Slowing things down…

I never thought I would talk about semi-retirement at the ripe old age of somewhere under 40 and over 30, but I am. On this website at least. My actual job that pays the bills takes up a lot of time. My free time to explore is more limited now than it was in the past. I can’t update the calendar and post all of the events that I get emailed about.

So, I am taking a step back. A breather, a refresher, a bit of a time to rest. Hopefully, I will be inspired to write about the events that I do go to. (We all know I can’t quit twitter.)

I started the idea of the Flossip on May 3, 2006. I can not believe it has been SEVEN years. In that seven years, I have truly seen Florence grow in ways I did not believe possible. I am proud of our elected officials as well as the people that have really stepped up and opened hotels and moved restaurants. I am eternally thankful to Palmetto First Federal Credit Union for their sponsorship! I have gotten to know the people there, and they are so kind and classy. I would not hesitate to take all of my banking needs to them. They work really hard for their credit union members as well as the greater community in Florence. They support civic and social endeavors. I am very proud to have worked with them.

I had grand ideas when I started this website and now we have a website doing just what I dreamed of– Florence Unlocked. I’m better at personal entries on my thoughts and ideas about specific events and events that I am really passionate about. You should take a minute and look through the archives. Posts from when Bentons first moved to where the Peddler now is, a post from the first Heart Ball I went to, a post about Cafe Florentine(!), and just generally encouraging people to get out of the house and try new things! (Look on the bottom of the left sidebar for archives.)

I will most certainly be posting about the Pecan Festival and the Fair. Those are two of my favorite things– and I started attending because I write this website.

I love Florence. I love living here. There are some negatives to living here too– but Florence has a heart. There are people that care and are truly trying to make it better. I’ll still be around documenting it, but just at a more leisurely pace.

(Don’t worry– the website remains. The Rumors, Closings and Openings conversation will remain open, but my updates may be later.)

Flossip Featuring reviews, to-do’s, and the not quite news in Florence, SC.

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Chamber Music this Sunday

Paolo Gualdi

Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi
If you haven’t met or heard the Zezelj-Gualdi Duo, you’re in for a treat as the husband and wife duo kicks off the Chamber Music Concerts season this Sunday.

Paolo Gualdi is a piano professor at Francis Marion University. (He also created the South Carolina Chamber Music Festival at FMU’s Performing Arts Center.) Danijela Zezelj-Gualdi is a professor at UNC-Wilmington and will be performing on violin . Simply put, it’ll be breathtaking.
It’s quite amazing Florence is drawing in such talent.

The duo will perform a violin and piano recital at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Art Trail Gallery at 185 W. Evans St. in downtown Florence.

Tickets are $10 and you can purchase them at the door.

After the performance, there is a wine reception with the musicians.

They will be performing:

Schubert: Sonatina in A minor, D. 385

Vasks: “Distant Light” – Concerto for Violin (1997)

Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen (Gipsy Airs), Op. 20

Flossip Featuring reviews, to-do’s, and the not quite news in Florence, SC.

Palmetto First Federal Credit Union

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The Grotto celebrates One Year Today!

In celebration of their being open for one year, the Grotto has two for one wine tastings tonight. They have a lovely Rose’ (a new favorite of mine) from Languedoc, a big oaky Chardonnay from Edna Valley, a crisp Italian white named Lugana and a Sauvignon Blanc from Washington State. They also have Torri Mor Pinot from Oregon, a beautiful Spanish red from Sierra Salinas (Another favorite of mine!) and a 2003 Nero d’Avola from Sicily.

There will be a nice selection of artisan cheeses and salami as well.

On September 27 at 7 p.m. Chuck Bender will be playing live.


Flossip Featuring reviews, to-do’s, and the not quite news in Florence, SC.

Palmetto First Federal Credit Union

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Les Miserables at Florence Little Theatre

I have not had my usual time to write reviews, but I could not let the opportunity pass to give a shout out to the completely sold out Florence Little Theatre Production of “Les Miserables.” I have seen the traveling production, and was very nervous about this show coming to Florence. Would we do it justice? Could we– the small city of Florence, SC– pull off this big show?

After seeing the show on opening night, the answer is a resounding “YES.” Florence Little Theatre staff and volunteers can do anything they set their mind to do. How could I even question this? The runtime is about three hours, but I can truly say that even ADHD Flossip never once felt tired or wanted to leave.

Julia Saverance masterfully directs an all star cast to new heights with this performance. Roger Kirby traveled from Lake City to audition as Jean Valjean and is a welcome visitor to the FLT stage. He manages to truly embody his character and evokes emotion from start to finish. If you look at the end, he has a single tear running down his cheek as he sings his goodbye.

A newcomer to Florence Little Theatre is Timothy Kelly as Javert. Kelly has been driving to Florence from Conway for months- truly committed to this role. He never breaks character, and my favorite part is when he and Valjean have a dueling duet. Javert is such a complex character to understand, and Kelly allows us to see how he is motivated and what drives him.

The list continues with Blake Graham (Marius) and Cole Davis (Enjolras). They help the audience to feel and understand their youthful passion. You will laugh and cry with them and for them as the play unfolds. I am not going to lie to all of you, when Happy Pendegraft (the Bishop) sings, I get a little weak in my knees. I am a sucker for a deep voice!

