Meet the Artist behind Sonya Rae Designs

Art is heart. Yes that’s my take. Every artist no matter their field puts their heart into their work. You may not like it, we get that. But for those of you who appreciate individual expression, every artist thanks you.

When I say art or artist there are many forms and talents. Right now it is my pleasure to promote an awesome artist. Trust me, there are many out there, but this incredibly talented lady, is featuring now. I hope to have the opportunity to work with other artists over different fields, and assist in their promotion, showcasing their work.Sonya Rae Erhart possesses not only, unbelievable talent, but patience way beyond most parameters. I spent some one on one time in her studio to understand her work. And, I was completely mesmerised.

I asked Sonya to tell me her story, how did you get here? And in her own words, she told me,

“Art has always been a huge passion of mine especially portraiture. Discovering the love of Airbrushing started after watching an Artist complete an amazing portrait in 20 minutes. Totally blown away….I just had to learn the skill..!!!

So I attended an Airbrushing Night Course and then an Advanced the following year. It wasn’t an easy journey though… probably took at least five months to get control of the Airbrush. The fun really began when I bought my own Badger Airbrush to practise at home. I now have four Iwata’s which I think are the Queen of Airbrushes.

Greatest satisfaction for me is seeing a client’s face after I show them my creation….especially a Commission Painting. Knowing my Art is displayed in someone’s home and enjoyed by others is extremely rewarding.”

Tools of the trade are important for any artist, and Sonya has come a long way in perfecting choices in her chosen field. From the canvas through to the types of mediums and airbrushes used, Sonya not only ran me through her processes and equipment, she did it with the enthusiasm of a beautifully proud new parent.

After projecting an image onto the canvas, Sonya then sketches the outline in pencil. Very light, so you wont pick it up in this photo, however there is a faint outline of the hat and collar. And yes, the little picture taped on the left, is what she uses to guide her way through the colours and shapes, after choosing her subject.

Always by her side, are these two adorable boys, Beau & Bobby. They keep their human Mum well within their range and ensure she always has company.I looked into the history of airbrushing, to understand its origins. The first airbrush or paint distributor/atomiser as they were first named, was patented in 1876 by Edgar Francis Stanley in Massachusetts. Crude designs were invented until Walkup who repatented his work, with a name thought of by his wife, Phoebe, “air-brush”.

At a stakeholders meeting of the new Air Brush Manufacturing Co at 7pm on 6 October 1883, the name Air Brush was formalised.

This pressurised method of painting has been improved over the years, with some amazingly talented artists continuing to wow the general population with their impressions.

The finished Clint Eastwood canvas used in this article? That is now proudly on display at a local Brisbane Northside Cafe, Aarth Cafe, who are in the process of revamping their popular cafe to include and showcase Sonyas work. All work displayed at the cafe, will also be for sale. Watch out for the article once the revamp is complete, which is when you see the completed piece. I would love your feedback, as would Sonya and Aarth Cafe owner, Sunny.

Sonya has some new experiences on the horizon, something she excitedly shared with me. Keep watching and follow her on instagram @sonyaraedesigns. Don’t be shy, contact Sonya for commission work or if you would like to purchase her art. From what I have heard and was shown, the skills of this particular artist are improving to the point of mind blowing.

Remember also to follow @dinelivetravel on Instagram , Facebook , Twitter , Snapchat, Stellar and Pinterest, to keep up with the talent I intend to uncover and showcase.

In the meantime, here a few of Sonyas finished works. Including both a surf and skate board. The surfboard has been signed by subject, Mark Occhilupo, unfortunately though Sonya did not get to meet him. I hope she does one day.

*All photos included in article and promotion, were taken with the permission of the artist. Should you wish to utilise photos or article content for commercial purposes, please contact the writer, or artist directly.

Velvets Restaurant, Two. Tails Winery, Nana Glen NSW

A couple of years ago, we travelled through NSW and stopped, for our very first stay at a B&B. Not only did we totally love the experience, but, the people were amazing! Oh and did I mention it was attached to a winery?? Nana Glen is less than a 30 minute drive from Coffs Harbour. An intriguing country area, with a drive through some simply beautiful locations, as you traverse Orara Way, between Coffs Harbour & Grafton.

But this location, Two Tails Winery, is beautifully inspiring. Our first visit here, we listened to the owners, as they outlined their plans for the future. A couple of years down the track, and we finally returned. To see the dreams come to fruition was not only admirable, but heartfelt. We felt like we knew this.Theres around 12 wines to taste test here. And now, there is a totally city worthy restaurant, Velvets. The Head Chef, Jodie Thornber, was Russell Crowes personal head chef for 14 years. And yes she knows her industry.

