Category Archives: Just for Me

Tangled: Starring Central Florida Native Mandy Moore



So, what are you taking the kids to see this weekend? Chances are it will include Disney‘s 50th animated feature Tangled which star Central Florida native Mandy Moore.

If you go, you won’t be alone…because the numbers are in and it scored 11.6 million on its first day of release, making it the highest grossing Thanksgiving release ever, even beating Toy Story 2. Woot! And way to go, Mandy Moore!

(Disclosure:  She is a proud alumna of Park Maitland School, where I teach! Hee hee!)


Filed under Celebrity, disney, Just for Me, Resident done good

Be Thankful, Friends

A friend sent this to me via email. I do not know who the original author was, but I concur with the sentiments whole-heartedly. Each of us will have our share of sorrow in life, but it is my sincerest wish that we will also have our share of love and laughter. Happy Thanksgiving, friends.

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire.
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something,
for it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations,
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge,
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes,
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary,
Because it means you’ve made an effort.

It’s easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

Gratitude can turn a negative into a positive.

Find a way to be thankful for your troubles,
and they will become your blessings.

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Filed under family, Just for Me

The Deathly Hallows: What a Joyous Memory!

Yeah, we’re big Harry Potter fans in our household. As an English teacher, I know the value (and power) of reading and so I started reading aloud to my son when he was in utero. (Really.)

When he was old enough to want to tackle Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I dutifully read aloud each night until we finished the book. This blossomed into us standing in line awaiting each new release–my husband even grabbed one early in New York one time and brought it home as an early birthday present–and produced many fond memories. I smile when I think back to the third book, The Prisoner of Azkaban, when my son was so scared of Sirius Black and so he would make my hubby sit with him as I read aloud.  Good times!

My son as Harry Potter

And, once the movies started coming out we were in line… and then once again as Harry Potter’s Wizarding World opened. So, as the film series is finally winding down, with the Part I of the last movie opening today, it is with bitter sweetness that I post this new video below… enjoy!

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Filed under Education, family, Just for Me, Universal

Central Florida Swimmers Are Awesome!

Occasionally the Top 5 blogs about “residents done good” and this would definitely fall under that category:  Two Central Florida swimmers have signed letters of intent with the national swim powerhouse University of Florida. Blue Dolfin swimmer Matthew Curby and Highlander Aquatics swimmer Harrison Curley have indicated their commitment to the Gators. Both nationally-ranked swimmers were also high school state champions for their respective schools.

Photo of Matthew Curby from the Orlando Sentinel.

Yes, my hubby @swimmerjoe swam for the Gators as well, so this blog is a personal one for me, too! 😉

Congrats to these young men for representing the State of Florida so well by earning scholarships to one of the strongest Division I teams in the nation. Woot!

To see a complete list of Gator swim recruits, click here.

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Filed under family, Florida Gators, Just for Me, Resident done good, Sports

Fight for Air Climb: Are You Tough Enough?

The Central Florida Top 5 is a very proud supporter of the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Climb.

Why? Because just over two years ago my brother passed away, struggling to breath as he lay in intensive care.  So, the work the American Lung Association does is very dear to my family.

So, please take a moment to consider donating to the American Lung Association in general, or perhaps this Saturday you might take the challenge to climb all 25 floors of the Bank of America Building in downtown Orlando. (You can register online to participate in the event through this Thursday, November 11. More info here.)

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Filed under Charity, family, Just for Me, Non-profit

Mount Dora: Goblins and Goblets of Wine, Oh my!

So as part of her innkeeper duties, Ana Tuttle had several good suggestions and made all of my reservations for me!  And the place we went for dinner on Saturday night is a local favorite: The Goblin Market.

The entrance is tucked away on a back alley, and you feel as if you are headed to the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley (for you Harry Potter fans!).  And, if you don’t mind dining amid skulls and trolls overlooking your meal (yes, it was decked out for Halloween), or the many bookshelves and withering vines, then you will be right at home. Edgar Allan Poe should have dined thusly!

But, don’t be confused by the fantastic goblin theme, as The Goblin Market is nicer dining at $25 to $30 an entree… and what fine gourmet it is!

I had crab bisque soup and friend pumpkin ravioli, while @swimmerjoe at a gourmet chicken pizza with gouda cheese. Yum! And, if you arrive early (yes, you probably need reservations) then you can head upstairs to the lounge and bar area, another local hang out.

On our walk home, though, we stopped in at another local favorite, The Wine Den.  This intimate place was welcoming with a knowledgeable staff who had great wine suggestions.  The Wine Den was a great place for a night-cap… love it!

So, this concludes our fabulous time in Mount Dora. We returned home feeling refreshed, renewed, and restored to sanity. Thanks, Mount Dora!


Filed under Fun, General Info, Just for Me, Mount Dora

Mount Dora Garden Gate Tea Room: A Heavenly Delight!

After the day spa and plant sale, we then headed to a heavenly place; quite literally!  The Garden Gate Tea Room is a delightfully charming place where lace and gloves and hats and even angels dwell…

Yeah, @swimmerjoe was pretty cautious at first, sagely noting there were NO men in the Tea Room. And, the flowery tea pots and white table cloths seemed a bit alien to my he-man hubby. Never fear, though, as two other men did bravely venture in (eventually), and guess what?  Halfway through the High Tea, @swimmerjoe listed the Tea Room as the trip highlight thus far!  Really, he did!

And for just $18 per person, which includes three courses and choice of tea (four if you count the sorbet to cleanse the palate!) this just can’t be beat!  So I am officially listing High Tea at the Garden Gate Tea Room as a MUST DO when you visit Mount Dora. (You can stroll in for lunch but you have to make reservations for High Tea, though, so be sure to call ahead.)

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Filed under Fun, Just for Me, Mount Dora