Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

  • Subscribe

  • Newsletter

    Sign up for my Newsletter

    Sign up for my Newsletter Get a FREE Book Sampler

  • Writing the Cozy Mystery

    Writing the Cozy Mystery: Expanded Second Edition
  • Trimmed to Death

    Trimmed to Death

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

  • Hair Brained

    Hair Brained, a Bad Hair Day Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

  • Facials Can Be Fatal

    Facials Can Be Fatal

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

  • Permed to Death

    Permed to Death

    Bad Hair Day Mystery #1

  • Body Wave

    Body Wave audio

    Audiobook

  • Archives

  • Categories

Archive for the ‘Florida Musings’ Category

More Fun in the Sun

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on December 2, 2018

On Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, we began the day with a walk in Tree Tops Park. This is always lovely with the tall trees and marshland walkway. I didn’t climb the viewing tower this time, but others in our party made it to the top.

IMG_1467IMG_1468IMG_1469

We saw The Crimes of Grindelwald movie in the afternoon. Lots of plot twists and revelations captured my interest in this film that takes place before the Harry Potter films, although the scenes with creatures could be too slow-moving. The plotting and characters still don’t have the appeal of the original movies, although the world-building elements will appeal to diehard fans.

In the evening, we went for the dinner show at the venerable Mai Kai Restaurant that’s been here ever since I can remember. This was a celebratory birthday dinner. I started with coconut lobster bisque. My entrée was a teriyaki combo with rice. For dessert, my choice was coconut flan. The food was good and the show as spectacular as I remembered. You can see the videos on my Facebook page.

IMG_E1470IMG_E1471IMG_E1472

IMG_E1474IMG_E1478IMG_E1500

IMG_E1479IMG_E1483IMG_E1498

Sunday morning, we concluded the weekend with brunch at Vienna Café. It was an elegant and memorable way to end the festivities. And now it’s time to focus on the upcoming holidays and get back to work. You’ll be happy to hear that I have finally started writing the next Bad Hair Day mystery novella. It may be slow-going, but at least it’s moving forward.

GIVEAWAYS

Enter Here Dec. 1 – 15 to win a signed hardcover of Peril by Ponytail along with a DVD of “Author’s Anonymous” and a bag of microwave popcorn. Two Runners-up get either a signed paperback of Shear Murder or Hanging by a Hair.

Winter Wonder

Enter Here Dec. 1 – 18 to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card from Booklover’s Bench.

Advertisements

Posted in Florida Musings, Food, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 6 Comments »

Days at Disney

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 29, 2018

We went to Epcot while we were in Orlando to enjoy the Food & Wine Festival. At Africa, we had a wine flight consisting of Cederberg Chenin Blanc, Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, and Groot Constantia Pinotage. We were not impressed by any of them.

IMG_E1398IMG_1397

IMG_1386 IMG_E1387

Here are some of the other things we tried. They were all good. Probably my favorite was the last one on this list.

Chicken Dumplings at China, $4.45
Marinated Chicken with Peanut Sauce at Thailand, $5.00
Shrimp Skewer at Africa, $6.75
Wine Flight at Africa, $6.50
Carrot Cake at Hops & Barley American Adventure
Apple Strudel at Germany
Banana Almond Soft-Serve Sundae at The Almond Orchard $4.50

IMG_E1381IMG_E1383IMG_E1384IMG_E1385

IMG_E1396IMG_E1400IMG_E1402

Our visit on another day was to the Animal Kingdom. We enjoyed a stroll through Pandora and then went around Africa to Asia, past the youngsters area, and back to the front section where we exited. We’ve seen the shows and have gone on most of the rides, so we can just savor the ambiance, the plants, and the animals for a couple of hours.

IMG_0134 IMG_0137Animal Kingdom2

And so ended our wedding journey and escape into a fantasy realm. Now it’s back to reality.

