commitment, Florida, food, New York City, Orlando

This Just In: Orlando creates a scene with food

East End Market, Orlando, Florida
East End Market, Orlando, Florida

When I lived in New York City, I loved the vibrant food scene there. Growing up in a rural area of farm country and later working for an environmental nonprofit, I’ve always felt really connected to the dirt despite living in cities for more than half my life. I didn’t know if I’d find anything like that food scene when I moved to Florida but yesterday (ironically) The New York Times shined a light on what is growing here as it picked Orlando as one of its top travel destinations for 2015. Why? Because of the local food scene driven by places like East End Market and Cask & Larder.

While nowhere near the size of New York’s food scene, Orlando-based farmers and food artisans are building a locavore community with passion. I’m hoping to get more involved with that world now that I have the time and space to do that. I’ll let you know what I find. In the meantime, check out this article that highlights several food entrepreneurs that are making a delicious life here in the central part of the Sunshine State. (Scroll to number 15 on this list.)

Florida, imagination, inspiration, nature, New York City

Inspired: I see the stars in Florida

From Pinterest
From Pinterest

Stargazing was one of my favorite activities when I was a kid. I looked at the stars for hours and they carried me away into my imagination. Were there creatures up there, out there, looking at Earth the same way I looked at the stars and planets? Did they know things I didn’t know? Did they have magic powers that I could only dream of? Maybe. Definitely.

In New York City there are hardly any stars. The city has too much ambient light and that light hides the stars from us. They’re up there of course, but New Yorkers can’t see them, or at least can’t see them very well. Here in Florida, they’re out there in brilliant abundance every night. They carry me away exactly like they did when I was a child. They remind me that I am only one very small speck in an enormous universe that is awash with secrets, truths, and discoveries yet to be made.

The sight of the stars in Florida keeps me reaching, and for that I’m grateful.

change, Florida, writing

Inspired: My first week in Florida

Sandhill Cranes - my new neighbors
Sandhill Cranes – my new neighbors

I’m one week into my Florida residency and I thought I’d share the good, the bad, and the in-between with you:

The good
– I get to see my nieces all the time. We actually share part of the house with our rooms clustered together, and Phin in particular loves all of the attention he gets here.

– My sister and brother-in-law have been gracious hosts for me while I sort out life here. They redid their guest room for me and my closet is almost as big as one of the rooms I rented in my last apartment.

– For most of the day, I have the house all to myself so that time’s been incredibly productive for me. I had a flurry of writing work that I wasn’t expect last week so I felt very grateful to have the space in my life to get it done.

– Cost of living is so much lower here, it’s laughable. I’m still in sticker shock after my many years of New York City prices for everything.

– I’m so close to nature here. The sunrises, sunsets, and wildlife are beautiful. My family lives in a rural area of Central Florida (that is surprisingly close to Orlando) so I have plenty of opportunities to get back to the land.

– It’s been over 10 years since I lived in Central Florida and Orlando in particular has changed a lot. In the coming weeks, I’m looking forward to exploring it.

The bad
– The heat is intense. As someone who loves seasons, particularly the Fall, I knew this would be tough for me. Unfortunately, Florida doesn’t get those gorgeous Fall colors that I love so much. However, Fall weather will eventually arrive here and it lasts longer here since Florida doesn’t really have a winter and Fall in the Northeast ends in the blink of an eye. (And this morning, it was a brisk 57 degrees. I couldn’t be happier about it!)

– I don’t yet have a routine. I love order and organization, of my time and my belongings. Just after a move, everything always feels out of whack for a time and I’m looking forward to getting that sorted out soon.

– I miss my New York friends. While many of my close friends live nowhere near New York, and I do have wonderful friends in Florida, I miss being able to stroll down the street or hop on the subway to hang with them. I’m hoping many of them will come to Florida to visit, and making plans to see my Florida friends should also help ease that sting.

– Because I’ve spent most of my adult life living in New York, I’m used to heading underground, jumping on the subway, and magically emerging exactly where I want to be, or taking my marathon walks all over Manhattan. Here, I have to learn how to get around by car and I have a fairly underdeveloped sense of direction. Thank goodness for GPS!

The in-between
– We drive everywhere. I love public transportation, though once I get my own car, find a neighborhood that has some walkability (where I’m hoping to buy a house or condo of my own for the first time!), and get my patterns down, I think I’ll find a way to make this work for me. I am looking forward to taking my first ride on the Sunrail, the very beginnings of Central Florida’s public transportation system. It’s incredibly limited but I’m hoping in time that it will expand.

– Having never lived with kids before, I’m still getting used to the early school day routine. I have had to shift my schedule as we’re up really early (5:30am). However, this is also a time change I’ve been wanting to make. I like to be up early and in bed early so I’m looking forward to this adjustment in my sleep rhythms.

Change of any kind is always challenging and even welcome change takes some getting used to. I’ll be sure to update you as I navigate through this latest life shift.

Florida, New York City, photographs, pictures, travel

Inspired: Pictures from my trip down the East Coast from New York to Florida

I planned to Twitter and Instagram my way down the East Coast as I made the move from New York City to Florida. Fate intervened and long story short, my phone was stolen at JFK airport on my last day in New York. Because I didn’t have time to get a new phone before I left, I made the trip without one. I was forced to enjoy the scenery and be in the moment for over 1200 miles of our beautiful country. It was wonderful to disconnect from my device and connect with the world, even for someone like me who loves technology.

I was able to capture a few pictures with my digital camera. Here are some highlights (literally) from the road!

adventure, change, Florida, future, nature, photographs

Inspired: Find the courage to face change with photographs

When I began to think about relocating, my amazing friend, Sara, suggested I make a Pinterest board of every city that’s interesting to me. She had done that when she decided to move to Austin and it really helped her look forward to the change. I followed her wise advice and it’s working like a charm. Check out the board I made for Florida. As you can see, I’m looking forward to more time in the natural world!