Now Ive worked with Chefs throughout the years, but, I have never, ever, met such a humble, down to earth, balanced chef as Jodie. Not only is her work amazing, she is a beautiful soul.

Saturday’s and Sunday’s, breakfast is available. Hmm, tempting, very.

Plus if you stay in the B&B, you have a choice, cook your own brekky with the breakfast food provided, or head to the restaurant at the weekends. Here you can have standard bacon & eggs, or, $10 off normal brekky menu. The standard meal, as far as I was concerned, was more than sufficient. Ok, also I didn’t have to cook or clean up, so yes, Im sold!There’s a lot of options out here. I mean seriously, who does not want to go and enjoy a long lunch. Oh! Or high tea, look at this set up! No food included yet, just the table setup.

Now that I have your attention, how about the food. Ok I’m a tapas fan. At the end of the day, meals can be too much to process, but tapas, oh yes. Pick and choose, nothing is too big.The first one trialled, was this incredibly soft, moreish, Camembert. With a delicious gooey centre, partnered with an interesting popcorn, this highly recommended dish, was delicious.

This is what I like about tapas. Not a Food Coma or overload. Have a taste, savour and enjoy. Eat as much or as little as you like. Not like a meal where you feel obligated to eat everything, plenty of choice here, seafood (check above) or perhaps the lamb meatballs below, are more to your taste. Choices are, well lets go with varied and many!

And if you’re into dessert as Hubby is, then try these, first up is the churros, followed by an crispy brandy basket ….Remember all of this is enjoyed as you overlook the vineyard. The sun sets over there and its truely mesmerising.

Watch out for the events. Throughout the year, this local venue, promotes different occasions. Support them, as you would support everything local.

We were very lucky to be included as part of the locals’s celebrations for the tapas and cocktails with music event. Tapas and cocktails $10 each. Lovely way to spend the afternoon.

Always keep in touch with Dine Live Travel on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Steller, Twitter, Snapchat and of course this website, http://www.dinelivetravel.com.

Stop, stay for a while, but enjoy. And remember the B&B. Let me know your thoughts! @dinelivetravel

Bean N Loaf – The Nest

Brisbane Suburbs are growing, quite rapidly. With the relatively new Fitzgibbon Chase area being one of those spreading its wings into the world beyond. Community, it really is all about your local community being the main focus.

This business, Bean N Loaf have taken the community integration onboard and over the past few months, since opening in the latter part of 2018, have established strong ties to this local area.

Family friendly, including your four pawed friend, Bean N Loaf have adapted their concept to the needs of this growing, local community.

With water bowls on hand for your furry friend, plus a multitude of people, namely staff and customers, offering free pats, your pooch will enjoy their visit.

For the kids theres all sorts of little treats, including a kids menu, and those special baby chinos for the mini me.

Stop by for some bakery, a revitalising coffee, or smoothie, but dont forget to try the menu as well. There are some enjoyable meals to be had.

Using as many local businesses for ingredients as they can, Bean N Loaf pull out all stops to support their chosen corner of the world.

The salmon fillet makes for a very special treat for the day. Gorgeously soft, served alongside an interesting side salad, this meal certainly fills the spot.

Or, if you prefer some pastry and chips, try a pie with a side of fries. Hubbys had no complaints at any time for these dishes and savours them immensely.

There is a special wall area set aside for business cards promoting local business, competitions regularly occur to mark different occasions and a new initiative, just starting, is the book swap. Take along one of your previously read books and swap if for someone else’s preloaded book.

Opening from 6am, 7 days a week, the smiling staff will always be there to happily greet you.

Anzac Day has its own special significance for young and old alike. And, on this day, Bean N Loaf staff are opening even earlier, with coffee served from 4am, including a free coffee for veterans. Lest we forget.

Be sure to have a chat to the owners, Rudra & Saboo, as well as their friendly staff. They are more than happy to meet their supportive customers.

For more on Bean N Loaf, follow Dine Live Travel on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Steller and Twitter.

Goldies – The Island, Surfers Paradise

Located on Surfers Paradise Boulevard, just one block back from the iconic Surfers Beach, sits one of the original Gold Coast Hotels, The Island.

Goldies is the downstairs restaurant and bar, open from 7am, seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. This expansive restaurant is a wonderful place to catch the cooling sea breeze. Sit ourself next to one of the large open window spaces and watch the world go by.

