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

Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

Orlando Explorer

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on March 4, 2019

Our most recent visit to Orlando had us visiting Epcot for the Festival of the Arts. I tasted the mushroom risotto at the Masterpiece Kitchen around World Showcase but held off eating more until we went to the Morocco café for a vegetarian platter with hummus and more.

IMG_1833IMG_E1836IMG_E1834

At Disney Springs another day, I indulged in a root beer float at Ghiradelli. We enjoyed the ambiance as we strolled through the marketplaces and past numerous restaurants. Our adventures continued at historic Winter Garden as we strolled downtown. The main street still has its old-time charm, while a brewery hall attracts a young crowd with several fast-food eating choices. Here’s a peek at the lobby of an earlier era Edgewater Hotel and an adjacent ice cream shop.

IMG_1837IMG_1838IMG_E1848IMG_1846 IMG_1841

We took walks at Disney’s Riverside and Boardwalk resorts, and gained a couple of extra pounds from dining out the entire weekend. Now we’re home, and we brought a cold along with us as a souvenir.

  IMG_1828IMG_1829  IMG_1850IMG_E1851

 

NEWSLETTER

Sign Up now for my quarterly email newsletter if you don’t want to miss the latest issue going out this week. Exclusive bonus for subscribers only!

Logo

 

GIVEAWAYS

Booklovers Bench, March 1 – 18

Enter Now to win a free book from the Prize Vault at Booklovers Bench.

March2019

 

Cozy Mystery Bonanza, March 1- April 1

Enter Here to win 40+ cozy mysteries included my book HAIR RAISER.

Cozy Bonanza

 

Advertisements

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

Downton Abbey Exhibition

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 11, 2019

The Downton Abbey Exhibition is currently at City Place in West Palm Beach. We went last weekend to view the scenes and costumes from one of our favorite period piece shows. The exhibit is housed in a former Macy’s location. The restrooms are upstairs, and it’s sad to see how empty the cavernous halls were with even some original signage remaining.

IMG_2056

Back downstairs, we entered to view a short introductory film about the beloved series. The next room had profiles of each character, along with some of their detailed artifacts such as handwritten letters that made it all seem real. You could read about their duties and roles in society at the time, as well as many of the social and political issues dominating the scene.

IMG_2013IMG_2014IMG_2015

Murals along the walls were fun as they gave a larger than life sense of being there.

IMG_2011

I liked viewing the sets the best. It felt as though we were in a historic mansion getting a glimpse into the people’s lives there. Going into a hallway reminiscent of the TV show, we first entered rooms representing the downstairs sections. Imagine the hustle and bustle in the kitchen where the cook and other servants prepared several meals a day.

 

IMG_2019IMG_2016IMG_2017IMG_2024

IMG_2020IMG_2022158416016IMG_2021IMG_2023

We saw the servants’ hall where they took their meals and where the bell board was located.

IMG_2025IMG_2028IMG_2026IMG_2027 158416021

Then we viewed Lady Mary’s bedroom. Look at this old hairstyling guide. Marla, my hairstylist sleuth, would get a kick out of it. Mary’s dressing table is dimly lit.

158416014  IMG_2030IMG_2031 IMG_2029

The library consists of projections on three walls surrounding a series of benches. As you sit there, various scenes come to life on screen. Again, you feel as though you’re in the story.

I love seeing costumes, and these were no exception. Which ones would you choose if you could pick from them?

 

IMG_2043IMG_2044IMG_2035IMG_2048IMG_2049

Accessories were included. Here’s a selection of hats, gloves, and jewelry that were necessary to complete your ensemble.

IMG_2032 IMG_2040IMG_2041IMG_2042

There were a number of bridal ensembles, complete with beaded veils and embellishments that a real bride could have worn. The detail was amazing.

IMG_2036IMG_2038IMG_2037IMG_2034

Then we come to the dining room. I like to imagine myself sitting there and being served. Note the number of wine glasses and utensils. My mother used to have tiny salt cellars with silver spoons like here. It must have been a tediously long evening with so many courses and even more rules to follow.

IMG_1676158416006IMG_2054IMG_2055IMG_2052

It took us about an hour total to go through each area, ending up in the gift shop, of course. Go to http://DowntonExhibition.com for more information. Use code SHARE5 during check-out for $5 off tickets. Offer valid through January 15, 2019. Or try code FRESH5 if that one doesn’t work. Senior discount available too. If driving the Hibiscus Garage is nearby. The exhibit is at 575 S. Rosemary Avenue in West Palm Beach. Rosemary is closed off due to construction so you have to go around. Take I-95 or the Turnpike to Okeechobee Blvd and head east. You’ll see City Place on the left.

Reviewing the scenes and characters will make you ready for Downton Abbey: The Movie!

158416013

Other period favorites of mine on TV are Poldark and Outlander. How about you?

