Get To Know: Jim Sherraden

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I’ve had a crush on Jim Sherraden since first meeting him almost ten years ago. It may have been his easygoing manner or how he could skillfully crank out the storied posters that peppered my walls. It was almost definitely the soft brown leather cowboy boots he was wearing. I remember staring at them while he scribbled his name along with stars and hearts and fireworks into the book I bought.

I remembered that he was in Nashville while I planned my trip last month and I also knew he was making new art. Something I had to see. Because it’s something like I’ve never seen before. So I emailed him, and folks, dang it all if the man didn’t email me back. Within a few weeks, I found myself in the passenger’s seat of his truck headed to Watertown, Tennessee where he has his studio. In truth, where every artist I know should have a studio. It’s a small town that’s about to become something extraordinary, so you heard it here first…well, second, since Jim’s become sort of an ambassador of the place.

His new art is really special. He prints his own designs from hand-carved blocks, then water colors the paper and cuts it into traditional or non-traditional patterns. Marked out and placed together the patterns become paper quilts. Quilts that are so perfectly imperfect it’s hard to capture them in photos.

I hope Jim won’t mind my pasting this here without editing it because I love the way he sends emails. It’s endearing and delightful to get messages from him and his easy manner comes through each line. Here’s your chance to get to know Jim Sherraden, working artist, master printer, paper quilter, and man about [Water]town.

motto: preservation through production... I coined that for hatch but it works also for me personally

childhood...the scissors in the telephone drawer

recent acq...a table top fluorescent light from the 70's...so i can see the detail when watercoloring

current obs...well, sheepishly, it's actually LOOKING, and paying attention at all those Instagram posts from people i'm following. i'm new to this instybizness. i'm sure soon i'll just say 'ta hell with it'...

favorite hobby....see above

always on me...a vintage watch, most of the time from Hamilton watch co, Lancaster, pa

fav rest....well Katie's pizza place round the corner of course

fav museum...two of them, the keramic museum and the fries museum, both in Leeuwarden, friesland

best gift ever received....another way of asking this would be "best gift ever accepted"... and my answer would be, "my health".

most inspiring...cannery row by john Steinbeck. or susan diedre's biography of Samuel beckett

top of the to do...always attempt to be of service

most love about watertown...proximity of all essentials. everything is a slipper job, so close I can just wear house slippers to get there..

best thing about what....making the art makes me focus

favorite drink and what's in the fridge are the same answer...fruit flavored G2 gatorade

on nightstand...1.50 strength reading glasses

a film...."the heart is a lonely hunter"....the high school English teacher showed it during class, in high school...start with the lyrical nature of the title...

a film that you think defines amer. culture...Robocop the original. only the original.


Want to get in touch with Jim? You can find his website here. He is actually new to Instagram, but follow him for an inside look.

Watertown, Tennessee is pretty cool. If I had a little extra cash, that corner building on Main Street would be where Townie Tourist would have a Tennessee office.


Jenny De Witt is the Townie Tourist, serving up the diverse art, culture, and craft of Orlando and Central Florida. Life here is so much more than the Mouse. Tune in to watch LIVE on Facebook, Saturday mornings at 10 AM EST.

Interested in collaboration? Have an event you want us to cover? Get in touch.





Welcome to THE CATIO

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I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the cuteness that is all over my screen right now. Had to kick myself for timing my trip to Nashville just a few weeks before the opening of The Catio. It will operate in partnership with Nashville Cat Rescue, a network of fosters who care for and find forever homes for kittens.

They’re located about three miles from downtown Nashville at 1603 Riverside Drive, Nashville, TN 37216. This cat lounge and vegan bakery is in the heart of East Nashville. Wi-FI is available and along with a full-service cafe with fresh-baked vegan goods, there will also be Panther Coffee and select teas and other beverages.

Really, the most important is spending time with adoptable cats. Just think, you could go visit East Nashville and come back with a fur-ever friend.

We strive to build a sense of community by offering a place where Nashvillians can come to eat, relax, and watch kittens play. We are also an inviting space for the many tourists who visit Nashville every day, looking to pick up a treat and play with kittens while visiting our beautiful city.

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There will be cat-safe potted plants for sale. An hour in the kitten room is $12 and they’re open Tuesday through Sunday 9am-5pm. Give ‘em a follow on Instagram to check in on progress. They should be open by mid-April. Can’t wait to visit again!

The Catio on Instagram

Exploring East Nashville

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This visit to Nashville, I picked East Nashville. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are PUHLENTY of neighborhoods to choose from. Much like Orlando, each neighborhood in Nashville has its own personality.

