Close to Home / Jacksonville, FL

Gazebo in San Marco

I had to get to work at 4 am yesterday. I know, I know, the thought of hearing  *AAHH AAHH AAHH* (my best alarm clock impression) in the wee hours of the morning ensues torturous feelings inside you. How do you think I feel? I do it once a month! Twice a month, if you count my weekend shifts. The funny thing is that after the initial thought of “Ugh, I would rather walk through fire than hear that incessant beeping again”, once I am up, I magically gain 1000 pp of energy. I am awake and alert. Ready to face the day. So ready that, instead of jumping into bed after work for a well-deserved 100 hour nap, I decided to make the 35 minute drive to my one of my favorite sides of town.

I just moved into a new place this month, so I am on the hunt for a coffee table. I have not had any luck on craigslist or SwipSwap, so I decided that the antique shops in Riverside might be a cool place to check out. Besides, I was in the mood to play a little “I Spy” in the disarray that antique shops are bound to hold. Who doesn’t like looking at random shit?! A pair of old binoculars, weathered bell bottoms, a haunted rocking chair… You never know what you are going to find!

An angry sumo wrestler, ready for a fight

When I got off at noon, I texted my Dad to join me for lunch. At dinner the night before, he had mentioned that he had a craving for sushi. As fate would have it, we ended up eating Mexican instead. Much to his disappointment.  But tomorrow is a new day! And since I knew of a great sushi place in the area I thought he’d enjoy, I invited him. So we met up to eat some raw fish at the small joint called Sumo Sushi”  on Park Street.

Let me tell you, I am a HUGE sushi fan. There is something special about that bit of sticky rice blanketed by seaweed. Give it to me regular, raw, or fried – any shape or form makes my taste buds quiver! (Can your taste buds quiver? My anatomy classes say no. But my sushi-eating says otherwise.) Sumo Sushi has an awesome lunch special too. Choose from a list of sushi rolls and get 2 rolls + soup/salad for $8.95. What a steal! It came to us fresh and served on a bamboo slab that was dressed with a green leaf that my Dad and I could not decide was real or not. It was a nice touch, regardless. Try the Jaguar Roll: a fried (so healthy!) roll with eel and cucumber. My heart!

With our stomachs full, we headed over to the first antique shop of the day. If you’re looking for shops of this kind, Riverside is the place to be! On Park Street, there is a literally a whole strip of them. And right down the road, in 5 Points, there are some more to peruse. You can fill your whole day at each shop and they all had something different to offer. I personally base my level of enjoyment by how organized the place is. Are there so many booths that they have to be assigned numbers?  Is there random stuff slewed all over the place? Do you have to hold your purse close to your side to avoid knocking over a big pile of something-something? If ththekeye answer is “yes” to any or all questions, then I LOVE it. The messier and more packed-to-the-brim it is, the better!

While I was looking for my coffee table, my dad was curious about skeleton keys. He never told me exactly why, but I can see why he was so interested. I love keys. Especially the old, rusty ones that you can imagine unlocks only secret passageways or boxes filled with treasure. Have you ever seen the movie The Secret Garden? There is a scene where Mary Lennox finds an old music box. Inside the tiny drawer was a skeleton key that, of course, she finds unlocks the secret garden. That scene always resonated with me because of how antiquated the key looked; the movie revolved around that and the secrets it unlocked.

Why can't parents take normal selfies?
Why can’t parents take normal selfies?
I love finding things I match with.

A Wishing Tree

Sadly, I didn’t find the coffee table I was looking for. But I wasn’t sweating it because of the fun time I had with my Dad. I had intended to make it a solo adventure out to Riverside, but I am glad I had a partner to enjoy it with. When he left, I decided to drive down the road and continue checking out 5 Points. What is 5 Points? Well, it is what it sounds like: 5 roads meet up in one intersection! We all have to yield to each other, which does get kind of annoying and scary, but we all make it to the destination one way or the other. 5 Points is filled with trendy restaurants, fancy boutiques, and “artsy fartsy” stuff to boot. I live closer to the beach and the crowd is way different here. Ignorant people would describe it as the “home of the hipsters”. Those same people would describe my part of town as the “frat boys” or “beach bums”. I hate generalizations! Every area is different, yes. Different people. Different surroundings. Different experiences. I like my side of town because I love the beach, the laid-back attitude, the convenience. But I like Riverside because of it’s eclectic charm, good eats, and animated habitants. I highly recommend people step out of their borders and enjoy the other side of the fence. You won’t regret it!

How did I end my day, you might ask? With a delicious ice cream cone (chocolate with strawberries mixed in – not my favorite, but who can deny ice cream on a scorching Florida day?) from Marble Slab Creamery. Heads up: on Mondays, they give double-stamps on the reward cards. I am not going to lie, it was difficult taking this selfie without looking like a chump. I will admit I own a selfie-stick, but I am very afraid to use it in public. I am not one to care what other people think, but it does bother me when people stare while I take selfies. So, to be slick, I always set my camera on auto timer, run over to another area at a good distance, casually look coy as the flash goes off, run back, and pretend like nothing ever happened. What? What was that light? No, not a flash! No, I didn’t take a picture of myself! Mind your own beeswax! (See an example of that in the first picture of this blog). Skillz.

I’m an ice cream eating pro!


Tell me about your favorite parts of your town! How do you sneakily take selfies? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.



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