Posted in Disney, Florida Musings, Food, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Wedding Breakfast

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 27, 2018

We gathered the next morning in St. Augustine with members of the wedding party and close relatives for the wedding breakfast. It was lovely seeing everyone again before they dispersed to their various locations. The Holiday Inn St. Augustine – Historic did a great job of setting up the bountiful buffet and tables.

IMG_1802IMG_1804IMG_1803IMG_1812

We visited with our relatives and members of the bridal party again. Then it was time for a final goodbye.

IMG_1824IMG_1807IMG_1810

IMG_1819IMG_1806IMG_1822IMG_1814IMG_1813

All we have left are fond memories, our wedding attire, and the hole in our checking account (just kidding!). I’m happy to say the cleaners removed the stains from my dress. I just need to get the hook repaired at the back, and it’s ready to go again. I don’t know where I’ll ever wear it, but it’ll hang in my closet just in case. It’s a one-of-a-kind that is too precious to give away.

Now it’s time to settle into our routine and attempt to get back to work. Can I get the writing bug again after all this excitement? What’s next? As the New Year approaches, we’ll want to examine what we’ve accomplished these past twelve months and where we want to go. But first we have all the rest of the holidays to celebrate. Bring on the champagne!

Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Wedding Reception

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 23, 2018

Inside the ballroom at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine, we took our seats at our assigned tables for our daughter’s wedding reception. The bridal couple had this lovely corner:

IMG_E0074

The centerpieces were lovely, and the setting in this historic former bank building was as majestic as a palace. The vault in the back has been turned into a really cool bar. The special lighting gave a pink glow to the entire room.

IMG_1759IMG_1680IMG_1762

The meal was served without delay. This way the festivities could proceed without guests waiting for each course to be delivered. We had salad, a dual entrée of fish with lemon sauce and chicken marsala, and wedding cake to finish.

IMG_1771 IMG_0047

The first dance was beautiful. Next our husband danced with our daughter, and then the groom danced with his mom.

IMG_0069 SaraDad   IMG_0075

The best surprise was a dance number with the bride and groom in a swirl of fog. As they ended their slow dance, their attendants joined them and they began dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller. It was awesome! They were great, and it was a headliner sequence that we’ll always remember. In between dance numbers, we had time to go around and greet our friends and family. As the evening drew to a close, the wedding planner had us all go outside and light sparklers to send off the happy couple. I couldn’t believe it was over already.

IMG_0080 IMG_1780IMG_1782IMG_1783IMG_1784

IMG_1787IMG_1778IMG_1793IMG_1794CritiqueGroup

IMG_1776Dance FogIMG_0048

Coming Next: The Wedding Breakfast

Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Wedding Ceremony

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 21, 2018

As we lined up in the foyer prior to walking down the aisle at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine, the tension in the air increased. Finally, it was our turn. My husband and I went in next-to-last. Inside the doors, we stood aside so our daughter could appear alone in the doorway for everyone to admire. We then joined arms and walked down the aisle together as is the custom in Jewish weddings. The moment seemed surreal. I didn’t hear the music or see individual faces. It was hard to believe we were really there at our daughter’s wedding.

Ceremony

The ceremony was beautiful, incorporating many Jewish customs. Our daughter looked radiant, and the groom wore a grin the entire time. They performed the custom of circling seven times to represent the seven days of creation. In a more modern fashion, the bride circled three times and then the groom did the same. They made the last round together.

IMG_0059IMG_0060IMG_0063

Finally, the groom smashed the traditional glass with his foot, and it was done.

IMG_0036 IMG_0066

The beaming couple strode down the aisle, followed by the attendants in the prescribed order. We went next, trailed by the groom’s parents. The attendants and bridal couple went outside for photos while the rest of us segued into the cocktail hour.