Trams are literally on the doorstep, connecting different areas of the expansive Gold Coast, together. This is the right on the beating heart of Surfers. Pretty much, everything you want or need is nearby. But today, is about Goldies.

Menus here were reasonably priced, with a good choice of items. Judging by the cocktail menu and the selection of cocktail “additions” behind the bar, these guys know how to mix something for all tastes.

I am going to mention the service here, as the staff were absolutely awesome. Not only attentive and aware of their surroundings, but informative and helpful also. You deserve the recognition. Well done.

This southern fried chicken burger was an absolute hit with Hubby. From the jalapeño skewered through the top of the bun, to the deliciously crunchy chicken matched with smokey bacon, every morsel was consumed with rapture. Not only that, this burger was matched to literally the coldest on tap Stella Artois beer, hubby has ever had the fortune to drink. he even had a second 500ml on tap beer to make use, the first one was not just a happy accident. It wasn’t!

The light meal of salt and pepper calamari was my choice today. With a beetroot hummus cris crossed with a black squid ink aioli, what can I say, this was totally delightful.

In recommending this venue, I will mention, what a wonderful location to wile away the day. If you’re into people watching, this is definitely the place to be.

Have a chat to the enthusiastic staff, they are proud to briefly tell you the history behind The Island. Once holding the most unfortunate of reputations, but now, totally redeemed with the work put into this iconic Surfers Paradise venue.

The new area, which is being worked on now, well, I’m excited, as someone who has been to the awesome bar upstairs, which I thought was really very cool, but the staff assured me, the new area is going to be amazing!

Don’t forget to follow Dine Live Travel on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest.

Would also love you to comment or email dinelivetravel@yahoo.com.au with your feedback. Thank you!

Tempest Seafood Restaurant and Teppanyaki Grill

Known previously as Morgans, the Tempest Seafood Restaurant houses a Teppanyaki Grill area.

For those who have not experienced Teppanyaki, this is not just a meal out, it is a highly entertaining experience. Sitting on stools around the grill, your skilled personal Chef uses flair coupled with interesting commentary to prepare your chosen menu choice in front of you.

With a variety of teppanyaki menu choices, you can pick your preferred option to suit your taste and budget.

A wonderful assasination on the senses commences. Smell, see, hear, taste, feel, no sensory organs are missed for the next couple of diner interactive hours.

Heat threatens to scorch your eyebrows as towering brilliantly orange flames dance in front of you. Food sizzles loudly, emitting seductive scents designed to alert your appetite to the upcoming feast.

We began with Miso shiro, a soybean soup and a fresh salad.. Flames leapt from the grill as vegetables were cooked to perfection for the Yasai Itame dish. Prawns, tender calamari, chicken, wagyu steak, fried rice all followed.Seasonings enhance the fresh tender foods which melt in your mouth. No dish was less than superb. Even the prawn bodies are grilled to a crisp for those who wish to add some crunch.

No need to go anywhere, wait staff attentively serve your drink requirements so you can stay seated, and not miss a moment of the brilliant performance being enacted right in front of you.

Laughter as we know is good for the soul and our healthy well being. Try Teppanyaki, afterwards, no-one will be anything less than happily relaxed afterwards. It’s a fantastic icebreaker for your group too.

I’m not going to give too much away, you really should check it out. Be sure to enjoy the light palate sorbet cleanser at the end. Enjoy your visit!

Sunday’s Cafe Rocklea

Directly across the road from the Rocklea train Station, you will find Sunday’s Cafe. Clean, sharp and fresh looking, the cafe sports a large covered area outside, on two sides of the building. Heavy wooden tables and long wooden seats, invite you to stay a while. Bring your furry friend too, they are most welcome.Inside, a couple of small tables sit in front of a cleverly painted mural, framing the kitchen area, yet giving you a peaceful desert feel.

Quite a popular cafe, on this particular day, and I was informed it usually is busy on weekends, most trade coming from the local markets, yet surprisingly, not really anything from the train station.

Sorry commuters but you are seriously missing out here. Perhaps we should all take sometime to actually see what surrounds us.

Menu covers pretty much any taste. Short, simple and catering to your required choice.

Smoothies, coffees, plenty to choose from here.

Staff were friendly, helpful. Could not do enough in that regard, including asking if the dog needed a water bowl. Nice touch.

Service of food was quite adequate, we were there to chill and catch up so enjoyed the no rush, jam it down approach. If you’re expecting something nice you cannot expect that to arrive instantaneously.