The female roles (all the “Lovely Ladies”) in this show are superbly cast. Arlene Boyd, an FLT veteran, is a beautiful and talented Fantine. Her dedication to this role included chopping her long hair off so that she would actually have short hair for the part! Bree Boyce (our own Ms. South Carolina!) does a lovely job as Eponine. I had tears in my eyes when… oops… can’t spoil the show! Anna Lyles joined the cast as Cosette. Her voice is absolutely beautiful– it is amazing the notes that she is able to hit. Little Cosette is played by Abby Greenwood, and I could listen to her sweet voice for hours. She does a superb job as Little Cossette and Amelia Whitehead is delightful as Little Eponine. RJ Lee is heartbreakingly good as Gavroche. There are so many members of the chorus that stand out in my mind, I can not highlight them all and it would be unfair to pick one or two. I can tell you that the culmination of their voices is an uplifting experience in and of itself.

Last but not least… the slimy, the dirty, the hysterical…Thernardiers. Played by Rebecca Thompson and Glen Gourley, they provide comic relief that will have you falling out of your chair. They both took these roles and absolutely ran away with them! (If you know Rebecca, you will not recognize her if you do not know her character.)

Every single member of the chorus helps add something special and important to the show. There are both FLT veterans as well as newcomers in the chorus. Hearing them sing in unison is breathtaking. This production would not be what it is without scores of volunteers. The lighting, crew, props,costumers, orchestra, actors… these people are donating 30 hours and more of their time week in and week out to bring this show to Florence. Florence Little Theatre is the first community theatre in South Carolina to show the production. When you see someone involved in the show– thank them for their time and efforts.
(The News Journal article has a more complete cast list.)


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Florence To-do’s

When I first started this blog in 2006 (can you believe that!?) there wasn’t all that much for me to post. It seemed like every year, more and more started to happen.

And now? Florence is EXPLODING. I know people crack on our fair city at times, but I am here to tell you– we are moving onward and upward. Look at downtown! New businesses are coming to town, jobs are starting to open up more and more.

The Hotel Florence? Is beautiful! I had a tour the other day (Pictures to follow) and was impressed. I love the new Victors. I love that more places are opening near the mall. I still need to try out the Grotto’s wine selection, I need to get to Rebel Pies new location on Second Loop… the list goes on.

However… now I am greedy! I want MORE. More places to eat, more places to meet for happy hour, more more more.

I can’t answer all of the emails and post all of the things that I want to post. I need to go through and update my Florence links. There are new websites that offer a lot as well– Florence Unlocked is one of them. If I had the time– this is pretty much what I would love to do! Check them out today! I’ll keep checking them out and highlighting things that intrigue me or that I think you should check out.

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Waving a magic wand…

We had a consultant once that asked us what we wanted if we could wave a magic wand and make it happen…

So today’s “wave your magic wand” question is this: If you could wave a magic wand, what retailers and businesses would you want downtown?”

I want more local places to eat. I loved going to Greenville recently and having choice after choice of bars and restaurants. I wish there was a HandPicked jewelry downtown. I wish there was a gift shop downtown. I personally want to open a book store….

What about you– what do you want to see downtown?

Flossip Featuring reviews, to-do’s, and the not quite news in Florence, SC.

Palmetto First Federal Credit Union

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Long Grain Cafe

Have y’all tried Long Grain cafe yet? I have been a few times and really enjoy it.

My favorite menu item there (and maybe in all of Florence) is the tomato basil soup. It is delicious and every time I think about it… I want a bowl.

Their prices are reasonable. Last time I went, I had sausage and shrimp grits… delicious! Service was good, the inside is very clean.

Let me know if you have been. I want to try breakfast there as well.

260 W. Palmetto Street, Florence, South Carolina 29501



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Arsenic and Old Lace

Audition time!  This is a straight play, which means you don’t have to be able to sing!  (This is very helpful for Flossip.) (Look at me with the theatre lingo!)(How many things can I put in parenthesis?)(There are rumors that I may even audition. Unconfirmed, of course.)


Auditions are Wednesday August 21, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. at Florence Little Theatre.


This is a great opportunity to step outside the box, meet new people, and see how you like acting.  Please bring a photo that you don’t need back.

Arsenic and Old Lace

The Play:


October 25-November 2, 2013
Written by Joseph Kesselring
Directed by Shannon Dunn
Underwritten by Armstrong Wealth
and Dan and Anne Ervin

Arsenic and Old Lace centers on two elderly sisters who are famous in their Brooklyn neighborhood for their numerous acts of charity. Unfortunately, their charity includes poisoning lonely old men who come to their home looking for lodging. The two women are assisted in their crimes by their mentally challenged nephew who believes he is Teddy Roosevelt and who frequently blasts a bugle and yells ‘‘charge’’ as he bounds up the stairs. Matters get complicated when a second nephew, a theater critic, discovers the murders and a third nephew appears after having just escaped from a mental institution.

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Forgotten Lunch Spot

I don’t know why I never eat at Miyami for lunch, but I did yesterday.  I enjoyed sitting in the front and ordering from the sushi menu.  The spicy tuna is my current favorite.  Nice atmosphere, good food, good service.  I didn’t love the salmon roll, but I don’t like sushi that just has the seaweed wrapped and no rice on the outside.  (I know it is better for you, but it just isn’t for me.)

I have also done sushi take-out here recently and that is always a big hit!


Where have you eaten lunch this week?

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