow shoes.


The week we did all this was a blur of happy busyness, but then this past week I've been down a lot with GI pain, which makes me exhausted, which makes me sleep at all hours, which makes me grumpy, and soon I'm too overwhelmed to tackle anything. After 5 or 6 days of watching the housework pile up and my online work go undone, but still feeling too achey and fuzzy-headed to do much about it, I start feeling pretty worthless. Like I'm too far behind and I'll never get it right, because there's too much and it's too dang hard

I mention this because I want you to know what a great job you're doing right this very minute - and I know you're doing a great job, because you're still here reading this.

Survival is tough, active, soul-sucking work some weeks, some months, some years. If you've survived this long and also manage to have a few belly laughs, a few happy tears, maybe even some squishy hugs or texted "I love you"s thrown in, well heck, gang. That's you doing an amazing job. That's you showing how much you deserve to rest and heal up from time to time.

I've been stressing a bit to get this post finished - I'm past my self-imposed deadline, ug - but even as I rushed to find the right photos and edit this or upload that, I got to relive all the laughs and hugs and relationships. It's reminded me how it's the people, not the posts, that matter most.

I remembered how Torii, Gina, Valinda, and Cissie all met each other through Epbot, so indirectly, they met because of me. Me. The lazy lump on the couch over here. The one who's a day late on a post!

And I once featured Bianca's art, which got us to talking, and then making dinner plans, and now she and her hubby Tim are some of our dearest friends. I have so many stories like that. Stories about connection, community. People I photographed, people who asked for a meetup, people who DM'd me a painting question on Instagram - so many of you who've become part of my daily life and joy. So many of you who remind me I matter, because we're connected, and we're both the better for it.

Thanks for that reminder, bots, I needed it. I love you all.

Now go have a fantabulous weekend, whatever that looks like. For me, it's gonna be a little more sleep. ;)


P.S. Since I keep plugging Threadless t-shirts in this post, how about a few more?

Check out our Epbot Threadless shop for all our designs, which you can customize to be any color and on any shirt style you like!


  1. Gosh this was a great post, thanks so much for posting it -particularly when you're feeling like doodoo; which btw, it's ok to take a break, not do the dishes, and just focus on not having to focus. Will it matter in five years if you were a day late posting or didn't vacuum up something? No, it will not. So if it won't matter in five years it shouldn't matter now. You feeling better *will* matter in five years, so do whatever you need to do...we'll be here when you get back.

  2. I wasn't able to find the universal monster x loungefly stuff that easily but oh man, amazon had the creature from the black lagoon wallet (from the line) and I had to have it! Such an adorable line!

  3. I wore my Baby ‘bot shirt the other day! One of my favorites

  4. I have a friend moving to the Orlando area, so that Tiki bar is going on the list for my first visit. Also, I really need to know where you got that stripey dress. I loves it!!!

    1. The dress is from Amazon! I linked it in the post - it's hard to see that it's a link, though, since the font colors are so close. (Oops.)

  5. If you have recurring issues—health, work, whatever—please consider hiring a cleaner to come in once every week or every two weeks. I haven’t cleaned my own bathrooms in forty years, it takes a big burden from your shoulders.

    Originally it was because my husband and I worked full time plus, and I didn’t want to have those tedious arguments about who was or wasn’t doing equal housework. Now with my sciatica and arthritis I couldn’t do it if I wanted to.

    It isn’t that expensive, even on a fairly modest income most people can afford it, and it enables someone who may not have language or skills or educational qualifications to make a decent living. Win-win!

  6. Gahhhh!! So much fun seeing you again!! And I still need that purse... 😳

  7. It was a blast to hang out with you guys! When Rory heard about the rides I went on she wasn’t bothered. When I told her about eating at the Leaky Caldron she didn’t bat an eye. She shrugged when I told her about the shows we watched at the park. When she heard I met you IRL (and had sushi at Cowfish) she was NOT impressed and a few no fairs were thrown around. So to a cute 9 yr old you are better than Harry Potter, and she thinks he’s pretty cool. Stay strong lump on the couch, better days are coming!

    1. Aww, hi, Rory! Sorry I missed you this time! If you ever make your way down here I owe you a Dole Whip or a chocolate almond bread, k?

      And thanks, Valinda, I'm so glad we got to spend as much time together as we did. <3

  8. What a fun Tiki Bar! All I could think of was the old podcast (video podcast?) called Tiki Bar TV from the early 2000's:
    Thank you for reminding us to focus on the good out there! :)

  9. "...tolerance of a dizzy ferret" would make a great band name. ;p

    1. Perhaps a Spin Doctors cover band? ;p

      I'll show myself out.

  10. I'm glad you felt safe enough to get out, really I am, but Florida has been leading the nation in new Covid cases for weeks. They switched to weekly reporting to cover it up. So I hope everyone had their shots.

    1. Oof, I've stopped watching the numbers here, but that doesn't surprise me. And yes, not to worry, John and I are still extremely careful and only take off our masks around people we know are vaccinated.

  11. *sigh* it's not a bloody Raven. Pity.

  12. So much fun! And, the contrast of Tim's awesomely menacing skull shirt sported by John, next to his rainbow puppy dog mask gave me my laugh for the day!

  13. I forgot to say that I must...MUST know what lime tiki Darth Vader kneesocks look like!!!

  14. I am SO disappointed in you. How could you taunt us with something like lime tiki Darth Vader knee socks and not share a picture?!?! That tiki bar is awesome. Your shirts made me laugh. My boyfriend groans when we so much as wear the same color. I'm showing him this. ;)

  15. This is so cute! How would one get involved in meetups??

    1. Just e-mail us with the date(s) you're interested in! John does the scheduling, and we try to make as many as we can.


Please be respectful when commenting; dissenting opinions are great, but personal attacks or hateful remarks will be removed. Also, including a link? Then here's your html cheat sheet: <a href="LINK ADDRESS">YOUR TEXT</a>