Our Florida Vacation

We called 2017 the “Year of Repositioning” and many of you followed our journey from Las Vegas to Florida and the fits and starts along the way.

2018 is the “Year of Adjusting,” and I’ve really been struggling lately, actually even before the one-year anniversary of arriving in Florida. The first 7 months were spent in an apartment in North Orlando while we house hunted and then built our home in a beach city we’d never lived in before. So the adjustment period started all over again, although we might have been further along in our adjustment if we hadn’t had to split our time. But, then, this is our third time in Florida and I always get homesick. Hence, the upcoming birthday trip to SoCal, a short cruise to Mexico, and a couple of days at Disneyland Resort. I can’t wait to touch down once again!

Just for kicks, I looked at some pics of our Las Vegas home and the surrounding area and am so thankful we’re out of the desert – the best thing about living there was that feeling of home and being only 4 hours from Disneyland/SoCal childhood. I miss that! Sometimes I can’t believe I’m so far away now. How did this happen? 🙂

Anyway, here are two pics that show the contrast of living in Las Vegas and living in Florida – no wonder I struggle to adjust – it’s a huge change!

The back of our Vegas house – solar screens are popular as a way to block out some of that hot desert sun. We also had blackout drapes on the back side of the house for that intense afternoon sun.

This morning’s view from my screened Lanai where I sip my coffee every morning – glorious!

Two different worlds for sure!

Saturday, we shopped for the trip in the morning and then had our lunch at La Fiesta, which is so authentically Mexican, we’re there practically every week. At least the weeks we’re not at Disney. The Margaritas are amazing!! Growing up in Southern California surrounded by Mexican culture, margaritas and tacos are a taste of home.

Tequila, take me home!

Halfway through eating lunch. 🙂

We were shopping at Target the other day and we picked up some food items like tortillas, black beans, rice, tortilla chips and salsa and the clerk said, “Are you having a Mexican Fiesta?” I just looked at her and said, “Every night is a Mexican Fiesta for us.” The thing is nobody would say that to you in California or the West Coast or the entire SW. In this day of the Food Network and food education, I’m a bit shocked even somebody in Florida said it.

No doubt we’re having a blast in Florida, enjoying frequent trips to Disney and the beach – what a welcome change from the desert. Our house is wonderful, the golf community is gorgeous – both a dream come true. But it’s not home. And, as always, it’s starting to feel like we’re on another extended Florida vacation.



One Year Ago Today

Today we meet with the new pet sitter for our upcoming trips to WDW and Disneyland. I couldn’t help but browse the photos from this time last year and saw this, dated one year ago today:

Wow! It truly has been one crazy year. Our heads are still spinning from all the changes!

First Light in Florida

The best reason for living in Florida is waking up before the sun is up, sipping my first cup of coffee out on the Lanai, soaking in the quiet, the pond tranquility, the fascinating, moving clouds, and the many hues displayed in the morning sky. Absolutely breathtaking! It’s like having a mini vacay before daylight.

Being an early riser these days, I often do this alone, but sometimes, like yesterday and this morning before work, Rich joined me. I’ve been snapping pics from my iPhone but I’ve dug out the regular camera and may be taking some photos using it next.

Once the sun was bright enough to blind us, we drove off to the beach and enjoyed a morning walk on the beach and then Rich got our “Margaritaville” beach chairs, and we sat on the beach, enjoying the smell, feel, and sounds of the ocean. Heaven!

Oh yes, and then we opened up the “Director’s Cut” from the latest Coppola shipment, celebrating the California birthday plans Rich has made for me.


California on the Outside, Florida on the Inside

The funny thing about our new community is that many of the homes have these California facades. From the front they remind me of many homes in California, from the Mid Century Modern to the Craftsman/Bungalow to the Mid Century Asian with eaves and curved driveways, similar to my childhood home.

In fact, my favorite home in the neighborhood is this one, which reminds me so much of my childhood home, including the color. I can see my basketball hoop hanging there in the driveway, and the gate to the backyard where my tether ball awaits. Granted, this house is a bit larger, but very similar to the house I grew up in. The floorplan, although different than my childhood home, is practically the same as my favorite vacation home in Orlando. California on the outside, Florida on the inside. CaliFloridian just like me.

I’ve often blogged big time about my feelings here on the blog but I’ve tried to restrain those feelings this tine around and archived most of the posts. But I decided to bring them back because it seems as if by being private, it didn’t really happen. And I never want to forget a thing about this big adventure that has happened and that we’ve shared together.


ToonTown in CaliFlorida

Our little street of new Craftsman homes kinda reminds me of ToonTown – I’ve dubbed our home the “Minnie Mouse” house and the neighbors house is “Mickey’s House.” It’s so cute I may have to write a story about it.

The development across the front of the house is very much traditional Florida, which reminds me of our Tampa Bay neighborhood, and the new development behind us reminds me of my Southern California childhood home with the curved driveways.

I would argue that this whole area is CaliFlorida – in all my times living in Florida (3), I’ve never felt so California. This weekend we discovered an amazing Mexican restaurant – as good or better than those in California – very authentically Mexico. One reviewer from California said the same thing. The “Mexican Margarita” was one of the best as were the Carnitas (Rich) and Carne Asada (Kathy) we had. We’ll be regulars for sure.

Yesterday while we were out shopping, we noticed two restaurants – Malibu Grill and another called San Diego Grill. Then, of course, there’s SoNapa restaurant. Housing developments and streets often have California names – this in stark contrast to what we found in Tampa Bay where mostly Midwesterners migrate to.

We’ve unpacked the essentials and have decorated for Christmas, although this year we only have a wreath on the front door for outside decorations. We found a new church with a really good priest last night and we’re starting to feel at home here.

“Minnie” House

“Mickey” House

“Mexican” Margarita (with Don Julio)

Chips and Salsa (no pics of the entrees – lol)

Craftsman Colors

Rich worked a short day on Thanksgiving Eve so we stopped by the house. Right away we noticed the shutters and doors (including garage door) had been painted. I find the Craftsman style and colors to be quite fascinating, opening up a whole new world to me, having grown up with the then new Mid-Century Modern, replacing the earlier California Bungalow.

I’m curious how we will furnish the inside – it seems every house calls for its own furnishings.

The funny thing is that the house seems to have two different facades – the rear seems more Florida contemporary than Craftsman. But if you look closely at the older homes in our little beach town, you see the original Craftsman.

Landscapers were working on the sprinkler system so I didn’t want to poke around too much but Rich did peek in and noticed the carpet had been installed. Still no appliances but that and window blinds are all that’s left to be done on the inside.