IMG_1379

As I roamed around greeting people, I grabbed an appetizer and promptly spilled it on my gown. My very expensive beaded gown. This was Mishap #3 (or 4, if you count the snap on my dress popping as described in the prior post). In the dark, the stains on the skirt might not show, but they would be glaringly obvious if the photographer shone his light in my direction. Fortunately, I’d had the foresight to bring a backup dress. I’d bought a dress in the same color at Dillard’s and really liked it, but I thought it a bit too staid for a mother-of-the bride dress. However, it would serve its purpose now. Herein lies The Tale of Two Dresses. You can see them here.

IMG_1409 

Most guests in the darkened ballroom thought I’d merely put on a jacket. This dress turned out to be more comfortable for dancing anyway, especially with the snap broken on the first gown. I’d also changed my shoes from a higher heel for the ceremony to a medium heel for the reception.

IMG_E1412IMG_E1413

So here’s your wedding tip: Be Prepared. Bring spare shoes, an extra gown, and accessories to match. I wish I’d brought a necklace to go with dress number two, but I’d left my baubles in the hotel room. Next time, if there is one, I’ll double up on everything. Meanwhile, we had to line up again for a grand entrance into the ballroom after everyone had found their seats.

Coming Next: The Wedding Reception

In the meantime, have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am thankful to all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement. Your friendship, even at a distance and across cyberspace, means a lot to me. Have a blessed holiday with good food, friends and family. May peace and love be with you.

turkey

Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life | Tagged: , , | 6 Comments »

The Wedding Day

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 19, 2018

At 10am on our daughter’s wedding day, the bridal attendants and mothers gathered in the bride’s hotel room and donned the special robes she’d provided for each of us. Hair and makeup experts arrived and began their work, starting with the bridesmaids. These young ladies all looked like models, and they were even more gorgeous after the prep team did their work.

IMG_1343 IMG_1347IMG_1730

I was very happy with the way my hair and makeup turned out. Thanks to Carrie Wilson Makeup and Hair by Lisa Moir for their expertise.

IMG_1355IMG_1368IMG_E1370IMG_E1371

Our daughter had ordered sandwiches brought in so we ate lunch while sitting around watching each other get done. The photographers arrived as our daughter was finishing with her hair. They snapped pictures of us in our robes. It was a glorious day outside, and we stood on the balcony admiring the view of the bay glistening in the distance. We’d lucked out with the weather.

IMG_E1318

Before we knew it, we had to gather our belongings and make our way to the wedding venue at Treasury on the Plaza in St. Augustine. We were getting dressed over there in the bridal suite. Chaos ensued as the girls all put on their red gowns and touched up their hair in the large space allotted to us, complete with dressing table mirrors and our own restroom and kitchenette. We did a champagne toast to the occasion. Everyone looked beautiful, and it was heartwarming to see our daughter with her life-long friends and her cousin, the maid of honor.

IMG_1733IMG_1737IMG_1751IMG_1742

As I bent over in my gown to hook my silver shoes, the snap popped on my dress. This snap held the shoulders together at the back. Without it, the dress started to slip down. I had to constantly readjust it. I had told the seamstress the dress was too tight on top, and this proved it. Meanwhile, our daughter left to do the “First Look” photos with the groom. Then they came back in along with the rabbi. The bride and groom signed the Jewish marriage certificate called a ketubah in front of all of us as witnesses.

We all went outside to take formal photos in the park across the street before any guests arrived. Then it was time to wait in our private areas (the groomsmen had their own suite) until summoned by the wedding planner to assemble in the foyer. My heart rate accelerated. It was almost time.

IMG_0041 IMG_0049 IMG_0077

Coming Next: The Wedding Ceremony

Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life | Tagged: , , , | 7 Comments »

The Wedding Rehearsal

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 15, 2018

The wedding rehearsal was held at 11am on Saturday. Our bridal party assembled at the Treasury on the Plaza where the wedding planner took us step-by-step through the ceremony. It was a sobering moment as the reality of the wedding hit us. How would we remember all these moves when the time came?

IMG_1317

Our heads filled with instructions, we went to lunch at O.C. White’s Restaurant in their upstairs room. We had a delightful meal while getting to know each other.

