Who Says There’s Nothing To Do In Orlando – Veg Fest 2015

Fruits-and-VeggiesAs a good old southern girl, I grew up on meat and potatoes.  However, when I entered college I found a whole new world and was introduced to life as a vegetarian.  Oh how I enjoyed the freedom it granted!  Lots of food, lots of energy, much less calories and the loss of that constant feeling of food coma.  I maintained the lifestyle long beyond college and reaped the benefits for years.

This Saturday, The City Beautiful will host the 10th annual Central Florida Veg Fest at Orlando Festival Park from 10AM – 6PM in celebration of all things veg!  The event will have lots of veggie-friendly tent vendors set up on the lawn, educational programs, yoga lessons, a Veggie Kid Zone, an art zone and even a place for your “fur-baby.”  All to celebrate the amazing food options our planet provides us!

The Veg Fest strives to focus on:

  • Health & Wellness
  • Vegan cuisine
  • The environment
  • Animal welfare and rights
  • Community-building activism

Don’t worry if you’re not a vegetarian!  This event is for everyone, whether you’re just looking to add more veggies into your family’s lives or you’re a seasoned vegetarian, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for.  With such beautiful weather in the forecast and such a dizzying array of classes, demos, musical guests and speakers, you should definitely put this event on list of t0-do’s this weekend!

Image Credit:  ihcbesthealth.com

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Go Local – Taco Rio

Taco RioFriends, I have found another hidden gem in the Downtown Orlando area.  Since I started working downtown I’ve been craving an authentic Mexican restaurant.  After a long and arduous search I came across the Taco Rio located in Winter Park.  It came highly recommended from Yelp and was true to the testimonials; real, authentic Mexican food.

Authentic is one thing, but I’m not going to lie, I was a little thrown off  by their location.  It’s in a small convenience store on Formasa Ave, just past the I-4 overpass.  Don’t let the exterior fool you; they’re making real-deal authentic Mexican food.

I had the shredded chicken tacos with refried beans and rice.  Plus, they provide homemade green and red sauces to compliment every thing.  It was fantastic!  The shredded chicken was very moist but didn’t make the tortillas soggy.  The beans were perfectly seasoned with fresh cheese on top.  The rice was also well seasoned and had a slight bite, so you could tell they weren’t just sitting in a hot box somewhere behind the counter.  Note, they do not serve traditional soda pop or sweet tea.  Either be ready to pick a mexican speciality drink or grab a drink from the convenience store after you make your order.

The staff was very friendly and really make you feel at home.  You’ve got to check this place out.  I am sure you will not be disappointed!

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Go Local Wednesday – The Meatball Shoppe

Meatball shoppeOne of my favorite things about working in downtown Orlando, is all the great restaurants I get to try!  One of my favorite comfort foods is spaghetti and meatballs, so when I heard of The Meatball Shoppe, I knew I had to try it!

Isabella Morgia di Vicari and her husband Jeff, have been in the food industry for over 30 years.  Isabella, a first generation American, born of Italian heritage in Brooklyn, NY, with a very large “famiglia” from Calabria and Trieste, Italia.  She learned to cook, not from cooking school but from her namesake, Nonna Isabella.  Isabella is also an author and co-owns the family’s catering business “Isabella’s Bella Cucina Catering” with Jeff.  Jeff, also has a fantastic resume!  After graduating from the University of Nevada, he worked for Sheraton and Burger King, holding many positions including operations, training and new location openings.  With Isabella’s cooking and Jeff’s business knowledge, they are a winning team!

On my first visit to The Meatball Shoppe, Jeff explained the menu options, making recommendations and educating me on the family’s love for food.  I had the Greek Meatballs with the white bean ragu.  It was “delicioso!”  The meatballs were good size and the perfect texture.  The white bean ragu (which I was a little skeptical about) was to die for.  The arugula salad with vinaigrette was delightful.  I left full and satisfied.

Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you, Isabella and Jeff are the real deal!  Isabella will be competing in the Pantry to Plate: A Chef’s Challenge tomorrow evening against Kevin Fonzo of K Restaurant and Ryan Vargas of Emeril’s Tchoup Chop.  There is no question in my mind that she will be the clear winner!  Get out and go local Orlando at The Meatball Shoppe today!

