Summerlin to Southern Highlands (Florida to Las Vegas)

After being notified of my “memories” from two years ago today (the Magic Kingdom at WDW), I began sorting through my videos, and I realized I hadn’t updated you guys on recent ones:

(1) Scouting out the neighborhood pool before we got the pool key – you can find this video here.

(2) Visiting our favorite park path in our old neighborhood – checking out a potential house here.

(3) Solo trip to the Magic Kingdom at WDW from two years ago (we’d just landed in our Orlando apartment, waiting for our house to be built, so I did a solo trip to the MK while Rich was at work) – that memories video is here.

And then I realized I hadn’t written up the trip report from my birthday trip to SoCal, catching up with Disney and the beach. In my defense, I’ve been participating in 50/90 where you’re challenged to write 50 songs in 90 days. It began on July 4th, and so far, I’ve written 11 songs. I’m totally exhausted already – lol!

 

Neighborhood Walks in Summerlin (Las Vegas)

I’ve been taking morning walks around the neighborhood before it gets too hot. It is so beautiful, especially in the shade – lol! Summerlin is quite lovely (similar to Irvine, CA) and the best place to live in Las Vegas, in our opinion, and where you can find more California transplants than anywhere else in the Valley, but our old neighborhood in Southern Highlands still holds our heart.

I thought I’d share a few videos from my morning walks taken from my iphone (still working on my “YouTube” voice – lol!) And in the third video, I mistakenly called the new condos “apartments.” Ooops!

I haven’t figured out how to add captions to correct wrong information, and not sure I will take the time to figure it out. My youtube adventures are just for fun, as writing and music are my main priorities. But sharing videos is also a creative endeavor so you never know. I may even get out the GoPro again.

Hope you enjoy a peek into this new Las Vegas world we’re experiencing – at least for the moment. 🙂

Neighborhood Park, Summerlin (Las Vegas)

Single Family Homes, Summerlin (Las Vegas)

Townhome Community (with peek at new Condos), Summerlin (Las Vegas)

Brunching From Las Vegas to Disney World to Disneyland (#Writer’sLife)

Brunch seems to have hit it big everywhere these days! Weekend brunch, that is. From Las Vegas to Disney World to Disneyland even. with the latest brunch place being Lamplight Lounge in DCA at Disneyland Resort. Check out the video below. We’re definitely adding that to our next trip plans.

Okay, so we miss being able to just drop into Disney World when we were living in Florida. That is always the difficulty when we move back to Vegas. And brunching at the resorts and Disney Springs was one of our favorite activities.

But I have to laugh when I think back to when I was first writing and submitting to RWA (Romance Writers of America) contests. My character was having brunch and one judge wrote that brunch would be way too expensive for my character. Totally ridiculous! She wasn’t poverty-striicken, but an average working girl who could definitely spring for a brunch. Mind you this was years ago before the brunch phenomenon hit but there were plenty of brunches out there. Obviously this RWA member was unaware of brunch. Maybe she came from a small Midwestern town and was clueless. And so I quit submitting my work to contests.

Back in the day, Las Vegas (Reno, Tahoe, etc) was the place to brunch and food, especially brunch, was quite affordable. The latest trend here isn’t brunch because everybody has brunch, but it’s Happy Hour during those brunching hours. Our favorite place for brunch time Happy Hour is Bobby Mao’s (I wrote about it here).

Anyway, check out Mr. CheezyPop’s brunch experience at Lamplight Lounge:

Our 18-Month Florida Vacation Playlist

For videos of our most recent time living in Central Florida, check out our 18-Month Florida Vacation Playlist on our new YouTube Channel.

Pairing Down

Everything is scary in the middle of the night. The apartment is smaller, the furniture looms larger, and I’m furniture shopping online. I see a couple of sofas that look smaller, wondering if we should leave ours behind and buy new on the other side. I read the measurements and climb down the stairs to measure our couch and compare. We would only save one-inch – lol! I don’t think that’s anything to bother with.

I’ve made lists of what can go with, what can stay behind, and the things that can go either way, depending on what space we think we’ll have. The things that will be left behind are things we’ve been meaning to ditch anyway. But we had space to fill, so we kept them longer than we would have otherwise.

We have two big dressers, one for me and one for Rich that also houses the electronics – we’ve both strongly disliked the one for Rich ever since it arrived. It was nothing like we thought it was when we saw it on the internet. We’ll toss that one and share mine. Today I’m going to pair down half of my dresser to make room for Rich. We’ve got our eye on a new dresser in the future, one that will match our somewhat recent new headboard.

The loveseat in my studio will finally go. We bought it when we were living in Orlando the first time around – it now has a rip in the fabric. We had to strong arm the salesman to deliver it when we needed it. That’s how you get things done there. People talk about how Disney applies pressure to the local officials to get what they want/need but I don’t criticize them for that. Otherwise, you’d never get anything done in Orlando.

The downside of all of this remote anticipation is that we’re not experiencing the pluses about being in Florida – just the fears. But once we’re there, I think we’ll be really excited. Just last night, shopping on the Rooms to Go website, I felt the excitement rising, realizing that means we’re going to be living in Florida again. Very excited about the good things.

Once we walk through our “vacation condo,” as I’m thinking of it now, I think our excitement will continue to rise. We imagined that the next new thing for us might be a condo and we pictured a sleek kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counter top, island, pendant lighting, under mount sink, wood floors, etc. This brand-new place has all of that.

Once I’m swimming in that pool, enjoying the cabana deck, and embracing writing sessions in the public lounge with coffee bar, I’ll truly be getting into that vacation lifestyle.