IMG_1681IMG_1683IMG_1684

During our free afternoon, Richard and I strolled down St. George Street to browse in the shops. St. Augustine is always a charming town to visit with its distinctive restaurants, museums, historical buildings and attractions.

IMG_E1319  St. George Street

Then it was time to rest in our room until the rehearsal dinner at The Floridian. Our private room upstairs was beautifully decorated, and appetizers were laid out on the bar. Mostly this was about connecting with close family members and getting better acquainted with members of the bridal party. Thanks to Es and Rick, our future mechutonim, for hosting this event. Anticipation filled the air. The big day would soon be upon us.

IMG_1685IMG_1686IMG_1687

IMG_1688IMG_1707 IMG_1696

IMG_1700IMG_1706

IMG_1703

Coming Next: The Wedding Day

<><><>

Sign up for my reader’s newsletter list to stay informed about new releases, giveaways, special offers & events: https://nancyjcohen.com/newsletter/

 

Posted in Florida Musings, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Pre-Wedding Adventures

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 9, 2018

Our daughter’s wedding was magnificent. It’s hard to believe it is over. All that planning for ten months and then in three days, it was done. There’s relief that things went well mixed with regret that it’s past history, but we’ll relive the event through the photos. (This collage is representative of a wedding but is not ours.)

Wedding Collage

We checked into the bed and breakfast inn at St. Augustine that was designated for the bridal party. Here began the first of our Wedding Misadventures. This historic inn had no private parking area. You have to park in an assigned space at a lot several blocks away. To unload your luggage, you must hunt down a driveway on a street at the rear. We pulled into the wrong place and had to drive around the block again to find the proper loading zone. Our room was in a separate structure from the main building, where our daughter had booked a lovely suite. We had a room that needed renovation as the wall a/c unit blasted onto the beds. There was a long flight of steps up to our second floor room with no elevator.

The front desk sent a guy to help us with our bags. Then we backed our car out of the tight driveway and ended up scratching the passenger side. We suspect it came from a latch sticking out from a gate. Mishap #1.

IMG_1330

Friday evening, we had drinks in the cozy cocktail lounge at the inn and then got ready to meet everyone at Michael’s Tasting Room for an informal dinner. My husband flushed the toilet in our hotel room before we left. It overflowed and flooded on the floor. Mishap #2. We reported it to the front desk, who assured us they would get the maintenance man right over there.

We went to dinner and had a delightful meal with the members of the bridal party who’d arrived early. From left to right are the bride and groom. They are toasting with the groom’s brother (aka the best man) and his wife. And here are Richard and I seated with Es and Rick, soon to be our Mechutonim (i.e. relatives through marriage).

IMG_1323IMG_3299IMG_1675

Anxious about our room situation, we hurried back around 9:30. The front desk person said a plumber had been called, and he was still working on the toilet. We spoke to the man, who said the problem was in a pipe and he had to drill into the wall.

We were outta there. After speaking to the front desk, we spent the night at another hotel, planning to return in the morning. The inn refunded our night’s stay. We returned the next day and had a pleasant breakfast on the front porch. I had French Toast Peach Cobbler. That’s the best part about B&Bs – the morning meal.

IMG_1676

It’s a good thing we ate first, because here’s what we found in our room:

IMG_1329

Despite the clerk’s reassurance that the problem had been fixed and the maid would clean up, we checked out and booked two nights at the Hilton. Central a/c! Starbucks in the lobby! We were in heaven! We moved over all our stuff and were ready to face the new day.

Coming Next: The Wedding Rehearsal

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card at Booklover’s Bench.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Florida Musings, Food, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Bouchercon World Mystery Convention – Saturday

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 17, 2018

On Saturday, I attended “It Takes a Village to Publish a Book” with various panelists at Bouchercon World Mystery Convention talking about what happens behind the scenes before a book gets published in terms of cover design, getting reviews, etc. It’s not something that can happen overnight with a traditional publisher. This is why it may take a year for your book to go from sale to publication.

