Charleston, SC

Best way to see the sights.

Colorful old houses on Rainbow Row

Between traveling to Nashville, the Florida beaches & Charleston, I feel like I could be happy living in any one of these places, as long as I got to do the kind of work I like.

Glad to be moving on towards more learning & work opportunities. Hope I like D.C.


Holmes Beach to Cocoa Beach

Last 24 Hours in Florida.

Welcome to St. Pete

Breakfast with the Ekhos in Holmes Beach, Manatee County. 

Brevard County

Took me hours to slosh through Jacksonville, but I made it out in one piece.  


If You Knew You Couldn't Fail

What would you do? 

That was the topic of discussion at August's Conversation & Cocktails, a networking event sponsored by the Ekho's (of which I am a member), and open to the public. 

The conversation was led by Susan Freeman, founder of Step Up Leader. She reminded us that failure comes down to perception and attitude. 

Susan with Ekho Laura FontanillsDoes failure cause you to work harder or give up?

One Ekho, a nonprofit professional, said that she has yet to take her biggest risk. Via text message she explained that she "takes risk in professional life but [in] personal life, always over analyze and play it safe." 

Another Ekho said her big risk came with a big benefit. "Getting divorced and finding the love of my life!" 

It was the perfect topic for me to mull over as I prepare to leave a comfortable but ultimately unsatisfying professional life in search of a better fit in Washington, DC. It's a risk, albeit an exciting one, and I'm open to wherever it takes me in grad school and beyond. 

Becoming an Ekho earlier this year was a risk too. At first these young mid-career professionals seemed so different from me. 

My inner Woody Allen wanted to know why a bunch of bankers & PR professionals would want me in their club. 

But I got to know these ladies beyond their job titles. They're mothers and girlfriends and artists and readers and need an outlet to discuss issues all women face. In this short time the relationships have given me much needed camaraderie and improved my overall outlook. 

I wouldn't have been as mentally prepped to leave for a bigger city had I not been inducted into this group. Getting to know them, and be one of them, is the cherry on top of my life in Tampa.  


A Night of Daniel Rodriguez

All month long at Carrollwood Cultural Center
Daniel's grandson & local musician Carlos Rodriquez
with friend Alvaro Montealegre & Cantinflas
Jim, the curator of the exhibit, said we had the same taste in fashionable dresses.
I suppose these guys won't ever make a comeback?

Colombians and Gringos

I met my friend Jim De Mauro a few years ago when we were both FMOPA volunteers. 

Tonight is the opening of a month-long photo exhibit at the Carrollwood Cultural Center that is dear to his heart & family. 

Jim's lovely wife Martha, who passed away earlier this year, was previously married to the son of Colombian photojournalist Daniel Rodriguez. She remained close to her former father-in-law, and continued to visit him in Colombia with Jim and her son Carlos.

Jim said he'd scour through thousands of Daniel's photos, and one day advised him to write down the names of all the people in them. 

When Daniel passed away, Carlos received box upon box of photos, all neatly inscribed with the time, place and people featured in each one. 

With the help of their supportive community, Carlos & Jim are giving Daniel's work its first American appearance.