Once I’m enjoying our favorite barbecue joint, the writer’s group, choir, and local NSAI chapter, dropping Rich off at work to have a fun day at Disney, sharing all of that on this blog as I craft my video skills, well, life in Las Vegas will be a distant memory.

In the meantime, I’m listening to my Disney CDs, getting very excited for the future!

 

Thanksgiving in Margaritaville, Day 7: The Finale and Travel Day

Today was travel day and we were trying to decide how to best spend it. Our flight wasn’t until 4:50 p.m. but we had to be out of the cottage by 10 a.m. I asked Rich if we should explore the Ruskin to Riverview area (they were building tons of new homes in the area) or do something that would leave a more positive impression because we already knew we weren’t that much in love with the Ruskin/Riverview areas.

Our other two possibilities was to hang out on the Causeway and enjoy the Gulf views for several hours or check out the Wesley Chapel area where several new shopping centers had been built since we’d lived in neighboring Land O Lakes. We chose to check out Ruskin/Riverview, including driving over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

I was awake until one thirty a.m. and slept for an hour. Then I finally went back to sleep until eight. Got up and had coffee and cereal. We finished packing and cleaning the room. We checked out out at ten am per the rules and drove over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Beautiful and thought we might be able to live here. Stopped at Ruskin and finally got to tour the Lennar New Jersey plan in Ruskin. We loved it but there was no community pool.

We were getting hungry so we stopped at Mickey Ds in Riverview. We both had colds by this time and a Big Mac would be the comfort food we would need. Then we drove to the airport.  We dropped off the rental car and stopped at RumFish for drinks. MaiTai for Rich and Ruby Snapper for me.

Then we went to the gate to wait. Rich got us a Pumpkin Latte at Starbucks and we boarded at 4:20. We left Tampa Airport at 5:50 EST and arrived about 25 minutes early at 7:30 PST. The trip home was terrible. We’re already not big fans of flying, especially these days, and Southwest was horrible. They only offer you Fritos or Cookies or Vending machine crackers and fake cheese for a 4.5 hour flight. We were exhausted and coughing our heads off the entire time. We did get the Exit row, which was nice for Rich’s legs, but those planes are notorious (we found out later) for having super uncomfortable seats in the exit rows. My butt was numb after about an hour.

We had a great vacation and it was exciting to see Florida again. We’re no closer to knowing whether we would accept an opportunity to move back there or not. I’m at an age where I really enjoy the comforts of home and feeling at home – I’m not as adventurous as I once was. So it would really be hard to move back again. Part of me wishes it wasn’t so and maybe it isn’t entirely, but for now, being home, especially when you’re sick, is exactly where I want to be.

We didn’t get to spend as much time in Orlando as we may have wanted to, and we didn’t get to Caddy’s on the Beach, which was at the top of our list. I guess we’ll just have to go back again.

So for now, it’s good-bye Tampa Bay – good-bye Sunshine Skyway Bridge – I hope we get to see you again.

 

Thanksgiving in Margaritaville, Day 6, Part 1: Thanksgiving

I woke up at dawn feeling compelled to open the door, inhale the fresh Florida air, and watch the sun rise over the Bay. The emotional roller coaster ride continued each day and Florida wasn’t feeling quite as much like home as I’d hoped. In Tampa, we held out hope that maybe Orlando was our place. But in Orlando, I couldn’t wait to get back to Tampa. Does that mean the door is shut on living in Florida again?

And then that morning I woke up thinking, “I don’t think I can choose to never feel this again.”

So I quickly got dressed and walked over to the dock. A couple passed me and the woman said, “Happy Thanksgiving”, which was nice. I sat down and watched the sun rise and breathed in the wonderful Florida air that I had missed. The weather had been warming each day and it was feeling like the Florida I remembered.

I scurried back to the room to see if Rich was up because I didn’t want him to miss this. He was a little slower going but he did get up, made us some coffee, and we took it and a banana nut muffin back to the dock. We saw there enjoying the view, taking more pics and video.

After a while, we returned to the cottage to shower and get dressed and then walked to the beach. We walked all the way to the pier, down the pier, and then back down the beach. Along the way, I dipped my feet in the water – very nice! I love this!!

It was a glorious morning. The beach was absolutely gorgeous. I do think it’s a bit more stunning than my southern California beaches but it lacks that feeling of home that Newport and Huntington Beach give me. I think the California vs. Florida choice is the choice between adventure and home. I want both.

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The day was really warming up so we returned to the resort and decided to sit out by the pool. One woman was out there when we arrived but she soon left. Well, here it was Thanksgiving morning and it was so nice out, we decided to change into our swimsuits. I think it reached close to 80 that day.

So, Rich went back first to change and when he returned, I changed. It was simply glorious outside! The pool was fabulous! This is the life!!

By Thanksgiving, it starts to get cold in Las Vegas, cold, meaning about 50 degrees during the day and maybe 39 or so overnight. We’d had a pretty warm fall late this year but on travel day, we had our first cold day. When we arrived in Florida, it was unusually cold but after a couple of days of that, it began to warm up and felt more like the Florida we know and love.

Another couple joined us out by the pool and we swam and enjoyed the sun and the warmth and the music. We sat out for awhile and then got back in for a final swim. Eventually, it was time for lunch. Rich remembers us having Beach Eats leftovers (and he has a very good memory), but I wrote that down for last night. I’m wondering if this was the day we had the Stouffer’s pizza we’d picked up at CVS – anyway, one or the other last night and one or the other today for lunch.