Image Credit: April Martin

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Monday Market Report – Top 6 Listing Deals for Sale in Downtown Orlando Neighborhoods

If you are a buyer in the real estate market right now, you may feel that all the good ones are taken.  Homes in excellent condition are still selling very quickly and for top dollar.  The overall market in Orlando is up 11% since this time last year.

The market keeps going up and up, and yet there are still a lot of listings available.  There are actually some great deals on the market if you have some imagination and do your research.  A good deal can come in the form of a great sales price for the area or even a great price per square foot.   If you can buy a property for a low price per square foot for the locale, well you have gotten “bang for your buck” so they say.

Here are my top picks for the best deals in some of the hottest Downtown Orlando neighborhoods:

 211 N HYER AVE, ORLANDO, FL 32801 *Listing courtesty of Old Town Brokers

*Listing courtesty of Old Town Brokers


Thornton Park – Thorton Park is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the Downtown area.  There are few homes for sale, because geographically it’s just not that large of an area.  This duplex for sale is a steal for only $289,000!  This is a great opportunity for an investor to immediately start making money.



151 E WASHINGTON ST, #215, ORLANDO, FL 32801 *Listing courtesy of Keller Williams Classic

151 E WASHINGTON ST, #215, ORLANDO, FL 32801
*Listing courtesy of Keller Williams Classic

Central Business District 
– The Central Business District is home to many condo buildings.  The Metropolitan features Lake Eola views and is in walking distance to all that Downtown Orlando has to offer.  It is also home to this lovely unit that is priced extremely well at $115,000 with 975 sq. ft.  It is by far the most square footage for the price in the direct Central Business District available.




*Listing Courtesy of Smith Property Group LLC


Lawonsa Ferncreek – This historic neighborhood is home to Dickson Azalea Park and the iconic Washington St. bridge.  This home Is priced right and full of history too.  With almost 3400 sq. ft. and only $495,000, it’s a unique find for the neighborhood!





*Listing Courtesy of Coldwell Banker Residential RE

Lake Eola Heights
– Another historic neighborhood just blocks to Lake Eola (hene the name!).  This listing is probably a dream home for any fans of historic architecture in Downtown Oralndo!   This short sale is a distressed sale, so it is available for a list price of $635,000 and priced as one of the lowest price per square foot in the neighborhood (not including condos).  With over 3500 sq. ft., a pool, and walking distance to Lake Eola you are certainly getting an amazing value!


 210 PHILLIPS PL, ORLANDO, FL 32806 *Listing courtesty of Keller Williams at the Parks

*Listing courtesy of Keller Williams at the Parks


Delaney Park (Lake Copeland, Lake Cherokee, and Lake Davis areas) – This part of town is home to lake views and historic mansions.  This Lake Copeland beauty is for sale for only $599,000.  If you love the historic look of homes in Downtown Orlando, this could be your dream home!




 636 PARK LAKE ST, ORLANDO, FL 32803 *Listing Courstey of Colonialtown Realty

*Listing Courtesy of Colonialtown Realty


Park Lake Highland – Just outside of the Central Business District, Park Lake Highland is home to many exlcusive homes new and old and the Lake Highland Prep school.  This listing is a charming historic bungalow with tons of charm and tons of space.   Listed at $434,500 with over 2,300 sq. ft. and walking distance to Ivanhoe Village and Downtown – Don’t hesitate on this one!
Which is your favorite?   Have you seen any great deals lately?




*Disclaimer* This list is based on my opinion and does not necessarily represent the loweset price in the neighborhood or the lowest price/sq. ft.  The listings are published through the multiple listing service and some are listed with other brokers. 

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Who Says There’s Nothing To Do In Orlando – Winter Park Autumn Art Festival

Autumn Art FestivalThe Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the 42nd Annual Autumn Art Festival this weekend 9AM-5PM.  180 artists from across the state were selected from over 450 applicants to have their work displayed in Central Park, along historic Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.

This annual festival offers you the chance to take a beautiful new piece of artwork home but there is so much more to this festival.  There will be music and entertainment at the Northwestern Mutual Stage.  The Crealdé School of Art will present free art-inspiring workshops for children ages 5 and up on both days of the festival.

Food and drinks will be available for purchase from vendors at the festival. Sidewalk dining is also available at local Park Avenue area restaurants.  Florida Distributing Co. will sponsor a beer garden during the festival for guests to sample a variety of seasonal beer.