East Nashville is kind of hanging out by itself to the northeast of town. When I say “town” I mean it. Nashville has about 750K people in it so it’s smaller than Orlando. It’s easy and cheap to Uber around and they even have UberPool here. I chose that option each ride and no one ever got in the car with me so it ended up being a cheaper version of the regular Uber ride.

Where I stayed:

Uber from BHN to East Nashville was a cool $19. With the airport’s new Ride Share App pick up location it was a breeze finding my car and hitting the road. We bypassed downtown and headed for the East side. I nabbed a room in a house within walking distance to a ton of things. Check out Willi’s AirBNB:

Where I ate:

I grabbed dinner at Mas Tacos. This lady’s been making tasty food since starting her OG food truck, often still seen on the road, back in 1979. Get one of everything. Cash or check only. Seriously, bring a check just to be able to write one again. What else are you going to do with them?

Shown below:
Pulled Pork Taco
Fried Tilapia Taco
Elote
Tortilla Soup
Horchata

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Cafe Roze was a perfect little lunch spot. Welcoming, cute, friendly, and full of delicious food. I had a superbly simple and delicious salad, juicy and perfectly cooked local burger, and a bright and yummy handmade pineapple mint fizzy soda. If you go, and you have to go, don’t forget to grab a Cafe Roze Latte to go. It’s got rose petals in it!

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Another stop I have to mention was for the hundred-layer-donut at Five Daughters Bakery. I think the word c-r-o-n-u-t is trademarked so it’s not that, but it’s like that, but not exactly, but basically, but not. It’s light, fluffy, perfectly iced, and like a cloud of yeasty, airy, lovely with vanilla sugar icing.

Well, just look at it. Don’t you want one? If you absolutely need one and can’t make it to Nashville, they’ve got a shop in Seaside, Florida. What’s that, like five hours away? Just go.

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Where I…coffee’d:

Barista Parlor is one of the best locations to grab a pour-over and jumpstart your morning. I opted for the Daredevil, a citrus-y mix of Sumatra and Guatamala that packed a punch. The short wooden stools here are kind of amazing. They tip forward so you feel like you’re ready to let the brakes loose on your Big Wheel. You’re being propelled into whatever you’re doing: starting a new creative venture, business, investment fund, or relationship. You feel like you’re already going even while sitting down. It’s rad. I feel like I need one of those stools in my life every single day.

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Where I shopped:

Walk to Gift Horse from Barista Parlor and you’ll follow beautiful brick sidewalks with unique houses-turned-shops until you’ve reached a super neat little area full of local treasures. This is THE place for unique Nashville tchotchkes. Jessica hand picks amazing goods you won’t find anywhere else in the city; local finds and fun cards, bags, dishtowels, t-shirts, pillows and posters.

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Where to get vegan treats and pet cats:

They’re not open just yet so I was super sad about having to miss the kittens, but I got in touch and the people in charge filled my phone screen with floof. So, if y’all are headed to East Nashville, put this vegan bakery and cat lounge on your list. Welcome to The Catio!

Follow their Instagram right now. It’s cool. I’ll wait.

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I didn’t see a whole lot of other people walking or biking so I reached out to Nashville Guru for some answers and insight. Here’s what they had to say:
“East Nashville is great, but you won't see many people walking. There are little pockets (5 Points / Eastland Avenue, Riverside Village) where you'll see a little foot traffic, but not much. For walkability, biking, and scootering, you'll need to venture to the other little neighborhoods, particularly 12 South, Midtown, Hillsboro Village, Germantown, The Gulch, and Downtown/SoBro. You'll definitely see more activity here. Cars/Lyfts are still the primary way of getting around though." 

Where do people in Nashville go to get away for the weekend?
”Chattanooga, Asheville, Gatlinburg, Louisville, and Memphis are popular cities to visit. Most Nashvillians will go to nearby lakes for a short getaway, including Percy Priest, Center Hill, Tims Ford, and Kentucky Lake.”

Are you seeing any trends in travel to specific neighborhoods or areas?
”From our perspective, East Nashville, 12 South, The Gulch, and Germantown are the most frequented areas outside of Downtown. You'll notice more robust development in The Gulch and Germantown (such as new apartments, hotels, etc). East Nashville is popular with creatives and leans residential with pockets of retail and destination restaurants/bars. 12 South is a blend of residential and commercial development, with about a mile-long strip of activity on 12th Avenue South.” 

Best options for coffee in your opinion?
“There are a lot of great coffee options. Check out any Barista Parlor for a cool vibe or Crema for serious coffee.” 