IMG_1654

The next panel I attended was on Podcasts. This seemed to be more about producing your own podcast than how to get on one as a guest. It was interesting to hear why each podcast producer got started in the field and what their goals are for their audiences.

IMG_1655

The rest of the time I spent schmoozing with my fellow authors, hanging out in the bookroom, or pacing the corridors of the historic hotel. It was pleasing to meet fans and librarians as well as new writer friends, such as Marilyn Levinson, Neil Plakcy, and Diane A.S. Stuckart. Here’s Deborah Shlian with Joan Cochran and Diane Capri. Then we have Joanne Sinchuk and Sue Wilder from Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore. This last person in the photo wins the award for most unusual hairstyle.

IMG_E1162IMG_E1163IMG_E1171

Murder on the Beach  hairdo

On our way home on Sunday, we stopped by Parkesdale Market in Plant City to buy loaves of their infamous strawberry bread plus other goodies. This is a fun stop along I-4 between Orlando and Tampa.

IMG_1181IMG_1182IMG_1183

IMG_E1184IMG_E1185

See all my photos HERE.

GIVEAWAYS

Sept. 1 – 18 Booklovers Bench Monthly Giveaway
Enter Here to win a $25 Amazon/BN gift card at Booklover’s Bench.

GiftCards

Sept. 17 – 26 Women Sleuths on Booksweeps

Enter Sept. 17 – 26 to win 30+ Women Sleuth Mysteries, including books from authors like Lisa Gardner and Laura Durham, along with FREE reads just for entering. You could also win a copy of MY book, Hair Brained. CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Sep-18-WomenSleuthMys-1200px-Graphic

 

Posted in Appearances, Conferences, Fiction Writing, Florida Musings, Food, The Writing Life | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

St. Petersburg Florida

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 12, 2018

We got into St. Petersburg, Florida on Wednesday Sept. 5. Unfortunately, I hadn’t booked the conference hotel which was already full when I registered for Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. Events took place at the historic Vinoy Renaissance by the bay. This distinctive structure faces a boat marina and a park on one side and Beach Drive at another end. Our hotel, the Hampton Inn, was on a side street from this main strip that hosts a plethora of restaurants and museums. The town is good for a few days stay with all there is to see and do. Here are shots of the Vinoy that was built in the 1920’s.

IMG_1590 IMG_1652

It was a distinct disadvantage not staying there as we had to tip the valet at the Hampton Inn each time we needed the car. I got too hot walking the five to six blocks in ninety degree heat to the conference hotel while dressed up for the meeting. Once I left the Vinoy in the afternoon, I didn’t return. Daily thunderstorms and the intense heat prevented another long stroll. A shuttle ran between conference hotels, but only in the early morning and late afternoon. So I learned my lesson. Never stay off site again. However, we enjoyed St. Petersburg along Beach Drive even though we didn’t go farther into downtown.

IMG_1589 IMG_1591

Dining adventures included Parkshore Grill where we had lunch on day one.

IMG_1585IMG_1586

IMG_1587IMG_1588

We dined outside at Fresco’s on the first night.

IMG_1592IMG_1593IMG_1594

We met my former critique partner, Sharon Hartley, and her husband for dinner at Bella Brava.

IMG_1178IMG_E1179

Richard and I enjoyed the early bird special at 400 Beach Seafood.

IMG_E1158IMG_E1159IMG_E1160

I think I had more fun trying the different restaurants than anything else!

I skipped out on the conference on Saturday afternoon for a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts. This two-story building held many exhibits including sculptures, paintings, and valuable artifacts. I liked the clock exhibit. There’s a café and gift shop on the premises. Here are some of the items we viewed. More are in the album on my Facebook page.

museum        

Coming Next: Bouchercon 2018

See all my photos HERE

GIVEAWAY

Enter to win a $25 Amazon/BN Gift Card at Booklover’s Bench

Posted in Conferences, Florida Musings, Food, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , , | 10 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: