The Very Best of Florida

Why I Became an Instant Floridian

(after relocating from the Midwest)

Oooo, another exciting assignment from Jessica. This time, I get to share about the state I currently reside in- Florida.  

I’m not from here.  I grew up in the New England state of Connecticut. And then, after college, I lived in the Midwestern state of Ohio for some time.  Ohio, also known as the Buckeye State, is where a lot of my extended family live. It’s where I still have a lot of friends, where I met and married my husband, and where my son was born.

But Florida is where I am now, and hopefully where I will stay. I love it here.

Having been here for four years, or most of my son’s elementary school career, I pretty much consider myself a local now.  So, why do I love this state so much?

Vacation Destination

Let’s face it- I live where pretty much everyone else wants to go for vacation.

Florida is the number one vacation destination in the world, and Families flock here from all over the globe.  This is in part thanks to Universal and Walt Disney World. But we are also the home to the Kennedy Space Center, Lego Land, South Beach, Busch Gardens, and Key West.

Oh, and did you by chance hear about our beaches? Clearwater Beach is continuously rated as one of the top ten in the World, and that’s just one of them. There’s also St Pete Beach, Longboat Key, Siesta Key, Amelia Island, Panama City, and because it’s more than just a hot spot for nightlife, South Beach.

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Tampa has Bayshore Boulevard. It’s the longest connected sidewalk in the world (4 & 1/2 miles) and has its own Wikepedia page.

Sporting Events

With no less than three major tv markets (Miami, Tampa and Orlando), and one decent midsize one (Jacksonville), we have no shortage of professional sports here.  

In Tampa alone, we have the Lightning (NHL), the Buccaneers (NFL), and the Rays (MLB). An hour’s drive to Orlando, and you’ve got the Magic (NBA). We’re also home to spring training to many other major league baseball teams (Yankees, Pirates, Phillies, Blue Jays), and several minor league teams.

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Tampa is also host to two College Football Bowl games a year (Gasparilla and Outback), and frequently hosts the College Football Championship game. We’re also getting ready to host the Super Bowl again in 2021.

Is Auto racing your thing? Tampa hosts the St. Petersburg Grand Prix every year, and we are only a few hours away from the Daytona 500 and Sebring.

Regular Family Life

I’m a working Mom, so my life involves a lot more than beaches and sporting events. Actually, one of the main reasons we moved down here to Florida was because of a job opportunity. Tampa, Orlando, and Miami are all bustling metros, with lots of different industries.  Finance, Construction, Medical, Education are just some of the areas you can find lots of open positions in, on top of all the work available in hospitality.

Florida is also a good place to raise a family. One of the reasons I specifically like Tampa is that it feels a lot like the Midwest to me (not weather-wise of course). It probably has a little to do with the fact that there’s a lot of transplants from the Midwest here, but it’s just a friendly place to live.

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And we have a lot of the family-oriented things that you would want in your city, such as Scouts, a vibrant YMCA, great parent-teacher organizations, and lots of parks.

The Downsides

If you ever want to move to Florida, there are some things you should probably know. First, it’s hot and humid during the extra-long summer, and the Mosquitos are relentless year-round.   

Traffic is insane no matter which one of our major cities that you live close to.  There are never any shortcuts, and everything is a toll road. If you’re lucky enough to live near water, like we are, your rush hour commute may have the extra bonus of needing to cross the only bridge that can get you and everyone else to where you’re going.  

There are no income taxes in Florida, yay!  So, they make up for it in everything else, Nooo!

License plate renewal fees, sales taxes, property taxes, they get you everywhere. Which is probably part of the reason why the cost of living is a little higher here than in the Midwest.   

Oh, and we also have hurricanes and alligators.  And did I mention the &%#@ mosquitos.

I love it here

Yes, we have bugs, but here are some things we don’t have- snow, ice, sleet, slush, polar vortexes, short summers, freezing winters.

We have jobs, sports, beaches, amusement parks.

And we have water.  As I get stuck on the bridge in rush hour traffic, I stare off into the big, beautiful Tampa Bay waters, and all of my troubles just seem to float away.

I realize how lucky I am to live here. I may be from New England, and maybe turned into a little bit of a midwestern girl during my time in Ohio. But I’m in Florida now, and I love it here.

About the Author:

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Candace is a working Mom. She’s learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work. Sometimes the hard way. Both she and her husband work full time, while raising a relatively normal, if not rambunctious young boy.  It’s tough being a working Mom, but she gets it done

https://workingmomx.com

https://www.facebook.com/WorkingMomX

https://www.pinterest.com/workingmomx/

https://www.instagram.com/workingmomx

https://twitter.com/WorkingMomX

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Thank you so much for telling us about Florida! I hope to someday live there as well!

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Branson, MO

Over the past weekend we went to Branson for an extending weekend the first part of our son’s Spring Break at school. We left on Friday morning after his dad dropped him off. First stop was breakfast (MCD’s) and then we were on our way. I drove the first part and then my husband drove. I read and even took a nap. Its not a far drive right at 3.5-4 hours. Check in was not until around 3 so we stopped at Branson Landing first and walked around. We went in to some stores and had a late lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack it was delish! After that we went to our resort and checked in.

Frist stop was to go race some Go-Karts at Wild Woody! I must say I ALMOST kicked the boy’s butt’s! (haha!) Unfortunately there are no photo’s of me claiming first, so you will just have to take my word for it. It was a fun track and is all wood and it there were looped-d-loops!