They have this handy dandy map of neighborhoods. I’m just going to borrow it and put it here. (Click through to see more from Nashville Guru on each neighborhood.)

All in all, a fantastic neighborhood visit and I will definitely be back. Frontier has super-affordable and fast direct flights from MCO. It’s an easy weekend trip, so add it to your list for exploring.

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What's In My Dopp Kit?

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I emptied my kit to get ready for a trip this weekend and thought maybe you’d be interested in how Townie Tourist travels? I always throw this Dopp kit into my travel bag. It’s just a canvas pouch, but it’s easy to clean and easy to pack.

First, what the heck is a dopp kit? My parents have called it that for years and I just keep on saying it.

Charles Doppelt invented the toilet bag in the 1920s and rather than call it that embarrassing name, people started saying Dopp Kit. Well then, there you go. My grandmother was born in 1910 and she probably saw the advertisements and she certainly called it that. There’s no way she would have used the word, “toilet.” Toilette maybe…

So here’s what one looked like. Generally made of leather and a wide opening at the top with side pockets for things. Once folded over and zipped it can be compressed to flatten inside your luggage.

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So now what goes INTO a kit? Well, mine has the basics in it at all times, so I can grab it and go. Sometimes I head over to Sarasota and don’t want to think about what to pack, so the essentials are here. Also, you know I’m into safety and like to be prepared, so here’s what’s in my Dopp kit at all times.

The Dopp Kit Essentials

Zodiac Little Jumbo Pouch by Seltzer ($23)
The pouch.
I actually grabbed this during a sale weekend at the Orlando Museum of Art gift store.

Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen ($19)
I love sunscreen. SPF is one of the reasons my skin looks the way it does. Supergoop! is a fave. I currently have five that I switch between but this one is great for face and body and it’s water resistant. When I get close to the end of a tube, I throw it in the kit to finish up on the road.

Naked Bar Soap Co. Pit Cream ($11)
I am a stickler for not smelling like I’ve been traveling. So a good natural deodorant is a MUST HAVE. I’ve always tried to reduce the heavy metals in my life. Once I tried this tin of glorious stuff, there was no going back. Sweat is good, smell is not. This lemongrass spearmint is deliciously scented and lasts all dang day.

**Made in ORL

Tide Pen
duh.

Glide Dental Floss
This stuff is great for oral hygiene and can remove food from between your teeth or can be used as fishing line. This kind doesn’t have wax on it to get in the way of being tied or knotted. Other uses: fire-starter, trip-wire, lash a knife to a stick, tie up laundry, or help make a shelter. I mean, you just never know.

Fancy Ribbon
No idea why this was in here. I think it was left over from my trip to NYC. I bought something at ABC Carpet & Home and they use pretty ribbons for their packages.

Minimal Sewing Kit
This one I grabbed years ago and haven’t needed it but I know the one time I don’t include it, I will. So Murphy’s Law makes me put it in the kit. Hems come undone, holes happen. This will save me. Also tiny scissors and thread have multi-uses. Has anyone ever trimmed their bangs with teeny scissors, I wonder?

Tiny Emery Board
I got a bunch of these at Muji and have been carrying them around for ages. It’s so dang handy when you snag a nail or need to sharpen tweezers. Wait, where ARE my tweezers?

Toothpaste
Whatever small kind I find on sale. This was a trial with purchase somewhere. Hello travel size toothpaste in Farm Grown Mint. Sounds yummy.

Megababe Fresh Wipes
Because sometimes a whore’s bath is all you have time for. Or because you’ve been walking around a city all day and want to sit down to dinner feeling fresh. They’re individually wrapped so you can throw one in every bag you own and know you’re covered…just in case.

Innoxa Eye Drops ($15)
I grabbed a couple bottles while in Paris and love how they clear up redness and brighten up the whites of my eyes. Nice to see that they’re available on Amazon! Freaky deaky blue color, but feels great.

Face Wash
I may do a standalone post about my favorites, but this one is numero uno right now. Elemis Superfood Face Wash. The travel size has lasted me through four week long trips so far and there’s still a bit left. That said, I use half a fingernail’s worth and make it last as long as possible.

Cotton Swabs
Do not insert in ear. (I mean, you really shouldn’t. Right?)

Dr. Collins Perio Toothbrush ($4)
This one is my fave and tends to last longer than other toothbrushes.

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What are the essentials that you pack? Have I overlooked anything? Comment below!