CLICK TO TWEET

<><><>

GIVEAWAY

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

 

Posted in Florida Musings, Research, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 11 Comments »

Christmas Day in Disney Springs

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 4, 2019

On Christmas Day, we saw the Aquaman movie at Disney Springs, followed the Christmas Tree Trail, and ate dinner at the House of Blues. It was a magical day. Here are some photos:

IMG_1975IMG_1635 IMG_1986IMG_1987IMG_1988IMG_1989IMG_1990IMG_1991IMG_1992IMG_1994IMG_1996IMG_1997IMG_1998IMG_2000IMG_2001 IMG_E1630

House of Blues

IMG_2003IMG_2004IMG_2005

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with dinner at Buca di Beppo in Davie.

IMG_1656 IMG_1658

Our Florida weather continues to be mild, so we are enjoying the parks.

IMG_1647 IMG_1653

Check out my personal goal-setting guidelines for this year and enter our Booklover’s Bench contest for a $25 Amazon/BN gift card while there: https://bookloversbench.com/lets-talk-with-nancy-j-cohen-29/

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

Further Adventures in Orlando

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on January 3, 2019

Happy New Year! Time is moving on, so let me tell you about our latest adventures in Orlando over Christmas. We took a stroll at The Mall at Millenia that was nicely decorated for the holidays.

IMG_E1594IMG_E1596IMG_E1597

Dinner included an evening at Bosphorus Turkish Cuisine. We began with their hollow lava bread and hummus appetizer. I really liked the zucchini patties served with yogurt. I could eat this savory dish for an entire meal. The appetizer includes three huge pancakes, so be prepared to share. I didn’t care so much for the falafel ones. My husband had the lamb shish-kabob for his entrée, and I had moussaka. I always like this eggplant dish.

IMG_1602 IMG_1600IMG_1601

IMG_1603IMG_1604

I’d wanted to explore the Island Grove Wine Company at Formosa Gardens in Kissimmee. It’s mostly a retail store with a café and tasting bar. Although they advertise tours and a botanical garden, these don’t really exist. We each enjoyed a turkey sandwich along with our wine tasting. I liked the dry blueberry, the slightly sweet peach, and the cranberry wine. The company has a full-fledged winery at Hawthorne, FL: https://www.islandgrovewinecompany.com/

IMG_1967IMG_1609 IMG_1969IMG_1970IMG_1971IMG_1972IMG_1973

From here, we went down the street to an indoor flea market but the twisting stalls held a collection of shlock. Good place for tourists but not for us. It doesn’t compare to the Festival Marketplace at home.

IMG_1613

Coming Next: Christmas Day in Disney Springs

GIVEAWAY

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

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

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.

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

Schnebly Winery

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on November 30, 2018

My birthday often falls the same weekend as Thanksgiving. My birth date was actually on the holiday. My mother used to say she got me on a platter instead of a turkey. This year, our kids came home so we could celebrate together. We had a lovely meal with all the proper fixings while enjoying each other’s company.

Thanksgiving2018

On Friday of Thanksgiving weekend, we drove to Florida City/Homestead. We meant to stop at Knaus Berry Farm, but the line to get in was way too long for us to wait out in the hot sun. We took backroads instead toward the Schnebly Redland’s Winery and Miami Brewing Co. It was an educational drive through South Florida’s agricultural country. The winery makes wine and beer out of tropical fruits. There’s a gift shop adjacent to the Redlander Restaurant where we had lunch. I had a tasty burger with fried avocado on top.

IMG_1832IMG_1833IMG_1834

IMG_1836IMG_1837

The tour took us on a path under a thatched roof and past a waterfall. We fed the Koi fish in the pond while the guide explained the winery’s origins. Next we viewed the vats where the fruit is pressed for juice and later fermented.

IMG_1835IMG_1840 IMG_1844IMG_1847IMG_1848IMG_1849IMG_1850

The resulting liquid is filtered to remove any remaining solids and then bottled in dark bottles to prevent sunlight from penetrating. Beer is sold in cans.

IMG_1851IMG_1852IMG_1853IMG_1854

We entered the taproom where beer samples were available. I am not a beer drinker, but our kids enjoyed the taste. We saw the rest of the brewery before moving on to the wine tasting.

IMG_1855IMG_1858

At the bar in the gift shop, we each chose five wines to taste. I liked the Grand Reserve, a white that was dry enough to be a table wine, and Denisse’s Boo-Boo Wine that was similar to an ice wine to be sipped after dinner.

We drove next to Robert is Here to look at the farmer’s market selling fresh fruits and vegetables and their famous milkshakes. Outside is a mini-zoo where you can feed lettuce to the animals. The only thing lacking is a decent restroom. With the crowds they get, they should invest in a real facility. If you’re desperate, they have portable units on site. Then we drove home. Exhausted from the long day, we ate turkey leftovers for dinner.

IMG_1859

IMG_1863IMG_1868IMG_1866

WINTER WONDER GIVEAWAY

Winter Wonder Giveaway

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.

Posted in Food, Research, That's Life, Travel | Tagged: , , , , | 38 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 »

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: