Category Archives: Florida is a Giant Nature Preserve

A Day in Tarpon Springs


As weird as Florida may be, it’s got some pretty cool places to visit, many barely a day’s trip from Orlando.


A couple of my friends invited me on a day’s trip to Tarpon Springs, a cool like Greek settlement turned tourist attraction. For more about Tarpon Springs and its history you can simply google Tarpon Springs, or read a little bit here:


Anyhoo, I took a few pictures of my day and wanted to share. That’s all I’ve got today people. 🙂


A cool diver mosaic on one of the buildings.

Visiting one of the Greek bakeries. This place was hoppin!

Our new friend we made during our visit. 🙂

Another cool mosaic from the antique district.

Trying to convince the BFE that we should give up everything we have and move to Tarpon Springs. he could be a diver, and I’d sell sponges and drink limoncello!

I have nothing to say about this.

Cool kitchsy stuff from a gift shop.

Further evidence to support my theory of Florida as a giant wildlife preserve… and the people are just food!


I was feeling all, like, artsy and stuff, soo….


Let the Buyer Beware!


Ok, I’m writing this because I need to get it out. I’m not sure if ANYTHING about this post is going to be very humorous.


About 5 years ago, I was living with my current roommates in a house that’s actually right around the corner from where we are now… and we LOVED out house. We were renting from this realtor guy, who, even though he was a bit weird, seemed alright.


Fast forward about 2 and a half years, and we surprisingly get SERVED foreclosure papers at our door one night. Seems that Mr. Realtor guy was taking our rent and not using it to pay the mortage. According to the papers he hadn’t made a payment in over 6 months.


We tried to get out of our situation then, but he turned into a bully, threatening to sue us, citing parts of the rental contract and twisting them to his RANDOM interpretation. After talking amongst ourselves, we decided to stick it out for another few months, until the end of the lease.


Things rapidly got worse. Our landlord Mr. Realtor guy decided to file for bankruptcy, and in the process included all of his rental properties, citing that they were empty. We were given less than a month to get out, and had a hard time finding a house to rent at the last minute.


When this house came up for grabs, we thought ourselves fortunate! Right around the corner from our current place! Lower rent! More space! The owner seemed like a nice guy and was very empathetic when we told him that we why we were in such a hurry. We though we’d found the perfect arrangement and settled into our new home.


We’ve been here about 2 and a half years now, and really feel connected with the neighborhood and the community. Bee and I started looking for our own place to rent once the lease would be up in December and wanted to stay pretty close. With saving for the wedding AND saving for a new place we’d outlined a strategy to get both things done without breaking the bank.


Things were fine until we got SERVED (!!!!) in March of this year. Turns out our landlord was going into foreclosure! We were in the the same situation again!!! As you can imagine, this did not sit well with me or my roommates. We became panicked and paranoid, scrambling to make sense of it all. After confronting our landlord with the truth, he explained that he wanted to remodify his mortgage; these days the banks won’t even talk to you about that unless you’re a few months behind on your mortgage. He assured us that all was well, and after renegotiating the rent down to a slightly lower price, we agreed to stay until the end of the year, when our lease would be up.


My heart rate and stress level was finally subsiding back down to its usual level of mania when the phone call came: our landlord wants to put the house up for short sale! With the intention of somehow buying it back!


How could it get to this point? What made my landlord think that this was a good idea? Or that his tenants would stick around during this process. I feel so effed by it all, and worst of all, somewhat powerless and I hate that. A very large part of me is super pissed that we’re being put in this situation, part of me is in awe at the sheer ridiculousness of my landlord’s decisions to let things get this far. And a not-so tiny bit of me is also pleased.


With all of this going on we’re now contemplating moving out WAYYYY ahead of schedule – August, in fact. Bee and I have been looking at apartment complexes, trying to find one in the area that works for us, and will be our first nest together. 🙂 What sucks is… EVERYONE is looking for apartments right now too.


It’s funny – now that the housing market is going through all this drama people are choosing NOT to rent from private owners, but are turning to apartments and management companies instead. Bee and I are not ready to buy a home, and I know we’ll be renting for a few years yet, and I hate that we’re now so suspicious of rental properties managed by the owners. For a long time the law was on the side of the owners, but now more laws are coming out to protect the tenants, yet I feel that not enough is being done. It’s hard and unfair – if I don’t work out a reasonable deal with my landlord, I’m at risk of “breaking” my lease… even though he’s the one not paying bills. Does that seem crazy to anyone but me? That I’m stuck in someone else’s mess? The process server for the foreclosure has already been by twice. Now we have to accommodate realtors wanting to show the house.


On the flip side, I am more than a little excited that our plans to get our own place together are being sped up. I am looking forward to living in my own place, where I can sit in the living room on the couch in my underpants, eating oatmeal for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and not worrying that my roommate is going to unexpectedly bring home a gaggle of people while I’m enjoying Pants Off Friday.


I also won’t have to worry about lawn care. Bee and I enjoy gardening but I’m pretty sure I’ll like a container garden just as well… less ants, less bagworms (WTF?!?), less pesticides to worry about… no more haggling with lawn care companies to cut my grass before it becomes the neighborhood eyesore. It got so bad recently that parents wouldn’t let their kids walk on the sidewalk by our house… they’d quickly usher them across the street. If I was wlaking out of the front door at the same time my neighbor was backing out of his garage, I’d scurry back in until he’d left. Last week’s community garage sale was the worst. I wanted to check out all the wares, but didn’t want to leave through the front door, ’cause then everyone would know that I belonged to “that house”. Until our new lawn care guy bravely ventured in and mowed the yard, I was pretty sure Bambi and his friends were moving into our front yard. I swear I saw forest creatures frolicking around my hibiscus bush the other day. NOT COOL.


Another nice thing will be cheaper power bill! Yippee!!! Our current power bill would make you nauseous. Seriously. It’s pretty bad in the summer. Water will be less, and the likelihood and me having to run down the street chasing my trash guys in my pajamas is fairly unlikely.


One final super cool thing about getting a new place: a toilet seat that’s never been sat on by another butt. I didn’t realize how important this could be until a friend pointed it out. How tantalizing!


It will be weird adjusting to a small place, but I’m pretty sure me and Bee will make it cozy and welcoming… not only for ourselves, but our friends too.


We planned for such a long while about moving in to a new place together, and now it’s coming, whether we like it or not. We’re getting pushed head over heels into this new awesome change. If you know me, you know I HATE change. So why am I so pumped for this massive shift in my world???

I Miss Fried Chicken


So the Thursday before last was September Birthday Cake Day at work, and by the Grace of God and the Sweet Baby Jesus, I was OFF yesterday. Nothing tastes better than buttercream frosting and publix bakery birthday cake. Except, maybe fried chicken.

I miss fried chicken.

Most importantly, I miss the smell. My schoolteacher friend Kevin told me the funniest story once about one of his kindergarteners: he was working with them to teach the 5 senses, and asked each kid to think of soemthing they really like and they would talk about how they experience it with all 5 senses. One little chubby 5 year old said “I love my mama’s fried chicken!” Here’s how she used the 5 senses to describe how much she loved it:

  1. The smell of it sizzling in the pan
  2. The taste of hot chicken on her tongue
  3. The sight of it getting rolled in flour, fried and puto n her plate
  4. The touch of it’s crispy skin
  5. The sound of it frying in oil

When he told me this story, I remember laughing my ass off and thinking “what a little fatty!!!” Now I am kinda reminiscing on chicken the same way.

Don’t get me wrong. During this challenge, I have discovered a lot of foods and recipes that taste sooo good and don’t make me feel bad for even wanting them. Yet nothing replaces the deliciousness of southern fried chicken, fresh out of my dad’s or Grandma Delores’s cast iron frying pan. My nutritionist says that there’s oven-fried chicken that you can make that will give you the same enjoyment of fried chicken without all the fat or calories. I don’t believe that for a second. That’s like trying to say that turkey burgers are just as good as a hamburger, or that turkey bacon tastes as good as bacon bacon. It doesn’t – while turkey bacon is perfectly fine, to say that in any way, shape or form can it can replace the delightfully savory and salty sensation of bacon is foolish and flat out mean.