My Travel Bag for 2019

Someone did a study a while back and quoted something like hard-sided suitcases were a sign of declining civility. What bunk! Hard sided suitcases were the standard until the sloppy seventies came along and some poor sop decided that a duffel back should be used for traveling rather than as something to carry to the gymnasium or on safari. No, even on safari people used gorgeous leather trunks and cases. HELLO?? Out of Africa, people.

To prove my point, I give you the Singita Sabora Luxury Safari tent. NO ONE is going to throw their backpack on THIS bed and live to talk about it. So if you don’t want to be fed to the lions, consider the many alternatives to grubby, stained, sloppy duffels.

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If anything, hard sided suitcases seem smart. And the choices are endless. Even UO is getting in on the game. New-ish darlings, Away, seem to have stolen people’s hearts. And Rimowa is always a classic. But a Louis Vuitton trunk is where it’s at. The ULTIMATE in luxe travel gear. However, it’s just not practical when you’re a woman on the go. And who has TIME for managing all those people to CARRY the thing?

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I may not be able to lift a trunk, but I can definitely carry my own bag just like these toughies can. So after a whole year of trial and error on multiple journeys, I’ve finally chosen two travel bags for different types of travel. Both of them are on the small side, so click away now if you’re not in the market for minimalism.

MUJI Hard Carry Suitcase 35L

So, if you’re a guy or gal who uses packing cubes, or vacuum bags, this case is a dream. If you’re someone who just throws it all in there and goes, this is going to make you look put together and classy. It’s different than the Away suitcases and I prefer it above all others because of this:

It will not roll away. Commuters, well-seasoned travelers, multi-city visitors know that surfaces around this incredible world are not even or level or smooth. It’s got four double wheels all right and they’re quieter than a whisper in a vaccuum sealed room. BUT THERE’S ALSO A WHEEL LOCK. Thank God, because I didn’t lose it around a curve in the L-Train in Manhattan, and it didn’t go rolling into the elderly woman beside me on the ramp in Grand Central. It stays put with the gentle push of a button. No furtive glances and pulled attention. Click it and stick it, y’all.

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It’s secure and the TSA secure lock is on the side rather than the top, so you’re not going to scrape your knuckles on the thing or mistake it for the handle.

It’s smooth moving with four double wheels that are as silent as the grave. (Mentioning “grave” along with suitcase reviews might seem morbid, but hey if you’re going to “head west”, let’s hope it’s as silently as these wheels.) They’re like the Toyota Hybrid of roller wheels. You’ll never be clicking or clacking your way through a last minute museum visit or restaurant stop.

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It’s scratch resistant. With a polycarbonate shell and a ballistic nylon overcoat, the surface has a concave-convex texture, which prevents scratches and keeps scratches unnoticeable. One note about this material, it breaks down in constant heat, so store your suitcase in a climate controlled area. I know, but still.

It’s lighter than the Away. I tried the Away suitcase with a battery and without and this Muji case, even at a couple liters less capacity, seems larger. Which means this gal with old lady shoulders can actually get the thing into the overhead compartment (“Wheels first please, madam.”) without having to ask the burly dude, in the seat I really wanted, to get up and help me with it. Although, I might ask anyhow, because sometimes I just feel like using my lady powers for personal gain. (Don’t hate.) Doors, heavy things, jewels. I draw the line at furs though. Faux only! Oh gosh, how did we end up here… onto one other bag.

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Mother Lode Weekender Junior

I know I just went on and on about not carrying a duffel bag, but this is different. No, really. It’s a suitcase AND a backpack. The thing has never ending space. Just think of it as a weekender to fling in the back of a car or truck to hit the road with.

It comes in seven colors but I chose black. Obviously. I’m a Scorpio. The orange one has the best detail photos though, so check this out.

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Hidden Laptop Compartment where it’s padded and safe and you can have your entire bag opened and people won’t know it’s safely stowed inside and out of view.

Junior version fits under the seat for when you fly super cheaply and don’t purchase overhead bin space. The Junior is 19” high and the regular Weekender is 22” in case you’re deciding on size.

3 Handles AND backpack straps so you can carry it like a suitcase or wear it like a backpack. The straps stow away cleanly so you wouldn’t even know it’s a backpack. Again, for when you’re popping into the shops or lunch before leaving, it’s got a good look to it.

Organized like nothing else on the market. The front flap opens to reveal an easy access section for notebook pens, and everything you want to get to in a hurry. Scarf, sweater, headphones, sunscreen. There’s even a key loop so you’re not left waiting on the curb digging through everything to find them. And because of the internal dividers, nothing shifts in travel.

These are the two bags that will be taking me through 2019 in style. Oh, and I chose black as the color for both bags because ALL BLACK EVERYTHING for me when it comes to travel. It’s just the easiest color.

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So, grab your bag and your pals and get goin’… Happy packing!

What You Need To Know About Zika

I’m not putting a giant mosquito photo here. So gross.

There’s an issue at hand that isn’t making headlines right now and I figured I’d share some resources that could help you plan. I know safety isn’t the sexiest travel topic, but Zika is still a thing. It’s in 86 countries, and many of the women travelers I know have Zika locations on their travel destination wish lists.

I did a bit of research on the CDC and World Health Organization sites to get info you can use when planning your next trip.

Facts about Zika:

Unlike malaria or other mosquito borne illnesses, Zika doesn’t have a vaccine yet. What’s worse, it’s difficult to determine whether you’ve been infected and sometimes symptoms are mild or don’t show up at all.

What is Zika?
It was first discovered in the 40s in Ugandan monkeys. In March 2015, Brazil reported a large outbreak of the Zika virus and today a total of 86 countries and territories have reported evidence of mosquito-transmitted Zika infections. 

How do you get Zika?
You can get Zika from a mosquito bite. Once infected, you may feel feverish or get pink eye or have headaches. Beyond the initial period that you have the virus, it can be transmitted sexually or through fluid exchange for months after you’ve been infected. Men can transmit Zika for six months after being infected (Zika lives longer in sperm) and women for two months.

Transmission can happen through vaginal, anal, and oral sex, and sharing of sex toys. Crazy, right?

Want to get pregnant?
Women of a reproductive age who intend to get pregnant should avoid areas with risk of Zika.

Pregnant?
Pregnant women should NOT travel to areas with risk of Zika. If you must, please talk to your doctor about ways to protect your pregnancy.

If you or your partner travel to an areas with risk of Zika, you should use condoms from start to finish every time you have sex or not have sex for the entire pregnancy, even if neither of you have symptoms or feel sick.

Click here for sexual transmission information from the CDC.

“Zika causes microcephaly and other congenital abnormalities in the developing fetus and newborn. Zika infection in pregnancy also results in pregnancy complications such as fetal loss, stillbirth, and preterm birth.” In simpler terms, babies are born with smaller heads than normal, shorter limbs and in some cases, have been born with neurological problems and unable to hear or see.

Where is Zika?

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Africa: AngolaBeninBurkina-FasoBurundiCameroonCape VerdeCentral African RepublicChadCongo (Congo-Brazzaville)Côte d’IvoireDemocratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa)Equatorial GuineaGabonGambiaGhanaGuineaGuinea-BissauKenyaLiberiaMaliNigerNigeriaRwandaSenegalSierra LeoneSouth SudanSudanTanzaniaTogoUganda

Asia: BangladeshBurma (Myanmar)CambodiaIndiaIndonesiaLaosMalaysiaMaldivesPakistanPhilippinesSingaporeThailandTimor-Leste (East Timor)Vietnam

The Caribbean: AnguillaAntigua and BarbudaArubaBarbadosBonaireBritish Virgin IslandsCubaCuraçaoDominicaDominican RepublicGrenadaHaitiJamaicaMontserratthe Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a US territorySaba; Saint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint MartinSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSint EustatiusSint MaartenTrinidad and TobagoTurks and Caicos IslandsUS Virgin Islands

Central AmericaBelizeCosta RicaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasNicaraguaPanama

North America: Mexico

The Pacific Islands: FijiPapua New GuineaSamoaSolomon IslandsTonga

South America: ArgentinaBoliviaBrazilColombiaEcuadorFrench GuianaGuyanaParaguayPeruSurinameVenezuela

What to pack if you have planned travel to a Zika destination:
Long pants and long sleeved shirts
Mosquito repellant with DEET
Condoms
If possible, sleep with a mosquito net at night.

Safe Travel Zones:

As of 1/2019 the CDC has listed the following as safe travel zones and some of them are pretty spectacular.

American Samoa
The Bahamas
Cayman Islands
Cook Islands
Guadeloupe
French Polynesia
Isla de Pascua, Chile
Marshall Islands
Martinique
Micronesia
New Caledonia3
Palau
Saint Barthélemy
Vanuatu

I get it. I do. Some of those Zika countries are the hottest destinations right now and others offer incredible travel deals. But be aware, be informed, and be prepared. Here’s to you being a healthy tourist.

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This is the jerky Aedes mosquito.

For more information or an updated list on Zika, visit https://www.cdc.gov/zika/