Winter Park, Florida

I have been trying to think of something travel related to write lately but I have not been traveling.  So goes the dilemma.  Then I realized maybe some of you might be tourists in or near Orlando some day and find yourself in Winter Park.  I have been here on and off every few weeks for the last few weeks house sitting.  I am literally on top of a restaurant!  Not sure I want to tell you which one since I will be here for a while.  But, I can tell you some good places to go nearby. I am going to start taking my camera with me around to give a picture tour at a later time.

Winter Park is North of Downtown Orlando down 17/92 or I-4.  There are several pockets of areas within Winter Park.

Winter Park Village

Winter Park Village is an upscale urban shopping and dining area with a movie theater also.  I believe it is also has I-max.  I could be wrong though (obviously I do not go to the movies often). There are shops such as White House Black Market, Coldwater Creek, Ulta.  There are two grocery stores, Publix and Chamberlains, which has more organic and natural products.  I shop for groceries and at Ulta but do not spend much shopping at other places though.

There are a lot of upscale chain dining areas and several moderate dining areas.  Cheesecake Factory, Brio, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Crispers, and several other places I have not tried yet.

Downtown Winter Park

Downtown Winter Park is directly east of Winter Park Village.  You can take Fairbanks or Morse or any of the other streets over and find a cute brick pavers area with lots of green areas mixed between.  The drive through the neighborhood down Park Avenue, even after you go through the shopping area is gorgeous.  There are a lot of large houses that are not all cookie cutter.  Made during different times of architectural influence it looks very nice.

The shops are fairly upscale and have chain stores to independent small businesses.  I like walking along and window shopping, especially with some ice cream.  There is a Kilwins, Tutti Frutti (frozen yogurt), Cafe 118, etc to get ice cream from.  There are also a lot of wine bars I have not actually been able to sample yet.  I might have to do some investigating.

Yoga

Full Circle Yoga

So far the only place I have gone to yoga in Winter Park is Full Circle Yoga.  The biggest difference between this studio and others I have been to seems to be that this studio is always full to the brim.  Get there early to get a spot!  It is actually two studios.  There is a hot studio and the main studio.  For some reason the main studio reminds me of summer camp at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan (yes I am that geeky, I played the trumpet).  Its has exposed wooden beams and screened door and I am not sure why, maybe its the color it is painted. It is open and airy.

I have been to three instructors and they all seem knowledgeable and there is a different flow from all teachers. They have a great variety of classes and class times. I will do a separate review of Full Circle Yoga under the yoga section.

Food

There are hundreds of restaurants in the area, or at least it seems that way. Here are a few of my favorites (in no particular order).

Mitchell’s Fish Market

It’s a chain, but I do like it.  Mind you I have only been twice.  I am adding it because they have some of the freshest mixed drinks and an awesome happy hour where you can get their shrimp tacos 2 for $5.  They are very yummy. They also had a jazz duo (or maybe trio) there one night though I have not heard them since.

Chipotle

I know another chain.  And fast foodish.  But I like it because I can get easy vegetarian food, the portions last me for two meals at least, and it is a fairly fresh option.  Best Tex-Mex lunch option to me.

Croissant Gourmet Bakery

This one probably does not need an explanation.  I mean really?  Just in case, awesome, flaky, buttery, crunchy yet chewy, yummy, croissants.  Plain or chocolate.  Yum.  Plus lots of other French desserts and sandwiches.  Awesome baguettes.  I try not to go there often simply because it could become a very unhealthy habit.

Cafe 118 Degrees

Just in case you want to offset your yummy croissants with something super healthy, right across the street is Cafe 118 degrees, which really means everything is cooked under 118 degrees Fahrenheit, or is raw. I have met the owner of the restaurant Joe, and he is really passionate about the restaurant and the entire concept of raw living.  In fact, even though the food is amazing, the most impressive thing about the restaurant is how knowledgeable and passionate all the staff are about the food and concept.  Ask away and you will get answers.

Like maybe, how do you make raw vegetables into lasagna and what is in the raw dairy and soy free ice cream. Really, I love the ice cream, it is my favorite place for ice cream in the area.  Actually, I am not regretting not going and getting some after yoga.

They also serve fresh raw juice and smoothies and wine.  I have not tried anything here I have not liked.  I do have a hard time getting people to go though…

Also, I really like the music on the website.  Just thought I would add that.  Never listened to it before I looked up the link to add here.

For next time…

And this is just the beginning, more food, parks, and shopping coming later.  Any suggestions of places to try?

Settling in…week after week???

Serendipity.  Really my life has been serendipitous recently.  I could not sell my couch so I posted it again on Craigslist with my bed.  I got a call half an hour later and sold it to a women who needed it for her daughter who just moved into her first apartment.  She found it in the AUTOMOTIVE section where it was accidentally sent to.

MyLinda, the owner of Altamonte Springs Yoga invited me to go to one of her 3 week series.  The series was yoga for back and neck.  I have had some neck problems for a few months, I think caused by too many vinyasa in a bad posture.  I have learned since to use my knees for chaturanga.  I kept worrying I would never be able to get farther in Yoga because I cannot do a single chaturanga off my knees. But, since it was the weekend of my garage sale and I had been sleeping on the loveseat while my parents were visiting combined with my stiff neck, it was nice to have a back and neck class.

I went to class and saw a Facebook friend I had met at a yoga class a month or two prior.  It is nice to meet people of similar thoughts.  And it was really an amazing class.  I realized I was not keeping my shoulders spread out.  It is not enough to keep my shoulders out of my ears, I have to keep the shoulder blades apart.  The class was almost entirely about stretching the shoulders.  It was amazing.

This was Sunday, the serendipity started Monday.  On Monday we started Warm and Slow a little late because Julie talked about the proper alignment for downward facing dog and how the shoulder are wide.  It was putting what MyLinda had been talking about Sunday to good use.  It was also interesting that I had recently asked Juliette and Lee about the proper alignment for down dog.  I was not sure if the line should be straight or arced with shoulders through the arms. Well that is much harder to do with the shoulders held wider.  At first my shoulders hated me for this.  Every time I went into down dog I had to reevaluate and move my shoulders into proper position.  Then I realized this is how my shoulders should be in plank too. Suddenly plank had so much more strength coming from the shoulders and no pull on my neck or elbows.

I am still experimenting with plank, I have not really gotten into a lot of no knee planks yet.  But, my knee planks feel much more stable.  Hopefully this will translate well for me.  It is much harder to do down dogs this way, but I am going to assume that is just my muscles getting used to this extra work.

For now, I am settling in to my new place, until Saturday, then the owner comes back.  It is a good prep for learning to travel and take what accommodations come cheaply.  It is odd being in someone’s home, but it once I decided I needed to just get used to it, I did.  I am comfortably sitting on the couch drinking a bottle of Pinot Grigio, watching Limitless on her Netflix, and trying not to mess up her incredibly clean house.  It is in a nice place with lots of shops and restaurants and has parking and high lofted ceilings.  It is nice to feel somewhat settled this fast.  Moving into a furnished place is almost like living on vacation in a vacation rental.  Only, I have to go to work on Monday.  Let’s see how fast I get used to settling in again someplace new next week when she comes home for a week.

Sometimes things just work out

So I have not been to worried about the fact I am homeless come Sunday night.  And I cannot explain why I am not worried.  Maybe it is because I have other places to go.  I think it is mostly because, unencumbered by “stuff” I can go wherever the wind blows.  This is truly the most liberating feeling in the world.  So much freedom.  I can do where I want when I want and stay where I want.  Its amazing.

This also allows me to wait for the best opportunity, where I really feel as if the universe is offering me exactly what I need, instead of taking the first thing that comes along afraid of “securing” something.  In fact, many of the choices I have made in the past are to be “secure” or to get something before someone else does and constantly looking for something better that I missed out on because I chose to be secure. Being able to choose what I want and waiting for opportunities is really allowing me to listen to the world or god or universe or intuition or myself.  Whatever it is, I am listening to it.  I am learning who I am and about the world and people around me like I have not been able to before.  It really is amazing.

And I have not even left yet!

This afternoon the Universe told me where I will be staying, for part of the time at least, after Saturday.  I had given up on the apartment search temporarily and was thinking I would have to couch surf around friends hoping not to bug one friend too much.  Only, a lot of my friends live 45 minutes to an hour or more from downtown Orlando, where I work.  I have done that commute before, but it is a beast.  So I texted my friend M that I would like to take her up on an offer to stay at her place.  She told me she had just talked to a girlfriend of one of her clients who works half the time in Florida and half the time out of state.  She has a really nice loft apartment about 5 miles from where I work.  Perfect location because I can bike to work, most of the way on a bike path.  I just need to find a bike. When she is in state I have other people who I can stay with, including M. All possible because I am sans “stuff.”

I am meeting the boyfriend today to check out the apartment and can be in there before Sunday if we agree!  Amazing how things just work out sometimes.  Paulo Coelho says the Universe conspires to help those chasing their dreams.  I think it might possibly be that if you truly listen to the Universe it is always there to offer you nurturing and solutions.  It is the beginning and end of us, it is us.  Its existence is our existence.  So people – listen!