Totally recommending this dish. Vege salad can be hard to balance and still be appetising, especially when its cold, but this dish, was seriously delicious. The turmeric paste mixed so well with the Vegetables. Not hot or over the top, just a really nice mix.

Add to your big breakfast with this seriously incredible pulled lamb. Tasted totally devine. I was lucky to try a small morsel.

Or, check out the mushrooms.

Topped with a poached egg, again lovely presentation, another delightful dish. Also, Im told, somewhat tasty.

This cafe has a few siblings. Check them out if they are in your area. Definitely worth a look,

And to those train commuters, stop and look around, you really are missing out.

Check Dine Live Travel on Faceboo, instagram, Pinterest, and twitter for more on this venue.

Margate Beach House Bar and Kitchen

You don’t get much closer to dining to the sea, than this. Ok yes, you can sit on the beach, but, for a restaurant, this location has you feeling the sea breeze whilst you chill out.

We recently spent a short break away at the Sebel Brisbane Margate Beach. One of the bonuses, is the Beach House Bar & Grill located on the ground floor.

Our check in was 2pm, something they are strict on here, but we went early to enjoy long lunch and begin the wind down.

I’m loving how this hotel has included history in the rooms as well as throughout the hotel itself. It really does provide a point of interest.

Clean lines are everywhere. Ok the hotel is new, so is this restaurant, however, comfortable roomy seating is a big plus. Nice to have a decent amount of room between yourself and the next table. There is nothing worse than being so cramped as extra tables are fitted into an area. The balance here, is really well thought out.But, the important stuff, food. Everything we had here was superb quality. Fresh food, delightful presentation, generous serves, and the added bonus, wonderful interactive wait staff.

Hubby had intended to go with the seafood tower, but a menu change had him test this intriguing seafood stew. There is much more to this dish than the photo shows, and he was most impressed.

Sticking with the seafood theme, I chose the barramundi. No complaints. Again, fresh, nice presentation, and for me, the perfect size.

Right now I could not go anything more, but hubby needed a sweet finish to the meal. His choice, lemon donut. Presented with fairy floss and dried raspberries, this was quite an impressive combination.Moving on through the day, Hubby eventually was hungry again. Not me, I was still overfull from lunch! Nice steak for hubby, side of crunchy broccolini for me. Perfect!

Once you enjoy a lovely night here, head down for brekky. No buffet, choose your meal and enjoy. Yes menus are limited, but, you don’t need a huge menu to please your customers. No matter what you do, you will never cater to all tastes.

Seriously, how good are these breakfasts??

From the time we spent at this venue, we could see the locals favour it. Treat yourself to a seaside weekend, check into the hotel and enjoy the delights from this onsite restaurant. Really doubt you will be disappointed!

Jaylianos Steak and Seafood Restaurant -Strathpine

One of the venues we have visited earlier this year, was the all you can eat buffet at Jayliano’s, Strathpine.

Now for me, all you can eat isn’t usually worthwhile, however hubby is a fan. It was a pleasant surprise to find the venue of a much higher quality than expected. No plastic chairs and tables here, a lot of thought has gone into the decor, including furnishings and set up.

So much to see here, with attention to detail really having been taken into account. The flooring helped to soften the background noise, steel has been used to create some interesting pieces.

Staff have a very efficient system in place, from greeting and table allocation at the door, to prompt clearing of tables and swift attention to drinks orders. It certainly helps to ensure you have sufficient staff levels, and Jayliano’s ensure the staff to customer ratio is well balanced.

Drinks prices were reasonable with jugs of soft drinks available too.

But it’s a buffet and its about the food. What a huge variety of food! From fresh seafood, steak, meats, salads, through to Asian style foods, pasta, fried food and a most impressive array of desserts.

The choice of foods is more than enough to satisfy anyone, no matter what your taste or diet. they really have catered well. Not only that, staff were quick to move any serving spoons customers did not remove and top up dishes as required.

The dessert selection included ice cream, miniature desserts, banana fritters, fruit and, the icing on the cake, marshmallows plus a selected fruit which could be dipped under the fast moving chocolate fountain. At $30 for lunch or $35 or dinner, thats pretty good value for the choice you have. A good venue if you have a group of people to cater for, who have varied tastes. At least you know what your meal cost will be.

There’s a well set up tea, coffee and water station too. Why not wash down your meal with a hot drink, or keep the water glass full during your meal.