Speaking of turkey bacon, the BBE (best boyfriend ever) and I had a pretty bad-assed breakfast sandwich yesterday involving turkey bacon. I’d sworn off the stuff after eating some at my parent’s house (neither of my sisters will eat pork now – I feel sad for them missing out) and later watching “Modern Marvels” on the History Channel where they show how they make turkey products. You DON’T even want to know how they make turkey bacon or ground turkey or turkey sausage. I mean seriously, I could have gone the rest of my life without seeing that.

Getting back to the sandwich: it consisted of 2 egg whites, a slice of provolone cheese, 2 slices of turkey bacon all on a cinnamon-raisin english muffin, toasted. It was EPIC and only 288 calories, NO trans fasts, less than 700 mg of sodium and only 8 g of sugar. We were both surprised at how good it tasted all together!! No butter, no jelly, honey or anything. I would eat it again, and definitely recommend it to anyone that is trying to eat healthier, still get in a hearty breakfast and remembers the big Southern-style breakfasts that started of eggs, sausage and toast.


On a completely un-related note, I WILLINGLY took a spinning class on Saturday. My butt bone is still bruised from taking the class, but honestly, while you’re huffing away on that biek so many other parts of you hurt and burn that you completely forget how miserable that seat is. Thankfully the room was darkened so no one was really focusing on anyone else, and no one saw my baldly pedalling my way through my pain. I was on the second row behind this little whippet of an older man that was HARD CORE about spinning – man had the shorts, the shirt and the special spinning shoes that lots of people wear. I made it my business to try and keep up with him, but finally fell behind on the 5th track which was the mountain track. My mountain number three, my legs were just DONE. The instructor said “add another turn!” and I said “No!”. I kept pedalling though, and did what I could.


I have to say, the difference in how I felt this time compared to the first time I took spinning is monumental. The first time, whenever they told us to stand and pedals, my legs were shaking so badly I simply couldn’t go it. This time, I grunted and growled and tore right through it. I followed that little old man all over my imaginary Appalachian mountains, pedaling hard, taking every turn of difficulty and working my slowly shrinking butt cheeks off. I felt like a rockstar!!! As much as I don’t like spinning I will be back… the rush after completing a serious tough class like that is becoming addictive.


These pats few weeks have been hard – I’m not losing weight as fast as the guys, and I just feel like I’m failing at this challenge.  I’ve let their weight loss accomplishments overshadow my own, and sow doubts into my head. My trainer, my family, friends and BBE keep constantly reminding me that losing the weight in a paced, healthy way is the past way to ensure that I will keep it off. Everybody loses weight at different rates. I haven’t been lost 20 or 30 pounds; I’ve only lost 10, but I’ve gained muscle, and endurance and the ability to finish a spinning class without fear that I’d collapse into a ridiculous tragic heap. Maybe I win the competition, maybe I don’t. I do know one thing: this doesn’t stop for me once the challenge it over. I want to keep doing this. It’s always seemed like it was too hard to do. Let me tell you something: keeping up with that little spinning man was HARD, but I did it. After walking out of that spanning class, I felt I put that stuff behind me and was ready to just focus on ME and getting fit.

Getting through something that hard got me motivated to take on other things I’ve always wanted to do, but just thought were beyond my abilities – like gardening. Weeding and mulching the front yard is a chore that’s been on my “I need to do this” list for months… literally months. When my mom visited a few months back, she suggested starting out gardening slowly, with plants I can handle and care for easily. She suggested the “Knock Out Rose” a hardy little rose plant. So… feeling all bad ass after taking on spinning and getting over my mountains, I bought my first Knock Out Rose and trowel:

Who says that working out only helps you lose weight? I feel like I can take on anything!!!! I still miss fried chicken, but I’m no longer missing out on life.


Memorable Mini-break



This past weekend, I went on an overnight beach trip for the first time with the BF.


Big deal right? Full of memories, laughter, romance, etc. The usual general mushiness.


The most memorable part of our trip? Two grown ass men engaged in fisticuffs over our parking space as we’re leaving the beach parking lot. As the BF drives us away, I’m turned backwards in my seat to see who wins, all the time chanting “Fight! Fight!”