Once we were finished there we went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! That place was so neat! There was so much to see and do. At the very end there is a spot where you are supposed to walk across, but it looks like you are spinning and that you might fall over. At the end of the hallway there is a mirror that is spinning and it creates an unbalanced feeling.  Ethan went around it 2-3 times before I could even do it because I thought I was spinning and/or that I might fall.

After that we went to our resort relaxed and went to bed.

Saturday morning we woke up early and worked out. YES you read that right, we worked out! After that we showered and then we had breakfast and had to listen to Larry make a pitch about how we should be a timeshare…. HMMM… I keep on going back and forth on if we should do that.  We did NOT, but we did buy something that will allow us 1 more vacation and possible some getaways.

After that we went to the outlet mall.

Once we were finished shopping we had lunch at Drafts. Sometimes I have the hardest time picking out food. So luckily the person taking our order pretty much picked out my order and I am super happy he did because it was chicken nachos and they were so good!

After we were done eating we were going to go swimming, but the pool was closed because someone got sick in it. Ethan seems to have the worst luck with pools. (For one of his birthday’s we decided to do a pool party, but once the party started in the pool someone POOPED! So, of course they couldn’t swim.) So we decided to take a short nap before we head off to the show we plan on seeing.

We were on our way to see The Haygoods! They are very talented and we enjoyed the show very much! I want to go back and see their Christmas show! Take a close look at the photo’s as YES there is someone hanging upside down playing the guitar! I can barley clap to the beat, so when I hear and see talented people I just get all kinds of goosebumps!

Afterwards, we checked out a place for diner right next to the theater and it was pretty cool. They had a real jukebox and it was very vintage looking, inside and out. I loved the exterior. I think that’s what caught our eyes. I just went to the website so I could post it here and come to find out they even do shows there!! Jackie B. Goode’s Uptown Café; we will be back!

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Where we had dinner!

On Sunday we went to the Hollywood Wax Museum. I got to see my lover Justin Timberlake and we took photos with almost every celebrity in there. It was a really neat experience! Some of them look so real! They told us as we were walking in that you cannot touch them, but oh my the temptation of being told not to and wanting to was real for our 13 year old son and well maybe even for me too.

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We played some mini golf after, then headed over to a mirror maze. I think we found the exit 3 times before we even realized it was the exit. I think that was the fun part of it. It was pretty fun!

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This was in the mirror maze!

After that we went swimming and had a great time in the pool It was a little chilly, but once we got in we were good to go!

When we were finished there we went back to the Landing to see the water show that we heard so much about. Honestly, I liked it, but it wasn’t as spectator as some had said.

The next day Ethan and I went to a Fritz’ Adventure Park and it was really cool. Didn’t get any pictures of this, cause they wanted to charge us for a full priced ticket just to go down there.  Inside you could climb, go down slides, go underground, it was a blast. By the end I was sweaty and felt like I had a full work out done!

My awesome husband went and got Ethan a sword he was wanting from Ozarkland. He collects knifes and swords and stuff like that. Typical boy. We stopped at celebrity car museum on our way out that had cars outside that we wanted to see, maybe next time we will go inside the museum and see all of the cars.

On our way home, we stopped at Uranus Fudge Factory and ran into the besties. We didn’t even know they were there, so that was pretty cool.  It’s always good to run into them!

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We had a great long weekend road trip and a fun time in Branson. Now to plan another trip… Where to go, where to go?!

Thank you for reading.

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Chicago, Sept 2018

Randy, Ethan and I all went to Chicago last year for a long weekend. We took the train which was a lot of fun. The train ride is not too long. Once we got to Chicago it was raining and since it was our first time there we did not know where to go. Once we figured everything out we got a bus pass and went on our way to our hotel. We dropped everything off at the hotel and we were ready to eat. We went to Giordano’s and it was delish! The boys keep on saying that we have to go back soon just for the pizza! After we ate we walked around the city for a while and then went back to the hotel and went to bed.


In the monring we went to the Shedd Aquarium  which is one of my favorit spots! There is tons of fish, turtles, sharks, beluga whales, and much more to see there including dolphin shows! Oh yes, don’t forget to pet the sting rays too! While we were there we had lunch and I tried a Chicago style hot dog. I am happy I tried it, but I will not eat it again.

After that went to the Navy Pier looked at the Ferris wheel, looked at the shops and spent time there.

We then went to the Museum of Science and Industry Science is so interesting when they make it hands on! I learned so much there! It was a great place to spend the afternoon. We did a cole mine tour. That was very informative and interesting. Even saw a baby bird hatch! They were all so cute!

 

Off to Millennium Park to see the Cloud Gate (Bean) and Crown Fountain. Ethan did play in the water which was fun to watch and we went and go him a new Chicago shirt. After that we went to the Sky Deck and looked around and took some photos. It was really high up! After that we went to the hotel and went to bed. It was a long and fun day.

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Once we woke up we got some breakfast and went on the bus to head home from the train station. The train ride was very long on the way home because we had to wait for another condtor to drive. They are only allowed to drive for so long. Randy worked on his video, Ethan did his homework, played on his phone and read. I posted photo’s and read. My mom and dad picked us up and we went to get our dog and go home to bed. It was a very fun trip that I hope we get to go and do again some time and check out other activities that we did not get to do this time around.

Be sure to check out my husbands video of our trip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XUAehfaEq4&t=3s

Thank you for reading! Have you been to Chicago? If so, what are some of your favorites? If not, what would you like to do in Chicago?

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