Park Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic between Lyman and Canton Avenues during the festival. Morse Boulevard will also be closed between New York and Park Avenues.  Ample parking is available on the surrounding streets, with handicap spaces available in municipal lots throughout downtown as well as in the SunTrust and Park Place parking garages.Downtown Winter Park Parking Map (courtesy of City of Winter Park).  Please note, the SunRail will not be operating during the Autumn Art Festival.  A bike valet will also be available for guests who wish to cycle to the event. 

Thinking about making a move to Winter Park?  Check out these great homes for sale, then give us a call!

Image Credit: Orlandoweekly.com

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Go Local Wednesday – Zombietoberfest


Run!  The Zombies are coming!

This year marks the 7th annual Zombietoberfest, the coolest Zombie festival around and right here in our own backyard on the streets of Audubon Park Garden District.

No one wants to see a Zombie outbreak, right? So do your part to stop the outbreak by joining the Zombie Outbreak Cure Scavenger Hunt from 2 to 6pm, grab some friends, meet at Blue Bird Bake Shop at 2pm and go catch yourself some zombies!   Then at 6 the streets come alive, or dead, however you want to look at it.   There will be food trucks serving their specialties, including, SwedeDISH Food Truck, who will be serving special Dead Zombie Meatballs and Bacon Mac & Cheese from Hell.  Also, according to the Zombietoberfest Facebook page, La Empanada is rumored to be working on a brain Empanada, yum!  Costume contests, live music, a zombie crawl, movies, kids activities, the list goes on!  This event is open to zombies of all ages!  So get the family out, and in costume this Saturday for this great event!

Saturday, October 10th


2 – 6 | Zombie Outbreak Cure Scavenger Hunt, starts in front of Blue Bird Bake Shop. 

6 – 10 | Beer garden – sponsored by Florida Distributing Company

6 – 10 | Food trucks and the Zombie Bazaar

6 – 10 | Live Music for the Undead

6 – 10 | Kid-Zone for the Little Zombies

8-ish | Movie Screening presented by  Zombietoberfest & Blanchard Insurance – The Addams Family

8:00 | Zombie Crawl or Stumble – People of all ages, come dressed as your very own zombie or zombie hunter and join the zombie parade!

8:45 | Zombie Costume Contest – Which zombies or zombie hunters will take the prize? Our illustrious expert judges will look over each and every contestant and select a winner.  Prizes will be given for Best Zombie Family, Best Female Zombie, Best Male Zombie, Best Zombie Group & Best Zombie Hunter.

Thinking of living among the walking dead?  Check out these homes in Audubon Park and give us a call!

Image Credit: brandonanderson.com

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Who Says There’s Nothing To Do in Orlando – Corn Maze


Coming from Texas, I am used to seeing acre upon acre of various crop rows passing by the car window.  But here in Florida you typically have to drive a little ways to get the same view.  As we enjoy the cooler temperatures (relatively) there will be many fun outdoor activities to experience!  One such activity, is the annual Corn Maze at the Long & Scott Farms in Zellwood.

Zellwood is a small farming community in Northern Orange county, between Apopka and Mount Dora.  The Long & Scott Farm began as a 100 acre farm owned by Frank Scott, Jr. and Billy Long.  They were originally farmers in Virginia and moved to Florida in 1963.  While both Scott, Jr. and Long are both retired now, their family farming legacy is carried on by their children, who now manage over 1200 acres, growing Zellwood sweet corn, Kirby cucumbers, and cabbage.

Each year the Corn Maze gets a theme – and this year is no different.  This year the farm is paying tribute to our men and women in armed forces.  Opening on Saturday at 10AM, this annual event will stretch your mind muscles with it’s 7 acres of winding cornrows.  They will also have hayrides available, a jumping pillow and much more.  Tickets are $11 for adults and $9 for children 3-16.  Children under 3 are free.  The attraction is only open on weekends from now until December 13th.

This fun and interactive annual attraction is sure to keep you and your family entertained for hours!  They say this weekend is supposed to be beautiful, so make your way to the Corn Maze at Long & Scott Farms and see how fast you can beat the maze.

Image Credit: Long & Scott Farm Facebook page

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