Also there is a sister shop, over Kippa ring way, Ariala. Pricing is slightly different, however the concept looks similar. Would be interesting to check this one out too and see how it fares next to the Strathpine model. Keep up the good work!

More postings on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook. Check them all out 👍

Novotel Brisbane South Bank

Spaciousness combined with modern, inviting surrounds, greet you in the bar/restaurant area of Novotel Brisbane South Bank.

Refreshing to see such a large area devoted to comfortable lounge style seating in front of the bar. Add to this the bar stools, and you know you’ve found the ideal space to enjoy a coffee, pre dinner drinks or just wile away some time.

Friendly staff help to make this home away from home experience even more enjoyable.Unfortunately on this occasion, we did not have the luxury of staying, this was merely a visit for a business function. Very lucky though to be given a tour of this fabulously fresh and new hotel.

Given the standard of the food we did try, combined with the atmosphere, delightful staff and overall feel of this venue, Dine Live Travel will be back.

A lot of thought went into the design and decoration of this new hotel. Only opened in May of this year, this particular Novotel has been based on a European design which embraces the local area. Here, the outside comes in.Given the handy location to South Bank and all amenities in this area, how cool to see rooms with the bed head area dominated by these incredibly real depictions of the local area!

Immerse yourself in the city of Brisbane, drifting off to sleep under the very real feeling, canopy of the South Bank Arbour. Or, perhaps your room will feature the Channel 7 Wheel of Brisbane.

What a nice surprise when you open the room door to see what delightful artwork is waiting to make you feel a part of this vibrant city. Looking forward to hearing what you think!

From standard hotel rooms to suites with their own lounge, there is plenty on offer for you to to overnight or take a well needed staycation. Some rooms face over the spacious greenery that is Musgrave Park, others towards Southbank and the city. Maybe you will be able to clearly see the real Wheel of Brisbane from your room.

Suites feature an inviting deep bath. Immerse yourself here, with bubbles and champers. Oh yes, can you feel it??

The on site restaurant Spice Central, gives you some pleasant dining options. Here you can choose table dining, or, perhaps you would like to interact with kitchen staff. In this case, choose the bar stools located around the open air kitchen. What a great way to become a part of your meal production process, without the work or the dishes!Highly suggest you pay this venue a visit. It really does tick those boxes. And for those looking to enjoy the many events on offer either at South Bank or in the city, then this location, will definitely suit your needs. Give it a test run, we are going back. Might see you there!

Check this link for more Brisbane information https://snaptravelblog.com/best-place-photograph-story-bridge/

Outback Steakhouse – Aspley

With a refreshingly different style of menu presentation, the Outback Steakhouse provided us with a very pleasant venue for a Fathers Day treat. Once you realise the markings throughout the menu are actually part of it and not the scribbling from a previous patron, you will be somewhat amused!

Staff here will introduce themselves before tending to your table. Overall service was fine, and suited the location. Bar staff deliver the drinks whenever ordered and your wait staff often arrive out with trays to deliver your main meals.

Even when you are the driver for the day, the non alcoholic Mocktails are quite tasty. Yum to this thirst quenching Cherry Limeade!

There’s always a popular favourite entree, here, its the blooming onions. Onion pieces, encrusted in the Outback Steakhouses special recipe, these golden delights are handcrafted for your pleasure. No double dipping now….

This is quite filling, plus those blooming onions, really are quite moreish, you just cant help picking away. Well, I guess its not an everyday thing so once off is ok.

Steak meals abounded at our table, I mean, after all, this is a Steakhouse. This steak was quite eye catching, it really looked like a little loveheart. Rather cute.

Of course Dad is going to want the all in, ribs and steak, no surprises there!Too big a meal for me but hubby loved it and ate every tantalising morsel.

On this occasion I opted for the steak salad. Very happy to see a really good serving of steak covering the salad. Not only that, the steak was quite tender. An enjoyable dish, not too filling, not too light, and, yes you’re right, there were more blooming onions throughout the salad! Too easy to get addicted too!

Now Ive saved this photo for last, if you’re a burger lover, I think you are going to like this.Check out out this packed bun, bursting at the seams. A little note here too, those side salads. Not only pleasing to the eye but very appetising. They side salads exceeded expectation, a lot more than just lettuce mix.

Usually I’d finish with delectable dessert, but on this occasion, we were just too full. Ooops, but I guess you have to knock back on the calorie intake somewhere!

Outback has a number of locations, plus they offer pickup or delivery takeaway meals too. Drop in, its a nice experience. Let me know your thoughts.