TRUE STORY. LOL it was awesome.


So yeah, we went to the beach this weekend, and it was really great. Like, awesome. A first time for me on many levels (not the one you’re thinking PERVERTS). A first weekend away with my first grown up and serious relationship. A first hotel stay with a BF. A first time at this particular beach. A first time sharing a place that I love with someone that I care about… the beach is one of my very favorite places to go.


We’re talking blue skies, sweet breezes; blue-green water and powdery sand that’s cool beneath your feet – how could you ask for more?


It’s not just the mushy crap either that was full of firsts. For the first time I feel like in addition to the relationship component we are friends and not just boyfriend/ girlfriend. I got to hang out with my awesome friend for a whole weekend! Selfishly, I wanted to jealously guard out time together. The hardest thing was having places to go, people to see. It was tough sharing that time with other people.

But… to get mushy for a moment… There’s something incredibly sweet and wonderful about waking up in the arms of someone that means that much to you, holding hands and laughing and talking and feeling comfortable and safe and free to just… enjoy it without any guilt.


Is that so bad?


We will definitely be doing it again, and going without any agenda but to relax and have fun… I know, no agenda doesn’t sound very much like this Sunburnt Peach, does it?


Another first 🙂


Gahh!!! What the Hell!



What in the world??!?? I was in this total like ZEN state and it just got ruined by a lizard. Again.

Let’s back track a bit.  So on Monday afternoon, in an attempt to get back on track with making exercise a regular part of my routine I decide to take a walk through my neighborhood after dinner.

Can I just say? I live in like, a fricking Stepford paradise sort of. I mean, our neighborhood’s really nice… mellow… pretty. Ok, maybe Stepford’s the wrong way to describe it, but when I walk down the streets listening to my iPod I’m struck with how lush and inviting everyone’s lawns are (except ours). The front porches have cute patio furniture (except ours) and plants (except ours). There are swaying palms and lovely magnolia trees. It’s pretty nice by any standard.

Ok, maybe I’m making our house sound like that trashy one on the corner that has weeds 8 feet high and indigenous vermin living in the bushes nesting in old tires with broken bottles and Four Loko cans littering the steps. That’s entirely untrue. We get the weeds cut at least twice a month and I removed the Four Loko cans after the HOA complained a few times.

The point of all this is, my neighborhood lulls you into this relaxing sense of calm and peacefulness, something I’ve come to appreciate. I’m walking around, down the garden paths, past cute little houses.

But speaking of vermin – I get home and run a nice bath, read a few chapters of “Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife” by Linda Berdoll (MUST READ IF YOU LOVED Pride & Prejudice and want it a little on the dirty side) and just as I’m slipping into my nightgown, I feel something SLITHER down my backside. It was the Christmas Lizard from over a month ago! He was chillaxing in the folds of my nightgown when I put it on. Eeeek!

 I jumped about 3 feet in the air, flapping my airs like a fool before I gained composure. By the time I pulled it together to grab a shoebox to catch him, he was gone, back into the depths of my closet.

FYI – Later that night I was startled from a deep sleep convinced that he was back in my pajamas again. I had to turn on the lights and peek under the bed and shake out the covers, like I was a kid scared after watching too many Freddy Kreuger movies.

Ok, so let’s fast forward to last night. I get home after an AWESOME date (and no, details will not be disclosed) feeling like, totally zen, and walk into my closet, only to see this:


WTH?!?! Am I like a lizard whisperer now? Am I running a reptilian nightclub? Disco? Cocktails? Happy Hour? I mean I appreciate them for keeping us bug-free, but seriously, give a gal a little space.

I grabbed him up into a shoebox and released his free-loading butt out onto the porch.

It has been suggested that Mr. Lizard (let’s call him Mr. Geico) has MATED in my closet and now has a little lizard family in there, from whom I have separated him. First of all THANKS for that alarming visual, and I want to know if anyone else would have done different?? Are yall gonna call DFACS on me??

It is a little ironic that I’m a Geico customer.

I’ve seen the same lizard two nights in one week… are we technically going steady now?